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Trump impeachment: Analysis and news on the House charges and Senate acquittal of the president

The Senate trial on the two articles of impeachment against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ended with acquittal on both charges.
Image: Impeachment live blog
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The fast-moving impeachment of President Donald Trump, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, moved to the Senate for trial in January after the House voted a month earlier to adopt two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Senate voted in early February to acquit the president on both charges.

Trump's impeachment followed weeks of testimony related to his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into Democratic rivals and hours of fiery debate over the process.

Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Read all of the breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

Trump impeachment highlights

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Live Blog

What to expect when you're expecting an impeachment hearing

House Democrats are carefully choreographing this week’s public impeachment hearings to emphasize their “simple abuse of power case against President Trump,” multiple sources tell NBC News.

Their strategy is reliant on two key components: the witness list and the hearing format.


House Democrats characterize their first three witnesses – Amb. Bill Taylor, George Kent, and Amb. Marie Yovanovitch -- as respected, apolitical public servants with long, storied careers.

All three gave House investigators damning accounts of President Trump’s interactions with the new Ukrainian government. Democrats expect the American public will trust the testimonies, as the witnesses detail the alleged impeachable offenses underlying Trump’s Ukraine maneuvers. 

Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut told Chuck on "Meet the Press" that the public will “hear immensely patriotic, beautifully articulate people telling the story of a president who ... extorted a vulnerable country by holding up military aid.”

“They are all strong character witnesses. All three bring credibility to impeachment inquiry,” a Democratic aide tells NBC News, adding that Amb. Bill “Taylor is going to lay everything out” on Wednesday and Yovanovitch is going to “tug at America’s heartstrings” on Friday.

Taylor -- the current top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine -- told House investigators that Trump directed officials to tie foreign aid for Ukraine to demands that the country open an investigation into the Biden family and the 2016 election. A second Democratic aide says Taylor’s “exquisite note-taking” will lend credibility to his testimony, which “corroborates the whistleblower complaint.”


Republicans have the task of trying to separate President Trump from the string of damning testimonies. 

The GOP witness list – which includes Hunter Biden, the anonymous whistleblower, and a former DNC consultant – highlights the degree to which Republicans want to change the subject away from Trump’s interaction with his Ukrainian counterpart.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has already signalled that most of the names on the GOP request list are non-starters. Calling Hunter Biden, Democrats say, would have the effect of creating the political investigation into the Bidens that Trump wanted the Ukrainians to open.

Democrats could find some rhetorical value in allowing at least one of the GOP witnesses, as a means of pushing back against process arguments.

Don’t be surprised if Democrats allow Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council, to appear for public testimony.

Republicans will also attempt to undermine the witnesses by pointing out that their most damning information comes to them secondhand -- from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland or from NSC officials -- not from firsthand conversations with key players such as President Trump, Rudy Giuliani or Mick Mulvaney.


The House voted to change the format for the impeachment hearings when it approved a resolution establishing the procedures for the inquiry. It allows House Democrats to keep control of the proceedings and explore lines of inquiry at greater length.

The hearings will kick off with opening statements from the House Intelligence Committee chairman and ranking member, plus the witnesses.

Following that, the committee will move to a questioning period of 90 minutes, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Chairman Adam Schiff and the committee’s top Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes, can use the time to question the witnesses themselves or instruct a committee lawyer to do it instead.  

Once the first 90 minutes is up, Schiff will decide if more time is needed for additional Q&A. That’s when the format reverts to a traditional congressional hearing, with lawmakers each getting five minutes to pose questions.

“If the American people only watch the first hour, they’ll hear plenty,” a third Democratic source familiar tells NBC. “The first hour of each hearing is designed to be a blockbuster.”

A message for Trump in NYC

Signs spelling out the word "impeach" hang in a building overlooking the site where President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended the New York City Veterans Day Parade at Madison Square Park in New York on Nov. 11, 2019.Andrew Harnik / AP

Dem Rep. releases Veteran's Day impeachment ad

Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria, a Navy veteran, released a video on Monday explaining her support for impeachment.

"I didn't come to Washington to impeach the president, but I also didn't spend 20 years in the Navy to allow our Constitution to be trampled on," she says.

Watch below:

Trump claims, without evidence, that Schiff releasing doctored transcripts

After push from Rick Perry, his backers got huge gas deal in Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine — Two political supporters of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government soon after Perry proposed one of the men as an adviser to the country's new president.

Perry's efforts to influence Ukraine's energy policy came earlier this year, just as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's new government was seeking military aid from the United States to defend against Russian aggression and allies of President Donald Trump were ramping up efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Ukraine awarded the contract to Perry's supporters little more than a month after the U.S. energy secretary attended Zelenskiy's May inauguration. In a meeting during that trip, Perry handed the new president a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. One of the four names was his longtime political backer Michael Bleyzer.

Read the full story here.

Trump's defender: How a little-known GOP lawmaker became a point man on impeachment

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., has called the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump a "charade," a "clown show," and a "cocktail that is" House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff's "favorite drink to get America drunk on."

Naturally, there's an occupant in the Oval Office who's taken notice of his strong words. And, in turn, a once little-known, 39-year-old lawmaker representing eastern Long Island has become one of the president's point men in battling impeachment, teaming up with fellow anti-impeachment crusaders such as House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

Read more about Zeldin's rise here.

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Impeachment inquiry update for Monday, Nov. 11

House Democrats have not indicated which, if any, testimony transcripts will be released Monday. The investigative committees will continue to release transcripts ahead of Wednesday’s first public impeachment hearing, however. 

There are no closed-door depositions scheduled for this week.

Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who had been scheduled to appear before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Monday, was rescheduled for Friday. 

Graham ups attacks against whistleblower before public hearings

Only 3 Senate Republicans aren't defending Trump from the impeachment inquiry. Here's why.

For those Senate Republicans who are refusing to condemn the House-led impeachment inquiry, three may be the loneliest number.

While a resolution denouncing the House Democrats' fast-moving probe hasn't received a vote, GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska declined to sign on as co-sponsors — the only ones out of 53 Republicans — leaving the door ajar to the possibility that they could vote to convict President Donald Trump if impeachment moves to its trial phase in the Senate.

But unlike the blowback Romney and Collins have faced for breaking with the party's defense of the president, Murkowski could end up seeing her part in this micro-rebellion embraced by voters in her state. Experts on Alaska politics told NBC News that the state tends to reward an independent streak in its politicians.

In other words, Murkowski can fall out of line with Trump — but not fall out of favor with Republican voters in her state.

Full story here.

OPINION: From Nixon to Trump, the historical arc of presidential misconduct is deeply troubling

During the Watergate investigation, I contributed to an unprecedented history of presidential misconduct that the impeachment inquiry of the House Committee on the Judiciary requested in 1974.

Now, 45 years later, I’ve edited an expanded version, covering all U.S. presidencies through Barack Obama’s. Looking over that 230-year span, what I’m forced to conclude is deeply troubling: Since the early 1970s, the behavior of American presidents has worsened in alarming ways.

Read more here.