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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.
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Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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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

Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry

Live Blog

Nikki Haley grilled over Trump's Ukraine conduct, truthfulness

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s July call with the leader of Ukraine, but said that “it’s never a good practice for us to ask a foreign country to investigate an American. It's just not a good practice."

“Having said that, there’s no insistence on that call, there are no demands on that call, it is a conversation between two presidents that’s casual in nature,” Haley said in an interview on "Today" with NBC News' Savannah Guthrie.

In the interview, Guthrie also pressed Haley on Trump's fitness for office and her claims that top officials sought to undermine the president.

Read more about what happened in the interview.

The impeachment inquiry has been all about Ukraine, but what about Russia?

WASHINGTON — The central charge in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is that President Trump used his office and powers to compel a foreign nation (Ukraine) to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

But ahead of tomorrow’s public hearings, there are two additional questions worth exploring, especially after Monday’s release of three more transcripts of depositions.

One: Why was Trump and his administration pursuing a strategy on Ukraine that aligned with Russia’s interests — and against the United States’ expressed national interests?

And two: Why aren’t House Democrats trying to connect the Russian dots? (Is it a hangover after Mueller?)

First Read gives these questions a look.

GOP memo outlines 'key pieces of evidence' against impeachment case

A staff memo circulated Monday night among Republican members of the three House investigative committees conducting the Ukraine investigation outlines several points that the lawmakers claim will undermine Democrats' case for impeachment, a Republican source with direct knowledge confirmed to NBC News.

The memo, first published by Axios, lays out "four key pieces of evidence":

  • The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure, the memo claims.    
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call, it says.
  • The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call. 
  • Trump met with Zelenskiy and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating Trump's political rivals, the memo says.

Democrats, however, allege that the call in question did not exist in isolation and was part of a coordinated Ukrainian pressure campaign and bribery plot.

Trump says he will release transcript of earlier Ukraine call

Trump on Monday said he is planning to release a transcript of an April phone call during which he congratulated Zelenskiy on his election victory. The phone call took place before Zelenskiy was in office.

The whistleblower’s complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry centers around the July call, not the first congratulatory call in April. It's not the first time he has suggested that the call be released. In September, he told reporters that he thinks they "should ask for the first conversation also" since it was "beautiful."

Former Volker aide said there were worries Trump had 'Ukraine fatigue'

A former top aide to Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker testified there were concerns President Trump had "Ukraine fatigue."

Christopher Anderson, who was Volker's aide until this past July, said those worries were stoked by two incidents. The first occurred in Nov. 2018, when Ukraine accused Russia of firing on three of its vessels in the Black Sea. 

The attack was condemned in statements from the State Department and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, "but there never was a statement from the White House that I'm aware of," Anderson said. Asked if that was unusual, he said, "We received questions from Ukrainian counterparts and journalists as to why there wasn't a stronger statement."

About a month later, the Navy planned to send a warship to the Black Sea in a show of support for Ukraine. Anderson described the plan as "routine," but "then there was a news report on CNN, and then the White House asked the Navy to cancel that" because the president was upset about the report.

Asked how he knew that Trump was upset, Anderson said that then-national security adviser John Bolton "relayed that he was called at home by the president, who complained about this news report."

Anderson was also asked about a statement he'd made that Bolton was concerned about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's influence on Ukraine policy. 

"To the best of my recollection, he made a joke about every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up and that the President was listening to Giuliani about Ukraine," Anderson said.

 

House investigators release transcript of Catherine Croft's testimony

House impeachment investigators on Monday released the transcript of testimony from Catherine Croft, a special adviser for Ukraine at the State Department.

Croft had testified behind closed doors for more than five hours before the three House committees leading the inquiry, providing investigators with information that largely corroborated depositions given to them by other key figures in the inquiry, including Fiona Hill, then a top White House adviser for Europe and Russia, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.

As NBC News reported after Croft's testimony on Oct. 30, she told investigators that she participated in a video conference where an official at the Office of Management and Budget reported that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had placed a hold on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. The only reason given was that the order came "at the direction of the president,” Croft said.

Read the NBC News story here, and read the full transcript of her testimony here.

The Inquiry: What to expect from public hearings

Article II - Battle Lines - Monday, Nov. 11

On today's episode of the Article II podcast, Steve Kornacki is joined by MSNBC Washington Correspondent Garrett Haake to tell you what to expect from this week of televised public testimony.

The two discuss:

  • The format of the  public hearings
  • What we know about the three witnesses scheduled to testify, plus why Democrats are asking them to testify first
  • A look at the Republican counterstrategy, including the introduction of a list of requested witnesses and a new addition to the House Intelligence Committee
  • Whether public hearings will change the trajectory of the impeachment inquiry

The episode answers listener questions about whether witness can refuse to answer a question and how public sentiment around impeachment shifted during public hearings for the Nixon and Clinton inquiries.

Click here for the full segment.