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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

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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

Hoyer: Trump has created 'a cesspool of corruption, chaos and crisis'

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer held his weekly off-camera briefing with reporters today and was asked about a variety of topics including impeachment hearings, timeline of the inquiry, government funding and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

He said he has asked members not to schedule anything for the week of Dec. 16. He was asked several questions on the public perception of impeachment.

"This is not about polls," he said. "This is about each member deciding whether or not they believe the conduct clearly corroborated by many, many witnesses rises to high crimes and misdemeanors."

Hoyer also said: "The president said he was going to get rid of the swamp. What he has created is a cesspool of corruption, chaos and crisis."

The point when Taylor says it was ‘clear' release of aid was conditioned on probes

While Taylor learned on July 18 from the Office of Management and Budget that security assistance was being held up for an unspecified reason, he said Wednesday that he didn’t understand until early September that the release of the money was conditioned on Ukraine investigating the Bidens and a 2016 election conspiracy theory. 

Goldman had asked Taylor about the moment in September after Vice President Mike Pence met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Warsaw. 

Taylor replied that he learned that after that meeting, Sondland had meetings in Warsaw and described to Andriy Yermak, assistant to Zelenskiy, that the U.S. security assistance was also held up “pending announcement” by Zelenskiy in public of these investigations. 

Taylor said that before that point, he only understood that a possible Trump-Zelenskiy meeting at the White House was conditioned on pursuing those investigations. But it was after the Sept. 1 meeting between Pence and Zelenskiy that it became "clear" to him that both the military aid and the possible face-to-face meeting was dependent on the announcement of those probes. 

Drag queen sashays into Trump impeachment hearings

Spotted towering over the gray and blue suits packed into the first day of President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing was an enormous blond wig — that of Pissi Myles, a drag performer from Asbury Park, New Jersey.

“It’s a crazy day in Washington! I’m flipping my wig over the high-energy proceedings today," Myles told NBC News. "Tensions are high, and the bar for who’s allowed in the Longworth House is very, very low.”

Pissi Myles reports with her cellphone during the first public impeachment hearings on Wednesday. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Taylor explains what Sondland meant by "stalemate"

Goldman pressed Taylor by what he felt the word "stalemate" meant when Sondland used it during a Sept. 8 phone call with Taylor.

"Ambassador Sondland also said that he had talked to President Zelenskiy and Mr. Yermak and had told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskiy did not 'clear things up in public, we would be at a stalemate,'" Taylor had said in his opening statement. Andriy Yermak is a top adviser to the Ukrainian president. 

"What I understood, in that meeting, the meaning of stalemate is that the security assistance would not come," Taylor said in response to Goldman’s question.

President Trump tweets out web video, Eric Trump weighs in on hearings

As the hearings move on, President Trump tweeted out a web video touching on the impeachment inquiry and attacking the Democratic presidential candidates before claiming to be the only man to "stop this chaos."

And Trump's son Eric weighed in with his take on the House proceedings:

Taylor says he kept notes on 'all' of his conversations

In his questioning of Taylor, Goldman asked whether Taylor had kept notes about a Sept. 1 call he’d held with Sondland.

“I did,” Taylor replied.

Goldman then asked whether Taylor had kept notes “related to most of the conversations, if not all of them, that you recited in your opening statement?”

“All of them,” Taylor said.

Who is Daniel Goldman?

The man questioning Taylor is Daniel Goldman, the Democrats’ lead impeachment hearing lawyer and the point man for grilling witnesses about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine. Goldman will have up to 45 minutes to question the witnesses. He cut his teeth prosecuting mobsters and also was an assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan. Goldman was previously an analyst for MSNBC. The GOP has tapped Stephen Castor, general counsel for the House Oversight Committee, to be its lead. 

Daniel Goldman (L) questions Bill Taylor during an impeachment hearing on Nov. 13, 2019.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

New impeachment depositions announced for this week

Midway through the hearing, Democrats added two more impeachment depositions to their docket.

Per two officials working on the impeachment inquiry:

David Holmes is expected to testify in closed session on Friday, Nov. 15. 

Mark Sandy is expected to testify in a closed session on Saturday, Nov. 16.

As the counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Holmes works directly with Taylor. Taylor testified earlier in Wednesday's hearing that an unnamed staffer overheard Trump on a phone call asking Sondland about the "investigations."

Sandy is an OMB official.

About that phone call...

Did the whistleblower's attorney call for a 'coup' in 2017?

Earlier this morning, Trump retweeted a White House video condemning the impeachment hearings, claiming that an attorney for the still anonymous whistleblower had advocated for a "coup" to overthrow the president in 2017.

That lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, in 2017 tweeted that he believed a “coup” was beginning when Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

There’s no evidence Zaid called for, encouraged, or incited any kind of action against the president. In a statement to Fox News, Zaid said “the coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.”

Read more about Zaid's background here

Trump’s video also included a call to action: read the transcript of the July 25 call with the president of Ukraine that in part inspired the whistleblower's complaint. There is no transcript — there is a White House memo detailing the contents of call. It is not a complete transcript, according to the White House's own description.