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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

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

1102d ago / 4:50 PM UTC

Yovanovitch's lawyers rate Trump's embassy portrait claim Pinocchio worthy

Lawyers for former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch say President Donald Trump’s claim that she refused to hang his picture in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine is false.

“The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.,” a person connected to her legal team said,

Trump told "Fox & Friends" on Friday morning that he was angry with the former ambassador because “she wouldn’t hang my picture in the [U.S.] embassy [in Ukraine].” The president also told the talk show that Republican lawmakers had told him to be "kind to her" because "she's a woman."

The Washington Post reported in 2017 that pictures of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence still were not being displayed on thousands of federal buildings nearly eight months into Trump's term because the Government Publishing Office had yet to receive the images from the White House. The White House, in turn, said Trump and Pence hadn't decided when to sit for the portraits.

While Yovanovitch was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, Trump tweeted negative claims about her, prompting Democrats to accuse him of witness intimidation.

1102d ago / 3:06 PM UTC
1102d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

Trump hits back against impeachment hearings, defends Giuliani's Ukraine dealings

Less than 24 hours after the House wrapped up a marathon round of public impeachment hearings, President Donald Trump on Friday hit back hard, denying all wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine, insulting witnesses and key Democrats involved in the inquiry and defending putting Rudy Giuliani in charge of a parallel policy process in Ukraine.

Over two weeks of public hearings, multiple witnesses have told the House Intelligence Committee that Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, ran a shadow policy team with the goal of pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into Burisma — the Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden joined as a board member in 2014 — and debunked conspiracies that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump, however, defended his decision to put Giuliani, a private citizen, in the middle of Ukraine policy Friday, citing his experience, decades ago, in fighting corruption as a U.S. attorney and as the mayor of New York City.

He also rebutted the accounts of several key impeachment inquiry witnesses who testified publicly over the last two weeks — including Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine and Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine.

Read the full story.

1102d ago / 3:02 PM UTC

'Fiona Hill is Donald Trump's worst nightmare'

1102d ago / 2:57 PM UTC

Hearings put the finishing touches on Dems' impeachment story

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After all the public hearings, all the transcripts and all the political back-and-forth, what’s so revealing is to look back at the evidence that existed at the very start of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine.

Looking again at those headlines, remarks, tweets and text messages, the story has always been in plain sight. They tell a simple story — one that might have gotten obscured after the last two weeks of public testimony.

Get First Read's take.

1102d ago / 2:52 PM UTC

Hill and Holmes: Everyone knew Burisma investigation was about the Bidens

1102d ago / 2:50 PM UTC

ANALYSIS: Officials handed the House a pile of evidence for impeachment

President Donald Trump presented little in the way of defense in the opening phase of his impeachment proceedings.

He refused to give Congress documents. He ordered subordinates to defy subpoenas. And he issued blanket proclamations of his innocence, over Twitter and in exchanges with reporters, without testifying under oath on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, as Democrats moved one step closer to a House floor vote on impeachment that they expect to hold before Christmas, a string of current and former administration officials collectively described for the House Intelligence Committee over the last two weeks how the president directed a concerted effort to aid his own re-election efforts at the expense of U.S. national security interests.

Read the full analysis.

1102d ago / 2:47 PM UTC
1102d ago / 2:43 PM UTC

Battle to uncover Trump's financial secrets heats up

Lawyers for a House committee and Manhattan prosecutors urged the Supreme Court on Thursday not to block a pair of subpoenas directing President Donald Trump's accounting firm to turn over several years' worth of financial documents.

They're likely to produce the first response by the Supreme Court to the growing number of legal battles over access to Trump's financial secrets.

The Democratic majority on the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena in April, ordering the accounting firm Mazars to turn over Trump-related financial documents covering 2011 through 2018. The committee said it acted after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified that "Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes."

Read the full story.

1104d ago / 9:13 PM UTC

1106d ago / 11:55 AM UTC
1106d ago / 11:56 PM UTC

Johnson recounts Ukraine conversation with Trump, omits '2016' mention

Sen. Ron Johnson on Monday sent a letter to Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee recounting a discussion he had with Trump about a hold on financial aid to Ukraine — but omitted that Trump had tied the issue to the 2016 campaign in their talk. 

Johnson sent the 10-page letter to Reps. Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan after they asked him to share "any firsthand information you have about President Trump's actions toward Ukraine between April and September 2019."

Johnson said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month that E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland had told him in August that almost $400 million in aid to Ukraine had been frozen because the Trump administration was trying to get a new prosecutor appointed in Ukraine. That prosecutor would move to "get to the bottom of what happened in 2016— if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending," he quoted Sondland as saying.

Johnson told the paper the suggestion made him "wince" because "I don't want to see those two things combined."

Johnson also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month that he'd discussed the 2016 election with the president.    

 "He was very consistent on why he was considering it. It was corruption overall generalized, but yeah, no doubt about it, what happened in 2016, what happened in 2016, what was the truth about that, and then the fact that our NATO partners don’t step up to the plate,” Johnson told the paper in an interview posted on the paper's website.

In his letter to Nunes and Jordan, however, Johnson said his memory of that conversation is fuzzy. 

"I did not memorialize the conversation in any way, and my memory of exactly what Sondland told me is far from perfect. I was hoping that his testimony before the House would help jog my memory, but he seems to have an even fuzzier recollection of that call than I do," Johnson wrote.

He said he spoke to former national security adviser John Bolton after talking to Sondland, and Bolton suggested he call Trump and Mike Pence. 

"I requested calls with both, but was not able to schedule a call with Vice President Pence. President Trump called me that same day," Johnson wrote. 

"The president was not prepared to lift the hold, and he was consistent in the reasons he cited. He reminded me how thoroughly corrupt Ukraine was and again conveyed his frustration that Europe doesn’t do its fair share of providing military aid," Johnson wrote.  

Johnson said he asked if "there was some kind of arrangement where Ukraine would take some action and the hold would be lifted. Without hesitation, President Trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed."

 

1106d ago / 11:10 PM UTC

Article II podcast: What are voters saying?

On the latest episode of Article II, host Steve Kornacki talks to Vaughn Hillyard, a political reporter for NBC News, about where voters stand on impeachment after the first week of public hearings.

The two discuss:

  • Who’s watching the public hearings? What television viewership tell us about partisanship around impeachment
  • What Vaughn’s conversations with voters in Michigan and Georgia reveal about who is following the impeachment developments and how the news is shaping political opinion
  • What new polling reveals about the level of engagement Americans have with this inquiry

 Listen to the full episode here.

1106d ago / 10:46 PM UTC

How to watch week 2 of the impeachment hearings: Schedule, witnesses and more

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The first public presidential impeachment hearings in over 20 years continue on Tuesday with lawmakers' busiest day yet, as they're set to hear testimony from four witnesses — three of whom were listening in on the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Two of the three, National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, thought the call was troubling. The third, former NSC staffer Tim Morrison, said at his closed-door deposition that he didn't think there was anything illegal about the call, but recommended it be secured for fear it would leak.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee had asked that Morrison and the fourth of the day's witnesses, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, be called to testify publicly. Both have defended the president — but both have also provided information corroborating Democrats' assertions that Trump was withholding aid in order to force its president to announce an investigation into Joe Biden's son Hunter.

Read more about how to watch.

1106d ago / 9:30 PM UTC

Embassy official who overheard Trump-Sondland call to testify Thursday

David Holmes, the official from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine who overheard Amb. Gordon Sondland’s call with President Trump, will testify publicly on Thursday alongside ex-White House Russia expert Fiona Hill, according to a Democratic official working on the impeachment inquiry.

1106d ago / 9:13 PM UTC

Pompeo says Yovanovitch was pursuing 'appropriate' policy in Ukraine

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday when asked about Trump's attacks on ex-Ukraine Amb. Yovanovitch that she was "driving towards the appropriate Ukraine policy."

“It is worth noting that the Ambassador Yovanovitch’s departure preceded the arrival of Bill Taylor," Pompeo said. "So there's some ideas out there that somehow this change was designed to enable some nefarious purpose, you all should all just look at the  simple fact that it was Bill Taylor that replaced Ambassador Yovanovitch, who, in each case has been driving towards the appropriate Ukraine policy, which I'm happy to talk about."

Pompeo added that he thinks Taylor has been an effective envoy, although he did not say whether he had confidence in him. "The State Department is doing a fantastic job," Pompeo said, addressing the question more broadly. "I think we've delivered in a way that the Obama administration has not delivered on Ukraine, I think the Ukrainian people, and if you listen to their leadership, I think they think the same.” 

While Yovanovitch was testifying Friday, Trump attacked her on Twitter, saying everywhere she went "turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian president spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him."

Asked on Monday if he agreed with the tweet, Pompeo deferred to the White House stating, “I don't have anything else to say about the Democrats' impeachment inquiry.”

Trump's attack on Yovanovitch prompted Democrats to accuse Trump of witness intimidation. Trump, meanwhile, has fumed for weeks that Pompeo is responsible for hiring State Department officials whose congressional testimony threatens to bring down his presidency, according to four current and former senior administration officials.

1106d ago / 8:00 PM UTC

Senate GOP support for Trump remains steady ahead of Week 2 of hearings

As the second week of the House's public impeachment hearings begins, Senate Republicans are not wavering on their support for Trump.

Even as a number of witnesses appear to corroborate that Trump was personally involved in pushing for Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and holding up military aid along the way, Senate Republicans still appear to be unwavering in their opposition to convicting the president if/when the case makes it to the upper chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated Monday in Kentucky that he expects to get the case, but that he does not expect the president to be removed from office. As we know, that would take 20 Senate Republicans to join every single Democrat to get the two-thirds majority needed to convict. That has never happened to a president in history, and looks unlikely this time around, particularly as the Senate trial will likely bleed into an election year. 

And while most of the impeachment inquiry story lives in the House, Republicans have asked Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., for information about his interactions with the Trump administration involving Ukraine and the military aid that was held up. They sent that request in a letter to Johnson on Friday, which he mentioned on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, and he’s working on a response (likely in writing.)

1106d ago / 7:38 PM UTC

House investigating whether Trump lied to Mueller, lawyer tells court

The House of Representatives’ top lawyer told a federal appeals court Monday that the House is investigating whether President Donald Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, and the attorney urged the judges to order the release of still-secret material from Mueller’s investigation.

Two of the three judges who heard arguments at the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — Judith Rogers, a Clinton appointee, and Thomas Griffith, an appointee of George W. Bush — seemed prepared to order at least some of the material sought by the House to be turned over.

House General Counsel Douglas Letter told the judges that the need for the still-secret material redacted from the Mueller report is “immense” because it will help House members answer the question, “Did the president lie? Was the president not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?" in his written responses to the probe.

Read the full story here.

1106d ago / 7:17 PM UTC

Pelosi gives impeachment update

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., updated colleagues about the status of the impeachment inquiry in a letter on Monday.

In the letter, she says that the, "facts are uncontested: that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests."

Read the full letter below:

Dear Democratic Colleague,

As we enter this pre-Thanksgiving week, we must extend the Continuing Resolution to keep government open and advance our legislative agenda to meet the needs of the American people. 

Thank you to the many Members who participated in our Speaker’s Meeting on Jobs. The presentation of the challenges facing America’s working families and the solutions presented by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman DeFazio and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Pallone helped advance our infrastructure legislation. The discussion on USMCA was constructive and will continue this week.

At the same time we legislate, we continue to investigate and litigate, as the impeachment inquiry proceeds.

Last week, the country was impressed by the valor and patriotism of the dedicated public servants and career diplomats, appointed by the President, in speaking truth to power. This week, we will hear from additional witnesses who will courageously expose the truth and defend our democracy.

The facts are uncontested: that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests.

The weak response to these hearings has been, “Let the election decide.” That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.

There are also some who say that no serious wrongdoing was committed, because the military assistance to Ukraine was eventually released. The fact is, the aid was only released after the whistleblower exposed the truth of the President’s extortion and bribery, and the House launched a formal investigation.

None of us comes to Congress to impeach a President, but rather to make progress for America’s working families. However, our first order of business is our oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. As such, we are custodians of the Constitution and, For The People, defenders of our democracy.

Thank you for your patriotic leadership.

1106d ago / 7:03 PM UTC
1106d ago / 7:01 PM UTC

Trump tweeted as Marie Yovanovitch testified: Was it witness tampering?

Former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was testifying Friday in the House impeachment inquiry when suddenly President Donald Trump weighed in.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump tweeted. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” The president also asserted his “absolute right” to recall ambassadors, as he had done with Yovanovitch, whose most recent post was in Ukraine, a country at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Why it could be prosecuted as witness tampering

Federal criminal law contains a broad prohibition against illegitimately affecting the presentation of evidence in hearings. For example, it is unlawful to knowingly use intimidation or corrupt persuasion with intent to influence the testimony of any person in an official proceeding. An “official proceeding” includes hearings before Congress. Witness harassment also includes conduct intended to “badger, disturb or pester” and attempts to intimidate, even if the witness isn’t actually influenced, and even if the witness never actually received the threat.

Read the full analysis.

1106d ago / 6:41 PM UTC

McConnell says House impeachment timing could push Senate trial to 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested Monday that the House impeachment inquiry could last until the end of the year, which would push the start of the Senate process up against the Democratic presidential primary season.

“Well, all I can tell you at this particular point is it looks to me like the House is gonna be on this until Christmas,” McConnell told reporters at an event in downtown Louisville. He added, “Then it comes over to the Senate, it displaces all other business, the chief justice of the United States is in the chair, senators are not allowed to speak, they have to sit there and listen, and I’m not sure how long it will go on."

If the House were to wrap up the impeachment inquiry on the timeline McConnell predicted, then the earliest the Senate would begin their trial would be in January, just weeks before the first votes are cast in the 2020 Democratic primary. McConnell said that he was confident that the Republican-controlled Senate would not vote to impeach President Donald Trump, and suggested that view might influence how long members would want to continue with the trial.

Read the story.

1106d ago / 6:35 PM UTC
1106d ago / 4:54 PM UTC

Schumer calls on DoD to protect whistleblowers, hand over Ukraine documents

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday requested that the Department of Defense notify its personnel of their rights to make protected disclosures to Congress and halt any efforts to prevent officials from cooperating with impeachment investigators.

The request, in a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, comes ahead of public testimony Tuesday from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top White House expert on Ukraine, and Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense.

Vindman and Cooper "have been vilified and attacked by individuals in the media and elsewhere," Schumer wrote. "Some have even gone so far as to call LTC Vindman, a recipient of the Purple Heart after being wounded while serving in Iraq, a spy and question his loyalty to the United States."

Schumer added that he feared "these attacks will only increase after their participation in these public hearings."

Schumer asked Esper to brief him the actions being taken to ensure that Vindman, Cooper and others are protected from workplace reprisals and for their personal safety. The minority leader also asked the department to "immediately cease any efforts to prevent officials from cooperating with Congress" and to hand over documents related to U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

Read the letter.

1106d ago / 4:22 PM UTC

House staffers on a summer trip to Ukraine learned U.S. aid was frozen. Stunned, here's what they did next.

Two days after a whistleblower secretly filed a complaint about President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine in August, two top congressional staffers arrived in Kyiv on a routine business trip that ended up setting off alarm bells on Capitol Hill.

The aides work for the Democratic leadership of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for federal spending. They had been dispatched to make an on-the-ground assessment of the cash Congress has been pumping into former Soviet states — including Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine — to aid their defenses against Russian aggression.

But after traveling from Chisinau, Moldova, for two days of meetings and Ukrainian special-forces training observation in Kyiv and Berdychiv starting on Aug. 14, the staffers were shocked to learn from U.S. embassy officials that there was no new money coming into Ukraine, a congressional aide familiar with their trip told NBC News.

Read the full story here.

1106d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

Secretary of state takes heat from Trump

1106d ago / 4:01 PM UTC

Catch up on Article II: Tom Brokaw remembers Watergate

In a bonus Saturday episode of "Article II: Inside Impeachment," NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw discusses his time covering the fall of President Richard Nixon and the parallels he sees to today. 

Listen to that episode here.

And, in case you missed Friday's podcast, we heard from national political reporter Josh Lederman, who discussed a long day of public testimony from ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and the case each party is making to voters at this stage in the inquiry.

Listen to that episode here.

1106d ago / 2:58 PM UTC

Trump says he will 'strongly consider' testifying in House impeachment probe

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is "strongly" considering testifying before the impeachment probe in light of recent comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who said he is more than welcome to present his case personally before the House Intelligence Committee.

"Our Crazy, Do Nothing (where’s USMCA, infrastructure, lower drug pricing & much more?) Speaker of the House, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, who is petrified by her Radical Left knowing she will soon be gone (they & Fake News Media are her BOSS), suggested on Sunday’s DEFACE THE NATION that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt," Trump tweeted. "She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!"

Speaking with CBS's "Face the Nation" in an interview that aired Sunday, Pelosi said Trump can "come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants, if he wants to take the oath of office, or he could do it in writing."

Read the story.

1106d ago / 2:52 PM UTC

Impeachment hearings round up: What have we learned so far?

1106d ago / 2:36 PM UTC

Trump's impeachment ire turns on Pompeo amid diplomats' starring roles

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The impeachment inquiry has created the first rift between President Donald Trump and the Cabinet member who has been his closest ally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to four current and former senior administration officials.

Trump has fumed for weeks that Pompeo is responsible for hiring State Department officials whose congressional testimony threatens to bring down his presidency, the officials said. The president confronted Pompeo about the officials — and what he believed was a lackluster effort by the secretary of state to block their testimony — during lunch at the White House on Oct. 29, those familiar with the matter said.

Inside the White House, the view was that Trump “just felt like, ‘rein your people in,’” a senior administration official said. Trump particularly blames Pompeo for tapping Bill Taylor in June to be the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, the current and former senior administration officials said.

Taylor has provided the House Intelligence Committee with some of the most damaging details on the White House’s effort to pressure Ukraine into investigating one of the president’s potential rivals in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.

Read the full story here.

1106d ago / 2:15 PM UTC
1106d ago / 2:10 PM UTC

This week in the impeachment inquiry

The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled eight more witnesses over three days for public testimony this week. In addition to the hearings, lawmakers could release additional testimony transcripts and provide more clarity this week about the impeachment timeline.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters on Friday that he was “not prepared to say” whether ex-White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill’s public hearing, scheduled for Thursday, would be the last such session in the impeachment inquiry.

After Hill’s hearing, members are scheduled to leave for Thanksgiving recess. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS in an interview that aired Sunday that being in recess "doesn't mean depositions couldn't be taken during that time. And then, when we come back [the week of Dec. 2], by then maybe a decision or maybe they have more hearings. And then I have six committees who have been working on all of this, and those six chairmen have been very involved in ... how we will proceed.”

Here's the schedule of public hearings this week:

Tuesday, Nov. 19

9 a.m.: Jennifer Williams, Russia and Europe adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.

2:30 p.m.: Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and ex-White House Russia and Europe adviser Tim Morrison

Wednesday, Nov. 20

9 a.m.: Amb. to the European Union Gordon Sondland

2:30 p.m.: Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Defense Department, and David Hale, undersecretary for policy at the State Department.

Thursday, Nov. 21

9 a.m.: Fiona Hill, former top National Security Council adviser on Russia.

1107d ago / 4:00 PM UTC

This weekend's impeachment developments

In case you missed it, here's a recap of the impeachment developments from the weekend:

Trump on Sunday blasted an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who told House impeachment investigators earlier this month that Trump's asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to probe the Bidens and Democrats in a July 25 call was "unusual and inappropriate." "Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic] from Ukraine," Trump tweeted. "Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that Trump's conduct is "so much worse" than that of former President Richard Nixon, adding that Trump is insecure about being an "imposter." "I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower," Pelosi said of the CIA employee whose complaint about Trump's conduct toward Ukraine led to the impeachment inquiry. "The president can come before the committee and speak all the truth that he wants. ... He has every opportunity to make his case."

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that "of course" trading foreign aid for politics favors is "alarming." "As I've said from the beginning, I think this is not okay," Turner, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said. 

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the administration officials who provided the whistleblower with information on Trump's conduct toward Ukraine "exposed things that didn't need to be exposed." 

House impeachment investigators on Saturday released the transcripts from joint depositions of former NSC official Timothy Morrison and Williams, Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, both of whom are expected to testify publicly this week. 

1107d ago / 3:45 PM UTC

1107d ago / 3:25 PM UTC

Read analysis and updates from Yovanovitch's testimony

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified publicly Friday about the circumstances of her abrupt ouster from her post as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The following are some of the highlights from what was a busy day.

1107d ago / 3:00 PM UTC
1107d ago / 2:37 PM UTC

Swalwell reacts to Mark Sandy deposition

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., spoke briefly to reporters after leaving the closed-door deposition with OMB official Mark Sandy on Saturday. He said Sandy's testimony broadly “relates to the hold that the administration placed on security assistance in Ukraine.” 

He added “this investigation is most importantly about the $391 million in taxpayer dollars that was leveraged to ask the Ukrainians to investigate the president's political opponent. This is money that was authorized by Congress, signed into law by the president, in 2018, and every day that went by where that money was not given to Ukrainians, the Ukrainians were dying. They needed this money and the president selfishly used it for his own political interests while life and death was on the line on the eastern front of a hot war with Russia in Ukraine.” 

1109d ago / 10:59 PM UTC

5 things we learned from Yovanovitch's public testimony

Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is one of several figures at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, spent more than six hours testifying before the House Intelligence Committee Friday.

The hearing didn't reveal much beyond what was learned from her closed-door deposition last month, but it did provide the American public the chance to hear the unconstrained, and at times emotional, account of a top diplomat who House Democrats hope can be one of the faces of their inquiry.

Here are five things we learned from her public appearance. And in case you missed her day on Capitol Hill, catch up on key moments here.

1109d ago / 3:31 PM UTC

Fact check: Did Democrats seek out nude photos of Trump?

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, claimed in his opening remarks that Democrats sought embarrassing photos of the president, reiterating a claim he made during Wednesday's public hearing.

This is misleading. The Atlantic reported last year that now-House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was prank-called in April 2017 by Russian entertainers claiming to being a leading Ukrainian politician. One of the callers suggested he had evidence that the Russians had compromising material on the president in the form of nude photos. Schiff, then the ranking member on the Intel committee, asked for a few details, and says the FBI would be willing to review a recording the caller claimed to have, according to the magazine.

A Schiff spokesman told The Atlantic they did not trust the callers: “Before agreeing to take the call, and immediately following it, the committee informed appropriate law-enforcement and security personnel of the conversation, and of our belief that it was probably bogus.”

Schiff may sound gullible, but there's no evidence Schiff was on the hunt for nude photos of the president. And alerting and invoking law enforcement hardly suggests he was seeking nude photos for political use.

These prank callers have gotten other lawmakers, too: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was fooled in August.

1110d ago / 10:29 PM UTC

Trump let GOP Senators read first Zelenskiy call during White House lunch Thursday

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said Thursday that Trump let a group of just over half a dozen Republican senators read the transcript of his first call with Zelenskiy during a lunch at the White House today during a conversation that discussed everything from foreign policy, trade, as well as who could be called as a witness during a Senate impeachment trial.

"He didn't take out copies, it was sort of into the conversation a little bit when he said yeah, I've got the other transcript that we’ll release at the appropriate time, or something like that, in fact, it’s right here if anybody wanted to read it, and then we just kept talking," Cramer said.

Cramer said the conversation veered to the economy, Turkish President Erdogan’s visit on Wednesday, trade and the USMCA, as well as "impeachment stuff." Then, Republican senators passed the transcript around.

"He didn't make copies, we had one copy, a couple guys read it and handed it back to him then he said, 'here you guys want to see it too?' And he throws it over to me and Montana Sen. Steve Daines and I read it together," Cramer said.

"It's very short," Cramer said, "I would say there's one meaty page. You know the first page is kind of loose, if you will, like, you know, Mister President, congratulations on the victory, thank you, just sort of niceties, and then, you know, and just, you guys, there was nothing— it was pretty benign I should just say, it's pretty benign."

"I mean, Zelenskiy invited him to the inauguration and he said, well, let me check on that and see if I can make it, it was just that kind of niceties," Cramer said.

Trump did not say he when he was going to release it publicly, Cramer said.

1110d ago / 9:21 PM UTC
1110d ago / 6:35 PM UTC

'Evidence of bribery': Pelosi comments on impeachment hearing

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that the testimony presented by two career U.S. diplomats at the first House impeachment hearing a day earlier had presented evidence of bribery committed by President Donald Trump.

"The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into a political rival," Pelosi told reporters.

Pelosi’s comments come amid a Democratic shift in the language used to describe Trump's actions with regard to Ukraine that lie at the heart of the current impeachment inquiry. Lawmakers had called the president's moves a "quid pro quo," but have recently appeared to shift to a focus on more widely used terms that Democrats believe may resonate more deeply with voters.

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1110d ago / 6:34 PM UTC
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1110d ago / 6:32 PM UTC

Timeline: The curious release of military aid to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Military aid promised by the U.S. to Ukraine — and the strange circumstances under which it was held up and eventually released — is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

For Republicans, the key fact is that Ukraine received the money, regardless of any request from Trump for an investigation of Joe Biden or the 2016 U.S. elections. For Democrats, withholding the aid for investigations is an abuse of power, regardless of what happened in the end.

Here's a look at key dates involving the nearly $400 million in military assistance that had been approved for release in the early months of 2019. 

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1110d ago / 5:00 PM UTC

Graham on the impeachment inquiry: 'Nothing happened here'

1110d ago / 4:32 PM UTC

ANALYSIS: Hearsay might be barred in court. A congressional hearing is entirely different.

One of the Republican themes during the impeachment hearing Wednesday was that the witnesses — top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and senior State Department official George Kent — were not credible because they were relaying, in some instances, second-, third- or even fourth-hand information.

In court, such testimony might be barred as “hearsay” — defined as an out-of-court statement that a party offers as evidence to prove the truth of the matter being asserted. Hearsay is generally inadmissible. But hearsay is a rule of evidence, applying only to court proceedings, and even then with so many exceptions that it's often admissible anyway.

First, hearsay is admissible in many government settings, including administrative proceedings, parole hearings, and preliminary hearings in a criminal case; a congressional hearing is not even a court, so it’s not governed by the rule of evidence that makes hearsay inadmissible.

Even within the context of court proceedings, the hearsay rule is riddled with exceptions, with well over 30 situations where a statement might resemble or be hearsay but is considered reliable enough to be allowed into evidence anyway.

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1110d ago / 4:14 PM UTC

Article II: Inside Impeachment — Public hearings kick off

On the latest episode, Article II looks at the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry. Host Steve Kornacki talks to Geoff Bennett, NBC News White House correspondent, about the testimony of top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and State Department senior official George Kent and delve into the Democrats' and Republicans' strategies.

Download the episode here.

1110d ago / 3:54 PM UTC
1110d ago / 3:53 PM UTC

White House looks both to be in the impeachment fray — and appear above it

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WASHINGTON — White House aides and advisers said they believed that the first day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday weren't enough to change the minds of the public — or that of any Republicans in the Senate — as President Donald Trump tried to portray himself as someone mostly, at least for the moment, above the fray.

One White House aide called the day a "nothing-burger.” Others close to the White House said they doubted the testimony would alter anyone's opinion — even as they acknowledged that acting Ukrainian Ambassador Bill Taylor came across as a credible witness.

“Not one Senate vote was changed today,” said one person close to the White House.

Trump largely stuck to his scheduled counter-programming schedule of White House events, as the first public impeachment hearings unfolded on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. In between morning and afternoon tweetstorms quoting his favorite defenders, the president claimed he was “too busy” to watch the proceedings, spending much of the day in meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, followed by a brief news conference.

Read the full story here.

1110d ago / 3:53 PM UTC