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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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.

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Live Blog

Mystery grows over Lebanon aid hold-up as impeachment looms

The Trump administration is withholding more than $100 million in U.S. military assistance to Lebanon that has been approved by Congress and is favored by his national security team, an assertion of executive control of foreign aid that is similar to the delay in support for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

The hold came up in impeachment testimony by David Hale, the No. 3 official in the State Department, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing released this week. He described growing consternation among diplomats as the administration would neither release the aid nor provide an explanation for the hold.

“People started asking: What's the problem?” Hale told the impeachment investigators.

As with the Ukraine assistance, the Office of Management and Budget has not explained the reason for the delay. However, unlike Ukraine, there is no suggestion that President Donald Trump is seeking “a favor” from Lebanon to release it, according to five officials familiar with the matter. The White House and OMB have declined to comment on the matter.

Read the full story.

Senate Dems demand Pompeo recuse himself over 'profound conflict of interest' in Trump-Ukraine matters

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are demanding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recuse himself from all Trump-Ukraine matters, saying in a letter that the secretary was on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and has "profound conflict of interest."

While Pompeo has acknowledged being on the call, in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland drew the secretary more deeply into the Trump-Ukraine effort than was previously known during his testimony on Wednesday. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee about emails to the secretary and a top aide in which the basic contours of the quid pro quo alleged by Democrats — which include allegations of placing a hold on military aid — seem clear.

Pompeo, meanwhile, has continued to "impede the House impeachment inquiry, including by refusing to produce any State Department records on the Trump-Ukraine scandal — including those that may shed further light on your own complicity," the 10 Democrats on the committee wrote Thursday. They added that Sondland testified the State Department refused to give him access to his own materials as he prepared for the hearing, which the department has disputed.

"The only legitimate option is for you to recuse and to delegate the department's response to the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a senior career department official," the senators wrote. "We urge you to do so immediately."

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.

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.

'Fiona Hill is Donald Trump's worst nightmare'

Hearings put the finishing touches on Dems' impeachment story

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.

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

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.