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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

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Live Blog

OPINION: Democrats' 'bribery' impeachment strategy is an unforced error with sobering consequences

You don’t have to be closely following the inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump to understand the case against the president. This past week, nine current or former administration officials testified before congressional investigators. All of them, to one degree or another, have told the same story.

In the words of former national security council official Fiona Hill, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, was “involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security, foreign policy.” That errand involved the strong-arming of a strategic U.S. partner and the likely leveraging of congressionally authorized assistance to tar one of the president’s domestic political rivals. As Sondland himself confessed during his testimony, he was explicitly directed by the president to compel the new Ukrainian president to create the appearance of a scandal around Joe Biden. “He had to announce the investigations,” Sondland said of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “He didn't actually have to do them, as I understood it.”

There is a lot we do not yet know about the events leading up to the release of the whistleblower complaint to Congress on Sept. 9, at which point the president began conspicuously denying the existence of a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine. We do not, for example, know why the president issued an explicit order to the Office of Management and Budget to waylay military aid, and we probably never will if chief of staff Mick Mulvaney manages to avoid a deposition. But that would not change the facts of the case as we know them, or the unavoidable conclusion that the president did exactly what he is alleged to have done, which was to abuse his executive power for personal gain.

But if Democrats have such an airtight case against the president, that is not evident in polling or the demeanor of even persuadable Republicans. In fact, after a week of damning testimony, the Democratic position appears to be deteriorating. For that, Democrats only have themselves to blame. 

Read the rest of the article here.

GOP senator: 'I don't know' if Ukraine or Russia hacked 2016 election

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on Sunday defended Trump by floating the same debunked 2016 conspiracy theory that the president asked Ukraine to investigate, a key component of the House impeachment inquiry.

Trump's former top Russia analyst Fiona Hill said during Thursday's impeachment hearings that the idea that Ukraine, and not Russia, was responsible for interfering in the 2016 election was "a fictional narrative being propagated by the Russian security services themselves." Trump first asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinskiy to look into the CrowdStrike conspiracy during their July call, a theory he repeated on Friday during an interview with "Fox and Friends."

"Fox News" host Chris Wallace asked Kennedy if he believed Russia or Ukraine was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee server and the Clinton campaign's emails.

"I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any of us," Kennedy said. "Ms. Hill is entitled to her opinion."

Wallace responded that the "entire" intelligence community points to Russia's culpability.

"Right, but it could also be Ukraine," Kennedy said. "I’m not saying that I know one way or the other."

Read the story.

Schiff says House will move forward with impeachment inquiry after 'overwhelming' evidence from hearings

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that the two weeks of public hearings produced “overwhelming evidence” that President Donald Trump conditioned official acts for favors from Ukraine that would benefit his re-election bid, arguing that it's "urgent" for the House to move forward with its impeachment inquiry.

In an interview on "Meet the Press," Schiff, the California Democrat overseeing the hearings, said that while his committee has no more public testimony scheduled, he doesn’t “foreclose the possibility of others” being added.

Still, Schiff said he felt confident that the five days of open hearings with 12 witnesses produced clear evidence against the president even without hearing from some central Trump administration officials. And he said that he didn't want to delay the House's progress with protracted legal battles aimed at compelling those officials, like former national security adviser John Bolton and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify.

Read the full story.

Catch up on Article II: Where things stand and what comes next

In a new episode of "Article II: Inside Impeachment," NBC News politics reporters Steve Kornacki and Jonathan Allen discuss where lawmakers stand after two weeks of public hearings.

The two discuss what House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s closing statement on Thursday reveals about the Democrats’ path forward on impeachment and the next steps of the inquiry. 

Listen to the episode here.

Giuliani associate willing to testify Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian official, lawyer says

An attorney for Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani says his client is willing to tell Congress that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., met with Ukraine's former top prosecutor about investigating the activities of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

If true, the allegation would mean that Nunes — the chief defender of President Trump as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee — was himself involved in the very plot the committee is investigating.

As vice president, Joe Biden joined a chorus of global pressure for Ukraine to fire then-state prosecutor Victor Shokin. Trump and Nunes say Joe Biden wanted Shokin out to protect his son when Hunter Biden's employer, Burisma, was under suspicion.

Joseph A. Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas, confirmed that his client was willing to testify that Nunes met with Shokin.

Read the full story

Rep. Dingell 'very disturbed by the undue influence' being put on Republicans

Rep. Debbie Dingell, R-Mich., said Friday that she was "very disturbed" by the pressure she said is being put on Republican lawmakers to toe the line during the House impeachment inquiry.

Asked on Fox News whether Democrats should move forward with impeachment without GOP backing, Dingell responded, "First of all, I don't know that there is no Republican support. I have talked to a number of people who are deeply disturbed, and they're being very cautious in their words. Their arms are being broken, and I'm very disturbed by the undue influence I'm seeing put on Republicans too."

Dingell said what she heard in testimony over the last two weeks "deeply disturbed" her and would accurately be described as bribery.

"It is very clear that the Ukrainian president was — the word 'bribe' does work with being told you are not going to get this aid that you need unless you agree to do this investigation, and you do it publicly," she said. "And we do have evidence that money was held up." 

The congresswoman added that the Intelligence Committee was already drafting its report, after which the Judiciary Committee will make its recommendations, and she would wait to see those before coming to any conclusions about impeachment.

Dingell also weighed in on the debunked conspiracy theory Trump and his allies have been chasing that it was really Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election — which former top Russia expert Fiona Hill called a "fictional narrative" that echoed Russian propaganda during her testimony on Thursday.

"One of the things we do know and one of the reasons why I have been fearful about impeachment, but I am getting madder and madder ... is that we do know, there were Republican Cabinet members that testified that Russia interfered in our last elections. Russia is trying to divide us as a country. That's documented in the Mueller report. Intelligence agency after intelligence agency around the world is saying that they're trying to destabilize democracy.

"We need a president that's going  to protect the United States of America, not help destabilize democracies around the world," she said.

Impeachment testimony highlights how Trump has recast the way U.S. deals with the world

It is not normal for the United States to have two diplomatic channels for dealing with a foreign ally at war, as the U.S. apparently did with Ukraine under Trump, as the acting ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, told the House impeachment inquiry this month.

The first was the official one run by Taylor, aimed at supporting Ukraine in its war with Russian-backed separatists. The other was “irregular, informal” and unaccountable to Congress, with the goal of getting Ukraine’s new leader to do Trump “a favor” by investigating a political rival, as described by a number of witnesses — most explosively by the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, on Wednesday.

What is also not normal is the United States’ current standing in the world and the way other countries have engaged with it since Trump took office, but particularly since the revelations about his actions toward Ukraine prompted the impeachment inquiry against him.

Diplomatic and foreign policy experts tell NBC News that the president’s habit of deviating — sometimes wildly — from long-held alliances and diplomatic norms have substantially altered America’s relations with allies around the world, and made trusting U.S. intentions and policy positions increasingly difficult.

Read the full story.