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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

Democrats question why DOJ inspector general isn't investigating Trump's attorneys general

As the Justice Department's internal watchdog prepares to release a long-awaited report examining the FBI's conduct in 2016 and 2017 in the Russia investigation, Democrats are expressing frustration over what they view as his failure to examine the conduct of Donald Trump's attorneys general over the past two years.

While inspectors general at other major cabinet agencies have conducted high profile investigations of Trump appointees, the Justice Department's Michael Horowitz — appointed by President Obama in 2012 and confirmed by the Senate — has not. Trump's three attorney general appointees — Jeff Sessions, Matthew Whitaker and William Barr — have each escaped serious scrutiny from an inspector general who investigated Eric Holder, Obama's first attorney general, and many of his top deputies. It's a record that puzzles his allies and infuriates critics.

"I don't have so much of a problem with Horowitz investigating some of the allegations surrounding the 2016 election, because that's his job," said Matthew Miller, a Democratic former DOJ spokesman and NBC News legal analyst. "But it is striking to me that with all of Barr's known misconduct, all of the instances of conversations between senior leadership and the White House, there doesn't seem to have been a single investigation into any that."

Barr disputes that he has engaged in misconduct. Congressional Democrats argue he has done the political bidding of the president and has improperly discussed sensitive cases with the White House, including the special counsel's Russia probe. They have also questioned the premise of the ongoing criminal investigation that Barr commissioned into its origins.

Read the full story.

Trump denies investigation link to Ukraine aid amid new timeline revelations

President Donald Trump continued to deny any connection between investigations and security funding to Ukraine as new details emerged about when the aid was frozen and when Trump knew about the whistleblower complaint.

“The Ukrainian foreign minister stated, and I quote, Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigations. Never told him. I have never had a direct link between investigations and security assistance," Trump said at a rally Tuesday night. "OK, what that means, you know what it means, it means we did zero. We did nothing wrong.”

Documents released Tuesday by the House Budget Committee showed that the Office of Management and Budget made its first official move to withhold military aid to Ukraine the same day Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by phone. A separate report in the New York Times said that Trump had already been briefed on a whistleblower complaint about his handling of Ukraine aid at the time the funds were released in September.

White House budget office formally held Ukraine aid on same day as Trump-Zelenskiy call

The White House Office of Management and Budget made its first official move to withhold military aid to Ukraine on July 25, the same day President Donald Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by phone, according to a summary of OMB documents produced by the House Budget Committee.

The OMB documents also show that while a career official signed that first letter to withhold the apportionment of the funds, subsequent letters to freeze the aid were signed by a political appointee, Michael Duffey, the office's associated director for national security programs. Duffey has refused to testify before House impeachment investigators despite being served with a subpoena on Oct. 25.

The Budget Committee's summary of the documents says the review of the materials made the lawmakers "more concerned that the apportionment process has been abused to undermine Congress’s constitutional power of the purse," specifically citing the timeline of the withholding of aid and the "seemingly unprecedented step" of having a political appointee handle the apportionments of funding.

Read the full story.

Two OMB staffers quit after expressing frustration about frozen Ukraine aid, top official says

Mark Sandy, a career staffer in the White House Office of Management and Budget, told impeachment investigators that two budget staffers left the agency after expressing frustrations about the unexplained hold on Ukrainian aid, according to new closed-door transcripts released Tuesday.

Sandy said that one staffer, who worked in OMB’s legal office and whose name was undisclosed, told him they were leaving the agency, at least in part, because of their concerns regarding the hold on Ukraine security assistance.

Sandy, who is the deputy associate director for national security Programs at OMB, testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee, one of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry, on Nov. 16. He is the first OMB staffer to testify in the inquiry.

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Trump: Pardoned Thanksgiving turkeys have 'already received subpoenas'

Trump, who pardoned two turkeys named “Bread” and “Butter” as part of the White House Thanksgiving tradition Tuesday, used the annual event to joke about the House impeachment inquiry.

"Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they've already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff's basement on Thursday," Trump said.

"It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey, but Bread and Butter — I should note that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met. It's very unusual," Trump continued.

Read the full story here.

Bolton's lawyer says McGahn ruling has no bearing on former Trump adviser's testimony

WASHINGTON — The court ruling compelling former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the House Judiciary Committee has no bearing on whether ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton is compelled to testify, Bolton's lawyer said on Tuesday.

Charles Cooper, who represents Bolton and former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, maintains that McGahn's case doesn't apply to his clients because Monday's court ruling does not answer whether presidential communications involving issues of national security are subject to "absolute testimonial immunity."

Read more here.

House Judiciary Committee announces its first impeachment hearing, invites Trump to attend

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday announced it will hold its first public impeachment hearing next week, and invited President Donald Trump and his lawyers "to participate."

"I am hopeful that you and your counsel will opt to participate in the Committee's hearing, consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature before us," Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a letter announcing the hearing.

Nadler said the hearing, which will focus on "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment," will take place on Dec. 4.

Nadler said the hearing comes as the inquiry enters "a new phase."

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