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
- Trump is acquitted by the Senate on both articles of impeachment, with one GOP defector.
- Senate moves to impeachment trial endgame.
- Senators ask final questions before critical vote on witnesses.
- Senators probe prosecution, defense.
- The president's defense delivers closing arguments.
- Trump's legal team digs in.
- The president's defense begins.
- Democrats make case for obstruction.
- Trump impeached by the House on both articles of impeachment.
- Impeachment inquiry witnesses testify: Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and others.
Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry
Article II: Inside Impeachment - The 7-Minute Vote
The House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump Friday morning. The panel met for just seven minutes to cast their votes, after debating late into the evening on Thursday.
Garrett Haake, MSNBC Washington Correspondent, explains how this committee vote propels the two articles of impeachment to a vote before the entire House of Representatives next week.
Click here to listen to the episode
One House Democrat goes on record opposing Trump impeachment
House Democrats hailing from conservative swing districts are all lining up to vote in favor of two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump next week — except for one congressman from New Jersey.
An NBC News survey of more than 40 vulnerable House Democrats found only Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who represents the southern tip of the state, plans to vote against the articles of impeachment.
"My district is red — a good chunk of it — and they're definitely anti-impeachment. And then I have the part that is purple, and they are more pro-impeachment. So whatever you do," he told NBC News, "you're going to aggravate people."
The outspoken Van Drew — who was profiled recently by NBCNews.com focusing on his opposition to impeachment — was only one of two Democrats to vote against the House resolution in October that formalized the rules and procedure for the impeachment inquiry.
The other was Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who represents a rural district Trump won by 30 points in 2016. A spokesperson for Peterson told NBC News on Friday that he's undecided on how he'll vote on the articles on the House floor, likely on Wednesday.
For the full story click here
How the historic vote in the House Judiciary Committee played out
House Judiciary approves articles of impeachment against President TrumpDec. 13, 201905:39
What happens next? An impeachment trial road map
Well, it’s not entirely clear, as it pertains to specifics, but there is a road map in place, as NBC News' Pete Williams, Alex Moe and Frank Thorp have pointed out.
Full House vote
First, the full House must vote on the impeachment resolution. This is likely to occur Wednesday.
Next, the House will appoint members to serve as "managers," or prosecutors, for the Senate trial. Pelosi has sole discretion to appoint House managers, and, as Jon Allen reported on Thursday, House members have already started campaigning and jockeying for what will be a career-defining appointment.
The Constitution lays out only three requirements for a Senate impeachment: The chief justice presides over the Senate trial of a president (but not the trial of any other official); each senator must be sworn (similar to the way jurors take an oath), and a two-thirds vote is required to convict on any article of impeachment. Once the preliminaries are out of the way, the trial takes place under procedures similar to courtrooms. The House managers make an opening statement, followed by a statement from lawyers for the president. The Senate has yet to decide whether, if Trump is impeached, witnesses will be allowed to testify to the full Senate. There's no requirement for the president to appear, and he cannot be compelled to testify. Like jurors in a trial, senators sit and listen. The rules say if they have questions, they can submit them in writing to be asked by the chief justice.
After both sides make their closing arguments, the Senate begins deliberations, traditionally in closed session. The Senate then votes separately on each article of impeachment, which must take place in open session.
Can the president pardon himself if he's impeached?
No. The same constitutional provision that gives the president the power "to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States" adds this phrase: "except in cases of impeachment."
What happens if the Senate convicts Trump?
He would be immediately removed from office, triggering the 25th Amendment. Vice President Mike Pence would become president.
'Witch hunt,' 'sham,' 'hoax': Trump shreds impeachment process in first comments since vote
Trump, talking to reporters alongside his Paraguayan counterpart, shredded the impeachment process, calling it a "witch hunt," a "sham," and a "hoax."
"To be using this for a perfect phone call," he said, referring to the July 25 phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that was partly the basis for the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, is a "scam," he said.
He added that it was "a horrible thing to be using the tool of impeachment," which, Trump said, "is supposed to be used in an emergency."
Trump said Democrats were "trivializing impeachment."
"It's a very bad thing for our country," he added.
Trump accuses House Democrats of 'trivializing impeachment'Dec. 13, 201903:24
Trump predicted that the saga will eventually backfire on Democrats.
"Someday there will be a Democrat president and a Republican House, and I suspect they’re going to, they’ll remember it," Trump said.
"The people are disgusted," he continued. "No one has ever seen anything like this."
Asked about whether he would prefer a brief Senate trial or one that is more drawn out, Trump responded, "I'll do long or short."
"I wouldn't mind a long process," he said. "I'd like to see the whistleblower."
Rules committee to mark up impeachment Tuesday; full House vote likely Wednesday
The House Rules Committee on Friday said it would hold a meeting Tuesday to consider a resolution impeaching Trump.
Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern, D-Mass., said his panel will mark up the resolution Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. This meeting will dictate rules like length of floor debate for the full House vote that would follow.
The mark-up meeting sets up a likely Wednesday vote by the full House on impeachment.
Katy Tur breaks down the latest developments in the impeachment inquiryDec. 13, 201902:13
Gohmert: This is 'a day that will live in infamy'
Echoing President Franklin Roosevelt, Gohmert said Thursday will be "a day that will live in infamy" in the Judiciary Committee, slamming Democrats over the articles of impeachment because he said they contain no allegation of a crime.
Roosevelt famously made that remark when discussing the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Gohmert on impeachment hearing: 'This is a day that will live in infamy'Dec. 12, 201902:01
House Judiciary Committee to debate and vote on articles of impeachment
The House Judiciary Committee will continue debating the articles of impeachment from Thursday 9 a.m. ET, ahead of an vote to approve them. That would then tee up a vote by the full House next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also holds her weekly press conference Thursday.
Reschenthaler says it's Schiff who has committed an abuse of power
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., called the impeachment effort by Democrats a “political hit job,” but said that it wasn’t Trump who committed an abuse of power.
Instead, he said it was committed by Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“If the Democrats really wants to charge somebody with abuse of power, they should look no further than Chairman Schiff,” he said. “The chairman used his subpoena power to subpoena individual phone records, then went through those records, singled out Devin Nunes, in an attempt to smear a ranking member. That's the abuse of power.”
Reschenthaler accuses Schiff of abuse of powerDec. 12, 201904:25
Reschenthaler said that he was previously a district court judge and said he would have thrown out the case being made by Democrats at the preliminary level.
Instead, he said, “If this were a court of law, Chairman Schiff would be facing sanctions or defending his law license.”
Raskin says he fears Trump's actions will be 'the new normal' if Congress doesn't hold him accountable
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said in his remarks that he was a constitutional law and election law professor for 29 years, “studying teaching and defending the constitution of the United States.” He said that he fears there will be consequences if Democrats don’t hold Trump accountable.
“I confess that I am afraid if we allow presidents to invite foreign governments to participate overtly or covertly in our elections, then this becomes in America, the new normal,” he said.
Raskin wondered whether any of his GOP colleagues could at least admit that what Trump is accused of doing is wrong.
“Even if our colleagues don't believe a shred of the overwhelming evidence that we've seen in this investigation, will one of them, will just one of them, say that it would be wrong for any president to commit the conduct this president is accused of? Will any of them say that the president of the United States should not drive foreign powers into our elections?"
Graham says Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in 2016 election
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday that it was Russia — not Ukraine — that interfered in the 2016 election by hacking Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails.
He made the comments during a lengthy opening statement during his committee's hearing Wednesday on the Justice Department inspector general's report on the Russia probe.
"We know the Russians are messing in our election and it was the Russians, ladies and gentlemen, who stole the Democratic National Committee's emails, [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta’s emails and screwed around with Hillary Clinton," Graham said. "It wasn't the Ukrainians, it was the Russians and they're coming after us again."
President Donald Trump, along with other Republicans, have promoted the idea that the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 election, despite the assessment of the intelligence community that only Russia was responsible.
During the House Intelligence Committee's public hearings in the impeachment inquiry, GOP lawmakers raised claims of Ukrainian meddling to help explain Trump's skepticism and actions toward the country — prompting former White House official Fiona Hill, one of the foremost U.S. experts on Russian President Vladimir Putin, to testify that this theory amounted to Russian propaganda.
#ForFactsSake: Sen. Kennedy is wrong about UkraineDec. 2, 201907:45
In his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump asked his counterpart to investigate the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine may have in its possession a DNC email server. That theory turns the focus away from Russia's culpability — which former special counsel Robert Mueller said was the case in his extensive report — and instead place some doubt as to whether Russia was the culprit.
"I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it," Trump said, according to a White House call summary. "I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it."
Multiple current and former Trump administration officials said that conspiracy has no basis in reality.
Trump's former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, said in October the theory is "not only a conspiracy, it is completely debunked." In testimony as part of the House's impeachment inquiry, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent said "there is no factual basis" to the theory. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that he was unaware of any credible evidence regarding that conspiracy.
Democratic Rep. Cicilline previews Wednesday evening markup
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., told reporters Wednesday morning that he expects Democratic members to hammer their argument for impeaching President Donald Trump home during the Judiciary Committee markup of the articles.
Cicilline pointed to Trump's "pattern of behavior," having "welcomed foreign interference in the 2016" and then "sought foreign interference in the 2020 election...to cheat and help him win."
"It's a crime in progress," Cicilline said.
"And so I say to my Republican colleagues, if you care about preserving our democracy we have to hold this president accountable," he added.
House Judiciary Committee to hold impeachment articles markup session Wednesday
The House Judiciary Committee will on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET hold a public markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Committee members will deliver opening statements later this evening and lawmakers will then discuss the articles, debate amendments and ultimately vote beginning at 9 a.m. ET Thursday morning.
Trump rails against 'impeachment lite'
At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, President Trump railed against the articles of impeachment, saying it was the lightest impeachment in the country’s history.
Trump: ‘This is impeachment lite’Dec. 11, 201901:52
Article II: Inside Impeachment - The Articles
The House Judiciary Committee officially charged President Donald Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors on Tuesday. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler announced two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
NBC News Political Reporter Jon Allen dissects the substance and strategy behind each charge.
Listen to the episode here
Trump knocks ‘very weak’ articles of impeachment
Trump knocks ‘very weak’ articles of impeachmentDec. 10, 201904:05
Schumer says GOP 'conspiracy conjuring needs to stop'
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, appeared in a policy lunch stakeout and said that the two articles of impeachment against President Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — demand that all senators “put country over party and examine the evidence uncovered by the House without prejudice, without partisanship.”
Schumer also criticized Republican lawmakers who have pushed the debunked theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
“The conspiracy conjuring needs to stop,” Schumer said.
He also said that for the Democrats in the Senate running for president that their presence for a potential impeachment trial “has to come first,” and that “scheduling concerns are secondary to doing this the right way.”
Pence says Trump is 'standing strong'
Vice President Pence stopped by a diner in Pennsylvania and was asked by a guest how the president was "holding up."
"He's just standing strong," Pence said. "Look at it today, they're going to announce we got a trade deal done, going to the floor of the Congress — USMCA. Before the end of the day here, we got a defense bill done with a pay raise for our troops."
"He's a believer, he's a believer," said Pence, who added: "He really is the real deal."
He also ordered a Reuben sandwich.
Grassley says Senate will do its duty 'with fairness and clear eyes'
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, said on Tuesday that the "Democrats’ desire to overturn the 2016 election by impeaching President Trump has been abundantly clear since before he took the oath of office. But try as they might, they’ve struggled to arrive at a charge that can stand up to scrutiny.”
“If the House decides to move forward, the Senate will do its constitutional duty with fairness and clear eyes, not blind partisanship,” Grassley's statement said.
McConnell talks timeline
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, opened up the GOP leadership presser saying that the Senate will not be able to process the USMCA this year, saying it will have to wait until after the impeachment trial.
Asked when the Senate might reconvene in the New Year, McConnell didn't answer directly. He joked that it would be shortly after the college football bowl games end.
The National Championship game is Jan. 13.
Bill Clinton says Americans should go about their lives
Former President Bill Clinton, no stranger to impeachment, said: "Congress is doing what they believe is right."
"The American people will see it is true and what should be done with it, and the rest of us should go about our lives. They should do their job and I'll do mine."
It's 'pretty clear the president wants a trial': White House spokesman
Speaking to reporters on the White House driveway, Hogan Gidley said it's "pretty clear the president wants a trial" in the Senate and that Trump would want it to take place "sooner rather than later."
He noted the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's teams are in "constant contact," but that he's not at liberty to disclose details of the conversations.
Asked if they’re concerned about Republicans turning against the president, Gidley said “not at this point.”
Read the full text of the articles of impeachment
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., on Tuesday announced the introduction of two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Read the full text of the articles here:
'Surreal': Michelle Obama on impeachment hearings
Michelle Obama: Impeachment hearings: ‘Surreal’Dec. 10, 201900:52
Mulvaney: 'Politics can and should influence foreign policy'
WASHINGTON — Acting White House chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump "should surprise nobody."
"That's what this was going to be from the very beginning anyway," he said at a Wall Street Journal event minutes after House Democrats publicly announced the two articles. "Keep in mind, I think it's 16 members of the House Democrat Judiciary panel had already voted in favor of impeachment before this process started."
He added that "politics can and should influence foreign policy, and hopefully always will."
When asked if he would testify in a Senate trial, Mulvaney said part of him "really wants to."
"We'll do whatever the president wants us to do is what it comes down to, so if the Senate decides to take live witnesses and the president directs us to do it, we will. If he directs us not to, we won't," he said.
He would not respond directly to questions about U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland's claim in November testimony that Mulvaney knew of alleged wrongdoing by the president.
"I'm not going to testify here today, but I will remind everybody of what Sondland said, which is that he very rarely talked to me and he couldn't get me on the phone," Mulvaney said.
White House calls it a 'sham impeachment'
From White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham:
"Today, in a baseless and partisan attempt to undermine a sitting President, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats announced the pre-determined outcome of their sham impeachment — something they have been seeking since before President Trump was inaugurated.
“House Democrats have long wanted to overturn the votes of 63 million Americans. They have determined that they must impeach President Trump because they cannot legitimately defeat him at the ballot box. The Democrats’ use of a phone call with the president of Ukraine – with a transcript the President himself released — served as their excuse for this partisan, gratuitous, and pathetic attempt to overthrow the Trump Administration and the results of the 2016 election.
“The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people, who expect their elected officials to work on their behalf to strengthen our Nation. The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong.
“Ultimately, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats will have to answer to their constituents for manufacturing an impeachment inquiry and forcing unfounded accusations down the throats of the American people. Today, and every day, the President will continue to work on behalf of this country and will not be deterred by the rank partisan political acts of the Democrat Party."
'Ridiculous': Trump reacts to articles of impeachment
Almost an hour after two articles of impeachment were announced, Trump first tweeted his common refrain: "WITCH HUNT!"
Then he followed up by calling the idea he pressured Ukraine "ridiculous."
Within minutes, he tweeted two more times, once with an attack on House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, and another in which he claimed the “us” he mentioned during the July phone call with Zelenskiy where he asked for a favor "is a reference to USA, not me!"
How a Senate trial will differ from the House impeachment inquiry
How a Senate trial will differ from the House impeachment inquiryDec. 10, 201901:16
Trump campaign hits Pelosi, calls announcement 'political theater'
From Trump's 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale:
“For months, Nancy Pelosi said she wouldn’t move forward on impeachment because it was too divisive and it needed bipartisan support. Well, it is divisive and only the Democrats are pushing it, but she’s doing it anyway. Americans don’t agree with this rank partisanship, but Democrats are putting on this political theater because they don’t have a viable candidate for 2020 and they know it.”
Schiff: ‘Actions of Trump gave Congress no alternative’
Schiff: ‘Actions of Trump gave Congress no alternative’Dec. 10, 201902:46
Nadler: 'No one is above the law'
Nadler unveils articles of impeachment: 'No one is above the law'Dec. 10, 201904:32
'A disgusting partisan low': Trump's 2020 campaign spokeswoman
'High crimes and misdemeanors'
Starting at 9:09 a.m. Chairman Nadler, describing them as "high crimes and misdemeanors," announced that the House Judiciary Committee will be introducing two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Read the full story here
The view from the White House
When asked how the White House plans to respond to today’s 9 a.m. press conference when House Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against President Trump, a senior administration official tells NBC News:
“White House officials will, of course, be monitoring the announcement scheduled for 9 a.m., and decide next steps. It’s safe to assume the president will give his own full-throated reaction at his rally tonight.”
The president has a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, tonight. He departs the White House at 5 p.m. ET — but keep in mind the weather looks bleak in Washington, so he may not depart from the South Lawn (and thus won’t have the opportunity to answer questions.)
The president is also meeting with the Russian foreign minister today before he departs, but that is closed to the press.
Trump is already up and tweeting: “To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country's history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness! #2020Election”
White House officials also tell NBC News they are largely focused on preparing for a likely Senate trial, where they are already planning more participation and representation.
A second official says the White House — like the rest of the world — still doesn’t know if House Democrats will include information related to the Mueller investigation. They will be watching closely for that.
This second official acknowledges the “irony” that House Democrats will introduce articles of impeachment on the same day they — potentially — plan to hand the president a huge legislative victory by announcing a deal on USMCA.
This official said they are “pretty optimistic” USMCA will be announced this afternoon but also acknowledge it is not finalized until it is finalized.
Sources here indicate they will let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi take the lead in announcing any deal on USMCA.
Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
Five people familiar with the discussions tell NBC News tonight that House Democrats have settled on bringing two articles of impeachment against President Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The intent to bring those two articles, they caution, is not final until an official announcement is made.
These sources spoke after Democratic members of House judiciary met this evening. Speaker Pelosi also met this evening with Rep. Engel, per Alex Moe's note moments ago.
Two sources familiar tell NBC News that judiciary Democrats will meet again tomorrow at 8 a.m. to continue discussions and will address the media at 9 a.m.
Read the full article here
Analysis: The GOP's bottom-line impeachment defense: Get over it
WASHINGTON — The impeachment of President Donald Trump boiled down to a reality test Monday as the Judiciary Committee moved a step closer to drafting articles formally charging the president.
Trump's fellow Republicans mounted a vigorous defense that held — all at once — he didn't do it, nothing he did was wrong and that they will impeach his rival for doing the same thing (even if it's not really the same thing) if the president eventually loses to that rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
"We already we got the forms — all we have to do is eliminate Donald Trump’s name and put Joe Biden’s name," Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said during a raucous and unusual Judiciary hearing in which lawyers for that panel and the House Intelligence Committee testified as witnesses.
Democrats argued Trump presents a clear threat to American democracy because he is directing an ongoing campaign to force a foreign nation to help him destroy his leading rival in the upcoming 2020 elections.
The risk is so imminent, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said, that Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani's recent trip to Ukraine is part of a "pattern of conduct" that "represents a continuing risk to the country."
And yet, in a stirring moment toward the end of the hearing, it was Republican staff lawyer Steve Castor — a man who held firm for nine-plus hours as the president's champion — who quietly acknowledged that, at best, Trump had been pursuing a "good faith" belief in what amounts to a Russian disinformation campaign to frame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 election.
Ultimately, most Republicans said they saw no evil and heard no evil — except when it came to Biden, who has been the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination since announcing his bid in April and who by dint of his status as a private citizen is not susceptible to impeachment.
For the full analysis click here
Articles of impeachment to be announced Tuesday morning
A senior Democratic aide confirms to NBC News that Democrats will announce articles of impeachment Tuesday morning.
House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel left a meeting earlier in Speaker Pelosi’s office and said there will be an announcement Tuesday morning on impeachment with the relevant committee chairs.
Asked if this announcement would be about articles of impeachment, Engel said, “Yeah, everything.”
Read the article here
In closing statements in Judiciary hearing, Nadler says 'facts are clear,' Collins laments 'impeachment scam'
After a more than 9-hour hearing, which included fiery exchanges between witnesses and members, bickering between both sides over procedure and bathroom breaks, Democrats and Republicans made their closing arguments in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Chairman Nadler argued that Trump violated his oath of office when he pressured Ukraine to announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and Democrats. Nadler, D-N.Y., argued Trump clearly put “his own interest before the country” and jeopardized national security and the integrity of American elections in the process by hinging a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in critical military aid on a vulnerable ally to open the investigations.
Nadler: Trump’s conduct is ‘clearly impeachable’Dec. 9, 201903:04
“The facts are clear, the danger to our democracy is clear and our duty is clear,” Nadler said. “President Trump violated his oath to the American people.”
Nadler also excoriated Republicans for their conduct during the hearing.
"I am struck by the fact that my Republican colleagues have offered no serious scrutiny of the evidence at hand,” he said. “They have talked about everything else, but they have offered not one substantive word in the president's defense."
Ranking member Collins summed up the Republican case against impeachment, shifting away from the president’s own conduct and arguing against the process and questioning their motives. He called it an “impeachment scam” and said that Democrats have eroded the institutional integrity of Congress by going forward with the inquiry.
“We have become a rubber stamp,” he said.
He claims that the Democrats hamstrung the process and is conducting a “smear job” against the president, which is a long-standing vendetta stemming from Democrats losing the 2016 election. Collins also said Democrats are using the "same playbook" from the Russia investigation.
"We're seeing the problems with the Russia investigation play out again in front of our eyes,” he said.
Castor falsely claims that administration has cooperated with oversight investigations
As part of an exchange with Berke, Castor was asked if it was true that he had previously said that the Trump administration has cooperated and facilitated oversight investigations by Congress.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The Trump administration has participated in oversight during the entire Congress until it got to the impeachment inquiry.”
Before the impeachment inquiry, however, the administration has blocked numerous information requests by Democrats in Congress and has ordered current and former officials to defy congressional subpoenas that requested testimony or certain records.
Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, for example, defied congressional subpoenas that related to the development of the citizenship question for the 2020 Census. Earlier, this year, the White House blocked Trump adviser Stephen Miller from testifying before a House committee on the administration’s immigration policies.
The administration has blocked the House from obtaining his tax returns and now the case involving the president’s financial records from his accounting firm, sought by several House committees, has reached the Supreme Court.
Republicans says Democrats ‘wrong’ to have witnesses ask questions
As Democratic counsel Barry Berke questioned Castor about whether Trump viewed Biden as his top political opponent in 2020, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, expressed exasperation that Democrats were allowing Berke to ask questions after he had delivered an opening statement earlier in the hearing.
“We’re going to ignore the rules and allow witnesses to ask the questions? Then how many other rules are you just gonna disregard?” Gohmert said.
Gohmert said it’s “not appropriate” for Berke to question Castor after Berke himself appeared as a witness.
“It’s just wrong,” Gohmert said. “There is no rule nor precedent for anybody to be a witness and then getting to come up and question” other witnesses.
Gohmert and other GOP lawmakers attempted to raise a point of order, suggesting that Democrats were violating House rules.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said, “It’s unprecedented for a person to come” and sit as a witness “and then return to question.”
Nadler, however, said that he had designated Berke to question the staff counsels of the House Intelligence Committee, which he said was in accordance with the rules of the House, specifically rule 660.
Kellyanne Conway elaborates on why Trump is skipping the impeachment hearings
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said Monday that the decision by him and the White House not to participate in the House impeachment hearings has nothing to do with cooperating with Congress.
NBC News’ Kristin Welker asked Conway if there’s any chance the White House will cooperate or if it plans to stick to its position of rejecting Democrats' invitation to get involved with the process.
“It's not about cooperation. It's about colluding with an illegitimate process,” Conway said at a White House stakeout with reporters.
A reporter then pointed out that the White House has been defending Trump on social media and asked Conway why officials won’t do that in the hearing room.
“Why would we legitimize this process that the American people can't even follow, aren’t digesting? The polls are going in the opposite way, [and] it’s forced the Democrats to [hold] focus groups [on] terms and phrases.”
Conway added, “Does anybody here think it's a bad idea to investigate Burisma? Really?”
Article II: Inside Impeachment — The Drafting Table
The House Judiciary Committee is drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The Constitution limits grounds of impeachment to treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Which ones will the Democrats choose to move forward with, and why?
Heidi Przybyla, NBC News Correspondent covering politics and government, explores the potential scope of the charges as Democrats prepare to bring them to the full House for a vote.
Impeachment Inquiry Report transmitted to Judiciary Committee
On Friday evening, the Chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs Committees transmitted the “Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” to the House Judiciary Committee.
In addition to the final report and its appendices — initially released publicly in draft form on Tuesday and now in final form with authorized technical and conforming changes — the transmittal includes the Minority’s Views (the same document that the Minority released publicly on Monday, which they submitted again last night) as well as additional records and materials relating to the inquiry.
These records include all transcripts of interviews, hearings, and depositions undertaken during the inquiry, as well as additional evidence cited in the report.
Top Judiciary Republican urges chairman to call Adam Schiff and Hunter Biden as witnesses
The ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee on Friday asked chairman Jerrold Nadler to call additional witnesses in the impeachment inquiry — and Rep. Adam Schiff is at the top of the list.
Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee that led the impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine, is "the author of the Intelligence Committee report and the chief prosecutor for the House," Rep. Doug Collins noted in his Friday letter to Nadler. "At a minimum, he should testify about his report, just as Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Independent Counsel Ken Starr testified to this Committee about their reports."
He also said Nadler should call the whistleblower who first alerted Congress to Trump's July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart because the "president should be afforded the opportunity to confront his accusers."
In closed door depositions, Republicans sought to learn the identity of the whistleblower from other witnesses, but Collins said that's not his goal. "This testimony can be conducted in a way that does not reveal the identity of the whistleblower," he maintained.
Collins also called for hearing from other witnesses who'd been demanded by the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes. They include Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee staffer who's said she reached out to officials in Ukraine to find out information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's ties to Russia.
Calling those witnesses would "provide context and transparency about the underlying facts at issue in this 'impeachment inquiry,'" he wrote in the letter.
There was no immediate response from Nadler, but Schiff turned down Nunes's request for many of the same witnesses last month, writing the impeachment inquiry “will not serve as vehicles for any Member to carry out the same sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
White House rejects House Judiciary's invitation to participate in impeachment hearings
The White House on Friday rejected an invitation to take part in impeachment hearings before the House Judiciary Committee.
In a brief letter to Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., White House counsel Pat Cipollone sharply attacked the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump as "completely baseless" and said House Democrats had "violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness."
Cipollone did not explicitly answer whether the White House would take part in the Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Monday, but a senior administration official told NBC News "the letter means that the White House will not participate in the House proceeding."
"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings," Cipollone wrote. "Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation's history. Whatever course you choose, as the President has recently stated: "if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business."
Former Ukrainian diplomat agrees to Senate interview on alleged 2016 election meddling
Andriy Telizhenko, the former Ukrainian diplomat who alleges Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election, tells NBC News he’s already been contacted by Senate staff regarding a request to be interviewed as part of the probe by Chairmen Graham, Johnson, and Grassley.
Telizhenko says he plans to “fully cooperate with the U.S. government on any investigations” but that no date for an interview has been set.
Telizhenko is one of the Ukrainians who is traveling with Rudy Giuliani this week as he conducted interviews first in Budapest and now in Kyiv about the Bidens, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and others. Telizhenko formerly worked for former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, but he was working at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in 2016 when he says that he was directed by his superiors to help former DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa dig up dirt about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Chalupa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The senators say they’re requesting transcribed staff interviews as well as documents from Chalupa and Telizhenko.
The push from Graham, Grassley, and Johnson come despite the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to vice chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., found that Russia and no other country meddled in a major way in 2016. And former White House official Fiona Hill, a world-renowned expert on Russian intelligence, testified that Americans who push the theory Ukraine meddled in 2016 are advancing a narrative being pushed directly by Russian spy services.
“It’s clear these rogue chairmen are veering into conspiracy territory when even Leader McConnell says he disagrees with their plan. These chairmen are laundering Russian propaganda to deflect from Donald Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine into manufacturing dirt on a political rival and exonerate Russia for its criminal interference in the 2016 election," Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the Senate Finance Committee's ranking member said in a statement. "Republicans are kicking dirt in the eyes of the American people.
It’s incredibly dangerous for my colleagues to ignore the warnings of our intelligence agencies and misuse taxpayer money to spread Russian propaganda and Rudy Giuliani’s bizarre conspiracy theories, " Wyden said. "The Senate should not be acting as an arm of the Russians or the president’s attorney.”
Sen. Mark Warner: 'There was no Ukrainian intervention' in 2016
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday denounced the debunked conspiracy theory promoted by Republicans that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
"I'm not gonna talk about any of my colleagues' specific comments. I am gonna be absolutely explicit. There was no Ukrainian intervention," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The disputed claim — that Kyiv interfered to hurt Trump’s campaign and boost Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's chances — has been advanced by President Donald Trump and some GOP lawmakers, most recently during the impeachment inquiry into the president allegedly pressuring Ukraine's president into investigate his political rivals.
Both Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. made the claim in interviews earlier this week. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., excoriated Republican lawmakers on Monday for "increasingly outlandish claims" about Ukrainian meddling.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, broke with Republicans this week and said he saw no evidence to support the allegation. Also, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Trump ally, said Tuesday that he also has not seen any concrete evidence pointing to a Ukrainian influence campaign.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the election in an effort to harm Clinton's campaign and benefit Trump's.
Happening Friday in the impeachment inquiry
The House Judiciary Committee set a deadline of 5 p.m. ET Friday for the White House to decide whether it will mount a defense in the House impeachment inquiry.
In his December 1 letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone refused to participate in the committee's first public hearing earlier this week, but left open the possibility of participating in future sessions if Democrats made certain concessions.
Looking ahead, the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold another hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Monday at 9 a.m. ET.
What Judiciary members are saying about articles of impeachment
NBC News spoke to several members of the House Judiciary Committee and many of them indicated they want to see aspects related to the Mueller report included in articles of impeachment in addition to the Ukraine controversy.
As a reminder, the Judiciary Committee is the panel most familiar with the Mueller report as they did a long investigation earlier this year about it and dealt with the White House blocking many of their requests. So it makes sense many of them would push to include the work they did in the articles.
The decision of what articles get drafted will ultimately be left up to Pelosi and the six committee chairs investigating Trump. Both House Intel Chair Adam Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not engage in speculating what the articles will look like, or whether they will be more narrow or broad.
Bottom line: we have to wait and see what articles get drafted and if they include just a narrow Ukraine scope or broader going back to the Mueller report.
Scalise defends Nunes, says Pelosi 'unraveling'
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Scalise said Pelosi was "unraveling, yelling at reporters" during her press conference earlier because the Democrats aren’t accomplishing anything.
"I think the biggest disappointment of all of this is what's not getting done. And I think that's really why you're starting to see, you know, today, Pelosi just unraveling yelling at reporters, because they know when they go back home to their districts, they can't talk about things they have accomplished for hardworking families, all they've spent the majority doing for the last 11 months is focused on harassing and impeaching the president," he said.
Asked about Nunes' phone conversations as documented in the Intelligence Committee's report, Scalise defended the California lawmaker and pivoted by attacking Schiff.
"I mean, you can ask Devin what those conversations were I don't know what they were, you know, but I mean, he's had conversations with a lot of people. Nobody suggested that there was wrongdoing discussed in the conversations. You know the real question is under what authority was being used to go and spy on members of Congress and on members of the press.”
Schiff: Pelosi announcement 'a significant milestone'
Schiff spoke briefly with reporters on Thursday about Pelosi’s announcement that the House would be moving forward with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.
He called her announcement “a significant milestone” and said “I support the Speaker’s decision” but would not go as far as to say he is personally supportive of impeaching the president.
Schiff said he will be “engaged in the process” but wouldn’t elaborate when asked if he would be involved in drafting the articles. He also wouldn’t get into if the Intelligence Committee has issued other subpoenas since their last impeachment inquiry hearing and said they are still “considering what next steps to take in our investigation” when asked if they might take contempt action against the 12 witnesses that didn’t comply.
Katy Tur breaks down the latest developments in the impeachmentDec. 5, 201901:19
Giuliani in Ukraine meeting with Shokin, Lutsenko
A source directly involved in Rudy Giuliani’s trip to Europe confirms to NBC News that Giuliani is currently in Kyiv conducting interviews as part of his investigation into the Bidens and his bid to undercut the credibility of the impeachment investigation.
Giuliani conducted interviews on Thursday and has more scheduled in Kyiv for Friday, the individual says. Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and former prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk are both on Giuliani’s list of interviews, the individual says.
Giuliani has thus far declined to confirm the trip to NBC.
His stop in Kyiv comes after an earlier stop this week in Budapest. NBC News reported previously that Giuliani had a private dinner Tuesday evening with the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, David Cornstein.
The reporter from One America News Network that is traveling with Giuliani, Chanel Rion, confirmed on Twitter that Giuliani was with her for her interview in Budapest this week with former Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko. She says that Lutsebko said that Marie Yovanovitch lied under oath in the impeachment hearings. Rion has not responded to a request for comment from NBC News.
Graham says he won't subpoena Schiff's phone records
Graham talked to reporters about Pelosi’s impeachment announcement, calling the process "a joke" and adding, "I don’t trust Nadler to find the truth."
Asked if he would subpoena House members' phone records, Graham says, "No I don’t have any desire to subpoena Adam Schiff’s phone records. We’re not going to do that."
"When House members and senators start subpoenaing each other as part of oversight, the whole system breaks down," he said.
GOP Rep. Jim Banks on Wednesday sent a letter to Graham requesting that the Senate Judiciary Chair issue a subpoena for Schiff's phone records.
OPINION: With Trump's impeachment, Republicans think nobody's done the reading. Let's prove them wrong.
Whether it's a case of projection, an assumption or just a deep-seated hope, Republicans in the impeachment hearings Wednesday revealed their expectation that no one's really done the reading when it comes to the case for President Donald Trump's impeachment. "You couldn’t have possibly actually digested the Adam Schiff report from yesterday or the Republican response [from Monday] in any real way," House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., told the assembled legal scholars set to testify before the committee.
One of those witnesses, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, begged to differ. “Here, Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts. So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor, I don’t care about those facts.”
Of course, Collins had plenty of reason to assume that the witnesses hadn't done the reading, as many of his Republican colleagues had already proudly pronounced themselves unfamiliar with the evidence assembled by the Intelligence Committee.
Conway: 'More likely' Trump would participate in Senate trial than House
Kellyanne Conway spoke to reporters in the White House briefing room for over half an hour, where she discussed the White House strategy for impeachment going forward and whether Trump officials would participate in the process.
Conway said it was "more likely" that Trump would participate in a potential Senate trial than in the House process.
"It’s more likely because that's a Senate trial, that's more familiar with our due process and more in keeping with and more compliant with our due process system where you get to introduce live witnesses, cross-examine, challenge other people," she said.
Asked whether witnesses such as Mulvaney or Pence would participate, Conway said, "We'll see but remember they don't bear burden to prove claims."
The administration has stonewalled attempts to get information from key witnesses such as Mulvaney and Pompeo.
'Don't mess with me': Pelosi rips reporter for asking if she hates Trump
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back forcefully Thursday when asked at a news conference about whether her impeachment push is motivated by hatred for President Donald Trump.
"I don't hate anybody," Pelosi said. "I don't hate — I was raised Catholic. We don't hate anybody, not anybody in the world." She added, "So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that."
The question came at the end of the news conference, in which Pelosi addressed her announcement Thursday morning that the Judiciary Committee would move forward with articles of impeachment against Trump. The reporter told the speaker he was following up on House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins' assertion that Democrats are moving to impeach Trump because they harbor a deep hatred for him.
"I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids, who are afraid of gun violence," Pelosi shot back. "I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our Dreamers, of which we're very proud. I think he's in denial about the climate crisis. However, that's about the election. ...This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that leads to the president's violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.
Trump responded shortly after, tweeting that Pelosi "just had a nervous fit" and was feigning her concern for him.
Read: Full text of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's impeachment inquiry update
In brief remarks, Pelosi announced the chamber was moving ahead with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Pelosi: Trump is 'dividing the country,' not the impeachment inquiryDec. 5, 201902:11
House Judiciary Committee announces Monday hearing on impeachment findings
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., announced Thursday that his committee will hold a hearing to receive presentations from counsels for the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels on their findings in the impeachment inquiry. The counsels for the Democrats and Republicans will appear for their committees.
The announcement comes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Judiciary Committee will move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The House Intelligence Democrats released their report summarizing its findings in the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday and voted to send it to the Judiciary panel. The Judiciary committee held a hearing Wednesday with legal scholars on the constitutional grounds for impeachment.
Trump: Dems 'seek to Impeach me over NOTHING'
'Abuse of power': GOP leadership reacts to Pelosi on articles of impeachment
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement that the Judiciary Committee would move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump is "the ultimate abuse of power."
"The Founders began the Constitution with 'We the People' for a reason," McDaniel said. "Pelosi wants to negate the votes of 63 million Americans, all while denying President Trump due process. It is the ultimate abuse of power, and all the more reason why Republicans must take back the House and re-elect President Trump in 2020."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a tweet that Pelosi had failed to meet her own standard for moving forward with articles of impeachment.
Pelosi announces full speed ahead with articles of impeachment against Trump
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday she is asking the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Pelosi said in a statement at the Capitol that the facts of Trump's alleged wrongdoing involving Ukraine "are uncontested."
"The president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the risk" of U.S. national security. She said his actions "seriously violated the Constitution" and gave Democrats "no choice but to act."
Pelosi began her statement citing deliberations between the Founding Fathers with regards to impeachment, and said there was never the intention in the U.S. for one person to be "a king."
Trump: 'If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast'
Thursday schedule: Pelosi to deliver impeachment inquiry
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to provide an update on the status of the impeachment inquiry process at 9 E.T. from the speaker's balcony hallway. The update comes a day after the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing into the probe into President Donald Trump.
Trump tweets that the favor was meant to be for the U.S.
President Trump took to Twitter late Wednesday to offer a take on what he meant by asking Ukraine's newly elected leader, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, for a "favor" on their July 25th phone call.
Are Democrats moving too fast on Trump impeachment inquiry?Dec. 5, 201901:18
Article II: Impeachment 101 — Wednesday, December 4th
Four constitutional law experts testified in the House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing in the inquiry on Wednesday, treating lawmakers and the public to a lesson on impeachment.
Guest Josh Lederman, national political reporter for NBC News, walks through how Democrats and Republicans used their witnesses to argue the constitutional case for and against impeaching President Donald Trump.
Democrats confident in impeachment evidence despite Trump blocksDec. 5, 201902:28
Schiff on who '-1' is: 'We don't know for sure'
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Tuesday that investigators have been stymied in attempts to uncover who the "-1" in the White House was on the other end of the phone with Rudy Giuliani.
"The short answer is we don't know for sure," Schiff told Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC. "We have been trying to get records from the White House, which has been unwilling not only to share them with us, but looks like unwilling to share them with witnesses like their own Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland."
Earlier in the day, the committee released a summary report of the evidence it has collected in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Over the course of a couple of days in August, Giuliani received several calls from a blocked White House number that showed up on his records as "-1."
"It is worth noting, however, that Rudy Giuliani has one client in the White House," Schiff said. "And, of course, that's the president."
House Intelligence Committee votes to send report on Trump and Ukraine to Judiciary
The House Intelligence Committee voted 13-9 in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday evening to send the report to the Judiciary.
Those proceedings will start on Wednesday with a hearing that explores the constitutional grounds for impeachment.
Article II Bonus: The Report - Tuesday, Dec. 3
There is a bonus episode of Article II today and it’s live. Here is a link:
Today on the podcast, Steve Kornacki tells you what you need to know about the House Intelligence Committee report on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
- “The President’s Misconduct” – what the report says about the President’s use of his public office for private personal gain
- “The President’s Obstruction of the House of Representatives’ Impeachment Inquiry” – what the report says about the White House efforts to ignore subpoenas and intimidate witnesses
- Republican response
- What happens next as the investigations heads to the House Judiciary Committee
Giuliani mystery phone calls, texts uncovered by Democrats' impeachment report
Who in the White House budget office called Rudy Giuliani on an August afternoon, and what did they have to talk about for 13 minutes?
House impeachment investigators were unable to answer either question in their report released Tuesday by Democrats on the Intelligence Committee. But the call — and more than a dozen others and texts between President Donald Trump's personal lawyer and White House numbers — showed up in AT&T and Verizon records obtained by the House.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., declined to say how the House obtained the phone records.
It's unclear what legitimate purpose the president's personal lawyer would have to speak at length with the White House Office of Management and Budget. But the revelation is likely to fuel arguments from House Democrats that Giuliani was intimately involved in a scheme to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to advance the Trump's personal political interests.
ANALYSIS: Democrats ready to explain why Trump should be impeached
Americans heard last month what President Donald Trump did in his dealings with Ukraine. Now, House Democratic officials say, it's time to nail the case for why his actions demand impeachment.
"Foreign cheating," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., explained in a telephone interview with NBC News Tuesday. "Everyone understands that."
Trump, House Democrats and the rest of the nation have a lot riding on whether the transition — from the facts established by the House Intelligence Committee's Ukraine scandal inquiry to the Judiciary Committee's consideration of their implications on Trump's fitness to serve as president — delivers for Congress the open-and-shut case that a plurality of Americans believe already is evident.
The fate of Trump's presidency, his reelection hopes, the makeup of the next Congress and the ability of the three branches of government to check and balance power under the Constitution all hang in the balance as the Judiciary Committee opens its first hearing Wednesday.
Schiff on the impeachment inquiry: 'This is about our democracy'Dec. 3, 201902:01
The 10 most important lines from the Democrats' impeachment report
The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee released its report Tuesday summarizing the evidence it has collected in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
The report cited two instances of improper conduct: obstruction of the House inquiry and withholding the aid from Ukraine on the condition of investigating a Trump political rival.
Democrats' impeachment report cites Trump obstruction and withholding aid, warns of 'grave harm'
WASHINGTON — The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee released a report Tuesday containing a summary of the evidence it has collected in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
The report cited two instances of improper conduct: obstruction of the House inquiry and withholding the aid from Ukraine on the condition of investigating a Trump political rival.
"No other President has flouted the Constitution and power of Congress to conduct oversight to this extent," the report said.
"If left unanswered, President Trump's ongoing effort to thwart Congress' impeachment power risks doing grave harm to the institution of Congress, the balance of power between our branches of government, and the Constitutional order that the President and every Member of Congress have sworn to protect and defend."
Read more about the report here.
House Intelligence Committee releases impeachment reportDec. 3, 201903:43
How the articles of impeachment could be laid out
As Democrats prepare to draft articles of impeachment, "you could wind up with 3 or 4 articles," according to two individuals involved in the Judiciary Committee process:
- One to two on abuse of power (The question is whether you have 1 overarching abuse of power article here or break out bribery and potentially extortion.) Abuse of power, specifically, is defined as pushing a foreign govt to interfere in 2020 (a betrayal of the country and his oath) in ways that involve bribery and/or extortion as well as abuse of appropriations power in order to benefit himself personally/politically.
- One on broader contempt/obstruction of Congress based on the administration stonewalling congressional oversight and ordering officials not to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas related to numerous investigations, including Ukraine. Note: Cipollone’s Oct. 8 letter to Pelosi calling the Ukraine probe “constitutionally invalid,” they believe, is a slam dunk.
- Finally, one related to the Mueller report and obstruction of justice. They’re even discussing whether threatening a witness while she testifies (Yovanovitch) should be cited as witness tampering.
There are serious strategic considerations being debated about what the ultimate floor vote looks like, mainly allowing members from more moderate districts to vote for some articles and against others. For instance, there’s a lot more agreement among members over voting for articles related to Ukraine than there is over Mueller.
The pushback to make the impeachment articles broader also continues as the more progressive members favor more articles that encompass more charges of wrongdoing beyond Ukraine, such as Mueller or alleged emoluments violations. Leadership has wanted more limited articles focusing on Ukraine, citing the need to make the case clear and easy to communicate (which we’ve previously reported). Yet numerous committees have been working for months on their own investigations of corruption and Nadler is expecting reports from them as well.
Graham: 'Stretch to suggest Ukraine meddled'
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., spoke to reporters on a variety of topics. Asked if he believes Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, Graham said, "I have no knowledge that the Ukraine did anything to interfere with our elections other than the press reports, and to suggest that we know that I think would be a stretch because I don't think anybody does."
He also said he hoped that "somebody is looking into it again."
Trump calls Schiff 'deranged,' says he would 'love' for Cabinet members to testify if inquiry were fair
Trump attacked House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff on the sidelines of the NATO meeting in London on Tuesday, calling the congressman "deranged" and a liar and adding that he would allow his Cabinet officials to testify in the impeachment proceedings if the process were fair.
"I don’t learn anything from Adam Schiff. I think he’s a maniac," Trump said when asked what he hoped to learn by seeking Schiff's testimony in the inquiry. "I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he’s a very sick man. And he lies. Adam Schiff made up my conversation with the president of Ukraine,” a reference to Schiff's self-described parody of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his opening statement at a hearing in September.
Trump also defended his refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, calling it "a total fix."
“We don’t get a lawyer, we don’t get any witnesses," Trump said. "We want Biden, we want the son – Hunter, where’s Hunter? We want the son, we want Schiff, we want to interview these people. Well, they said, 'No, can’t do it. We can’t do it.’ So when it’s fair — and it will be fair in the Senate — I would love to have [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, I would love to have [acting chief of staff ] Mick [Mulvaney], I’d love to have [former Energy Secretary] Rick Perry, and many other people testify ... but I don’t want them to testify when this is a total fix.”
State Dept. undersecretary: 'I am not' aware of any efforts by Ukraine to meddle in 2016 election
Senior State Department official David Hale said Tuesday that he didn't know of any evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
Asked at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing whether he was aware of any such evidence, Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, told lawmakers, "I am not."
Hale's answer counters the growing support among some Republican senators for the idea that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 election in support of Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton — a notion that ex-Trump White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill described as a "fictional narrative" in her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last month.
Under questioning from Democratic senators, Hale also said Russian interference was not a hoax — in contrast with Trump's repeated questioning of the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies that Russians meddled in the 2016 election in an attempt to boost his candidacy.
'One story of betrayal': Dems release highlight reel from two weeks of public testimony
Schiff: 'Overwhelming' evidence of Trump obstruction
George Conway takes swipe at wife Kellyanne Conway on Twitter
It's no secret that top presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway and her husband, a frequent Trump critic, don't see eye to eye on the president. On Monday, they duked it out on Twitter after conservative lawyer George Conway needled his wife about a Joe Biden tweet.
Kellyanne Conway had retweeted a brief video clip of the former vice president speaking to a crowd, along with a comment: “Sleepy Joe is Creepy Joe,” she wrote. “We need Ukraine’s help to defeat THIS guy?”
To which George Conway responded: “Your boss apparently thought so.”
First Read: Democrats sing different tunes on impeachment as GOP closes ranks
If the Democrats have the substance on their side in the impeachment fight — in terms of the public testimony, the released documents and all of the text messages — Republicans are now the ones with the more unified message.
Case in point is what’s playing out on the 2020 presidential campaign trail, with the Democratic candidates talking about health care, tax policy and racial equity — but barely mentioning the biggest political story in Washington.
Bottom line: Republicans are messaging the existential threat that impeachment brings, arguing that the entire process subverts the will of voters. But Democrats aren’t messaging that same existential threat. In fact, they’re also arguing that the best way to defeat Trump is at the ballot box in 2020.
At some point, that messaging disparity is going to be unsustainable for Democrats. How do you make the case that the sitting president of the United States can’t run for re-election when your party’s presidential candidates aren’t making that same case?
AG Barr questions findings from IG reportDec. 3, 201907:44
Trump said he'd be disappointed if DOJ watchdog concludes FBI had enough info to probe campaign
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would be a bit disappointed if the Justice Department inspector general's upcoming report on the origins of the Russia investigation says the FBI had enough information to launch an investigation in 2016 into members of his campaign.
The president made the remarks to reporters in London in response to a Washington Post story from Monday that said Attorney General William Barr disagrees that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify beginning an investigation into Trump campaign members, a key takeaway of the soon-to-be-released review. Barr told associates about his disagreement with that assessment, the Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
"Perhaps he’s read the report," Trump said when asked about the Post article. "I think he’s quoted incorrectly. I do believe that because I’m hearing the report is very powerful, but I’m hearing that by reading lots of different things, not from inside information. It’s really from outside information."
"I think we have to read it, we have to see it, but I hear there’s a lot of devastating things in that report, but we’ll see what happens," Trump continued, adding, "If what I read is correct — I read it in your newspaper — if what I read is correct, that will be a little disappointing, but it was just one aspect of the report. We’ll see what happens. It’s coming out in a few days. I hear it’s devastating."
Trump labels Democrats 'unpatriotic' as he arrives in London for NATO gathering
President Donald Trump accused the Democrats of being unpatriotic and said they were hurting the country with their impeachment inquiry as he prepares to meet with world leaders here on Tuesday.
“I think it's very unpatriotic of the Democrats to put on a performance where they do that,” Trump said in his first public comments since arriving in London. “I do. I think it's a bad thing for our country. Impeachment wasn't supposed to be used that way.”
The president also came out swinging at one of the U.S.'s closest allies, slamming comments by French President Emmanuel Macron and suggesting trade deal negotiations with China might not end until after the election next year.
Newly released documents shed light on Mueller-Trump meeting
Former special counsel Robert Mueller had taken himself out of the running to be FBI director by the time he met with President Donald Trump about the job, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told federal investigators.
Notes from Rosenstein's May 23, 2017 interview were made public on Monday as the result of a court ruling in BuzzFeed News' Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department.
The document sheds new light on the circumstances of Trump's May 16, 2017 meeting with Mueller in the Oval Office. Trump has claimed that Mueller applied for the suddenly vacant job of FBI director in that meeting and turned him down. The next day, Mueller was named special counsel investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In the interview, according to the notes published by BuzzFeed News, Rosenstein described feeling "angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed" at how the abrupt firing of then-FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017 was handled. "It was also humiliating for Comey," his interviewers quoted Rosenstein as saying.
Rosenstein said he spoke to Mueller, a former FBI director, about becoming special counsel the next day.
ANALYSIS: Trump steps onto world stage in the shadow of impeachment
This is the contrast President Donald Trump wanted — at least, in theory.
On this side of the Atlantic, he'll be representing the United States in high-level talks with Western leaders about the rising threats of Russia, China and perpetual turmoil in the Middle East. On the other, in his telling, his domestic political rivals in the House Democratic majority will be busy indicting him in absentia in an impeachment investigation he calls a "hoax" designed to undermine his presidency.
For Trump, it's an opportunity to distill for voters the argument that he's doing his job while Democrats are ignoring the needs of the American public so they can hurt him politically.
House Intel Committee completes impeachment reportDec. 3, 201907:13
'Obsession,' 'dangerous,' 'basement bunker': GOP impeachment report rips Democrats' inquiry
House Republicans have written a 123-page minority report arguing that Democrats have failed to establish any impeachable offenses by President Donald Trump, according to a copy of the report reviewed by NBC News.
The GOP lawmakers did not find any wrongdoing by the president and concluded that there was no quid pro quo for Ukraine aid.
"The Democrats' impeachment inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, is merely the outgrowth of their obsession with re-litigating the results of the 2016 presidential election," the Republican staff on the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees wrote.
"Despite their best efforts, the evidence gathered during the Democrats' partisan and one-sided impeachment inquiry does not support that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival to benefit the President in the 2020 presidential election.
"The evidence does not establish any impeachable offense," the report concludes.
It's Nadler's turn to take on Trump. Again.
On Manhattan's Upper West Side a few weeks ago, when a few elected officials held a pop-up town hall in front of a Fairway grocery store, voter after voter had the same question for Rep. Jerry Nadler: Why are you here?
"‘I'm leaving. I'm leaving Monday morning,’" Nadler told the questioners, according to Scott Stringer, New York City’s comptroller, who was 20 when he began working for Nadler. “Literally, people would say, ‘Why don't you go now?’”
The 14-term Democrat has been preparing for this moment since the House impeachment inquiry was formally announced in September. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Nadler is on deck to lead the next phase in the process of determining whether President Donald Trump should be impeached.
It isn't Nadler's first brush with presidential impeachment: He was a member of the Judiciary Committee, and a vocal defender of President Bill Clinton, during the process that ultimately led to Clinton's impeachment in the late 1990s.
Twenty years later, Nadler, 72, who has a law degree from Fordham, has been clear about his view that this time, the 45th president appears to have committed impeachable offenses. Nadler has repeated that view for months, saying over the summer that there is “very substantial evidence that the president has committed multiple crimes and impeachable offenses” — a statement made even before the revelations concerning Ukraine surfaced publicly.
Prosecutor says new charges 'likely' in case against Rudy Giuliani associates
The Justice Department is "likely" to file additional charges in the case against two associates of Rudy Giuliani accused of funneling foreign money to U.S. political candidates, a prosecutor said Monday.
The disclosure was made during a court hearing in New York related to the case of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The federal prosecutor didn't offer any further details on the nature or target of any additional charges.
More charges expected in case against Giuliani associatesDec. 2, 201903:58
Parnas and Fruman were charged with violating campaign finance laws. The pair have pleaded not guilty.
The two men were carrying one-way tickets to Vienna when they were arrested at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C., on Oct. 9.
The indictment unsealed the next day accused Parnas and Fruman of making illegal straw donations, including $325,000 to a pro-President Donald Trump political action committee. Federal prosecutors say the pair also engaged in a scheme to force the ouster of the then-U.S. ambassador in Ukraine.
What to watch for in Judiciary’s Committee’s impeachment hearingDec. 2, 201907:15
Judiciary Committee names witnesses appearing at Wednesday's hearing
The House Judiciary Committee has released the names of the witnesses testifying Wednesday's hearing exploring the constitutional grounds for impeachment.
Witnesses for the Democrats
- Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter professor of law and director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli law at Harvard Law School.
- Pamela S. Karlan, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery professor of public interest law and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School.
- Michael Gerhardt, the Burton Craige distinguished professor of jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Witness for the Republicans
- Jonathan Turley, the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro professor of public interest law at the George Washington University Law School.
The hearing on Wednesday will begin at 10 a.m.
Schumer slams GOP colleagues for claiming Ukraine interfered in 2016
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ripped his Republican colleagues Monday afternoon for "increasingly outlandish claims" that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election — an apparent swipe at Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who repeated the allegation on NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
"Let me be clear: The charge that Ukraine had something to do with the Russian meddling in 2016 is a lie spread by Vladimir Putin," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "To get things off his back. Putin and Russian intelligence services invented that lie to muddy the waters and distract from the fact that Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in our elections."
"And now, disgracefully, we have sitting U.S. senators helping spread that propaganda in an effort to defend the president," Schumer said. "Republicans must stop claiming that Ukraine had anything to do with election interference in 2016. Repeating these claims, even speculating about them, is doing Putin’s job for him. I urge my Republican colleagues — they know who they are — to stop spreading these lies, which hurts our democracy.
On the Sunday program, Kennedy claimed multiple times that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election, prompting direct criticism from Hillary Clinton and praise from Trump.
This week’s big impeachment questionsDec. 2, 201906:20
Collins accuses Nadler of rushing impeachment process, leaving GOP in the dark
House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., sent letter Monday the committee's chairman, Jerrold Nadler, about the panel's process in the impeachment inquiry, complaining that “every letter and nearly every question" that he has raised "remains unanswered” with just 48 hours to go before the committee's first hearing.
In the letter — his sixth over the last few weeks — Collins also said Nadler still hasn't provided panel Republicans with a witness list and notes that the committee doesn't yet have a copy of the Intelligence Committee's report on its findings in the inquiry. Members of the Intelligence panel are expected to approve their report Tuesday evening.
"For the first time in history, this committee will weigh impeachment without any evidence for us to review," Collins wrote. "Any discussion with the yet-to-be identified witnesses will, therefore, be in the abstract."
"This ad hoc, poorly executed 'impeachment inquiry' will provide the Senate with ample justification for expeditiously disposing of it," Collins added.
"Once again, I request clarity on how you intend to conduct this inquiry," Collins wrote after warning that the "ad hoc, poorly executed" process would "provide the Senate with ample justification for expeditiously disposing of" the impeachment inquiry.
"As Republicans have stated before, and consistent with Chairman Schiff’s repeated statements, withholding information from the minority shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process, as well as obstruction of minority rights," Collins wrote.
Nadler questions Trump's refusal to participate in hearing
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., criticized Trump on Monday for refusing to participate in the committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, alleging the president's unwillingness to cooperate is just another sign that his claims about his dealings with Ukraine are disingenuous.
"The American people deserve transparency," Nadler said in a statement. "If the president thinks the call was 'perfect' and there is nothing to hide, then he would turn over the thousands of pages of documents requested by Congress, allow witnesses to testify instead of blocking testimony with baseless privilege claims, and provide any exculpatory information that refutes the overwhelming evidence of his abuse of power."
Trump says impeachment is uniting the GOP like never before
Trump blasts Dems for holding impeachment hearing while he’s in U.K. for NATO
President Donald Trump on Monday blasted House Democrats for holding impeachment hearings while he is at a NATO summit in London and claimed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had cleared him of wrongdoing in an interview published earlier in the day.
Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for the summit, Trump said Democrats had "decided" to hold the upcoming hearings at "the exact time" he's in London. The president also said Zelenskiy "came out and said very strongly that President Trump did nothing wrong," adding, "that should end everything, but that will never end it."
Trump was referring to an interview that Time and a handful of European publications published Monday in which Trump's Ukrainian counterpart said, "Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo."
"I don’t want us to look like beggars," Zelenskiy when asked about the $400 in military aid Trump held up while he pushed the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens and Democrats. "But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying."
Hillary Clinton slams Sen. Kennedy for 'parroting Russian propaganda'
On "Meet the Press" on Sunday with Chuck Todd, Kennedy repeated claims, disputed by U.S. intelligence agencies, that Ukrainian leaders interfered in the 2016 election.
Pompeo: Impeachment hearings should pause while Trump is abroad
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the House on Monday for scheduling impeachment hearings while President Trump is abroad.
Pompeo said it’s “very unfortunate” for the House Judiciary Committee to hold its hearing Wednesday at the same time that Trump is representing the U.S. at this week’s NATO summit in London.
Pompeo told “Fox & Friends” that there is a long tradition of supporting a president when he is traveling overseas and shouldn’t be distracted by problems at home while discussing international issues with allies.
"I regret that they've chosen to hold these hearings at the same time that the president and our entire national security team will be traveling to Europe, to London, to work on these important matters," Pompeo said. "It's very unfortunate."
Separately, Pompeo declined to say whether he planned to step down as secretary of state to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Kansas.
The impeachment fight boils down to these four simple questions
More than two months after the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump began, you can break down the entire fight into four simple questions.
One, did the president of the United States ask another country to interfere in the upcoming 2020 election — against possible Democratic rival Joe Biden?
Two, did Trump and his administration withhold military aid and a White House visit to compel Ukraine to start this investigation into Joe Biden and his son?
Three, were those actions — first the ask of interference, then the temporary withholding of military aid — an abuse of the president’s powers?
And four — and most importantly — do those actions amount to impeachable offenses?
Get First Read's take here.
Intelligence Committee to review report on its findings
This evening, members of the House Intelligence Committee are expected to begin reviewing a report on the panel's findings in the impeachment inquiry. The panel is expected to approve the report Tuesday evening, likely on a party-line vote, setting it up for consideration by the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to draft and consider articles of impeachment.
The Judiciary Committee is taking the lead this week in the Trump impeachment inquiry, with its first public hearing Wednesday. Witnesses at the hearing will explain the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment and whether President Donald Trump’s actions justify removing him from office.
House Judiciary Committee set to hold first public meetingDec. 2, 201911:42
Lawmakers spent the weekend debating the makeup of Wednesday’s witness panel. Four yet-to-be-announced scholars are scheduled to appear, but Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., is requesting that more be added and that Republicans have an opportunity to select some of the witnesses.
The White House, meanwhile, told House Democrats on Sunday that it will not participate in Wednesday's impeachment hearing — Trump himself is scheduled to be in London for the final day of the NATO summit that day. But the White House left open the prospect of participating in future proceedings. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has set a Friday deadline for the president and his lawyers to decide if they will mount a defense by calling witnesses or presenting evidence.
50 percent support impeachment, removal: pollDec. 2, 201904:48
Zelenskiy on Trump withholding aid: 'If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us'
In a rare interview since the onset of the House impeachment inquiry in late September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to reporters about the nearly $400 million in military aid President Donald Trump withheld from the country at the same time he was pushing for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and Democrats.
"Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo," Zelenskiy told Time and a handful of European publications in an interview published Monday. "That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying."
Zelenskiy also spoke about the repeated assertion from Trump and others that Ukraine is a "corrupt" country, which is part of the administration's explanation for why they had withheld the money.
"When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals," Zelenskiy said. "It might seem like an easy thing to say, that combination of words: Ukraine is a corrupt country. Just to say it and that’s it. But it doesn’t end there. Everyone hears that signal. Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have international capital in Ukraine, it’s a signal to them that says, 'Be careful, don’t invest.' Or, 'Get out of there.' This is a hard signal."
"For me it’s very important for the United States, with all they can do for us, for them really to understand that we are a different country, that we are different people," he continued. "It’s not that those things don’t exist. They do. All branches of government were corrupted over many years, and we are working to clean that up. But that signal from them is very important."
Trump responded to Zelenskiy's interview Monday, tweeting, "Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls."
Trump, lawyers won't participate in first Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing
The White House said Sunday it will not participate in the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday but left open the possibility that it may take part in future proceedings.
In a letter to committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., White House counsel Pat Cipollone said next week's hearing does “not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process.”
"We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named," Cipollone said in the letter.
But Cipollone said President Donald Trump may participate if he is allowed to do so “meaningfully.”
Read more here.
Six degrees of Rudy: Giuliani's web tangles three Trump controversies
Ukraine only skims the surface of Rudy Giuliani's influence in the Trump administration.
The former New York City mayor, now the president's personal lawyer, has made headlines for his role in the impeachment inquiry. But while Giuliani's efforts to have Ukraine launch investigations politically beneficial to Trump are much discussed, he and his associates have woven themselves into the fabric of Trump's world with dealings in Turkey and the Navy SEALs case.
Asked in a text Wednesday by NBC News about how his circle has been able to be so influential in the Trump administration, Giuliani responded, "I don't know."
Nadler gives Trump new impeachment deadline
A top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee is giving President Donald Trump until Dec. 6 to decide if he wants to call any witnesses in the impeachment proceedings.
The letter from Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., asks the president what “specific privileges” in the House Rules he would like to exercise, namely his ability to call witnesses to defend himself.
The president and Republicans have been arguing that the impeachment inquiry is a sham process and that the president has not had the ability to defend himself.
Nadler had earlier this week given the president a previous deadline of Dec. 1 to determine if he wanted his counsel to participate to cross-examine witnesses in the hearing scheduled for Dec. 4. The president hasn’t yet responded on if he will send counsel.
Next week marks the new phase of the impeachment inquiry as it transitions from the fact-finding investigation by the Intelligence Committee to the explanatory phase by the Judiciary Committee. Witnesses in Wednesday’s hearing are expected to be constitutional scholars to help explain what impeachment is.
Why Americans are still split on impeachment after public hearingsNov. 27, 201902:11
Will Trump attend the Dec. 4 impeachment hearing?
Will President Trump attend the Dec. 4 impeachment hearing?Nov. 27, 201908:42
Gordon Sondland denies sexual misconduct allegations
WASHINGTON — Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union and a key witness who testified publicly this month in the House impeachment inquiry, is categorically denying allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred before he took his diplomatic post and were published for the first time on Wednesday.
“In decades of my career in business and civic affairs, my conduct can be affirmed by hundreds of employees and colleagues with whom I have worked in countless circumstances. These untrue claims of unwanted touching and kissing are concocted and, I believe, coordinated for political purposes. They have no basis in fact, and I categorically deny them,” Sondland said in a statement about the claims, obtained by NBC News.
DOJ inspector general draft report says FBI didn't spy on Trump campaign
WASHINGTON — A draft copy of a report compiled by the Department of Justice inspector general concludes that the FBI didn’t spy on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, a person familiar with the document confirmed to NBC News.
The information from the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is expected to be included in the final report that’s due on Dec. 9, according to The New York Times. The Times first reported Wednesday that the report is expected to say that the DOJ watchdog found no evidence that the FBI tried to place informants or undercover agents inside Trump’s campaign.
Trump and his allies have long claimed that his 2016 campaign was spied on. Attorney General William Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in April that he thought “spying did occur” by the federal government on Trump’s campaign.
Giuliani calls Trump to tell him he was joking about having an 'insurance policy'
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, called the president this week to reassure him that he had been joking when he told media outlets he had “insurance” if Trump turned on him in the Ukraine scandal, Giuliani’s lawyer said on Wednesday.
The attorney, Robert Costello, said Giuliani “at my insistence” had called Trump “within the last day” to emphasize that he had not been serious when he said he had an “insurance policy, if thrown under the bus.”
“He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy. I told him, ‘Ten thousand comedians are out of work, and you make a joke. It doesn’t work that way,’” Costello told Reuters. Giuliani has already said that he was being sarcastic when he made the comments. Trump, too, has brushed them off, telling reporters in the Oval Office this week that “Rudy is a great guy.” The White House declined to comment on Costello’s remarks.
Highlights of Philip Reeker's testimony on Trump admin's Ukraine dealings
House impeachment investigators on Tuesday released a transcript of testimony from Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, who gave a closed-door deposition to the House Intelligence Committee on Oct. 26. In his testimony, Reeker described the smear campaign against Amb. to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and his efforts to counter it and discusses what he knew about the freeze on aid to Ukraine.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Reeker described ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has having an "outstanding" reputation and being "extremely professional" as a foreign service officer; he called stories about her "outlandish and unrealistic"; and he said she was subjected to "really outrageous press coverage and innuendo and threats coming from high levels, retweeting irresponsible journalism, which affected her personally, her safety, affected our mission, reflected on the United States."
- Reeker said he tried to find the source of the negative attacks on Yovanovitch, which he traced in part to an earlier letter from then-Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, accusing Yovanovitch of being partisan; State Department officials determined those allegations to be unfounded.
- The State Department told Ukrainian officials to stop "maligning" Yovanovitch; a "mortified" Ukraine embassy deputy chief of mission reported the demand back to Kyiv.
- Reeker was part of the effort to get a "robust" statement of support for Yovanovitch from the State Department, but was denied.
- Reeker said “there was unhappiness from the White House that Ambassador Yovanovitch was still there" in Kyiv.
- Reeker said "there was an understanding" that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was "feeding the president a lot of very negative views about Ukraine."
- On the freeze in Ukraine aid, Reeker said "our operating understanding" was that the aid "was being held by Mr. Mulvaney, the White House acting chief of staff.”
Read the full text of Reeker's testimony:
Trump is losing in the courts, but winning in other waysNov. 27, 201904:29
Judge puts brief hold on McGahn testimony order
The federal judge who ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn must comply with a House subpoena for his testimony put her ruling on a brief hold Wednesday.
Such holds, known as administrative stays, are often issued to give lawyers a change to file their appeals. U.S. District Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson said her order "should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits" of keeping her ruling on a longer hold. Instead, she said, the order would give her time to consider the government's request for a longer stay.
After Jackson's ruling on Monday, in which she rejected the government's claim that senior White House advisers are absolutely immune to congressional subpoenas, the Justice Department immediately filed notice that it would appeal. Lawyers for the House told the judge that while they would not oppose a brief stay, they would oppose a longer one that lasted throughout the appeals process, saying, "Such a stay would impair the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry."
Ukraine: What did President Trump know and when did he know it?Nov. 27, 201906:16
Trump says he didn't direct Giuliani's Ukraine efforts. Witnesses say otherwise.
President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that he did not direct his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to have Ukraine dig up dirt on his political rivals, contradicting testimony from several witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry.
"No, I didn't direct him but he's a warrior, Rudy's a warrior. Rudy went, he possibly saw something,” Trump told former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in an interview.
Asked by O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine on Trump's behalf, the president said: "You have to ask that to Rudy, but Rudy, I don't, I don't even know. I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip. But, you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I'm one person."
Trump added that Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, had done “a lot of work in Ukraine over the years, and I think, I mean, that's what I heard, I might have even read that someplace.”
Trump offers fresh defense on Ukraine amid new revelationsNov. 27, 201909:18
Article II: Inside Impeachment — We've got mail
In Wednesday's episode of "Article II," host Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, opens up the mailbag with Julia Ainsley, NBC News' justice and homeland security correspondent, to answer listeners' questions about the impeachment inquiry.
Among the questions discussed: What was the impact of the Trump administration’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine? Is the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, legally allowed to handle matters of foreign policy? Will Trump have the opportunity to answer for himself in the impeachment inquiry? Did Republicans who supported President Richard Nixon during Watergate pay a political price, and are there parallels to today?
Judge delays sentencing for ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn
A federal judge on Wednesday delayed the sentencing date for Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's first national security adviser.
Flynn was to be sentenced Dec. 18, but his lawyers and federal prosecutors asked for a delay. They said a report from the Justice Department's inspector general examining aspects of the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign, due out Dec. 9, could contain material relevant to the sentencing. They also said the judge has yet to rule on a dispute between the prosecutors and Flynn's lawyers over the government's production of documents that the defense said could have affected Flynn's decision to plead guilty.
Flynn entered his plea two years ago to a single charge of lying to the FBI. He admitted that four days into his job as White House national security adviser, he falsely denied having two separate contacts during the Trump transition with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Americans remain divided on impeachment, polling showsNov. 27, 201904:29
Read the full text: Mark Sandy's testimony to House investigators
Mark Sandy, the deputy associate director for national security programs at 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, the first OMB staffer to testify in the inquiry, testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 16.
Read the transcript:
EXCLUSIVE: Analysis shows Russian media is favorable of candidate TrumpNov. 27, 201908:45
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.
Democrats question why DOJ watchdog is not investigating William BarrNov. 27, 201902:00
"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.
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.
Giuliani is reportedly working in at least 19 foreign nationsNov. 27, 201904:24
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.
House committee cites 'pattern of abuse' at OMB over Ukraine aidNov. 27, 201904:54
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.