Trump impeachment: Analysis and news on the House charges and Senate acquittal of the president

The Senate trial on the two articles of impeachment against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ended with acquittal on both charges.
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Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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The fast-moving impeachment of President Donald Trump, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, moved to the Senate for trial in January after the House voted a month earlier to adopt two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Senate voted in early February to acquit the president on both charges.

Trump's impeachment followed weeks of testimony related to his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into Democratic rivals and hours of fiery debate over the process.

Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Read all of the breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

Trump impeachment highlights

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Live Blog

Dems say no rush to turn over articles of impeachment, but wait won't be 'indefinite'

As Congress prepares to return amid a weeks-long impasse over the next steps in President Donald Trump's impeachment, Democrats said Sunday there is no rush to turn over the two House-passed articles of impeachment to the Senate but that the holdout would not be "indefinite."

"I don't think it's going to be indefinite, no," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't think that's at all the desire, motivation here. The desire is to get a commitment from the Senate that they're going to have a fair trial, fair to the president, yes, but fair to the American people."

Read more here.

Warren questions Iran attack timing with impeachment trial looming

WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sunday raised the prospect that President Trump's decision to authorize last week's attack on a top Iranian general may have been linked to the pending impeachment trial in the Senate.

"Next week, Donald Trump faces the start, potentially, of an impeachment trial," the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with "Meet the Press."

"People are starting to ask, why now did he do this? Why not delay? And why this one is so dangerous is that he is truly taking us right to the edge of war. And that is something that puts us at risk, it puts the Middle East at risk, it puts the entire world at risk."

Read more here.

In Friday's edition of Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to MSNBC contributor Chuck Rosenberg about the oath of the highest office — the presidency.

The two discuss: 

  • What the founders intended in their wording of the presidential oath of office.
  • The limits of presidential power.
  • What happens to public trust when a president’s commitment to the oath is called into question.

Download the podcast.

'Broad-scale defiance': Appeals court wrestles with whether to compel ex-White House counsel McGahn's testimony

Federal appellate judges are wrestling with whether courts should be refereeing a dispute between the House of Representatives and the Trump administration over the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, even in the face of what one judge called the White House's “broad-scale defiance of congressional investigation.”

A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments Friday over the House Judiciary Committee's effort to compel McGahn's testimony. The administration appealed after a trial judge rejected its broad claim that close advisers to President Donald Trump have complete immunity from congressional subpoenas for their testimony.

Judge Thomas Griffith, an appointee of President George W. Bush, pressed tough questions on both sides Friday, describing Trump's directive not to cooperate with congressional investigations as “broad-scale defiance” that is possibly unprecedented in U.S. history. Even so, Griffith wondered whether courts should get in the middle of a political dispute between the other two branches of government, especially when Congress has other powers available, including cutting off appropriations, stopping the confirmation of judges, even impeachment. “That's what the separation of powers means,” he said.

Read the story.

McConnell, Schumer start the year deadlocked over Senate impeachment trial

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate made clear Friday that they remain deadlocked over the parameters of a Senate trial weighing whether President Donald Trump, impeached by the House in December, should be removed from office.

Opening the 2020 congressional session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor that the upper chamber could not hold a trial without the two articles of impeachment adopted by the House that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has not yet transmitted to the Senate.

"We can't hold the trial without the articles. The Senate’s old rules don’t provide for that. So, for now, we're content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder,” McConnell said.

Speaking on the floor after McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that his GOP counterpart had engaged in a lot of “finger-pointing” and “name-calling” without weighing on the question he said was holding up the Senate trial: “Whether there will be witnesses and documents.”

“He has no good argument against having witnesses and documents, so he resorts to these subterfuges,” Schumer said. “Instead of trying to find the truth, he is still using the same feeble talking points that he was using last December.”

Read the full story.

Judge allows indicted Giuliani associate to turn over documents to Congress

A Rudy Giuliani associate awaiting trial on campaign finance charges can turn over evidence requested by House impeachment investigators, a federal court judge in New York ruled Friday. 

The House had asked Lev Parnas back in September to turn over all documents he had involving Giuliani and other key players in the administration's effort to press the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. 

Parnas, 47, initially refused to comply — but had a change of heart after he was arrested for in October for violating campaign finance laws.

Parnas' lawyer, Joseph Bondy, said the documents were in prosecutors' hands after his client's arrest, and asked the judge for permission to turn the relevant documents over to the House Intelligence committee.  

"These materials fall within the scope of the September 30, 2019 letter request and October 10, 2019 subpoena of the United States House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), in connection with the presidential impeachment inquiry," Bondy wrote. "Review of these materials is essential to the committee’s ability to corroborate the strength of Mr. Parnas’s potential testimony."

Bondy added that the Department of Justice "does not object" to Parnas handing the materials over. 

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Oetken granted the request in a two-sentence order on Friday. It's unclear when the materials will be turned over or what exactly the documents are. 

Senate Democrats held NYE impeachment call

The entire Senate Democratic Caucus, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, held a conference call on Dec. 31 where they discussed next steps on impeachment, five Senate dem sources tell NBC News. 

Four sources told NBC News that the call happened, and the fifth, a Dem aide familiar with the call, also confirmed the call and gave us this readout:

Schumer convened a conference call with Democratic Senators on New Year’s Eve to discuss impeachment.

The purpose of the call was for Schumer to give everyone an update on the state of play.

Schumer emphasized how the new revelations that came out during the holidays about emails related to the hold on Ukraine military aid further bolstered their case for witnesses and documents.

Schumer encouraged the caucus to continue to demand the requested witnesses and documents and use the new revelations to make the case.

Schumer told his caucus that he would be coming to Washington, D.C. on Friday to deliver a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s expected floor speech on impeachment and continue to press for a fair trial.

A number of Senators also spoke about their support for the request for witnesses and documents.