FIRST READ: Senate Republicans appear ready to fall in line on impeachment vote despite earlier concerns
It’s so revealing how Republicans’ attitudes about the Ukraine scandal have evolved in just four months.
We’ve gone from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., saying evidence of a quid pro quo would be “very disturbing,” to GOP senators not willing to hear from John Bolton, who claims in a new book that President Trump told him he was linking Ukraine’s security aid to investigating the Bidens.
We’ve also moved from some GOP senators being opposed to a president asking a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a political rival — “Look, it is not appropriate for any candidate for federal office, certainly, including a sitting president, to ask for assistance from a foreign country,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in September — to Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz now suggesting that a president could do almost anything to win re-election.
That evolution tells you where we’re likely headed.
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Early notes on Thursday's session
Eight more hours to go. Notable moments so far include deputy counsel Patrick Philbin infuriating Democrats with his argument on campaign finance laws and foreign interference; Philbin saying no one from White House counsel’s office knew about the Bolton manuscript before The New York Times reached out for comment on Sunday; Jay Sekulow’s more sharply partisan tone and his call for witnesses, including the Bidens, Schiff and the whistleblower; the Dershowitz argument on quid-pro-quo.
The mood in and around West Wing appears more positive than 36 hours ago. Officials still feel cautiously optimistic about deflecting calls for witnesses. Caveat: Any news bombshell between now and Friday night could change the game.
Just catching up? Here's what you missed.
Senators start their second day of questions and answers after asking more than 90 questions of House managers and Trump's defense team on Wednesday.
Here's a brief recap of the trial so far:
Pompeo to visit Ukraine at height of Trump impeachment trial
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Ukraine on Thursday at the height of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial that has dragged the Eastern European country into the maelstrom of U.S. politics.
Pompeo was supposed to visit earlier this month but was forced to postpone his visit because of unrest at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq after deadly U.S. airstrikes.
Some observers predict that due to recent events, this could be a tricky trip.
Read the story.
Trump's Senate trial: Key moments from Day 1 of the question-and-answer phase
House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump's defense team faced questions from senators on Wednesday as Trump's Senate trial entered a new phase.
The first query, from the three GOP senators who are most likely to vote to continue the trial with additional witnesses, may well have been the most pivotal. Senators remained divided over the issue Wednesday, with Republicans working get the vote need to block a call for witnesses.
Here's a look at some of the best — and most important — moments from Wednesday's question and answer session.
Read more here.