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Impeachment hearings live updates: House Intelligence Committee sends report on Trump and Ukraine to judiciary panel, paving way for possible articles of impeachment

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 3 days ago Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner

The House Intelligence Committee sent its report on President Trump and Ukraine to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, paving the way for possible articles of impeachment.

The report, which states that the president “sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security,” was approved on a party-line vote.

The report also hints strongly at charges of obstruction of justice, among other crimes, but does not recommend specific articles of impeachment. 

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Democrats are seeking to build a case that Trump leveraged military assistance and an Oval Office meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and a debunked theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump called Democrats “very unpatriotic” for pursuing his impeachment while he is overseas meeting with NATO leaders.

●Democrats quietly debate expanding impeachment articles beyond Ukraine.

●House GOP defends Trump’s actions on Ukraine in dismissing impeachment probe.

●Attorney General William P. Barr disputes key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation.

The House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry report | Other key documents related to the inquiry| Who’s involved in the impeachment inquiry

7:50 PM: House passes measure disapproving of inclusion of Russia in future G-7 summits

The House on Tuesday passed a resolution disapproving of any attempts to include Russia in future Group of Seven summits — a move that Trump has repeatedly floated.

The measure, H.Res. 546, was approved on a 339-to-71 vote.

It states that the House “disapproves of Russia’s inclusion in future Group of Seven summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies.”

It also calls on all leaders of G-7 countries to “oppose the readmission of Russia unless and until it has ended its occupation of all of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, including Crimea, and halts its attacks on democracies worldwide.

At the G-7 summit in France in August, Trump capped off days of advocacy on behalf of Russia by saying that he would invite Russian President Vladi­mir Putin to next year’s G-7 summit in the United States.

By: Felicia Sonmez

7:40 PM: Warner says there’s ‘absolutely no factual basis’ for claims of Ukrainian election interference

Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, pushed back Tuesday against the debunked theory promoted by some Republicans that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential race.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that only Russia interfered in the campaign. But in recent days, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) and other GOP lawmakers have argued, incorrectly, that both Russia and Ukraine interfered in 2016.

“There is absolutely no factual basis for this Ukrainian election interference/CrowdStrike nonsense,” Warner tweeted Tuesday night, referring to the cybersecurity firm that has been at the center of conservative conspiracy theories about the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers.

“Spreading this discredited conspiracy theory only serves to advance Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaign against the United States,” Warner said.

By: Felicia Sonmez

7:30 PM: After leaving 2020 race, Harris tells Trump, ‘I’ll see you at your trial’

Trump noted the departure of Sen. Kamala Harris from the presidential race Tuesday evening, prompting the California Democrat to respond with a quip about the president’s likely Senate impeachment trial.

“Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” Trump tweeted in response to reports that Harris had ended her White House bid.

Ten minutes later, Harris sent a tweet of her own.

“Don’t worry, Mr. President,” she said. “I’ll see you at your trial.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

7:00 PM: McCarthy dismisses Nunes call logs, says lawmaker ‘has a right to talk to anybody’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) dismissed the news that, according to the call logs referenced in the House Intelligence Committee’s report, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) had further ties with Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani than previously known.

“I don’t have a problem with Devin talking to individuals,” McCarthy said at a news conference Tuesday night in response to questions from reporters about the call logs.

He argued that Nunes did nothing wrong and said that whether the lawmaker should explain what he discussed on the phone calls is for Nunes himself to decide.

“Devin Nunes has a right to talk to anybody,” McCarthy said.

Earlier Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) indirectly criticized Nunes, saying it was “deeply concerning” that there may be evidence that a lawmaker was complicit with Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine.

By: Felicia Sonmez

6:50 PM: House Intelligence Committee sends report on Trump and Ukraine to judiciary panel

The House Intelligence Committee sent its report to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday night, paving the way for possible articles of impeachment against Trump.

The panel approved the report on a 13-to-9 party-line vote.

The report now goes to the Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.

House Republicans, in a report issued Monday, said Trump did nothing wrong.

By: Felicia Sonmez

5:30 PM: Obama administration ethics lawyer expected to question experts during Judiciary Committee hearing

Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is expected to question the four law professors who will testify at Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.

Eisen was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011 and was the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2011 to 2014.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee announced in February that they had hired Eisen and another attorney, Barry H. Berke, to work as legal consultants as they pursued investigations into Trump and his administration.

By: Jacqueline Alemany and Felicia Sonmez

5:00 PM: Call records show Giuliani calling White House and mystery number amid August pressure campaign on Ukraine

Records obtained by the House Intelligence Committee show several calls and text messages in early August between Giuliani and people whose phone numbers are associated with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget.

At that time, then-U. S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland were trying to set up a meeting between Trump and Zelensky that the Ukrainians were desperate to schedule.

A Ukrainian official asked Volker on Aug. 7 whether he had any “news about White House meeting date,” and Volker said he asked Giuliani to “weigh in.”

Giuliani’s calls and texts include a nearly 13-minute call with an OMB official and an unnamed number identified only as “-1” on Aug. 8. The records provide further evidence of the close involvement of Trump’s personal attorney in the machinery of the U.S. government.

The contents of the exchanges are not known, but they preceded a group text exchange on Aug. 9 in which Volker applauds Sondland for making progress toward setting up a White House meeting.

“Excellent!! How did you sway him?” Volker texted.

“Not sure i did. I think [Trump] really wants the deliverable,” Sondland responded.

Sondland later testified that the “deliverable” sought by Trump was a statement by Ukraine’s president announcing “the investigations.”

By: John Hudson

4:45 PM: Giuliani called White House repeatedly on day American ambassador was removed

Giuliani called the White House repeatedly on the day that the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly ordered to return to Washington, according to phone records released Monday by the House Intelligence Committee.

Giuliani has previously acknowledged that he lobbied Trump to have Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch removed from Kyiv. In an interview with The Washington Post in September, Giuliani treated his role in her ouster as a point of pride and made unsubstantiated allegations that she had worked to undermine Trump in Ukraine.

At one point, Giuliani said Yovanovitch “should be part of the investigation as collusion.”

The records show that Giuliani made a flurry of calls to the White House on April 24 — the day that Yovanovitch was summoned to Washington and told that she had lost Trump’s confidence. Giuliani called the White House at least seven times that day between 7:47 a.m. and 8:09 p.m. He also received a call from a White House number and spent more than eight minutes speaking to someone identified only as “-1” in the report.

The records do not provide any details about the nature of the calls or whether Giuliani spoke with Trump that day. On Twitter and in television appearances that day, Giuliani promoted conspiracy theories about alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 election embraced by the president.

In her testimony, Yovanovitch adamantly denied that she had acted against Trump while serving in Ukraine and expressed dismay that U.S. officials could be removed from office over unsubstantiated claims against them.

By: Greg Miller

4:30 PM: Report says Giuliani spoke with former Nunes staffer at White House

The day he scrapped a planned trip to Ukraine in early May, Giuliani spoke with Kashyap “Kash” Patel, an official at the White House National Security Council, according to the report. Patel previously served on the staff of Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee.

The phone calls between Giuliani and Patel on a day when the president’s personal attorney was occupied with Ukraine matters raise questions about whether the former Nunes staffer was working on Ukraine issues with Giuliani from the White House, outside his formal remit working in a different directorate of the National Security Council.

The report doesn’t say anything about the content of the phone call. The call with Patel came amid public uproar over a trip to Ukraine that Giuliani was planning, with the hopes of meeting Zelensky, who was then the president-elect.

After the call with Patel, according to the report, Giuliani spoke with someone on an unidentified number for more than 17 minutes and shortly thereafter spoke with his associate Lev Parnas, who had been helping him on issues related to Ukraine.

The same evening, Giuliani went on Fox News and said he would cancel his trip because he had come to believe that Zelensky was surrounded by “enemies of the president.”

By: Paul Sonne

4:20 PM: Hoyer says Intelligence report ‘ought to alarm every American’

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the House Intelligence Committee’s report “ought to alarm every American.”

“The case against the President is clear; so is the responsibility of the House under our Constitution,” Hoyer said in a statement. “Now, this process moves to the Judiciary Committee, and I urge its Members to consider the same question posed to their colleagues on the Intelligence Committee: was this act of bribery acceptable behavior for a President of the United States, and is it ever permissible for a president to solicit foreign help in an election.”

“As this process moves forward, the House will perform its duty and follow the evidence where it leads,” he added.

By: Felicia Sonmez

4:15 PM: Scavino pans Schiff news conference as ‘embarrassing’

White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted a critique of Schiff’s news conference, contrasting it with Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders in London.

“Watching Schiff hold an embarrassing Impeachment Sham press conference in THE SWAMP from my phone, while President @realDonaldTrump is at #NATO70 in London with other World Leaders (below), representing the United States of America!” Scavino tweeted. “Schiff is a total JOKE, embarrassing himself!!”

By: Felicia Sonmez

4:05 PM: Parnas attorney says client could ‘fill in the blanks’ of tantalizing trail left by phone records

After the report’s release, an attorney for Parnas — a businessman who helped Giuliani conduct investigations in Ukraine and pushed for Yovanovitch’s ouster — again suggested that his client is willing to talk to lawmakers if offered the right protections.

Parnas, who is facing federal campaign finance charges in New York, is mentioned frequently in the report, as lawmakers seem to have acquired phone records that show calls between him and various allies of the president. The report specifically details contacts between Parnas and Giuliani, Nunes, journalist John Solomon and Washington lawyer Victoria Toensing.

“With appropriate protections, Mr. Parnas would be able to tell this story and fill in all the blanks,” Parnas attorney Edward B. MacMahon Jr. said. “All phone records show you is that a phone call was made. It takes a participant in the phone call to tell you what was said.”

“Everything Lev has been saying has been validated by these phone records,” said another attorney for Parnas, Joseph Bondy. “He is obviously a speaker in some of these phone calls and could discuss their contents and purposes. He remains committed to attempting to appear as witness in the impeachment inquiry.”

Congressional testimony from Parnas could shed more light on Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine, though it is very unlikely that Parnas will actually testify. Parnas is seeking immunity from Congress before talking to lawmakers. Such a move could complicate the criminal charges against him, and lawmakers rarely take such a step without the blessing of the Justice Department.

By: Matt Zapotosky

4:00 PM: Phone records show Giuliani may have talked to Trump, Hannity on day Biden declared candidacy

The report makes extensive use of newly disclosed phone records to show contacts between key figures, including what appears to have been a flurry of activity around the day that Biden announced his candidacy for president.

In the days leading up to Biden’s April 25 campaign announcement, the report indicates that phone records show numerous contacts between Giuliani, Parnas and John Solomon, then a conservative columnist for the Hill newspaper.

On the day that Biden announced, Solomon published a piece alleging that Ukraine had planted allegations of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russia with the Obama White House during the 2016 campaign. The column also described Biden’s efforts to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor and questioned whether Biden had acted to protect his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. There is no evidence to back up that claim.

According to the report, phone records show that Giuliani received a phone call at 7:14 that evening from an unknown number. The call lasted nearly five minutes.

Phone records show that Giuliani often received calls from the number, designated “-1,” in close proximity to calls to the White House switchboard, suggesting the number may belong to Trump.

The report indicates that minutes later, phone records show that Giuliani spoke to Fox News host Sean Hannity for 36 seconds.

Later that night, Trump was a guest on Hannity’s show. Hannity asked Trump to respond to Solomon’s latest column. Trump answered, “It sounds like big stuff. It sounds very interesting with Ukraine. I just spoke to the new president a little while ago, two days ago, and congratulated him on an incredible race. Incredible run. A big surprise victory. That’s 75 percent of the vote. But that sounds like big, big stuff. I’m not surprised.”

The phone records suggest that Giuliani might have assisted Solomon with his piece and then encouraged Hannity to ask Trump about it, all while also tipping off Trump to the story, so the president could be prepared for the question. Regardless of what was discussed, the result was a column that undermined Biden on the day of his announcement, one that was publicized and amplified with reaction by the president on a highly watched Fox show.

By: Rosalind S. Helderman

3:45 PM: After Intelligence panel vote, counsel will deliver report to Judiciary in coming week

The Intelligence Committee is set to vote on the report at its meeting Tuesday, which is expected to begin at 6 p.m. In the coming week, Daniel S. Goldman, counsel to the House Intelligence Committee, will present the voted-on report to the Judiciary Committee, Schiff said.

By: Felicia Sonmez

3:40 PM: Schiff says there’s a ‘grave risk to the country’ if lawmakers wait to get ‘every last fact’

Schiff argued Tuesday that there would be a “grave risk to the country” if lawmakers wait until they have “every last fact” before proceeding with their efforts on impeachment.

What his panel has produced so far is overwhelming enough that it ought to be presented to the Judiciary Committee “without delay,” Schiff told reporters, adding that lawmakers will file supplemental reports if more is discovered as they continue their investigation.

Schiff also declined to say whether he supports impeaching Trump, but noted: “As you can tell, I am gravely concerned that if we merely accept this, that we invite not only further corruption of our elections by this president, but we also invite it of the next president.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

3:30 PM: Schiff says phone records show ‘considerable coordination’ with White House

At a news conference, Schiff declined to specify how his panel obtained the cellphone records that are included in its report.

“But certainly, the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,” he said.

Schiff also was asked about the fact that Nunes (Calif.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, appears multiple times in the cellphone records.

Schiff replied that it was “deeply concerning” that there may be evidence that a lawmaker was complicit with Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine, although he stopped short of definitively saying that such evidence exists and declined to say whether Nunes should recuse himself from Tuesday night’s committee vote.

“It may be up to others to evaluate the conduct of members of Congress,” Schiff said.

By: Felicia Sonmez

3:10 PM: The quid pro quo ‘came from the very top’

The report asserts unequivocally that a meeting Zelensky wanted with Trump was “conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” and traces how Trump’s “hand-picked” representatives worked with Giuliani to communicate that demand.

“President Trump, through his agents, made clear that his demand needed to be met before a coveted White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would be scheduled,” the report alleges. “A face-to-face meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office would have conferred on the new Ukrainian leader much-sought prestige and would have signaled to Russia that Ukraine could continue to count on the support of the President of the United States, which was particularly important as Russia continued to wage war in eastern Ukraine.”

The report also alleges that — rather than being an operation run by Giuliani or lower-level officials — the effort was directed by Trump himself.

“Multiple witnesses testified that the conditioning of an Oval Office meeting on President Zelensky’s announcement of investigations to benefit the President’s reelection campaign came from the very top: President Trump,” the report alleges.

That is important because Republicans have contemplated placing blame on those beneath the president, particularly Giuliani.

By: Matt Zapotosky

3:00 PM: Trump’s failure to cooperate in inquiry is unprecedented in U.S. history

The House Intelligence Committee report describes Trump as “the first and only President in American history to openly and indiscriminately defy all aspects of the Constitutional impeachment process, ordering all federal agencies and officials categorically not to comply with voluntary requests or compulsory demands for documents or testimony.”

The report quotes the president saying earlier this year in response to congressional investigations: “We’re fighting all the subpoenas.” Similarly, during a speech on July 23, he stated: “I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president.” The report also quotes a letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that said, “President Trump cannot permit his Administration to participate in this partisan inquiry under these circumstances.”

That defiant argument, if allowed to stand, represents “an existential threat to the nation’s Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law,” the report says.

By: Tom Hamburger

2:55 PM: House Democrats see strong case for charging Trump with obstruction

While the Intelligence Committee report did not specifically recommend articles of impeachment, it appeared to endorse a charge that Trump obstructed Congress. The committee reports that a dozen witnesses “followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify.”

Some of those were Trump’s closest associates, who could have spoken firsthand about the Ukraine campaign, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

“The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress,” the report reads. “Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.”

Democrats also accused Trump of having “engaged in a brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate witnesses” who came forward to testify — conduct, they said, that raises “grave concerns about potential violations of the federal obstruction statute and other criminal laws intended to protect witnesses appearing before congressional proceedings.”

Among the instances cited are Trump’s repeated attacks on former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a string of comments targeting the anonymous whistleblower, and accusations that several witnesses were “never Trumpers.”

“The President’s attacks were broadcast to millions of Americans — including witnesses’ families, friends, and co-workers — and his actions drew criticism from across the political spectrum, including from his own Republican supporters,” the Democrats wrote. “ … This campaign of intimidation risks discouraging witnesses from coming forward voluntarily, complying with mandatory subpoenas for documents and testimony, and disclosing evidence that may support consideration of articles of impeachment.”

By: Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis

2:50 PM: Why so fast? Democrats feared more meddling in 2020.

House Intelligence Committee Democrats pledged to continue investigating Trump but defended their decision to turn over their findings to the Judiciary Committee as necessary given the political calendar — and the chance that Trump might solicit more foreign interference in the 2020 election if left unchecked.

“Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts,” the report states, pointing out that Trump’s efforts were neither “isolated” nor “naive.”

“By doubling down on his misconduct and declaring that his July 25 call with President Zelensky was ‘perfect,’ President Trump has shown a continued willingness to use the power of his office to seek foreign intervention in our next election,” the report states.

The report also notes that on Oct. 3 — the same day as investigators held their first closed-door deposition, with Volker — Trump publicly called for China to investigate the Bidens, as well as Ukraine. It also nods at previous investigations regarding Russian interference during the 2016 campaign, noting Trump, more than any president, should recognize interference for what it is — and is culpable for pretending otherwise.

“The efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized,” the report states. “Having witnessed the degree to which interference by a foreign power in 2016 harmed our democracy, President Trump cannot credibly claim ignorance to its pernicious effects.”

By: Karoun Demirjian

2:45 PM: Schiff provides no additional details on interactions with whistleblower

A key prong of the Republican defense of Trump has been to raise a cloud of suspicion over the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment effort, pointing to Schiff’s changing account of whether his committee interacted with the whistleblower before the filing of the complaint.

Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has demanded Schiff testify to that panel on Democrats’ contacts with the whistleblower, suggesting that he is hiding the full extent of his knowledge.

In the report unveiled Tuesday, Schiff provided no additional details on any contacts he or his staff had with the whistleblower before the filing of the formal complaint on Aug. 12.

The report, however, does document Trump’s comments questioning the whistleblower and encouraging others to reveal the person’s identity.

“The President’s focus on the whistleblower has been obsessive, with the President making more than 100 public statements about the whistleblower over a period of just two months,” the report reads.

It also takes a jab at Nunes, the panel’s ranking Republican, pointing to March 2017 comments he made in defense of protecting whistleblowers: “We want people to come forward and we will protect the identity of those people at all cost.” He made that statement in the context of allegations that Obama administration officials had improperly “unmasked” domestic surveillance targets affiliated with Trump.

By: Mike DeBonis

2:40 PM: White House compares Schiff to ‘basement blogger’

The White House lambasted the House Intelligence Committee report in a statement Tuesday afternoon in which it also compared the panel’s chairman, Schiff to a “basement blogger.”

“At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said shortly after the document was released. “This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

2:35 PM: Democrats’ report alleges further ties between Nunes and Giuliani, Ukraine matter

The House Intelligence Committee report disclosed new contacts between Nunes and Giuliani, who orchestrated the shadow campaign to pressure Ukraine into investigating Trump’s political adversaries. Nunes and Giuliani spoke multiple times in the days after Solomon’s first negative story about Yovanovitch in the Hill, according to the panel’s report.

In the April 7 story, Solomon alleged that Yovanovitch was blocking a Ukrainian official, who had important information pertaining to former vice president Joe Biden and corruption, from coming to the United States. Yovanovitch would be recalled from Ukraine just days later, setting the stage for Giuliani’s pressure campaign on Ukraine that would become the basis for the impeachment inquiry.

The contacts are just the latest disclosures of Nunes’s quiet role in the origin of the Ukraine controversy. The Washington Post has previously reported that Nunes spoke with a Ukrainian Embassy official about his suspicions that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, a debunked conspiracy theory he continues to peddle. More recently, Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas — who was recently indicted and has signaled his willingness to flip on Giuliani and the president to impeachment investigators — claimed that Nunes met with corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2018. Shokin claimed that Biden orchestrated his firing because he was investigating a company with ties to his son Hunter Biden.

There has been no evidence to substantiate that claim.

Nunes has called the allegations that he met with Shokin false, but refused to comment further.

By: Rachael Bade

2:30 PM: House report hints at impeachment charges

The Democratic-led panel found that Trump “personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.” But the panel steered clear of recommending articles upon which the president should be impeached — though they dropped several big hints in their report.

The report lays out step-by-step how Trump sought to pressure Ukraine into publicly committing to conduct politically advantageous investigations, beginning with the ouster of a U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and culminating in the withholding of congressionally approved military aid. It follows with a chronological account of how Trump sought to keep Congress from conducting oversight of his doings, a list of all the top officials he prevented from participating in the impeachment inquiry, and his efforts to silence others who did come forward.

During the impeachment hearings, Schiff referred to how obstruction of Congress has been an article of impeachment in the past, and the report notes that witness intimidation is a crime. But the report is murkier when it comes to hinting at how the House may contend with their central conclusion: that Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.”

The report notes that Congress has the power to impeach a president for “treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” But the report does not employ the terms “treason” or “bribery” again, except in quoting or paraphrasing the statements Trump and Giuliani have made about the whistleblower and the Bidens.

By: Karoun Demirjian

1:55 PM: House panel’s report says Trump ‘compromised national security to advance his personal political interests’

The House Intelligence Committee report said Trump had “compromised national security to advance his personal political interests” in his dealings with Ukraine.

The committee also found that Trump “engaged in an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry.”

The panel will vote later today on forwarding the report to the House Judiciary Committee, which will consider articles of impeachment against Trump.

“To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary,” the report said in its findings.

Read the report here.

By: John Wagner

1:50 PM: Senate Republicans say Ukraine’s election meddling is on par with Russia’s

Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 election is similar to that of Russia and worth categorizing alongside the intrusive actions of adversary nations such as Iran, China and North Korea, several GOP senators now say.

“There’s no difference in the way Russia put their feet early-on on the scale, being for one candidate, and everybody called it meddling, and how the Ukrainian officials did it,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Tuesday, the second day in a row he had made such claims.

Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) was the first to say that he believed Ukraine’s meddling was on par with Russia’s — a claim he then appeared to recant halfway, before doubling down during a weekend television interview on NBC, stating that Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, “actively worked for Secretary Clinton.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who sits on the Intelligence Committee, said he saw evidence of Ukrainian “cheerleading” in 2016. When asked if it was equivalent to Russian meddling, he said, “No, no, no, no. But it was not insignificant.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) another member of the Intelligence Committee, struck a similar tone. “I don’t think anybody meddled like the Russians did, but there were other countries that did things: the Iranians, the Chinese, the Ukrainians,” he said.

Career State Department and intelligence officials have said there is no evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections.

By: Karoun Demirjian

1:30 PM: House Intelligence Committee releasing report ‘shortly’

The House Intelligence Committee is planning to release its report on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine “shortly,” according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the panel’s inner workings.

The committee is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. to vote on approving the report and forwarding it the House Judiciary Committee, which will weigh whether to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.

By: John Wagner

1:00 PM: McCarthy seeks to turn Nadler’s words against him

On the eve of the first Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sought to use the words of the panel’s chairman against him.

In a tweet, McCarthy shared a 2018 television clip of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) talking about the dangers of a “partisan impeachment.”

“2018 Jerry Nadler has a warning for 2019 Jerry Nadler,” McCarthy said in the tweet, which included a clip from a Nadler appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

In the clip, Nadler says an impeachment should move forward only if the evidence against the president is so compelling that “a good fraction of the opposition voters will reluctantly admit to themselves they had to do it.”

“Otherwise you have a partisan impeachment, which would tear the country apart,” Nadler says. “You don’t want to tear the country apart. You don’t want half the country to say to the other half for the next 30 years, ‘We won the election, you stole it from us.’ ”

By: John Wagner

11:30 AM: Romney says ‘no evidence’ that Ukraine interfered in U.S. elections

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) challenged the assertion from the White House and some of his GOP colleagues that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 election.

“I saw no evidence from our intelligence community, nor from the representatives today from the Department of State, that there is any evidence of any kind that suggests that Ukraine interfered in our elections,” Romney told reporters outside a Senate hearing. “We have ample evidence that Russia interfered in our elections.”

Romney, a longtime critic of Trump, had tweeted in October that Trump’s appeal to China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens was “wrong and appalling.”

But in a recent interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Romney said he wouldn’t comment on the impeachment inquiry, including whether the process is unfair as many other Republicans contend it is.

By: Colby Itkowitz

11:15 AM: Appeals court refuses to block House subpoena for Trump’s financial records

NEW YORK — A federal appeals court has sided with House Democrats seeking to obtain President Trump’s private financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, stating “the public interest favors denial of a preliminary injunction.”

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit came in the ongoing legal battle Trump has waged over access to his private business records — including two cases that have already reached the Supreme Court.

The New York-based appeals court upheld Congress’s broad investigative authority and ordered the two banks to comply with the House subpoenas for the president’s financial information. The case predates the public impeachment proceedings in the House.

Read more here.

By: Ann E. Marimow and Renae Merle

11:00 AM: Trump attacks Schiff as ‘a deranged human being’

Trump leveled fresh attacks against Schiff Tuesday as he fielded questions from reporters during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the NATO gathering in London.

“I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being,” Trump said. “I think he’s a very sick man.”

As he has before, Trump raised objections to Schiff’s opening statement during an Intelligence Committee hearing at which Schiff embellished the rough transcript of the July call in which Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

At the time, Schiff said he was relaying the essence of what Trump had said. He later said it was meant as a parody and that that should have been evident to Trump.

“This guy is sick. He made up the conversation,” Trump said Tuesday. “If he didn’t do that in the halls of Congress, he’d be thrown in a jail.”

In response to a question, Trump said he was preventing senior administration officials from testifying during the House impeachment inquiry because he sees the process as unfair. He said he would like to see them testify in a Senate trial if he is impeached.

Trump claimed that Democrats are setting a dangerously low bar for impeaching a president and cautioned about what could happen in the future.

“Somebody picked an orange out of a refrigerator, and you don’t like it, so let’s go and impeach him,” Trump said.

Trump also asserted that the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry has been good for Republican Party unity.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had the spirit right now that we have in the Republican Party, and the impeachment hoax is what’s done it,” Trump said.

Trump said Republicans are sticking together “like glue” in part because they see the push for impeachment as an attack on the GOP.

“Beyond me, it’s a way of trying to hurt the Republican Party,” he said, adding that, in his view, “the Democrats have gone crazy.”

By: John Wagner

10:50 AM: Schumer chides Republicans for claims of Ukraine interference

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) chided his Republican colleagues who in recent days have advanced a Trump-backed theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

“It is appalling that, in recent days, certain members on the other side of the aisle have repeated the lie invented by Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services that Ukraine was somehow involved in 2016 election interference,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor. “I have a simple message for my Republican colleagues: stop spreading Putin’s propaganda.”

Schumer argued that Republicans need to forcefully and unequivocally refute the lie that Ukraine had anything to do with election interference in 2016.”

By: John Wagner

10:45 AM: House Judiciary Republicans accuse Democrats of ‘irresponsible, reckless behavior’ ahead of new hearings

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) a day before the panel’s first impeachment hearing, reiterating their party’s widespread accusation that the investigation into Trump is a distraction from their legislative responsibilities.

The Republican lawmakers list areas such as immigration, gun violence, domestic terrorism, opioid addiction and election security as issues Democrats have ignored. Democrats have actually passed bills, including ones on voting rights, gun safety and immigrant protections — but along strictly partisan lines.

The GOP members wrote that Democrats “have utterly failed in their duty to the American people.”

“This has happened because Democrats, beholden to a radical base, are determined to impeach the president, no matter the cost and by any means necessary. This irresponsible, reckless behavior threatens to undermine the very credibility of this House,” they wrote.

The White House and the Republican Senate have lobbed similar criticisms of House Democrats’ priorities, though there was little evidence before the impeachment inquiry that there was an appetite on either side to work together on the big issues cited by the Republicans.

By: Colby Itkowitz

10:35 AM: No. 3 State Department official testifies that Ukraine did not interfere in 2016 election

David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, contradicted two common Trump talking points, telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was not a “hoax,” and that he has seen no evidence to suggest that Ukraine was guilty of interference in that election.

Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the panel, asked Hale whether he had any reason to disagree with testimony former White House national security expert Fiona Hill gave the House that the conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s interference “is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian Security Services themselves.”

Hale, the third-ranking State Department official, said he did not.

Menendez went on to point out that Trump has continued to press the Ukraine story line even though it was disputed by career diplomats and intelligence officials.

“Is our national security made stronger or weaker when members of the administration or members of Congress insist on repeating debunked Russian lies?” Menendez asked.

“That does not serve our interest,” Hale said.

By: Colby Itkowitz

10:30 AM: Jordan chides Democrats for planned hearing with law professors

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a staunch Trump ally, chided Democrats for planning to hold a Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday with four law professors testifying about the framework for impeachment.

“That seems a little backward to me,” said Jordan, who asserted that Democrats were already about “90 percent” of the way toward impeaching Trump.

Three of the professors scheduled to testify were invited by Democrats, while one was invited by a Republican.

During an appearance on Fox News, Jordan also said he guesses that the law professors being called by Democrats already favored impeachment before the July phone call with Zelensky that sparked the inquiry.

By: John Wagner

9:30 AM: Cipollone to lunch with Republican senators on Wednesday

White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone is expected to attend a lunch with a group of Republican senators on Wednesday to offer updates on impeachment strategy.

Cipollone has been meeting with a handful of GOP senators in recent weeks to start mapping out what a Senate trial would entail if Trump is impeached by the House.

“As part of an ongoing effort to keep Senate Republicans informed about White House thinking, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone will attend this Wednesday’s steering lunch,” said Conn Carroll, communications director to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who runs the Wednesday lunches, which are attended mostly by conservative members.

By: Seung Min Kim and John Wagner

9:00 AM: Jeffries offers pointed retort to Trump’s claim that Democrats are ‘unpatriotic’

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic caucus and an ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), offered a pointed retort Tuesday to Trump’s claim that Democrats are being “unpatriotic” by pursuing his impeachment while overseas.

“Unpatriotic?” Jeffries said in a tweet. “You are not a King. You are not the Chosen One. You are not the Supreme Leader. You are an EXISTENTIAL THREAT to our democracy who will be held accountable for your brazen #AbuseOfPower. Count. On. It.”

By: John Wagner

7:50 AM: Trump representative knocks Pelosi on trade

Republicans renewed attacks Tuesday on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for not taking up trade legislation sought by Trump, arguing that Democrats are too focused on impeachment to pass a measure that would boost the U.S. economy.

The legislation overhauling the U.S. trade relationship with Canada and Mexico is “sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk collecting dust,” said Pam Bondi, the former Florida state attorney general who was hired to work on impeachment-related messaging and other issues for Trump.

“They won’t do anything positive because they are dead set on taking out our great president, and we’re not going to let it happen,” Bondi said during an appearance on Fox News. “And yes, we are more unified than ever, our party.”

Pelosi said last week that she was awaiting final decisions from Trump’s U.S. trade representative after months of negotiations.

“We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers,” Pelosi said. “Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the trade representative for final review.”

By: John Wagner

7:45 AM: House Democrats release video capturing damaging testimony

House Democrats have released a video that captures the testimony most damaging to Trump from the two weeks of public hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

The video, which runs more than two and a half minutes and is set to dramatic music, opens with the words: “Two weeks of testimony. One story of betrayal.”

It features clips of several key witnesses. Among them:

●William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, who spoke about the withholding of U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

“To withhold that assistance for no good reason other than help with a political campaign made no sense,” Taylor says. “It was counterproductive to all of what we had been trying to do. It was illogical. It could not be explained. It was crazy.”

●Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a senior staff member of the National Security Council who listened in to Trump’s July call with Zelensky.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he says. “It was probably an element of shock, that maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out and how this was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”

●Sondland, who acknowledged a “quid pro quo.”

“Was there a quid pro quo with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting?” Sondland says. “The answer is yes. … Everyone was in the loop. … We followed the president’s orders.”

By: John Wagner

7:30 AM: How the Ukraine pressure campaign began as an effort to undercut the Mueller investigation

As 2018 came to a close, the special counsel investigation was bearing down on Trump.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had secured the cooperation of Trump’s one-time fixer, Michael Cohen, and appeared to be preparing to indict a longtime adviser, Roger Stone. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was in jail after pleading guilty to multiple felonies, and Mueller’s prosecutors were pressing him to explain why he had given 2016 polling data to an associate with alleged ties to Russian intelligence.

It was in this uncertain moment that Giuliani said he had the idea to focus on Ukraine. That November, he received a tip from a former colleague that it was the Ukrainians who had conspired to help Democrats in 2016, Giuliani said in recent interviews.

Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the special counsel probe eventually snowballed into the current impeachment crisis gripping the capital — highlighting how the pressure Trump and his allies put on Ukraine originated as an effort to sow doubts about the Russia investigation.

Read more here.

By: Rosalind S. Helderman

7:00 AM: Americans are split on impeachment, just as they were before the public hearings

Throughout more than two months of the Democrats’ House impeachment inquiry, two critical questions have loomed: How will the American public react to what it uncovers? And will it help or hurt Trump’s chances at reelection in 2020?

So far, four dozen national and state polls have been conducted since the inquiry was announced, and together they offer some clear answers.

Read more here.

By: Scott Clement and Emily Guskin

6:00 AM: House Intelligence panel poised to vote on Ukraine report

The House Intelligence Committee is poised to vote Tuesday night on its report on Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine, clearing the way for the Judiciary Committee to work on articles of impeachment based on the document.

The Intelligence Committee is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Members started reviewing the report on Monday night, opening a 24-hour window before the expected vote along party lines to approve the document. The report will be made public later Tuesday.

The Judiciary Committee has scheduled its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday morning. Four law professors — three chosen by Democrats and one by Republicans — are slated to testify on the “constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment.”

The three chosen by Democrats: Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford University professor Pamela S. Karlan and University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt. The one invited by Republicans: George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley.

During a television interview Monday night, Schiff said his panel will continue to investigate Trump after transmitting its report to Judiciary.

“That’s not the end of our investigation,” Schiff said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “So even while Judiciary does its work, we will continue investigating. We’re continuing to issue subpoenas. We’re continuing to learn new information. That work goes on, but we also feel a sense of urgency.”

By: John Wagner

5:30 AM: Trump calls Democrats ‘unpatriotic,’ dismisses possibility of censure

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump speaks during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House, London on Tuesday. © Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images President Trump speaks during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House, London on Tuesday.

LONDON — Trump on Tuesday called Democrats “very unpatriotic” for pursuing his impeachment while he is overseas meeting with other NATO leaders and dismissed the possibility of a congressional censure as an alternative to removal from office.

His latest comments on the impeachment inquiry came during a one-on-one meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, when Trump fielded questions from reporters for nearly an hour.

Asked if impeachment proceedings cast a cloud over his negotiations at the NATO summit, Trump lashed out at Democrats.

“I think it’s very unpatriotic for the Democrats to put on a performance where they do that,” he said. “I do. I think it’s a bad thing for our country. Impeachment wasn’t supposed to be used that way. … Does it cast a cloud? Well, if it does, then the Democrats have done a very great disservice to the country, which they have. They’ve wasted a lot of time.”

Trump also dismissed an idea that has been floated in Congress of censuring him for his conduct toward Ukraine rather than impeaching him.

“I heard about it,” Trump said. “Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment. So they want to go to censure. I don’t want them to go to censure. … I don’t mind being censured if you do something wrong. I did nothing wrong.”

He continued to insist that his July conversation with Zelensky, in which he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens, was “a great conversation.”

“It was flawless,” Trump said.

Trump claimed, without citing evidence, that many Democratic lawmakers have become “very upset” about the politics of impeachment perhaps playing against them.

He also predicted that a hotly anticipated Justice Department inspector general’s report about the investigation into Russian election interference would be “devastating.”

The report by inspector general Michael Horowitz, due to be released next week, has become a subject of discord inside the Justice Department, with Barr telling associates he disagrees with its finding that the FBI had sufficient basis in July 2016 to open its investigation into members of the Trump campaign.

Asked whether he agrees with Barr, Trump told reporters here Tuesday morning, “I just don’t know. I haven’t seen. I have purposefully stayed out of it.”

But Trump showered praise on Barr and his integrity. The president added that he has heard from “outside” sources that the report is “very powerful” and contains “a lot of devastating things.”

By: Philip Rucker and John Wagner


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