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

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

The report also hints strongly at charges of obstruction of justice, among other crimes, but does not recommend specific articles of impeachment.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.December 3, 2019 at 7:00 PM ESTMcCarthy 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 6:50 PM ESTHouse Intelligence Committee sends report on Trump and Ukraine to judiciary panelThe 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 5:30 PM ESTObama administration ethics lawyer expected to question experts during Judiciary Committee hearingNorman 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 5:00 PM ESTCall records show Giuliani calling White House and mystery number amid August pressure campaign on UkraineRecords 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 HudsonDecember 3, 2019 at 4:45 PM ESTGiuliani called White House repeatedly on day American ambassador was removedGiuliani 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 MillerDecember 3, 2019 at 4:30 PM ESTReport says Giuliani spoke with former Nunes staffer at White HouseThe 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 SonneDecember 3, 2019 at 4:20 PM ESTHoyer 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 4:15 PM ESTScavino 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 4:05 PM ESTParnas attorney says client could ‘fill in the blanks’ of tantalizing trail left by phone recordsAfter 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 ZapotoskyDecember 3, 2019 at 4:00 PM ESTPhone records show Giuliani may have talked to Trump, Hannity on day Biden declared candidacyThe 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. HeldermanDecember 3, 2019 at 3:45 PM ESTAfter Intelligence panel vote, counsel will deliver report to Judiciary in coming weekThe 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 3:40 PM ESTSchiff 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 3:30 PM ESTSchiff says phone records show ‘considerable coordination’ with White HouseAt 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 SonmezDecember 3, 2019 at 3:10 PM ESTThe 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 ZapotoskyDecember 3, 2019 at 3:00 PM ESTTrump’s failure to cooperate in inquiry is unprecedented in U.S. historyThe 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 HamburgerDecember 3, 2019 at 2:55 PM ESTHouse Democrats see strong case for charging Trump with obstructionWhile 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 DeBonisDecember 3, 2019 at 2:50 PM ESTWhy so fast? Democrats feared more meddling in 2020.House Intelligence Committee Democrats pledged to conti
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