The House Intelligence Committee’s two weeks of public hearings put several GOP lawmakers in the spotlight, including the panel’s ranking Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.). A Democrat seeking to unseat Nunes next year said Wednesday that the high-profile hearings resulted in a massive infusion of cash to his campaign.

White House officials will spend their Thanksgiving weekend up against a Sunday deadline to decide whether to participate in a hearing next week by the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that will soon weigh whether to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Trump.

The committee is awaiting a report on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine that House investigators are pulling together based on public testimony and private depositions. The transcripts of the final two of those depositions were released Tuesday and revealed that two officials at the Office of Management and Budget resigned in part over concerns about the holdup in military assistance to Ukraine.

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 presidential election.

●Two Office of Management and Budget officials resigned in part over concerns about Ukraine aid hold, official testifies.

●The day of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president, minute-by-minute.

●As Trump cases arrive, Supreme Court’s desire to be seen as neutral arbiter will be tested.

●Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Trump’s debunked Ukraine conspiracy theory is worth looking into.

8:00 p.m.
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Nunes’s Democratic challenger says donations soared after impeachment hearings began

By Colby Itkowitz

Phil Arballo, a Latino business executive seeking the Democratic nomination to unseat Nunes in California’s 22nd Congressional District, said Wednesday he saw a huge spike in donations, social media followers and general interest in his campaign since the Intelligence Committee’s high-profile impeachment hearings began.

In those two weeks, Arballo said he received $310,000, nearly doubling his year-to-date fundraising. He also said he saw a 127 percent increase in signups on his website and saw his Twitter followers surge to 150,000.

Nunes, as ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, became the face of Trump’s defense during the hearings.

Arballo told The Washington Post that constituents in the district see Nunes as more concerned about Trump’s well-being than their own.

“We want to show people this is who he is now,” Arballo said. “It’s not as an active representative of the 22nd, it’s as a protector of this administration, its scandals and its corruption.”

Nunes’s district leans conservative, and he won his reelections by double digits until last year, when he beat his Democratic challenger by 5.5 percentage points, giving Democrats hope that it’s a seat that could be in reach.

“If he loses it’ll be because he’s his own worst enemy,” Arballo said. “He’s using the seat as a platform, he’s using it as a vehicle to spread his propaganda. It’s not about helping people in the district anymore. I think people see right through it.”

5:45 p.m.
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Giuliani was in talks to be paid by Ukrainian official helping to find damaging information on Democrats

By Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Matt Zapotosky

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani negotiated this year to represent Ukraine’s top prosecutor for at least $200,000 during the same months that Giuliani was working with the prosecutor to dig up dirt on Biden, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The people said that Giuliani began negotiations with Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, about a possible agreement in February. In the agreement, Giuliani’s company would receive payment to represent Lutsenko as the Ukrainian sought to recover assets he believed had been stolen from the government in Kyiv, those familiar with the discussions said.

The talks occurred as Giuliani met with Lutsenko in New York in January and then in Warsaw in February while he was also gathering information from Lutsenko on two topics Giuliani said could prove useful to Trump: the involvement of Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine, and allegations that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 election.

The agreements were never executed, and there is no indication that Giuliani was ultimately paid by Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials.

Read more here.

4:20 p.m.
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Justice Department asks that Donald McGahn not be compelled to testify pending appeal

By Spencer S. Hsu

The Justice Department formally asked an appeals court Wednesday to put on hold a ruling that would require former White House counsel Donald McGahn to testify in the House impeachment inquiry.

The Trump administration, which has appealed a lower-court ruling that McGahn must comply with a House subpoena, argued that he shouldn’t be compelled to participate in the investigation until the appeal process is completed.

“Only once before in our Nation’s history has an Article III court attempted to compel a close presidential advisor to appear and testify before Congress,” wrote Martin Totaro, an appellate attorney in the Justice Department civil division. “In that case … this Court not only granted a stay pending appeal but took the unusual step of publishing a precedential opinion granting the stay, explaining that the dispute was ‘of potentially great significance for the balance of power between the Legislative and Executive Branches’.”

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of Washington on Monday found no basis for a White House claim that McGahn is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony,” noting that “Presidents are not kings.” The ruling raised the possibility that McGahn could be forced to testify before the House Judiciary Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry.

Read more here.

3:55 p.m.
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Trump tweets doctored photo of his head on Sylvester Stallone’s body

By John Wagner

President Trump tweeted a doctored photo Wednesday that showed his head superimposed on the body of the actor Sylvester Stallone, who was shirtless and wearing boxing attire. The image appeared to have been taken from promotional materials for “Rocky III,” one in a series of movies focused on the boxing career of the fictional Rocky Balboa, which debuted in 1982.

It was not clear what inspired Trump’s tweet. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The picture may be a nod to remarks Trump made about his physique during a rally Tuesday night in Florida, when he critized the recent speculation surrounding an unscheduled trip he made to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Nov. 16.

“It’s very sad. So then instead they brought it down a notch; they said he went into the hospital and it’s true I didn’t wear a tie. Why would I wear a tie if the first thing they do is say, ‘Take off your shirt, sir, and show us that gorgeous chest?’ It’s true. ‘Show — we want to see, sir. We’ve never seen a chest quite like it,’” Trump told the crowd. “No, but seriously why would I put on — I mean I put the tie on and then we’re there in 20 minutes I take it off for the physical, but they said he wasn’t wearing a tie, which is pretty unusual for me honestly. I should have worn the tie, maybe it’s not their fault. But we never apologize. But they said he wasn’t wearing a tie; this is a sign of a massive heart attack.”

3:30 p.m.
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U.S. judge postpones sentencing for Michael Flynn pending Justice Department watchdog report on origins of Russia probe

By Spencer S. Hsu

A federal judge postponed sentencing indefinitely for Michael T. Flynn on Wednesday after prosecutors and the defense jointly asked for a delay until after the Justice Department’s internal watchdog issues a report Dec. 9 on the handling of the FBI’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016.

Sentencing for Trump’s former national security adviser had been set for Dec. 18, and federal prosecutors were scheduled to notify the court Monday about whether they would reverse their recommendation of probation and instead ask for prison time for the retired three-star Army general.

However, both sides said Tuesday night that they expect that a forthcoming report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz “will examine several topics related” to a request by Flynn’s defense team to find prosecutors in contempt for alleged misconduct.

Flynn has accused prosecutors of withholding evidence and sought to compel the government to turn over further documents, if they exist, asserting that he was duped into lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador after the 2016 U.S. election.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington vacated the Dec. 18 sentencing hearing and suspended further briefing until the court orders.

The Washington Post reported last week that the inspector general is expected to find in the report that political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI investigation, while at the same time criticizing the bureau for systemic failures in its handling of surveillance applications.

Flynn pleaded guilty two years ago to lying to investigators. He has since changed his legal team, and while his current attorneys accuse the government of “outrageous misconduct” warranting dismissal of the charges, they have not formally moved to toss out his case or undo the plea agreement he reached with prosecutors.

Flynn, 60, pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2017, to lying to the FBI about contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, becoming one of the first Trump associates to cooperate and the highest-ranking official charged in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

3:10 p.m.
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Gingrich says House Republicans used a ‘radically different’ standard during Clinton impeachment

By John Wagner

Newt Gingrich, who served as House speaker during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, asserted Wednesday that Republicans used a “radically different” standard than Democrats are using now in proceedings targeting Trump.

During an interview on Fox News, the Georgia Republican pointed to a report by independent counsel Kenneth Starr that made a case for impeaching Clinton on 11 grounds, including perjury and obstruction of justice.

“When we impeached Bill Clinton, we started with an independent counsel report,” Gingrich said. “The difference in the standard between this circus … and what we did in response to a genuine report by an independent counsel, they’re just radically different.”

Gingrich also accused House Democrats of conducting a “one-sided” inquiry against Trump, which he said “virtually guarantees that no Republican in the House or the Senate is going to vote to impeach.”

2:55 p.m.
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Trump arrives at his golf club in West Palm Beach

By John Wagner

Ahead of what is expected to be a pivotal week in the impeachment inquiry, Trump has arrived at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he is expected to spend part of the day playing golf.

Trump is scheduled to be in Florida through the weekend.

2:05 p.m.
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Grisham says White House reviewing Nadler letter

By John Wagner

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday that officials are “currently reviewing” a letter from House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) inviting a lawyer for Trump to participate in next week’s hearing.

“[W]hat is obvious to every American is that this letter comes at the end of an illegitimate sham partisan process,” Grisham said in a statement. “The President has done nothing wrong and the Democrats know it.”

2:00 p.m.
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Twitter suspends accounts impersonating Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill

By Cat Zakrzewski

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former National Security Council Russia expert Fiona Hill were key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump misused his office for personal political gain.

And some Internet users believed they had more to say on Twitter when accounts with handles matching their names popped up in the aftermath of their publicly televised testimony. But the accounts were fakes.

Twitter moved Monday night to suspend the accounts named @FionaHillPhd and @LtColVindman, the social media service confirmed to The Washington Post, but only after they had amassed thousands of followers in the wake of the real witnesses’ blockbuster Capitol Hill testimony. Users were widely retweeting those handles, seemingly under the impression the real Hill and Vindman were writing the missives.

Hill and Vindman don’t actually have Twitter accounts — and their legal teams raced to set the record straight and ensure that Twitter took swift action against the false accounts.

Read more here.

1:15 p.m.
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Meadows argues that impeachment impedes legislating

By John Wagner

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a staunch Trump ally, pushed a Republican argument Wednesday that impeachment is impeding progress on “the things that the American people care about.”

During an appearance on Fox News, Meadows said legislation on transportation was a prime example.

“The next time you hit a pothole, you can say, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. I’ve got a subpoena from the Democrats,’ ” Meadows said.

House Democrats counter that they have passed a slew of legislation that the Republican-led Senate has declined to consider.

12:50 p.m.
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Blumenthal says GOP defense of Trump is ‘reprehensible’

By John Wagner

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) chided his Republican colleagues Wednesday for continuing to defend Trump and warned that “history will haunt them” if they don’t vote to convict him in a Senate trial.

“They’re continuing to defend the president, and what I find so reprehensible, really, is that they will have to eventually face the facts, and we have a responsibility here that is bigger than any one of us,” Blumenthal said during an interview on CNN. “This is a vote and a process that will be for the history books. History will haunt them, and history would haunt us if we failed to pursue this impeachment proceeding.”

Blumenthal also decried Republicans who have given credence to “crazy conspiracy theories” pushed by Trump about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election.

Blumenthal called that “dangerous to our national security” because it gives “additional cover” to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin for his country’s interference.

12:45 p.m.
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RNC chairwoman claims broad support for investigating the Bidens

By John Wagner

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel claimed Wednesday that Republican polling data shows wide support for investigating the Bidens.

“Since Democrats are so obsessed with investigations, that’s one the public would actually support!” she said in a morning tweet.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) has said his panel will look into Hunter Biden’s service on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president. Democrats have called that a distraction from Trump’s conduct.

12:40 p.m.
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Top Republican on Judiciary says next week’s hearing is a ‘joke’

By John Wagner

Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, argued Wednesday that the panel’s hearing next week will not be fair to Trump.

In a morning tweet, Collins said the committee should hear testimony from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who presided over two weeks of public hearings, rather than from legal scholars.

“For Democrats to claim next week’s hearing gives @realDonaldTrump a chance to defend himself is a joke,” Collins tweeted. “Instead of bringing in Adam B. Schiff under oath, we are bringing in academics whose minds are already set against POTUS to give their opinion on this sham impeachment.”

12:30 p.m.
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White House weighs whether to participate in Judiciary proceedings

By John Wagner

The White House is weighing whether to participate in next week’s impeachment hearing by the House Judiciary Committee, which has been billed as “an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment.”

In a letter sent to Trump on Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) gave the White House a deadline of 6 p.m. Sunday to let him know if Trump or a lawyer representing him plans to appear at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

“I write to ask if … you and your counsel plan to attend the hearing or make a request to question the witness panel,” Nadler wrote, adding that he is “committed to ensuring a fair and informative process.”

Nadler’s letter also asks that Trump let him know by Sunday who will act as his lawyer during Judiciary Committee proceedings.

Nadler’s committee is preparing to take the baton from the House Intelligence Committee, which held two weeks of public hearings. That panel, chaired by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), is preparing a report that will help inform the Judiciary Committee as it weighs articles of impeachment against Trump in coming weeks.

In his letter to Trump, Nadler said Wednesday’s hearing will “serve as an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment, as well as the Framers’ intent and understanding of terms like ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ ”

“We will also discuss whether your alleged actions warrant the House’s exercising its authority to adopt articles of impeachment,” he added.