President Trump also complained about a lack of “transparency” in the accelerating inquiry as George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, met with lawmakers. Kent testified about a campaign by Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, to pressure Ukraine into investigating the president’s political rival, former vice president and 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.
In a television interview that aired Tuesday, Hunter Biden conceded that it might have been a mistake to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president, but insisted that he did not have an “ethical lapse.”
House Democrats huddled behind closed doors later Tuesday about the status of the inquiry.
● Trump’s ex-Russia adviser told impeachment investigators of Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine.
● “Disruptive diplomat” Gordon Sondland, a key figure in Trump impeachment furor, long coveted ambassadorship.
● House Democrats express greater confidence about impeachment showdown with Trump.
7:35 p.m.: Giuliani’s action can be viewed as obstruction of justice
An official working on the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry gave this statement in response to Giuliani’s refusal on Tuesday to comply with the investigation.
“Witnesses do not get to choose whether to comply with a duly-authorized subpoena, or to pick their investigators — not in the justice system, not in the Congress, and not in our democracy. If Rudy Giuliani and the President truly have nothing to hide about their actions, Giuliani will comply — otherwise, we will be forced to consider this as additional evidence of obstruction, and may infer that the evidence withheld would substantiate the accusations of President Trump’s misconduct and efforts to cover it up. Nobody is above the law, not a president, and not his shadow envoy to Ukraine.”
7:30 p.m.: House will not hold vote on impeachment inquiry, Pelosi says
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) continued to push back against calls by Trump and Republicans for the House to hold a vote formally opening an impeachment inquiry.
“There’s no requirement that we have a vote, and at this time, we will not be having a vote,” Pelosi said at an evening news conference after the House Democratic caucus meeting.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters that Republicans are calling for a vote because “they don’t want to discuss the president’s conduct; they would much rather discuss process.”
Schiff also commented on reports that the Defense Department will not comply with a congressional subpoena, saying “we must presume” that Trump instructed the department to defy the subpoena.
“The case for obstruction of Congress continues to build,” Schiff said, adding that nonetheless, investigators “are nonetheless continuing to get good and important information from these courageous witnesses.”
7:00 p.m.: ‘Three amigos’ were appointed to run Ukraine policy
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney organized a meeting this spring in which officials determined to take Ukraine policy out of the traditional channels, putting Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker in charge of it instead, Kent told lawmakers Tuesday.
Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, told House investigators that he was told to “lay low” and defer to the trio, who called themselves the “three amigos,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told reporters Tuesday.
— Paul Kane and Karoun Demirjian
6:30 p.m.: Sessions subpoenaed in New York over contacts with Giuliani, associates
A federal grand jury in New York has issued a subpoena to Sessions seeking records and other information on his interactions with Giuliani and two Giuliani associates charged last week with a scheme to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
The subpoena seeks records about Sessions’s dealings with Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who had been helping Giuliani investigate Biden.
Parnas and Fruman were charged this week with violating campaign finance law in an ongoing investigation that has ensnared the president’s personal lawyer because of his relationship with the two men.
— Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett
6:15 p.m.: Pence will not cooperate with impeachment inquiry
Matt Morgan, an attorney for Pence, said in a letter to the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight and Reform committees that the vice president will not comply with the impeachment probe, calling the House Democratic effort a “self-proclaimed” and “purported” inquiry that “calls into question your commitment to fundamental fairness and due process rights.”
“The Office of the Vice President recognizes the oversight role of your respective committees in Congress,” Morgan wrote. “Please know that if the Committees wish to return to the regular order of legitimate legislative oversight requests, and the Committees have appropriate requests for information solely in the custody of the Office of the Vice President, we are prepared to work with you in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections and a respect for the separation of powers.”
Until that time, Morgan added, Pence’s office “will continue to reserve all rights and privileges that may apply, including those protecting executive privileges, national security, attorney-client communications, deliberations, and communications among the President, the Vice President, and their advisors.”
5:50 p.m.: Pelosi’s talking points for Democrats: Trump endangered national security, undermined elections and abused his power
As House Democrats head to a caucuswide meeting Tuesday night, Pelosi’s office has distributed new talking points to members.
Among the messages: Trump has endangered U.S. national security, is undermining the country’s elections and has abused the power of his office.
Democrats are also arguing that “no one is above the law” — a point Pelosi (D-Calif.) has frequently made when discussing the impeachment inquiry.
Pelosi is expected to address reporters at 6:30 p.m. after the House Democratic meeting concludes.
— Jacqueline Alemany
5:25 p.m.: Perry defends Trump’s communications with Ukraine
In an exchange with reporters before a meeting at the Capitol, Perry defended Trump’s communications with Ukraine.
“I was involved in that more than anybody,” Perry said. “And I never saw or heard anything that was untoward — not by the president, not by anybody.”
During their July phone call, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into Biden. Trump later said that Perry had asked him to make the call; Perry told reporters that he did it so that the two could talk about energy issues.
House Democrats have subpoenaed Perry as part of their impeachment inquiry. Perry declined to say Tuesday whether he will comply by the Oct. 18 deadline, saying only, “We will address it as the White House deems appropriate.”
He also declined to speculate on whether Giuliani has been helping or hurting Trump.
“I don’t know; you’d have to ask Mr. Giuliani,” he said.
— Paul Kane
4:30 p.m.: Giuliani confirms he won’t comply with House impeachment probe
Giuliani tweeted the official letter from his attorney, Jon Sale, a Miami lawyer and one-time law school classmate of Giuliani, to counsel for the House committee overseeing the impeachment probe that says the former mayor won’t comply with congressional subpoenas.
“I will not participate in an illegitimate, unconstitutional, and baseless ‘impeachment inquiry,’ ” Giuliani wrote in a tweet.
Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney, also confirmed that Sale was no longer representing him and that he’d only retained him “for the sole purpose of analyzing the request and responding.”
Giuliani added, “At this time, I do not need a lawyer.”
4:10 p.m.: Democrats blast Giuliani for defying subpoena
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) tweeted that the House should hold Giuliani in contempt.
“Take it from a real lawyer, subpoenas aren’t optional. The House should hold Rudy in contempt,” she tweeted.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) argued that in light of the Giuliani news, “it’s time for Congress to dust off our inherent contempt power.”
“If one of trump’s toadies wants to flout a subpoena, let them face jail time and/or hefty daily fines until they comply with the law,” Pascrell said in a tweet.
And Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Tex.), who serves on the Judiciary Committee, tweeted that “@RudyGiuliani, no one is above the law. Not you, not @realDonaldTrump. We’ll continue to hold each and every one of you accountable. The integrity of our elections, our national security, and our democracy depend on it. #TruthExposed”
4 p.m.: Lawyer says Giuliani will not comply with congressional subpoena
“Please accept this response as formal notice that Mr. Giuliani will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate ‘impeachment inquiry’,” Sale said in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee counsel.
Sale told The Washington Post earlier Tuesday that he sent the response to congressional committees and is no longer representing the former mayor.
In the letter, Sale said that Giuliani agrees with the reasons White House counsel Pat Cipollone laid out earlier this month in explaining that the White House would not cooperate with Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“In addition, the subpoena is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry,” Sale said. “Moreover, documents sought in the subpoena are protected by attorney-client, attorney work-product, and executive privileges.”
— Jacqueline Alemany
3:45 p.m.: McConnell opens Senate with condemnation of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry
After a two-week break away from Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used his opening remarks on the Senate floor to discredit the impeachment inquiry against Trump as an “obsession” of House Democrats who will not proceed fairly.
“Even by their own partisan standards, House Democrats have already found new ways to lower the bar,” McConnell said. “This is about the most consequential process the House of Representatives could possibly engage in, overruling American voters and nullifying an election.”
McConnell went on to mimic complaints from House Republicans that they are not given subpoena powers and that Trump’s attorneys are not invited to participate in the hearings.
In 2015, the Republicans changed the rules to take away subpoena rights from the minority party. Also, the House’s proceedings are not a trial. Trump’s counsel would have a chance to present evidence and cross examine witnesses if it moves to a Senate trial.
Still, McConnell accused Democrats of maintaining a partisan double standard when it comes to constitutional fair play.
“For all the public hyperventilating over institutional norms that we’ve heard from House Democrats in recent years, it appears they have no intention of letting norms, precedents, or basic due process stand in the way as they seek to cancel out a presidency.”
3 p.m.: Giuliani drops lawyer who was representing him on impeachment matters
John Sale is no longer representing the former mayor, Sale said in an interview.
Sale said that Giuliani had asked him to help compose Giuliani’s response to a congressional subpoena that sought documents and testimony from Giuliani about his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigation the Bidens. Sale said he sent congressional committees a response to the subpoena Tuesday but declined to outline its contents.
With that task complete, Sale said he was returning to a busy legal practice and had ended his work for Giuliani. “There is no split between us at all,” Sale said. “I’m still very supportive of him.”
In addition to congressional inquiries, federal prosecutors are also examining Giuliani’s interactions with Parnas and Fruman. The two were assisting Giuliani in his work in Ukraine. Giuliani has said he is not aware of any criminal investigation of his activities. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Sale’s departure.
— Rosalind S. Helderman
2:45 p.m.: Democratic leaders reach out to members about impeachment
As House Democrats returned from a two-week recess Tuesday, party leaders began reaching out to lawmakers who have been on the fence about impeachment, asking if they would support a formal vote launching an impeachment inquiry, according to two Democratic aides.
The effort is being led by Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), and no decision has been made on whether to schedule a vote, said the aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations. One aide said the outreach, first reported by Politico, was a matter of “getting a read on where these members are” following the recess.
House Speaker Nancy (D-Calif.) has refrained from calling a formal vote launching an impeachment inquiry — a step that was taken in the impeachment proceedings targeting presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton but is not strictly necessary under the Constitution, federal law or House rules. The lack of an authorizing vote, however, has fueled Republican attacks on the fairness of the process.
Several Democratic lawmakers have suggested that the House schedule a vote to defuse that criticism, but others are wary of bowing to Republican pressure on the issue — noting that Trump’s defenders will simply move on to criticize other aspects of the probe. Some aides are also reticent to change course after House lawyers who are seeking access to grand jury records generated by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III recently argued to a federal judge that a formal vote is not necessary for the House to enjoy the full legal rights it is afforded in an impeachment proceeding.
— Mike DeBonis
1 p.m.: Several Democrats push to keep the story line focused
Several Democrats sought to keep the story line of the impeachment inquiry focused Tuesday as the number of witnesses continued to grow.
“The question is simple: is it acceptable for a President to pressure a foreign government and undermine our elections?” tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). “I say no, and that is why I support impeachment. @HouseDemocrats will hold this president accountable.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), meanwhile, appeared in a new video distributed by the liberal group CAP Action seeking to bolster support for the inquiry.
“Republicans want you to believe that the facts around the impeachment inquiry are complicated. But they’re not,” Murphy says in the minute-long video. “The president of the United States tried to get a foreign country to do his political bidding, and he admitted it in plain sight.”
11:35 a.m.: Trump points to household income, employment numbers
Trump suggested that rising household income and employment numbers should be considered amid the effort to impeach him.
“Just out: MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IS AT THE HIGHEST POINT EVER, EVER, EVER!” he tweeted. “How about saying it this way, IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY! Also, MORE PEOPLE WORKING TODAY IN THE USA THAN AT ANY TIME IN HISTORY! Tough numbers for the Radical Left Democrats to beat! Impeach the Pres.”
The U.S. Census Bureau announced last month that median household income was $63,179 in 2018, not statistically different from the 2017 median, following three consecutive years of annual increases.
11:15 a.m.: Trump takes aim at Bidens in a late-morning tweet
Trump took aim at Hunter Biden hours after his interview aired on “Good Morning America” and suggested that it would negatively impact his father’s 2020 Democratic presidential bid.
“Hunter Biden was really bad on @GMA. Now Sleepy Joe has real problems!” Trump wrote in a tweet that also referenced his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the controversy over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
“Reminds me of Crooked Hillary and her 33,000 deleted Emails, not recoverable!” Trump said.
11 a.m.: Attention turns to Bolton after former aide told impeachment probe he fought Giuliani’s shadow operation in Ukraine
The House’s impeachment inquiry is turning attention toward former national security adviser John Bolton, after a former top aide delivered explosive testimony Monday describing how he was infuriated by a shadow operation being conducted by the president’s allies and his lawyer in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the president’s political rivals.
Fiona Hill, who was the National Security Council’s top Russia and Europe adviser under Bolton, told investigators that Bolton likened Giuliani, a driving force behind the efforts, to a “hand grenade,” according to two people familiar with her testimony.
Hill also testified that Bolton wanted to make clear that he was not involved and very opposed to the “drug deal” between Mulvaney and Sondland, who were also involved in the effort, the people said.
Some lawmakers and aides are already talking privately about the need to call Bolton to testify, though they deferred to Schiff and Pelosi on next steps.
— Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade
10:45 a.m.: Kent is appearing under subpoena
Kent was subpoenaed to appear Tuesday morning after an attempt by the State Department, in coordination with the White House, to block his testimony, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door session, said Kent is complying with the subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers and staff.
10:15 a.m.: Former Pompeo adviser set to testify Wednesday
Michael McKinley, the former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, will testify before House investigators leading the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday morning, according to people familiar with the decision.
McKinley resigned last week amid worsening morale at the State Department and widespread concern that Pompeo has done little to defend diplomats who became ensnared in efforts by Trump to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
McKinley will come to the Hill with an intimate understanding of how Pompeo wielded power in the highest echelons of the State Department, given his proximity to the top diplomat on his many trips abroad.
The format for the testimony is a “transcribed interview,” said a congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public, which places fewer restrictions on the interview process than in a formal deposition.
McKinley is one of several current and former State Department officials who have defied White House orders to avoid testifying before House investigators. On Tuesday morning, Kent arrived on Capitol Hill to testify. On Thursday, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, is scheduled to appear.
— John Hudson
10 a.m.: Giuliani was paid $500,000 by company founded by an arrested associate
Giuliani was paid $500,000 last year by a company founded by one of two men arrested last week and charged with campaign finance violations.
Giuliani told The Washington Post late Monday that he was confident that the money he received for work conducted on behalf of the Florida-based business called Fraud Guarantee and its owner Lev Parnas was legitimate and originated in the United States.
“I know exactly where the money came from. I knew it at the time,” he said. “I will prove beyond any doubt it came from the United States of America.”
Giuliani had previously said he worked for Fraud Guarantee in 2018 and 2019 but had not confirmed how much he was paid, a figure that was first reported by Reuters. The payment means Giuliani’s firm was making $500,000 from Parnas just as Giuliani began working closely with Parnas and a business partner, Igor Fruman, to dig up dirt on Democrats in Ukraine.
The information the three men collected prompted Trump to press Zelensky to investigate Biden, prompting the Trump impeachment inquiry by the House.
— Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman
9:45 a.m.: Trump complains about lack of ‘transparency’ in proceedings
President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to complain that witnesses in the impeachment inquiry are being deposed behind closed doors.
“Democrats are allowing no transparency at the Witch Hunt hearings,” Trump tweeted. “If Republicans ever did this they would be excoriated by the Fake News. Let the facts come out from the charade of people, most of whom I do not know, they are interviewing for 9 hours each, not selective leaks.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) has said that transcripts of depositions will be released and that some witnesses may be called back to testify publicly.
Democrats argue that private depositions are advantageous because it is harder for witnesses to coordinate their accounts.
9:40 a.m.: Kent arrives at Capitol ahead of scheduled testimony
Kent made no comment to reporters as he arrived at the Capitol. He has been summoned to testify about a campaign by Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.
9:10 a.m.: Zeldin claims coverage of depositions are based on ‘cherry-picked leaks’
Republicans renewed complaints Tuesday morning about depositions being held behind closed doors and again called for opening the process to the public.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said that media coverage of what occurred Monday was based on “cherry-picked leaks” by Democrats and that House investigators should “at least release the transcripts” of those being deposed.
Appearing on Fox News, Zeldin also took aim at Schiff (D-Calif.).
“Adam Schiff is making it up every single morning as he goes along,” Zeldin said. “There are no rules.”
During an appearance Monday night in New York, Schiff said lawmakers “are going to be releasing all of these transcripts” of the depositions.
He said some witnesses who have testified behind closed doors may be brought back for an open hearing.
8:45 a.m.: Sean Spicer says scrutiny of Hunter Biden is justified
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that scrutiny of Hunter Biden’s business dealings is justified, citing the scrutiny that the business dealings of Trump’s children has received.
“We’ve seen the scrutiny with the Trump family and all of their business dealings. If it’s fair for the Trumps, it’s fair for the Bidens,” Spicer said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” that focused mostly on his tenure as a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“This is politics. This is fair game,” Spicer added.
Spicer said he sees a “big difference” between the business activities of the Trump children and the service of Hunter Biden on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
“There’s no expertise in the field,” Spicer said. “There’s nothing except for your last name, and frankly, not just your last name, but your connection to the sitting vice president, who’s overseeing the policy in that country.”
8 a.m.: Top State Department official expected to face questions about Ukraine and Giuliani
Kent is expected to testify Tuesday morning in the House impeachment inquiry of Trump. He is a key witness on whether Giuliani tried to push out the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
The longtime Foreign Service official has been summoned for a deposition in the investigation, with Democrats expected to question him behind closed doors about a campaign by Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into investigating Biden and his son.
A lawyer for Kent did not respond to emails asking whether he intended to answer the summons — though Democrats were ready to subpoena him if he did not.
Giuliani accused Yovanovitch and Kent, formerly the No. 2 ranking diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, of trying to protect the Bidens from an investigation by Ukrainian prosecutors. Yovanovitch adamantly pushed back on those accusations during testimony before investigators on Friday. Kent also is likely to be asked about those assertions.
— Rachael Bade
7:30 a.m.: Bolton declines comment on testimony that he was alarmed by Giuliani
John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, declined to comment Tuesday on reports that Fiona Hill, the White House’s former top Russia adviser, told impeachment investigators Monday that he was alarmed by Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine.
Hill testified behind closed doors Monday that Bolton was furious over Giuliani’s politically motivated activities in Ukraine, according to two officials familiar with her testimony. She recounted how Bolton likened the former New York mayor to a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” one of these people said, after Bolton learned about Giuliani’s Ukraine campaign.
House investigators are now considering summoning Bolton, who was Hill’s direct superior at the National Security Council, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door deliberations.
— Anne Gearan
7:25 a.m.: George Conway pushes back on Republican demands to hear from whistleblower
George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, pushed back against Trump and fellow Republicans who have expressed alarm in recent days that Democrats may not seek testimony from the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.
“Someone calls 911 because they hear shots down the street at the bank,” tweeted Conway, a conservative lawyer and frequent Trump critic. “The cops show up at the bank, and, sure enough, it’s been robbed, and there are numerous witnesses there who saw the crime. The suspects confess. Normally, at this point, no one cares about who called 911.”
7:15 a.m.: RNC highlights effort aimed at House Democrats in swing districts
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel highlighted the RNC’s expanded efforts to target Democrats in swing districts for their support of the impeachment inquiry.
“Democrats in Congress are hiding their baseless impeachment ‘hearings’ behind closed doors, but they can’t hide from their constituents!” McDaniel wrote in a tweet that included a link to a Washington Examiner piece detailing a $2.3 million RNC effort that includes online ads with a “Stop the Madness” theme targeting 30 House Democrats.
7:10 a.m.: Jordan takes aim at Hunter Biden
As ABC was airing its Hunter Biden interview, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a key Trump ally, appeared on Fox News, where he criticized Biden’s tenure on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president.
“This wasn’t fair. This wasn’t proper. This wasn’t right,” Jordan says. “We just know that this stuff smells.”
Jordan also took issue with Hunter Biden’s assessment in the interview about whether he would have been offered the position on the board of Burisma Holdings if his last name weren’t Biden.
Hunter Biden told ABC “probably not.”
“Not probably not, definitely not,” said Jordan, who went on to criticize the Democratic-led impeachment proceedings as “an all-out attack on the president.”
6:30 a.m.: Hunter Biden concedes mistake but not an ‘ethical lapse’
Hunter Biden conceded in a television interview that aired Tuesday that it might have been a mistake to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president, but he insisted that he did not have an “ethical lapse.”
“Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah,” Biden said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” referring to the fallout from his service. “But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.”
Hunter Biden, whose tenure on the company, Burisma Holdings, began in 2014, said he didn’t foresee that his work would become central to a political controversy. Trump and Giuliani have pressed the idea that Joe Biden’s efforts as vice president to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor was tied to the fact that he had examined the company.
“What I regret is not taking into account that there would be a Rudy Giuliani and a president of the United States that would be listening to this, this ridiculous conspiracy idea, which has … been completely debunked by everyone,” Hunter Biden said.
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,” he added.
6 a.m.: Democrats to huddle Tuesday night on status of inquiry
Coming off a two-week recess, House Democrats plan to huddle at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the status of the impeachment inquiry, according to a Democratic aide.
It’s been three weeks since House Speaker Nancy (D-Calif.) announced the launch of the formal inquiry. While most lawmakers headed home for the recess, some with key roles in the process have spent time in Washington, along with committee staff.
The Democratic aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to share plans that have not been publicly announced.