Democrats have planned two closed-door depositions this week, including one Tuesday from Bill Taylor, the top official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. In text messages with other U.S. diplomats, Taylor raised alarms about the White House holding back military aid to Ukraine and pressing for investigations into the 2016 U.S. election and an energy company that employed former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
●Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney continues to back away from a quid pro quo, as a top diplomat defends Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani’s role in Ukraine.
9 p.m.: Trump calls Schiff a ‘corrupt politician’ and suggests impeachment could benefit the GOP
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday night, Trump reiterated many of his own talking points in regards to the impeachment inquiry, namely that his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect.”
“You know, it’s one thing if you commit a real crime. This was a conversation. It wasn’t even a big deal. Hey, how you doing, blah, blah, blah. This is a conversation. It was so perfect. But people say, it’s like a perfect conversation,” he told Hannity. “[Impeachment] really means a high crime and misdemeanor.”
He went on to slam Schiff — who paraphrased a rough transcript of the call last month, prompting a failed Republican resolution to censure the California Democrat for his overall handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Trump called Schiff a “corrupt politician” and suggested that his being impeached could benefit the Republican Party.
“They should not allow this, with that it’s possibly going to help, you know, from the standpoint of winning the election. I don’t know,” Trump said. “They say it’s going to help a lot with respect to winning the House back, but it’s not the right thing.”
8 p.m.: House asks judge to toss Trump lawsuit to shield his N.Y. state tax returns from lawmakers
The House on Monday asked a U.S. judge to dismiss a lawsuit by President Trump that seeks to prevent lawmakers from requesting his New York state tax returns, arguing that no U.S. court has ever barred Congress from even considering an action before it has decided to act.
The filing came in Washington after Trump sued as a private citizen to stop the House Ways and Means Committee from using a recently enacted New York law to obtain his state tax records.
While Trump’s attorneys acknowledged the committee has not yet requested the records, they argue that without an emergency court order, if the president waited until lawmakers moved, his returns might be disclosed before his claim could be heard in court.
7 p.m.: House rejects Republican resolution to censure Schiff for handling of the impeachment inquiry of Trump
The House on Monday voted along party lines to table a Republican resolution to censure Adam Schiff for his handling of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The final vote was 218-185, with Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) voting with Democrats to reject the resolution.
The measure, backed by 173 Republicans and introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), specifically took issue with Schiff’s remarks at a Sept. 26 hearing, in which he paraphrased a rough transcript of a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump has repeatedly characterized the call — in which he urged Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens — as “perfect” and attacked Schiff for embellishing the transcript. Schiff later say his remarks were intended as a parody.
The president called Schiff a “crooked politician” during his Monday Cabinet meeting and said, without evidence, that Schiff might have been an informant to the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.
“So was there actually an informant?” Trump asked. “Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff.”
During his Cabinet meeting, Trump also said Republicans need to “get tougher and fight” against the impeachment inquiry.
In a tweet after the vote, Schiff took direct aim at House Republicans:
“It will be said of House Republicans, when they found they lacked the courage to confront the most dangerous and unethical president in American history, they consoled themselves by attacking those who did,” he wrote.
Pelosi, in a statement, praised Schiff and said he “stands in stark contrast to Republicans in the Congress who cover up the truth, look the other way when the President invites foreign governments to interfere in our elections and vote against legislation to secure the ballot from foreign attacks.”
“The American people want the truth,” Pelosi added. “The House will proceed with our impeachment inquiry to find the facts and expose the truth, guided by our Constitution and the facts. This is about patriotism, not politics or partisanship.”
In his own statement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) condemned Schiff’s “reckless behavior, adding he had “fallen short” of his duties as a member of Congress.
Biggs reiterated that sentiment, and in a separate statement asserted the American people “are very much aware of [Schiff’s] reckless disregard for the truth.”
“They will not tolerate his calculated words and actions as he continues his secret impeachment inquiry to undermine the will of Americans,” Biggs wrote.
5:30 p.m.: House Democrats add legal firepower to their ranks as impeachment inquiry ramps up
House Democrats are adding legal firepower to their ranks as they move from investigation mode to the impeachment process, according to multiple House Democratic officials.
The House Judiciary Committee has added impeachment scholar Joshua Matz, a constitutional law expert and former attorney at Kaplan Hecker & Fink, to its ranks in recent days, according to multiple officials familiar with the move. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly.
Matz, who clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, recently wrote a book, “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment,” with another impeachment scholar Democrats are consulting, Laurence Tribe.
Tribe, while not on staff or being paid, has also become a regular source of advice for House Democrats, particularly for his former students who are now in the thick of the impeachment probe: Schiff and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), both of whom studied under Tribe at Harvard Law School.
Tribe has been a vocal critic of Trump both in writing and on TV and boasts more than 600,000 Twitter followers. He also has a direct line to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), these people said.
The House Judiciary Committee declined to comment, as did Tribe. Matz could not be reached for comment.
Multiple officials familiar with House Democrats’ preparations for impeachment said there is not much time to hire new lawyers given how fast Democratic leaders hope to move on impeachment. Pelosi and her top lieutenants still hope to have impeachment finished by the end of the year, though that timeline seems increasingly tricky with Democrats in town only for six more weeks this year.
The Judiciary panel at the start of the year brought in two heavy-hitting lawyers, who are still in place and expected to help guide the panel through impeachment: Norman L. Eisen and Barry H. Berke.
5 p.m.: Buttigieg slams Trump for calling emoluments clause ‘phony.’
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., fired back against Trump’s remarks about the “phony emoluments clause.”
“You can’t uphold your oath to protect and defend the Constitution if you think it’s phony,” Buttigieg tweeted in response to Trump’s quote Monday.
The president made the comment to reporters while defending his now-abandoned decision to host next year’s international Group of Seven summit at the private golf resort he owns in Doral, Fla.
Buttigieg joins a chorus of Democratic lawmakers who have ridiculed Trump on his “phony” comment — including Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who tweeted: “My instinct is, and I am not kidding, that someone just explained the emoluments clause to him, possibly for the first time.”
3:30 p.m.: No depositions Thursday or Friday due to events honoring Cummings
Several closed-door depositions will be rescheduled this week due to events honoring the late congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, considered by Democrats to be a key figure in the probe, will still testify Tuesday. In text messages with two other U.S. diplomats, Taylor raised alarms about the White House holding back military aid to Ukraine, calling it “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign” and a “nightmare scenario.”
House investigators were expected to hear from Ambassador Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, and Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget — but those depositions will no longer take place Wednesday, according to the official.
In a Monday tweet, however, Office of Management and Budget acting director Russ Vought said he and Duffey would not comply with deposition requests. Reports indicating otherwise, he wrote, were “Fake News.” His tweet included the hashtag “#shamprocess.”
Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense whose portfolio includes Russia and Ukraine, will testify in a closed session Wednesday, according to the official. She was originally scheduled to testify Thursday.
2:50 p.m.: Nearly half a dozen Democrats consider bids to replace Cummings as House Oversight chairman
The race to replace Cummings as chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee is already quietly underway, with nearly half a dozen Democrats considering bids to replace him.
The potentially divisive contest — set to turn on questions of seniority, diversity and effectiveness — will determine which Democrat will inherit a lead role in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of Trump as one of three chairmen jointly directing the investigation.
The candidates range from the most senior to more junior Democrats on the panel, represent a mix of genders and races, and have focused on different areas of the committee’s work, from citizenship and census matters to its current investigations into Trump’s administration and business dealings.
— Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis
2:45 p.m.: Schumer asks intelligence officials to be prepared if Trump unmasks whistleblower
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer voiced concern Monday that Trump might disclose the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry and asked U.S. intelligence officials how they plan to protect him.
“In light of the President’s ill-advised statements, his lack of respect for the rule of law and his well-documented habit of condoning violence by his supporters, I am concerned that he may disclose the whistleblower’s identity or cause it to be disclosed by others in the Administration,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, and Michael K. Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community.
“I understand that some security measures may already have been put in place, but I fear that safety risks may intensify in the event that the whistleblower’s identity is disclosed,” Schumer cautioned. “I also note reports that one or more additional whistleblowers may come forward, creating added security concerns. I therefore ask that you inform me regarding your plans to ensure that these whistleblowers are adequately protected.”
2:15 p.m.: Democrats pounce on Trump’s emoluments clause comments
Democratic lawmakers were quick to lambaste and ridicule Trump’s Monday complaints about “this phony emoluments clause.”
“Trump thinks any part of the Constitution that forbids his corruption is illegitimate,” tweeted Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.). “Remember when republicans labeled themselves ‘strict constitutionalists’?”
Trump’s comments came during his Cabinet meeting, as he defended his now-reversed decision to hold the 2020 Group of Seven summit at a golf resort he owns in Doral, Fla. He suggested he was being treated differently than other presidents, then said to reporters, “You people with this phony emoluments clause.”
The online reaction from congressional Democrats was swift, with some citing the clause’s article and section number in the Constitution. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) tweeted a picture with the relevant part circled in red.
“Ignorance of the Constitution is not an excuse for violating it, Mr. President,” she wrote. “I keep plenty on hand in my office for constituents or other visitors. You’re welcome to one.”
Tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii): “My instinct is, and I am not kidding, that someone just explained the emoluments clause to him, possibly for the first time.”
1 p.m.: Trump decries ‘this phony emoluments clause’
Trump decried “this phony emoluments clause” Monday as he continued to defend his now-abandoned decision to host next year’s international Group of Seven summit at a private Miami golf club he owns.
Speaking to reporters who were allowed to sit in on his Cabinet meeting, Trump suggested that he was being held to a different standard than other presidents, including some who were also wealthy.
“Other presidents, if you look, other presidents were wealthy, not huge wealth,” he said. “George Washington was actually considered a very, very rich man at the time. But they ran their businesses. George Washington, they say had two desks. He had a presidential desk and a business desk.”
At that point, Trump complained about “you people with this phony emoluments clause.”
Under the emoluments clause of the Constitution, presidents are not permitted to use the office to enrich themselves.
Trump reversed course on holding the G-7 at the Trump National Doral Miami after he was told by conservative allies that Republicans were struggling to defend him on multiple fronts. Democrats had considered adding the alleged emoluments violation to the articles of impeachment they are preparing.
12:45 p.m.: Trump urges Republicans to ‘get tougher and fight’ on impeachment
Trump praised Democratic unity on the impeachment inquiry and said his party needs “to get tougher and fight.”
“The two things they have: They’re vicious, and they stick together,” Trump said of Democrats during a Cabinet meeting. “They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst. They don’t have people like that.”
Trump was referring to the Republican senator from Utah who has called Trump’s efforts to press for foreign investigations of his political rivals “wrong and appalling.”
“Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” Trump said during the Cabinet meeting. “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight because the Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election, which is coming up, where we’re doing very well.”
12:30 p.m.: Trump lashes out at impeachment inquiry, suggests Schiff could be informant to whistleblower
Trump lashed out anew at the impeachment inquiry during his Cabinet meeting, calling it a “phony investigation” and claiming Democrats were trying to impeach him because they are unable to defeat him at the ballot box.
“I think they want to impeach me because it’s the only way they’re going to win,” Trump told reporters in the room.
Trump also took fresh aim at Schiff, calling him a “crooked politician” and suggesting, without evidence, that he might have been an informant to the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.
“So was there actually an informant?” Trump said. “Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff.”
Trump reiterated his contention that his July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a “perfect call.” That call was the one in which Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens at a time when nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was being withheld.
11:15 a.m.: Trump congressional allies renew attacks on process
Ahead of another week of planned depositions, Trump’s congressional allies renewed their attacks on the impeachment inquiry and the Democrats leading it.
“This PROCESS has been a joke & the SUBSTANCE has been NOTHING to impeach POTUS for,” tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), noting that the “super secret” depositions were being held in a Capitol basement. “This coup attempt will fail!”
On Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also emphasized the location of the hearings, saying they were being conducted “in the basement of the Capitol, where no one can see.” He said the process has been unfair and unlike other impeachment inquiries.
“On process, this is not your average investigation,” Jordan said. “This is about impeaching the president of the United States 13 months before an election because they’re afraid he’s going to win in 2020.”
Democrats say the closed-door depositions are necessary so witnesses don’t have the advantage of hearing one another’s testimony. Democratic and Republican lawmakers and staff have attended and asked questions.
Leading Democrats have likened what is occurring now to a fact-finding process conducted by a grand jury and said public hearings will be held later.
11 a.m.: Giuliani associate released from jail
Lev Parnas, one of two associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani accused of violating campaign finance laws, was released from jail in Alexandria on Monday morning after paying a $200,000 cash bond.
“I have the truth on my side, and God is with me,” Parnas said as he left the courthouse with his wife, Svetlana, son Aaron and a private security guard.
Parnas’s new attorney, Edward MacMahon, successfully argued last week that the initial $1 million bond set by a magistrate judge was excessively high.
Like his co-defendant Igor Fruman, who was released last week, Parnas is required to remain in his Florida home except for court appearances and is under GPS monitoring. Both are set to appear in court in New York on Wednesday.
10:30 a.m.: Trump Jr. puts spotlight on GOP members not backing censure
Donald Trump Jr. attempted Monday to put pressure on Republicans who haven’t signed onto an effort to censure Schiff.
The president’s eldest son retweeted a list of 23 House Republicans who are not backing the resolution as co-sponsors. The Twitter thread urged Trump supporters to “Check if your Representative is on this list and call them NOW!”
Trump Jr., an outspoken opponent of the impeachment inquiry, has repeatedly taken aim at Schiff on Twitter, including blasting him as “#FullofSchiff.”
9:55 a.m.: Pelosi’s office accuses Trump of having ‘betrayed his oath of office, betrayed our national security’
Pelosi’s office released a four-page “fact sheet” citing the most compelling evidence of what Democrats have cast as a gross abuse of power by Trump.
The citations are divided into three categories: “the shakedown,” “the pressure campaign” and “the cover up.”
As evidence of a “shakedown,” the fact sheet cites quotes from the rough transcript from Trump’s July call with Zelensky, which it says “paints a damning picture of Trump abusing his office by pressing a foreign government to interfere in our 2020 elections.”
Trump, the document contends, “has betrayed his oath of office, betrayed our national security and betrayed the integrity of our elections for his own personal political gain.”
The evidence of a “pressure campaign” includes several texts from State Department officials, including one in which Taylor says, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
As of evidence of a “cover up,” the document points to the complaint filed by the whistleblower that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
In it, the anonymous U.S. intelligence official asserts that senior White House officials “intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call” and loaded the transcript into “a separate electronic system … used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature.”
9:45 a.m.: GOP Rep. Biggs says censure resolution will let Schiff know ‘how disappointed we are’
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the lead sponsor of the resolution seeking to censure Schiff, said forcing debate on the issue would let Schiff “know himself how disappointed we are.”
Biggs’s comments came during an interview on Fox News hours before the House is expected to take up the censure resolution, which is backed by 173 Republicans.
Biggs argued that it is also important for Democrats to go on record about an impeachment process that he criticized for largely taking place behind closed doors.
“It gives the Democrats an opportunity to show where they are on due process, and they get to say, ‘Look we’re perfectly content with closed-door impeachment inquiry,’ or they get to say, ‘This isn’t quite right, and we want to do it the right way.’”
Schiff has said the closed-door depositions are necessary so that witnesses don’t have the benefit of hearing one another’s testimony. Questions are being asked by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers and staff, and Schiff has said transcripts will be made public later.
Biggs said Republicans have lost confidence in Schiff.
“He’s not a fair arbiter, and that’s part of what this goes to,” Biggs said. “He’s kind of poisoned the well here.”
9:20 a.m.: Trump continues to insist his golf club is the best location for G-7
Trump continued to insist Monday that his private Miami golf club would have been the best place to host next year’s international Group of Seven summit, two days after he backed off the plan amid criticism from impeachment-weary Republicans.
“Doral in Miami would have been the best place to hold the G-7, and free, but too much heat from the Do Nothing Radical Left Democrats & their Partner, the Fake News Media!” Trump tweeted. “I’m surprised that they allow me to give up my $400,000 Plus Presidential Salary! We’ll find someplace else!”
Trump reversed course late Saturday after he was told by conservative allies that Republicans were struggling to defend him on multiple fronts. Democrats had mulled adding the alleged emoluments violation to the articles of impeachment they are preparing.
8:35 a.m.: Trump suggests House Democrats should vote to censure Schiff
Trump sought to press House Democrats to join their Republican colleagues in voting for a resolution to censure Schiff on Monday.
“Censure (at least) Corrupt Adam Schiff!” Trump tweeted. “After what he got caught doing, any pol who does not so vote cannot be honest … are you listening Dems?”
Democrats, who control the chamber, are expected to turn back the resolution.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Schiff for a statement in a hearing last month in which he embellished the transcript of the July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
Schiff later said his remarks were intended as a parody and that Trump and others who have criticized him should have recognized that.
8:15 a.m.: New poll finds 51 percent of U.S. adults support ousting Trump
Another new poll finds growing support for ousting Trump from office.
Fifty-one percent of American adults support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, according to the survey released Monday by the Public Religion Research Institute. That is up from 47 percent in mid-September before the impeachment inquiry was announced.
The poll finds that 93 percent of Republicans oppose impeachment and removal, a figure virtually unchanged from the previous survey. But support for impeachment among Democrats has jumped 10 percentage points, to 88 percent.
Independents remained divided, with 49 percent now favoring impeachment, according to the poll.
Support for impeachment and removal has ranged from 43 percent to 52 percent in other independent national polls released this month.
8 a.m.: House Democrats seek to derail resolution censuring Schiff
House Democrats will seek Monday to derail a Republican-backed resolution seeking to censure Schiff for how he has handled the impeachment inquiry.
Republicans pressed the issue last week but lawmakers decided to postpone a vote following the death of House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who was admired on both sides of the aisle.
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), takes issue with Schiff’s remarks at a Sept. 26 hearing. Schiff embellished the transcript of the July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
Schiff later said his remarks were intended as a parody and that Trump and others who have criticized him should have recognized that.
The resolution, which has the backing of Trump and the House Republican leadership, also takes aim at Schiff for other actions, including some related to the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., House Democrats are expected to move to table the resolution. If successful, that would prevent a vote on the resolution itself.
Trump urged support for the resolution last week and took fresh aim at Schiff in a tweet on Sunday night.
“Adam Schiff is a Corrupt Politician!” Trump wrote in a tweet that also included a clip of a television interview in which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urged a censure of Schiff.
7 a.m.: Series of closed-door depositions planned this week
House investigators are planning closed-door depositions from several witnesses this week, starting Tuesday with acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, considered by Democrats to be a key figure in the probe.
Taylor, in text messages with two other U.S. diplomats, raised alarms about the White House holding back military aid to Ukraine, calling it “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign” and a “nightmare scenario.”
On Wednesday, lawmakers are expected to hear from Ambassador Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, and Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget. Duffey’s signature was on the letters reapportioning the Ukraine aid.
On Thursday, Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense whose portfolio includes Russia and Ukraine, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director of European Affairs on the National Security Council, are expected to testify.
6:30 a.m.: Trump to hold first Cabinet meeting since launch of inquiry
Trump is scheduled to convene his first Cabinet meeting since House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry.
The White House has advised that part of the meeting will be open to reporters, which could provide Trump an opportunity to offer his latest thoughts on impeachment and other issues. He has no other public events on his schedule Monday.
6 a.m.: Trump shares clips from a sympathetic Fox News program
Trump went on Twitter late Sunday night to share multiple clips from “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton,” a Fox News program with a sympathetic bent toward what Trump is facing in the impeachment inquiry.
In one clip, host Steve Hilton accuses Democrats of engaging in “partisan politics dressed up as principle” and decries “a parade of bureaucrats stepping out of the shadows to attack President Trump.”
“Their loyalty is to their bureaucratic establishment agenda,” Hilton says of the “unaccountable bureaucrats” who provided testimony last week to House investigators.