President Trump and Republican lawmakers continued to assail the impeachment process as House investigators heard testimony for the first time from a White House official who listened in on the controversial Trump call at the heart of the Ukraine controversy.
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, testified that he did not think it was proper for Trump to demand that Ukraine investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden and feared that doing so undermined U.S. national security.
Vindman also said that the rough transcript released by the White House of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky differs slightly from what he remembers transpiring.
Ahead of Vindman’s closed-door deposition, Trump complained about testimony from “people that I never even heard of,” while GOP allies continued to portray the process as unfair. Some also questioned Vindman’s loyalty because he was born in Ukraine.
10 p.m.: Vindman says rough transcript of Zelensky call differs slightly from what he remembers
During his testimony Tuesday, Vindman said the rough transcript released by the White House of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky is slightly different from what he remembers transpiring.
For example, Vindman specifically recalled Zelensky referencing Burisma Holdings, one of the largest private natural gas companies in Ukraine, when Trump pushed him to investigate a company related to the Bidens. Hunter Biden had served on the board of Burisma.
Vindman also remembers Trump going on about how Joe Biden was on tape boasting about Ukraine funds — most likely referring to comments he made in January 2018 that the United States held up $1 billion in loan guarantees until the nation fired a prosecutor accused of corruption, Viktor Shokin.
Multiple officials described Vindman’s additional testimony on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly.
One of the officials said that the apparent inconsistencies between the rough transcript and Vindman’s recollection are not “all that significant.”
More broadly, the official said Vindman is “further corroborating the fundamental story that we’ve been told by literally everybody else.”
8:25 p.m.: Vindman testimony concludes; Schiff says he hopes others follow his ‘example of patriotism’
Vindman’s testimony concluded Tuesday night, more than 10 hours after he arrived at the Capitol.
In an exchange with reporters at the Capitol, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) praised Vindman for testifying.
“We hope that his example of patriotism will be emulated by others,” Schiff said.
“I want to say also how deeply appalled I was at the pernicious attacks on him last night on Fox [News],” Schiff added. “The suggestion that because he’s of Ukrainian origin he has some kind of dual loyalty — this Purple Heart recipient deserved better than that scandalous attack.”
Schiff also told reporters that Trump “would love to punish the whistleblower” and that Trump’s allies “would like nothing better than to help the president out this whistleblower.”
“We will make every effort to make sure that notwithstanding the president or his allies’ desire to out and exact political revenge on this whistleblower, that our committee is never used for that purpose,” he said.
8:00 p.m.: Kupperman hearing postponed until Friday
The House of Representatives and Justice Department asked a federal judge late Tuesday to postpone until Friday a hearing sought by former Trump national security aide Charles Kupperman, who has sued asking the courts to decide whether he must comply with Congress’s subpoena or a White House order not to testify in an impeachment inquiry.
Kupperman, who was a deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, seeks expedited review of his lawsuit, filed Oct. 25. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon on Monday had set a hearing for Thursday in the case, which raises precedent-setting questions over the Constitution’s balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
In a three-page joint filing, Assistant Attorney General Joseph H. Hunt and attorneys for the department’s civil division federal programs branch joined House general counsel Douglas N. Letter in asking for a hearing Friday or next week.
Both sides said they and many of the same attorneys are already set to argue a different case — over a House lawsuit to enforce a Judiciary Committee subpoena to former Trump White House counsel Donald McGahn — on Thursday afternoon.
“That case raises a number of issues that may overlap with the issues presented in this case, and the same attorneys from the Department of Justice and the House of Representatives will be working on both matters,” both sides wrote.
Both sides said they are also set to argue the following week, Nov. 6, a House Ways and Means Committee lawsuit to enforce a subpoena for Trump’s IRS tax returns.
Kupperman’s attorney Charles J. Cooper did not oppose the postponement, the attorneys said.
7:45 p.m.: Release of Mueller grand jury materials to House committee delayed by court order
The Justice Department got a reprieve Tuesday when a federal appeals court in Washington said the Trump administration does not have to immediately release to Congress certain grand jury materials from Robert S. Mueller III’s special counsel investigation.
The court order temporarily puts on hold a ruling from last week that required the department to hand over materials the House Judiciary Committee is seeking as part of the impeachment inquiry.
The court order means the issue will not be resolved before Nov. 5, when the final filing from the parties is due.
6:45 p.m.: Judiciary Committee releases list of procedural safeguards in response to due process concerns
Responding to Republican concerns about due process for Trump, the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued a three-page summary of procedural safeguards.
They include the right of the president or his counsel to recommend additional testimony or evidence for the committee’s review, to attend all hearings and question any witnesses who testify, and generally to respond to the allegations against him “orally or in writing as shall be determined by the chair.”
But Democrats included a significant caveat: Should Trump “unlawfully refuse” to comply with subpoenas issued by the investigating committees, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) would “have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies” — including the denial of Trump’s requests to call or question witnesses.
6 p.m.: The full Trump-Ukraine timeline
The House of Representatives is engaged in a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump. It is focused on his efforts to secure specific investigations in Ukraine that carried political benefits for him — with indications that there might have been an explicit or implicit quid pro quo involved.
The Fix has compiled a timeline of relevant events. We’ll continue to update it throughout the impeachment process.
— Philip Bump and Aaron Blake
5:30 p.m.: White House says House resolution confirms impeachment ‘has been an illegitimate sham’
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham slammed the House resolution in a statement Tuesday night, arguing that it “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start.”
Grisham added that the White House “is barred from participating at all” until after investigators draft their report for the House Judiciary Committee.
“This resolution does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the administration,” Grisham said.
Democrats have likened the early stages of the impeachment inquiry to closed grand jury proceedings. They say transcripts will be made available later and some witnesses will be recalled to provide public testimony.
House Republican leaders also mobilized their members against the new House resolution. In an email, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) recommended that GOP lawmakers vote “no” on the measure, arguing that it will lead to the use of “biased evidence obtained as the foundation for impeachment.”
4:55 p.m.: Senate Democrats plan to press Sullivan on his role in Yovanovitch’s dismissal
Senate Democrats plan to use the confirmation hearing of John Sullivan, nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia, to press the State Department official on the administration’s approach toward Ukraine, which is the focus of the House’s impeachment inquiry.
Sullivan, who currently serves as the deputy secretary of state, was the official who told Marie Yovanovitch, then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, that she was being recalled from her post in Kyiv in May, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony before House impeachment investigators earlier this month.
Yovanovitch, who testified under subpoena despite the Trump administration’s order not to, told the investigators that her ouster was directly caused by pressure from Trump on the State Department to remove her. In her remarks before the House, Yovanovitch testified that Sullivan told her: “I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”
Sullivan’s role in Yovanovitch’s dismissal from Kyiv and related issues are expected to surface at Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Sullivan, according to two Senate Democratic aides who requested anonymity to preview party strategy ahead of the hearing.
Sullivan’s hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
“The expectation is for the deputy secretary to be questioned about a wide range of topics including his role into the Trump administration’s politically motivated retaliation against career department employees, his involvement in the unfolding Trump-Ukraine scandal and the president’s utterly disturbing approach to U.S.-Russia relations,” one of the aides said.
The Democrats’ questions are likely to prompt pushback from Republicans, who control the majority on the committee. In a letter earlier this month, its chairman, Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho) told the ranking Democrat, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), that “it would be more appropriate” for his committee to avoid issues at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry.
— Seung Min Kim and Jacqueline Alemany
4:30 p.m.: Yoho says he hasn’t attended depositions because impeachment inquiry is ‘a sideshow’
A group of more than three dozen Republicans last Wednesday stormed the secure hearing room where witnesses are being deposed by impeachment investigators.
But on Tuesday, one House Republican took a different approach. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) revealed that, despite sitting on one of the committees conducting the inquiry, he hasn’t been attending any depositions at all.
“No, I haven’t gone to those. . . . I see this as kind of a sideshow, because it’s not an official inquiry in impeachment,” Yoho, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on CNN.
Asked by host Poppy Harlow why he was on television instead of attending Tuesday’s deposition of Vindman, Yoho replied, “I have other responsibilities in the House.”
Later in the interview, he said he was planning to attend part of the deposition after all.
“I plan to go in there,” Yoho said. “I’ve got my questions written for him. . . . As soon as I’m off the air.”
3:35 p.m.: House Democrats introduce resolution setting scope of public phase of impeachment inquiry
House Democrats unveiled new procedures for the impeachment inquiry Tuesday, responding to Republican demands for due process by setting out rules for future public hearings delving into whether Trump should be removed from office.
The resolution backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hands the lead role to the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Schiff, who would have broad latitude to organize extended questioning of potential public witnesses. Two other committees that have so far participated in the closed-door investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform — would not be permitted to directly participate in the open proceedings under the legislation.
It also sets out for the first time the ability of House Republicans to make their own requests for testimony and documents, though those requests will ultimately be subject to a vote of the Democratic-majority committee — a practice that matches the minority powers in the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure Thursday, according to multiple Democratic aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity because were not authorized to comment publicly. The House Rules Committee will debate and potentially amend the measure at a panel meeting Wednesday afternoon.
3:15 p.m.: Jared Kushner says Trump’s accomplishments ‘unimpeachable’
Jared Kushner defended his father-in-law’s innocence during a rare sit-down interview with an Israeli reporter while traveling in the Middle East.
Kushner, senior adviser to Trump, said the “best thing going for the president is he hasn’t done anything wrong” and that his “record of accomplishments is unimpeachable.”
“If they want to play silly games we will obviously deal with that in an appropriate manner, but we are not going to let that distract us as an administration,” Kushner said, referring to the Democrats.
Kushner also defended his employment in the White House against criticisms from Joe Biden, saying that many of his roles had dealt with “cleaning up the messes that Vice President Biden left behind.”
Biden, during an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, said he would not give his children offices in the White House or spots in Cabinet meetings.
“It’s just simply improper because you should make it clear to the American public that everything you’re doing is for them. For them. And the idea that you’re going to have his children, his — son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about,” Biden said.
Biden also said Kushner had no “credentials” to be leading the Trump White House’s Middle East policy.
Kushner defended his senior position in the West Wing, asserting that Trump was entitled to pick his own team and that Kushner and wife, Ivanka, had “worked with him for a long time, and I think we have done a good job of trying to help him being successful.”
2:50 p.m.: McConnell on Vindman: ‘I’m not going to question the patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward’
At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to criticize Vindman.
“Look, I’m not going to question the patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward,” McConnell said. “The action is in the House now. We’ll see whether they can, A, meet due process standards, fundamental due process standards, and then see what they do.”
Asked about Vindman’s concerns about Trump’s actions, McConnell replied: “I’m not going to comment on the merits going forward.”
McConnell also declined to say whether he will bring to the floor the Senate resolution introduced by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) last week.
“Well, we haven’t made a decision on that,” McConnell said of the resolution, which denounces the House impeachment inquiry.
“We’ll have to take a look at what the House produces later today and see if it passes, frankly, the smell test of providing the kind of due process protections the president and his team are certainly entitled to, just like President Nixon was and President Clinton was,” McConnell said.
2:30 p.m.: House Democrat says he’ll likely vote ‘no’ on impeachment procedures
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) said Tuesday that he is likely to vote “no” on the expected House resolution, becoming the first Democrat to come out against the measure.
“I would imagine that I’m going to vote no unless I see something really unusual,” Van Drew said at the Capitol. “It’s not that I’m friends with the president. It’s not that I believe he should be protected. I don’t mind if he’s investigated. . . . But what’s going to happen in my mind, it’s going to happen here in the House; it will go over to the Senate and then he will believe that he has been exonerated. He will still be the president, and he will still be the candidate — a candidate who has been exonerated by the Senate.”
Van Drew voiced skepticism that any of the evidence the House has gathered to date proves that Trump took actions that merit impeachment.
“It’s not to protect me politically, because there’s no win on this. You’re going to get hurt either way. . . . I just think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I’ve seen things that are distasteful and things that make you uncomfortable, and I don’t like the way they’re termed. I don’t see it as impeachable.”
2 p.m.: Want to talk about impeachment? Trump sure does.
Previous presidents facing scandal have used policy speeches, foreign-leader visits and national security developments as opportunities to pivot away from bad headlines and controversy.
Trump is doing the opposite.
Numerous times during the past month, Trump has gone off script to opine on impeachment during prepared remarks on unrelated topics or in response to questions not having to do with the Democrats’ inquiry, airing his mounting grievances about a probe that has consumed much of his focus. It’s a sign that Trump will not be using the rise-above-it playbook of his predecessors, instead opting to paint himself as a victim by referring to impeachment as often as possible.
1:30 p.m.: Several GOP senators push back on criticism of Vindman
Several Republican senators pushed back Tuesday against conservative pundits and other Trump allies who have questioned the patriotism of Vindman, a decorated lieutenant colonel in the Army, because he was born in Ukraine.
“I don’t at all question his patriotism,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said. “I respect his service. He’s a Purple Heart and I think it’d be a mistake to attack his patriotism.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called such criticism “misplaced.”
“This man is a decorated American serviceman, and I have full confidence in him as an individual and his patriotism,” Romney said.
Asked about criticizing Vindman, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) replied, “This is the career military officer with a Purple Heart? I’m sure he’s doing his best to serve his country.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) also said he “wouldn’t go there” when it comes to questioning Vindman’s patriotism.
1 p.m.: Trump campaign spokesman argues Vindman offers nothing new
A Trump campaign spokesman became the latest Trump ally to argue that Vindman offered no new consequential information in his opening statement and that there was no quid pro quo between withheld U.S. military aid and Trump’s desire for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
“The Vindman statement confirms that the transcript of the Ukraine call is accurate and that he has no new information,” tweeted Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.
“#ReadTheTranscript, there was #NoQuidProQuo,” he added, referring to the rough transcript of the call that was released by the White House.
That echoed an earlier tweet Tuesday from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in which she asserted: “None of these witnesses’ opinions change the key facts.”
She asserted that no Ukrainian said they felt pressured by Trump, that Biden wasn’t investigated and that military aid eventually flowed to Ukraine.
“Everyone can #ReadTheTranscript — there’s no basis for impeachment!” McDaniel said.
12:45 p.m.: Trump allies attack loyalty of Vindman because he was born in Ukraine
As Vindman began testifying Tuesday in the impeachment inquiry, the president’s allies coalesced around a new talking point. Vindman, some of them contended, may be loyal to Ukraine because he was born there.
The attack on the Army officer — who came to the United States at age 3, was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq and serves as a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council — quickly drew condemnation.
“If that’s all they’ve got, is to question the patriotism of a lieutenant colonel who took a bullet for us and has a Purple Heart on the battlefield, well, good luck to them,” said Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.). “My goodness.”
12:30 p.m.: Hoyer won’t confirm vote on impeachment procedures, contradicting Pelosi
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that he has not yet scheduled a vote on an expected resolution setting out procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry targeting Trump — seemingly contradicting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pledged to hold a vote this week.
“I have not read it yet; the members have not read it yet,” Hoyer said, showing some frustration at a meeting with reporters. “We’re going to have to consider whether or not it’s ready to go on Thursday. I hope that is the case.”
Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced plans to vote on the resolution in a letter to Democratic members Monday, and, according to three House aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions, she has kept a tight leash on the process of drafting the measure — excluding Hoyer and other top leaders.
Asked Tuesday whether the vote was still slated for Thursday despite Hoyer’s wavering, Pelosi said, “That is the schedule.”
The resolution is expected to set out rules for upcoming public hearings, including setting up due-process rights that Trump’s legal team and his GOP allies can use to defend the president, and procedures under which the House Judiciary Committee may receive evidence gathered by other committees and draft articles of impeachment.
Democratic leaders have been careful not to characterize the measure as authorizing the impeachment inquiry, something they say has been underway already for weeks without a House vote.
“We have an inquiry looking at whether articles of impeachment are justified by the facts,” Hoyer said. “We’ve been doing that. We are doing it. We’re going to continue to do it. This is about process as to when we move out of the investigatory phase, which we’ve been in, into a phase where we have public hearings. That’s what it is. No more. No less.”
Two of the three Democratic aides said the vote is still scheduled for Thursday. Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who has been drafting the resolution with Pelosi, said Tuesday morning that he still expected to release the legislation Tuesday afternoon ahead of a scheduled Wednesday markup in his committee.
— Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane
12:15 p.m.: Several Democrats in swing districts ready to vote on resolution
Several members who attended a caucus meeting held at the Democratic National Committee offices Tuesday morning said they are ready to vote to formalize the next step in the impeachment investigation — including some in swing districts where the vote could be a political liability.
“I have no qualms about taking a vote,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a freshman running in a district Trump previously won by seven percentage points. “We’ve been clearly in an impeachment inquiry, and laying out the plans for the next step, I think, is a helpful thing to do for the American people to understand the parameters of the public hearings.”
Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a veteran lawmaker whose district voted for Trump by 5 points in 2016, also said he plans to support the measure: “We fully support a thorough investigation and we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing.”
Other Democrats said they think the vote would undermine Republicans, who for weeks have raised objections to the process Democrats have undertaken and have called for a formal vote on launching impeachment proceedings.
“The message this week is going to be: You asked for it, you got it,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.).
12:10 p.m.: 2020 Democrats slam Trump’s effort to undermine Vindman’s testimony
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) tore into Trump for going after Vindman, using Vindman’s military accomplishments to lessen Trump.
“You are attacking a decorated Army colonel. Alexander Vindman served in the Iraq War. You serve yourself,” Harris tweeted. “He received a Purple Heart. You’re receiving subpoenas. Unlike you, he has a sense of duty to this country. He is a patriot. You are a disgrace.”
Asked about Vindman, Biden told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell in a phone interview from the campaign trail that it was “despicable to do this to this guy who is a patriot.”
11:15 a.m. McConnell, Schumer spar over Ukraine military aid on Senate floor
McConnell accused Senate Democrats on Tuesday of preparing to hold up military aid to Ukraine, an assertion Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) dismissed as “laughable” during comments on the chamber’s floor.
During the impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have highlighted the fact that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was being withheld at the time of Trump’s July call in which he pressed Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
McConnell noted that a defense appropriations bill that Democrats have threatened to hold up includes $250 million in military aid to Ukraine from the “same exact program.”
“So welcome to Washington, where Democrats try to impeach President Trump for supposedly slow-walking aid for Ukraine and simultaneously filibuster the funding for the same exact Ukraine program here in the Senate.”
Schumer pointed out there are concerns related to other issues, including a provision to steer military funding toward border-wall construction.
“Can you believe this, that the majority leader would say something like this?” Schumer said. “The comment’s laughable. It was the Trump administration that delayed hundreds of millions of dollars of already appropriated, urgently needed military assistance to Ukraine earlier this year, a fact that is now being investigated by the House impeachment inquiry.”
11 a.m.: Jeffries says Democrats should vote ‘their conscience’ on resolution
Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Democrats facing difficult reelections in 2020 will need to vote “their conscience” when the House votes later this week on a resolution to move forward with the impeachment inquiry.
Jeffries couldn’t answer what rights the resolution will include for Trump and the White House but said Democrats intend to “proceed expeditiously … fairly and comprehensively.”
“We’ll continue to give President Trump every opportunity to present exculpatory evidence — guess what, none has been forthcoming,” Jeffries said. “At the end of the day, all we’ve seen is the effort by Donald Trump to stop fact witnesses from testifying and to hide documents and information from the American people.”
Jeffries went on to reiterate the facts known to date, including from the rough transcript of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, in which Trump said to the Ukrainian president, “Do us a favor though.”
“Five words,” Jeffries said, “that will live in infamy in the context of the constitutional crisis we’re dealing with right now.”
10:45 a.m.: Trump attacks Pelosi, Schiff
Trump took renewed aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) in a late-morning tweet that included a typo.
“Nervous Nancy Pelosi is doing everything possible to destroy the Republican Party. Our Polls show that it is going to be just the oppidite,” Trump tweeted, intending to say “opposite.” “The Do Nothing Dems will lose many seats in 2020. They have a Death Wish, led by a corrupt politician, Adam Schiff!”
Trump corrected the spelling error about a half-hour later with a fresh tweet.
10:25 a.m.: Vindman testifying under subpoena, official says
Vindman is testifying under subpoena, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door proceedings.
“In light of an attempt by the White House to direct Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman not to appear for his scheduled deposition, and efforts by the White House to also limit any testimony that does occur, the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel his testimony this morning,” the official said. “As is required of him, Lt. Col. Vindman is now complying with the subpoena and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican Members and staff.”
10:20 a.m.: McCarthy voices support for Trump
House Republican leaders continued to defend Trump on Tuesday, with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) saying that Vindman’s planned testimony did not change his view of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
“I thank him for his service, I thank him for his commitment to this country, but he is wrong,” McCarthy said when asked about Vindman’s contention that Trump put politics ahead of national security. “Nothing in that phone call is impeachable. . . . The president did nothing wrong.”
McCarthy and other GOP leaders also dismissed the significance of a planned vote to formalize the rules of the impeachment inquiry going forward, arguing the process remains deeply flawed.
“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” McCarthy said. “Due process starts from the beginning.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, offered a similar assessment.
“They’re now attempting to put a cloak of legitimacy around this process. It won’t work,” she said.
10:10 a.m.: Cheney calls attacks on Vindman ‘shameful’
Cheney has denounced attacks on Vindman, calling them “shameful.”
“We need to show that we are better than that as a country,” she said at a news conference held by House Republican leaders. “We are talking about decorated veterans who have put their lives on the line. . . . We won’t do that as Republicans.”
Since the reports Monday about Vindman’s planned testimony, several Fox News hosts and guests and some Republicans have tried to make an issue of Vindman’s family fleeing Ukraine when he was a child, suggesting he has an affinity for the country.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump also attacked Vindman, a decorated Army lieutenant colonel, as a “Never Trumper.”
9:45 a.m.: House Democrats huddle at DNC offices
House Democrats gathered Tuesday morning inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee to get a political briefing led by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman.
According to two people familiar with the presentation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it in advance, Bustos presented the results from multiple focus groups held across the country since Pelosi officially launched the impeachment inquiry in September.
The main takeaway of those focus groups, the people said, is that Democrats need to be mindful that they are not seen as rushing to convict Trump and must undertake a robust fact-finding process to lay the groundwork.
“It’s important that when the time comes, the House has to make a clear, convincing case” to the American people for Trump’s removal, one person said.
Bustos also presented new polling numbers on health care indicating that Americans continue to trust Democrats over Republicans in handling the issue, but they are eager for action on controlling prescription drug costs — findings that could give Democrats an incentive as they prepare their sweeping drug costs bill, known as H.R. 3, for the House floor.
Pelosi also attended and briefed Democrats on the resolution authorizing new impeachment procedures expected to come up for a House vote Thursday. The text of the resolution was scheduled to be released Tuesday afternoon, multiple aides said.
9:15 a.m.: Vindman arrives at the Capitol for deposition
Vindman has arrived at the Capitol for his scheduled deposition with House investigators. He came wearing his military uniform with a Capitol Police escort and entered through the South Door, declining to answer questions shouted by reporters.
Minutes before Vindman’s arrival, Trump was back on Twitter, asking, “Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!”
9 a.m.: George Conway to Trump's defenders: 'Just stop'
Conservative lawyer George Conway, a leading "Never Trumper," whose Twitter feed has become a platform to condemn Trump, wrote Tuesday morning that Trump's public defenders should stop lying for the president or risk going down in disgrace with him.
"To the members of Congress, public officials and talking heads still defending @realDonaldTrump: Just stop. Especially the lying. He has no defense. Don't go down with him in history in disgrace. The sooner we get this over with and he's gone, the better off everyone will be," Conway wrote on Twitter.
Conway, of course, is famously married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who is among the most high-profile of Trump's advocates.
8:50 a.m.: Trump says Democrats are trying to distract from his accomplishments
Trump returned to Twitter again Tuesday morning to argue that Democrats are trying to distract from his accomplishments in office.
“The Do Nothing Democrats are working hard to make everyone forget the Best Economy Ever, the monumental weekend raid, Tax Cuts, the Rebuilding of our Military, etc.,” he tweeted. “The Impeachment Hoax is a disgrace.”
Trump also renewed complaints that the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry has not testified before Congress and argued that the transcript of his July call with the leader of Ukraine shows he did nothing inappropriate.
“Where’s the Whistleblower? Just read the Transcript, everything else is made up garbage by Shifty Schiff and the Never Trumpers!” Trump tweeted, referring to the House Intelligence Committee chairman.
In another tweet, Trump suggested that Vindman is a “Never Trumper.”
“How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call when all anyone has to do is READ THE TRANSCRIPT!” he wrote. “I knew people were listening in on the call (why would I say something inappropriate?), which was fine with me, but why so many?”
8:20 a.m.: Clark says Vindman will offer ‘very important testimony’
Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.), vice chair of the Democratic caucus, said she expects Vindman to provide “firsthand evidence of the betrayal of this president of his oath of office, of the integrity of the 2020 elections and of our national security.”
“It is part of the patriots who are coming forward at great risk to them and their careers to share the truth with the American people,” Clark said Tuesday during a CNN interview in which she called Vindman’s deposition “very important testimony.”
Clark also spoke out against Fox News hosts and guests and some Republicans who have tried to make an issue of Vindman’s family fleeing Ukraine when he was a child, suggesting he has an affinity for the country.
Clark said they are “trying to assassinate the character of a Purple Heart winner.”
She said such talk was coming from “Republicans who have no excuse for the conduct of the president and who see mounting evidence of truly a betrayal of our democracy.”
7:45 a.m.: Trump complains of witnesses he doesn’t know
Ahead of Vindman’s planned testimony on Tuesday, Trump went on Twitter to complain about testimony from “people that I never even heard of.”
“Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call,” he said in a tweet in which he argued the transcript of his call with Zelensky proved there was no wrongdoing.
“Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER!” Trump wrote.
7:40 a.m.: Jordan says lawmakers need to know ‘how this whole thing started’
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking GOP member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a staunch Trump ally, said Tuesday that lawmakers should focus on the origins of the impeachment inquiry.
“The one thing is clear is this is all based on one anonymous whistleblower, and there are 435 members of Congress, and only one member, only one member knows who that whistleblower is … and that individual is Adam Schiff,” Jordan said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.).
“How is that fair that only Adam Schiff knows how this whole thing started?” Jordan said. “This is something that we need to get to the bottom of and know how this whole thing started.”
Jordan also argued that there could not be a “quid pro quo” because the Ukrainians took no public actions to free up the military aid that was being withheld at the time Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
“The Ukrainians did nothing to get the aid turned back on,” Jordan said. “President Zelensky didn’t do a statement saying he was going to do certain things. They didn’t start investigations to get the aid turned back on. The aid was turned back on, I think, because United States senators were telling the president, let’s turn this aid back on and let’s do this.”
7 a.m. Rep. Collins suggests unfair process will lead to tainted results
Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking GOP member of the House Judiciary Committee, suggested Tuesday that facts unearthed during the impeachment inquiry will be tainted because the process is unfair to Trump.
“We can’t trust Adam Schiff to find the facts when he can’t even deliver basic fairness,” Collins said in a tweet.
In his tweet, Collins attached a piece by Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn in which he accused Democrats of “trampling on impeachment norms.” McGurn noted that Graham had introduced a resolution last week condemning the House process that now has 50 co-sponsors.
“Even Republicans who don’t like the president can unite on this,” McGurn wrote. “Democrats counter that Republicans are complaining about process because they can’t address the substance. But process is how you get to substance.”
In a separate tweet Monday, Collins weighed in on the decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to hold a vote this week on the rules of the inquiry going forward.
“Thank you, @SpeakerPelosi, for finally acknowledging the fact that you attempted to deceive the American people into thinking you were conducting a fair impeachment inquiry,” Collins wrote. “Just one problem: It’s impossible to undo 35 days of @RepAdamSchiff‘s secrecy, leaks, and innuendo.”
6:45 a.m.: White House official to tell impeachment investigators he feared Trump’s demands of Ukraine would undermine national security
An Army officer assigned to the White House plans to tell House impeachment investigators Tuesday that he was disturbed by Trump’s demand that Ukraine investigate one of his political rivals and feared it would undermine U.S. national security.
Vindman was part of a small group of White House officials assigned to listen in on Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. His testimony returns repeatedly to his fears that Trump’s manipulation of Ukraine policy to discredit Joe Biden is unethical and damaging to U.S. national security.
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman intends to tell lawmakers, according to a draft of his opening statement.
Vindman is the first White House official to testify who listened to Trump’s controversial call, which was exposed by a government whistleblower and triggered a historic impeachment inquiry. His prepared statement bolsters previous testimony by Fiona Hill, his former boss at the National Security Council, and William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine.
6:30 a.m.: Trump airs grievances in late-night tweets
Trump went on Twitter late Monday night to air now-familiar grievances about the impeachment probe, taking aim at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and questioning why the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the inquiry hasn’t appeared before Congress.
“The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff, when he totally made up my phone conversation with the Ukrainian President and read it to Congress, together with numerous others on Shifty’s side,” Trump said in one tweet. “Schiff should be Impeached, and worse!”
During an Intelligence Committee hearing last month, Schiff presented an embellished version of Trump’s call with Zelensky. At the time, Schiff said he was conveying “the essence” of what Trump had relayed to Zelensky. Schiff later said it was meant as a parody, something that he said should have been apparent to Trump.
House members can be expelled by a two-thirds vote of the chamber but are not subject to impeachment.
In a separate tweet, Trump quoted Fox News host Laura Ingraham saying she saw “no underlying crime” in the transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky.
“100% correct, and the Whistleblower disappeared after I released the transcript of the call,” Trump wrote. “Where is the Whistleblower? That is why this is now called the Impeachment Hoax! The Do Nothing Dems are Doing Nothing!”
Democrats have said recently that they no longer think it is imperative to hear from the whistleblower, an anonymous U.S. intelligence official, because several witnesses have corroborated claims in his complaint.
6:15 a.m.: Graham says he found nothing wrong with Trump’s call to Zelensky
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) sought Monday night to minimize the damage of reports that Vindman would testify that he did not think it was proper for Trump to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and feared it undermined national security.
“As to Colonel, he’s entitled to his opinion about the phone call,” Graham tweeted. “I read the transcript and found nothing wrong with it.”
In tweets, Graham also took issue with Vindman’s opening statement being previewed in the New York Times and other media, including The Washington Post.
“This selective leaking without due process puts the presidency at risk,” Graham tweeted.
He also accused Democrats of using “a sham process for the purpose of driving down Trump’s approval rating.”
“It should come to an immediate end,” Graham said.
6 a.m.: ‘Lock him up’ chant ignites a debate among Democrats: Give Trump his own medicine, or stick to the high road?
It was one of the most memorable moments of Game 5 of the World Series, an eerily familiar chant that arose from the chorus of boos that erupted when Trump was shown on a giant screen at Nationals Park.
“Lock him up! Lock him up!”
The phrase was no doubt delivered with some irony, as a largely elite crowd in the heart of a heavily liberal city offered its own spin on the anti-Hillary Clinton slogan that has become a staple of Trump’s raucous rallies.
But while Trump and his allies have embraced “Lock her up!” as a mantra for their movement, the seemingly spontaneous outburst in Washington on Sunday night highlighted an intensifying debate within the Democratic Party and among the broader Trump resistance: Whether to try to beat a norm-busting president on his terms, no matter how distasteful, or to insist on a more traditional, civil standard for American political discourse.