Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said that at a July 23 meeting, the Office of Management and Budget told agencies that “the White House chief of staff has conveyed that the president has concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance.”
Transcripts of the testimony of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, two State Department Ukraine specialists, were also released Monday.
Hours earlier, President Trump lashed out anew at the investigation, claiming without any evidence that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) had doctored transcripts from closed-door depositions.
Democrats have chosen the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., and the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, George Kent, as their lead witnesses on Wednesday as they seek to build the case that Trump improperly pressed Ukraine for an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter at a time when U.S. military aid was being withheld.
●Move by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to join impeachment testimony lawsuit rankles allies of former national security adviser John Bolton.
●The key impeachment question: What did Trump want from Ukraine — and what exactly did he do?
●Lawmakers spar over impeachment witnesses as probe enters public phase.
9:40 p.m.: Biden says there’s ‘zero rationale’ for his son to testify
At a CNN town hall in Grinnell, Iowa, former vice president Joe Biden rejected calls by Republicans for his son Hunter Biden to testify during the impeachment inquiry.
“There is zero rationale for that to happen,” Biden said. “Nobody has suggested anything happened that was inappropriate. . . . This is classic Trump.”
He accused Trump of seeking to distract the public from his own alleged wrongdoing and called on him to release his tax returns.
“Mr. President, you’re worried about corruption? Release some of yours,” Biden said, noting that he himself has released 21 years’ worth of returns.
Biden also said he’s not necessarily convinced that the Senate won’t vote to remove Trump from office.
“I don’t buy that. I don’t buy, ‘The Senate will never move.’ It will depend on what their constituency says. . . . Let’s see where the facts lead. My job is just to go beat him,” Biden said.
— Matt Viser
9 p.m.: White House infighting flares amid impeachment inquiry
The White House’s bifurcated and disjointed response to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has been fueled by a fierce West Wing battle between two of Trump’s top advisers, and the outcome of the messy skirmish could be on full display this week, according to White House and congressional officials.
Mulvaney has urged aides not to comply with the inquiry and blocked any cooperation with congressional Democrats. Top political aides at the Office of Management and Budget, which Mulvaney once led, have fallen in line with his defiant stance, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk freely about the behind-the-scene developments.
Mulvaney’s office blames White House Counsel Pat Cipollone for not doing more to block other government officials from participating in the impeachment inquiry, as a number of State Department officials, diplomats, and an aide to Vice President Pence have given sworn testimony to Congress.
— Erica Werner, Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig and Rachael Bade
8:45 p.m.: Schiff pushes back against Trump’s ‘most Transparent President’ claim
Schiff took issue with Trump’s claim Monday night that he is the “most Transparent President,” noting that he has repeatedly sought to block members of his administration from testifying.
“Far from transparent, Trump has engaged in unprecedented obstruction,” Schiff said in a tweet. “He’s blocking more than a dozen witnesses from testifying. His White House, State Dept, DOD, OMB, and Energy Dept are defying subpoenas for thousands of documents. The American people see through this.”
Trump tweeted Monday afternoon that he “will be releasing sometime this week the Transcript of the first, and therefore most important, phone call I had with the President of Ukraine. I am sure you will find it tantalizing!”
Trump had earlier said he would “probably” release the transcript Tuesday.
8:30 p.m.: Croft says she played role in setting up possible attorney general meeting on ‘2016 elections’
Croft told House investigators she sent an email to a senior Justice Department official at the behest of U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker seeking a meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr.
Croft sent the email to Bruce Swartz, a deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division.
“When asked what the topic was, I said 2016 elections,” she said. “But that’s where my involvement in that ended.”
Croft said she was not certain whether there was any subsequent action. “I think they probably did [meet], but I’m not entirely certain,” she said, referring to Volker and Swartz.
— Mike DeBonis
7:50 p.m.: Croft says she thanked Volker for ‘keeping me out of that mess’ with Giuliani
Croft testified that she had no direct dealings with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, but that she was vaguely aware of his role through her boss, Volker. In Croft’s telling, that was fine with her.
“I thanked him for keeping me out of that mess,” she recalled.
Croft described Volker as saying he needed to deal with Giuliani out of necessity, rather than out of any notion that he could help advance U.S.-Ukrainian relations.
“A couple times he mentioned sort of a need to get this Giuliani line of effort, sort of, off the table, so we can get on with the business of our actual policy,” she said. “Those weren’t his exact words, but that would have been the spirit.”
— Mike DeBonis
7:40 p.m.: Cooper concluded that Ukrainians knew about hold before it was reported
Cooper said it was her “very strong inference” from a conversation with Volker that the Ukrainians knew that military aid was on hold before that fact became public.
Cooper said this sense was reinforced by Taylor, “from sort of the alarm bells that were coming from [him] and his team that there were Ukrainians who knew about this.”
The testimony undercuts a key argument from Trump’s defenders that the alleged quid pro quo was not real because the Ukrainians did not know aid was being withheld at the time.
Cooper’s testimony suggests that not only did Ukrainian leaders know the U.S. funds were being held back but that it is possible that the knowledge was being leveraged by officials in the Trump administration.
— Karoun Demirjian
7:30 p.m.: Trump complained to Bolton about news report suggesting he supported Ukraine, Anderson says
Anderson testified that the president was unhappy with a CNN report in early 2019 suggesting the White House had chided Russia for attacking Ukrainian ships.
Anderson said the report set off the president, leading him to call Bolton to complain. Bolton told Anderson about Trump’s call, which came to him at home.
— Rachael Bade
7:10 p.m.: Anderson says Trump blocked statement of support for Ukraine against Russian aggression
Anderson testified that State Department officials like himself and other Ukraine experts recommended the White House issue a strong statement condemning Russia for attacking Ukrainian ships in late 2018 — and found it unusual when Trump himself killed that recommendation.
Anderson said he and Volker, who also testified before impeachment investigators, were “very” supportive of a White House statement condemning Russia for what he called a “dramatic escalation” toward Ukraine, a U.S. ally, around Thanksgiving 2018.
Anderson recalled a message saying that Trump had put an “embargo on any statements” backing Ukraine, however — even as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned the move.
Ukrainians took note when Trump didn’t echo those sentiments, he said, peppering him with questions about why the White House never expressed support.
— Rachael Bade
7 p.m.: Mulvaney drops bid to join Kupperman impeachment lawsuit
Mulvaney late Monday withdrew a last-minute effort to join a lawsuit filed by Bolton’s top deputy, Charles Kupperman.
Mulvaney said he will file his own lawsuit focused on the same question: Must senior Trump administration officials testify in Congress’s impeachment inquiry?
Kupperman, in a filing earlier Monday, opposed Mulvaney’s request to join the case, underscoring internal divisions among Trump’s advisers in the probe. Kupperman attorney Charles J. Cooper, who also represents Bolton, had suggested the same judge weigh Mulvaney’s claims “in tandem” as a separate related case.
The two former Trump national security aides are said by people close to them to consider Mulvaney a key participant in Trump’s alleged effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations into his political opponents.
— Spencer S. Hsu
6:50 p.m.: Anderson said he believed Sondland was ‘taken more seriously’ than career diplomats
Anderson said a key meeting between top-ranking American officials and Trump was scheduled quickly because Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was “taken more seriously” than career government officials, including other diplomats.
Sondland, a former Trump donor with no formal diplomatic experience, has emerged as a key player in the Ukraine saga at the center of the impeachment inquiry. He changed his testimony last week to admit the alleged quid pro quo linking military aid to Ukraine with investigations that would benefit Trump politically.
Anderson said the Energy and State departments were “debating internally” after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s May 20 inauguration on which agency would request a meeting to debrief Trump.
But Sondland procured the meeting for three days after the inauguration.
“We thought he had connections to the White House and was taken more seriously than the State Department bureaucracy,” Anderson said.
6:45 p.m.: Trump said Ukraine tried to ‘take me down,’ Anderson said he was told
Anderson said he was told that Trump “said something to the effect of the Ukrainians tried to take me down” during a key meeting May 23.
The State Department’s former special adviser for Ukraine told impeachment investigators that Volker shared the president’s comments with him following the meeting.
Volker and several other top leaders in the meeting “convinced [Trump] that no, this is different, there is a real possibility of change here, Ukraine is on the cusp of turning a whole page,” Anderson said he was told.
Giuliani was seen as the source of his negative feelings about Ukraine, several witnesses in the impeachment inquiry testified.
6:40 p.m.: Croft says there was a freeze for a time on earlier military aid to Ukraine
During closed-door testimony from various witnesses, Republicans have at times appeared to try to argue that Trump has actually been more supportive of Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists than was the Obama administration.
They have pointed again and again to the Trump administration’s decision to green light the sale of lethal weapons — Javelin antitank missiles — to the Ukrainians, a move the Obama administration resisted for fear of worsening the bloodshed.
But Croft testified that Mulvaney had in fact at first placed a hold on the provision of the missiles, too, even when the rest of the national security apparatus had signed off.
“In a briefing with Mr. Mulvaney, the question centered around the Russian reaction,” Croft said. “That Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine.”
Ultimately, Mulvaney signed off and Ukraine received the missiles.
Croft also undermined another Republican argument — that the Ukrainians could not have felt pressured to open investigations into Trump’s political rivals in exchange for military aid dollars because during much of the summer of 2019, they did not even know the military aid had been frozen.
She testified that Ukrainian officials learned of the freeze and began asking questions about it well before Politico first reported in late August that the aid had been withheld.
— Rosalind S. Helderman
6:20 p.m.: Croft understood early that Biden’s rise could lead to a change in U.S. policy on Ukraine
Croft, who had previously worked in the Trump White House on the National Security Council, testified that her White House experience helped give her an early inkling of how domestic politics could get mixed up with U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
She testified that in May, as Taylor was preparing to take over the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, he asked her whether the long-standing U.S. policy of support for Ukraine was likely to change.
Croft told him she did not believe so but cautioned that it could change should Trump begin to see former vice president Biden as a major rival. Biden had taken a special interest in Ukraine while he was in office.
“This was just sort of my speculation, as somebody who has watched Ukraine for a while and as somebody who had worked in the White House,” she testified. “It seemed logical to me that in an attempt to counter the narrative about Russian support for the Trump administration in the 2016 election or Russian interference in the 2016 election that — that it would be useful to shift that narrative by shifting it to Ukraine as being in support of the Clintons.”
— Rosalind S. Helderman
6:15 p.m.: Nunes calls impeachment inquiry a ‘cult’ before Croft questioning
In his opening statement for the Oct. 30 interview of Croft, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, appeared to call the impeachment investigation a “cult” after accusing Democrats of mishandling the proceedings.
A day after House investigators questioned Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Nunes criticized Democrats for objecting to some GOP questions — some of which appeared aimed at exposing the identity of the whistleblower.
“And so, it’s quite concerning this inquisition is going on down here,” he said. “We don’t really want to be part of the cult, but we have no options, so we are here.”
— Mike DeBonis
6:10 p.m.: Trump cites corruption in Kyiv and European stinginess to justify actions on Ukraine. Neither rationale withstands close scrutiny.
If Trump’s goal in withholding U.S. aid to Ukraine was to end the corruption that had plagued successive governments there, last summer was a curious time to do it.
In late May, weeks before Trump ordered nearly $400 million in congressionally approved security assistance frozen, the Defense and State departments certified that the Ukrainian government had taken “substantial actions” toward “decreasing corruption and increasing accountability” and recommended the aid go forward.
Zelensky “had appointed reformist ministers and supported long-stalled anti-corruption legislation,” Taylor testified before the House impeachment inquiry late last month.
— Karen DeYoung and Ellen Nakashima
6 p.m.: ‘Every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up,’ Anderson said he was told
Anderson said that Bolton made a joke about Trump being influenced by Giuliani on matters related to Ukraine.
During a meeting on June 13, Anderson testified in the impeachment inquiry, Bolton “made a joke about every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up and that the president is listening to Giuliani about Ukraine.”
Anderson said Bolton cautioned that Giuliani’s role as a “key voice with the president on Ukraine . . . could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement.”
Bolton was not the only official to express such worries, according to Anderson, the State Department’s former special adviser for Ukraine.
Taylor “repeatedly expressed his concern that Giuliani would make his job difficult,” he said.
Anderson testified that he shared certain fears “that if Giuliani’s narrative took hold, that the Ukrainian government was an enemy of the president, then it would be very hard to have high-level engagement.”
“It would be harder for us to pressure Russia to come back to the negotiating table” in that case, Anderson said.
5:40 p.m.: Cooper said she learned hold applied to State and Defense Department funds on July 26
Cooper told impeachment investigators that she received clarity on July 26 that the hold on aid to Ukraine applied to two streams of funding — one from the State Department and one from the Defense Department.
Cooper said Mike Duffey, associate director of National Security Programs at OMB, made it clear at a meeting that day that not only were both types of aid affected but that they were on hold because of Trump’s “concerns about corruption.”
“Immediately deputies began to raise concerns about how this could be done in a legal fashion,” Cooper said. “The comments in the room at the deputies’ level reflected a sense that there was not an understanding of how this could legally play out.”
Cooper also testified that Ukraine had met all the requirements for U.S. aid before Trump’s hold, including “progress on command and control reform” and a “commitment to pursue defense industry reform.”
Cooper said the certification reflected a consensus among officials from the State and Defense departments.
5:15 p.m.: Cooper said Pentagon was afraid hold on aid would signal a ‘lack of support’
Cooper told impeachment investigators that defense officials were concerned about what the hold on military aid would communicate to Russia as Ukraine worked to negotiate a peace agreement with its powerful neighbor.
“We didn’t want to signal any lack of support” for Ukraine, Cooper said in a closed-door deposition. She added: “If they are seen as weak, and if they are seen as lacking the backing of the United States for their Armed Forces, it makes it much more difficult for them to negotiate a peace on terms that are good for Ukraine.”
Cooper said that by late August, the Office of Management and Budget indicated that some of the aid might become unavailable because of the delay.
“We were quite concerned about the ability to execute,” Cooper said, adding that it was her “view at the time” that the hold put $100 million at risk.
5 p.m.: U.S. judge rules Trump suit to block House from getting his state tax returns belongs in court in N.Y.
A federal judge in Washington dismissed Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block the House Ways and Means Committee from using a recently enacted New York law to request his state tax returns, saying that for now the case belongs before a judge in New York.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols injected new urgency into Trump’s effort to shield his state tax records from Congress.
The House panel, chaired by Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), has not requested Trump’s state returns. Trump’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in July preemptively, arguing that without an emergency court order blocking a congressional request, his New York returns might be disclosed before the president’s opposition could be heard in court.
— Spencer S. Hsu
4:55 p.m.: Cooper said Volker told her about effort to get Ukraine statement
Cooper said that Volker told her he was part of an effort to elicit a statement from the Ukrainian government to “disavow any interference in U.S. elections” and “commit to the prosecution of any individuals involved in election interference.”
Asked if Volker indicated that success would “lift this issue” of the hold on military aid, Cooper said “yes.”
Cooper said that Volker visited her on about Aug. 20 to discuss “peace negotiations” for Ukraine and to strategize about how to get the aid released. Volker did not provide further specifics about the desired statement, she said.
The impeachment inquiry is centered on allegations that Trump ordered a hold on military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announcing investigations that would benefit Trump politically.
4:30 p.m.: Cooper transcript is released
The three committees spearheading the impeachment inquiry have released the testimony of Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy.
Cooper testified behind closed doors on Oct. 23 after an hours-long delay caused by House Republicans who stormed into the secure room at the Capitol where she was set to appear.
Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) and acting House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that Cooper testified that Trump “directed the freeze on hundreds of millions of dollars of critical military aid for Ukraine” through the Office of Management and Budget, “against the judgment of career officials in the Department of Defense, Department of State, and other relevant agencies.”
“Cooper also testified that, during a meeting on August 20, 2019, with Ambassador Kurt Volker, he strongly implied that the hold on assistance might be resolved if Ukraine was willing to issue a statement related to election interference,” they said.
4:15 p.m.: Trump falsely claims he signed the Whistleblower Protection Act
Trump sent a tweet Monday afternoon appearing to lament signing the Whistleblower Protection Act. But Trump actually did not sign the law, which was passed by Congress in 1989.
“To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!” Trump tweeted.
He was responding to a message sent by the White House Twitter account listing ways that Trump has been “looking out for our veterans.” But the White House’s tweet had listed a separate measure, VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which Trump did sign into law in 2017.
Trump appears to have misread the White House’s tweet.
Among the aims of the 2017 legislation was to protect whistleblowers within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
4 p.m.: Democrats accuse Republicans of ‘moving the goalposts’ on impeachment
Democrats pushed back Monday on Republican demands for testimony from Hunter Biden and the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.
During an appearance on CNN, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) blasted Republicans’ request for Hunter Biden to appear in open hearings as an effort to “distract from the main allegations” against the president.
“Quite frankly, it is a distraction,” Cardin said. “It is to try to change the subject matter. President Trump is pretty famous for doing that, and here you find Republicans that are now talking the same language.”
In a tweet about a comment by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) that impeachment would be “invalid” without testimony from Hunter Biden and the whistleblower, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) accused Republicans of trying to “flood the zone.”
“The reason congressional republicans keep moving the goalposts on #impeachment is bc they know trumps extortion and bribery are indefensible so they flood the zone with nonsensical procedural whims,” Pascrell wrote.
3:40 p.m.: Condoleezza Rice says reports of shadow Ukraine policy are ‘deeply troubling’
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that reports of a shadow Ukraine policy under Trump are “deeply troubling.”
Rice, who was secretary of state under president George W. Bush and was also his national security adviser, made the comments at an event in Abu Dhabi, Reuters reported.
“I see a state of conflict between the foreign policy professionals and someone who says he’s acting on behalf of the president, but frankly I don’t know if that is the case. … It is deeply troubling,” Rice said.
Giuliani has come under scrutiny for his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Some of the diplomats who have testified during the impeachment inquiry have described his efforts as a shadow diplomacy conducted outside the normal channels of U.S. policymaking.
3 p.m.: Taylor, Kent set to appear together at public hearing Wednesday
The first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry will feature two witnesses appearing at the same time, Schiff’s office announced Monday.
Taylor will appear together with Kent, according to the announcement. The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
In his closed-door deposition last month, Taylor described a “Washington snake pit” of bad actors who were willing to cut off aid to Ukraine as it battled Russian-backed separatists, a situation he described as a “nightmare” scenario.
Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who was abruptly forced out, is scheduled to appear on Friday.
Meanwhile, two National Security Council officials who expressed alarm about the pressure that Trump and his allies put on Ukraine — Vindman and Fiona Hill — are in discussions to testify at a public hearing later this month.
1:30 p.m.: Whitaker suggests impeachment inquiry hindering work on military veteran suicides
Former acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker suggested Monday that lawmakers are unable to address military veteran suicides, among other priorities, because of their focus on impeachment.
Appearing on Fox News on Veterans Day, Whitaker argued that the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry is getting in the way of legislative action on several fronts, including passage of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada and legislation helping farmers.
“The American people are so frustrated with a partisan process that occupies both the House and soon the Senate when they should be passing the USMCA trade agreement,” Whitaker said. “We should be honoring our veterans and doing everything we can to support them. We have a, you know, crisis with suicides among our veterans. And small-business owners and farmers need help, and Congress, all they’re focused on is this impeachment.”
Whitaker also cautioned Democrats against refusing to allow witnesses requested by Republicans to testify.
“The American people are not going to be happy with that, just based on constitutional ideas of due process and fairness,” Whitaker said.
12 p.m.: Rep. Zeldin shares news report of his emergence during inquiry
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) on Monday shared an NBC News story describing his rise from a “little-known, 39-year-old lawmaker” to one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in the impeachment inquiry.
“Parody writer Adam Schiff’s job is to creatively connect dots not actually connected to sell a fairy tale impeachment narrative with 3% of a story,” Zeldin tweeted. “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure the American public gets the other 97%.”
The transcripts released so far of depositions taken during the impeachment inquiry have shown Zeldin, who represents eastern Long Island, to be the most vocal Republican during questioning, NBC News reported. He is a frequent spokesman for the president’s defense, often going on Twitter to attack Schiff and other Democrats leading the inquiry.
In tweets over the weekend, Zeldin shared sections of transcripts featuring his own questions and witnesses’ responses to them.
“The Dems aren’t just ripping our country in half w/this impeachment charade, they’re also willingly setting fire to our alliance w Ukraine,” he wrote in one.
11 a.m.: Democrats push back on Trump’s claim of doctored transcripts
Democrats have begun pushing back on Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Schiff is releasing doctored transcripts from closed-door depositions.
“Why does @realDonaldTrump feel compelled to lie about the transcripts, which were all reviewed by the witnesses? Because they are devastating to him,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted. “And who has the documents? The Administration. @POTUS is preventing Congress from seeing documents.”
Lieu, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, one of three House panels involved in depositions, was referring to documents requested by House investigators that the Trump administration has refused to turn over.
10:50 a.m.: Protesters chant ‘lock him up’ at Veterans Day event
Signs of protest were visible Monday as Trump began speaking at the New York City Veterans Day Parade.
Whistles and chants of “Lock him up!” could be heard from the west side of Madison Square Park on Fifth Avenue near the site of his speech.
Reporters also noted that signs spelling out the words “IMPEACH” and “CONVICT” were posted in the windows of a building overlooking the park.
Trump, who was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, made no reference to impeachment during his remarks.
9:20 a.m.: Trump claims without evidence that Schiff is doctoring transcripts
Trump claimed without evidence on Monday that Schiff has been releasing “doctored” transcripts of closed-door depositions conducted by House investigators.
No Republican on the three committees participating in the questioning of witnesses has made such a claim.
“Republicans should put out their own transcripts!” Trump said in a tweet in which he referred to Schiff as “Shifty Adam Schiff.”
“Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!” Trump added.
During an Intelligence Committee hearing last month, Schiff presented an embellished version of Trump’s July call in which he pressed Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
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.
9:15 a.m.: Trump calls for fraud investigations of whistleblower, his lawyer and Schiff
Less than an hour before his scheduled departure for a Veterans Day event, Trump returned to Twitter to call for an end to the “Impeachment Scam” and for fraud investigations into the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the inquiry, one of his lawyers, and Schiff.
“The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam!” Trump tweeted. “It should be ended and the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigared for fraud!” (Trump misspelled investigated.)
Trump and his GOP allies have seized on 2017 tweets written by Mark S. Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s lawyers, in which he predicted Trump would be impeached. Zaid has said he was exercising free speech and that his tweets don’t affect the facts of the case.
Schiff, who is leading the impeachment inquiry, has been a frequent target of Trump’s ire.
9:15 a.m.: Rep. Luria’s new fundraising pitch centers on impeachment
Rep. Elaine Luria (Va.) has become one of the latest Democrats to fundraise off the impeachment inquiry, sharing a video framing her support of the inquiry as an act of loyalty to the Constitution.
The video, shared on social media on Veterans Day, features the freshman congresswoman and Navy veteran reciting the oath of office. Iconic images — including of Iwo Jima, Martin Luther King Jr. and the moon landing — flash in the background.
“I didn’t come to Washington to impeach the president,” Luria says in an interview featured in the spot. “But I also didn’t spend 20 years in the Navy to allow our Constitution to be trampled on.”
A swing-district Democrat, Luria was an early holdout on impeachment. But in late September, she joined six other first-term, moderate Democrats with national security backgrounds in supporting the inquiry.
The new video, which directs viewers to support her efforts to “hold this administration accountable” through a donation to her reelection campaign, highlights a comment Luria made during a town hall in October.
“People might say, ‘Well, why did you do that? You might not get reelected,’ ” she said. “I don’t care, because I did the right thing.”
8:30 a.m.: Grisham says impeachment inquiry goes ‘against the Constitution’
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday that the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry goes “against the Constitution” and “against the American people.”
During an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Grisham was asked about comments former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley made in a television interview broadcast over the weekend as she promotes a new book.
In the book, Haley contends thatRex Tillerson and John F. Kelly — then secretary of state and White House chief of staff, respectively — sought to recruit her to work around and subvert Trump, but that she refused.
“To undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing, and it goes against the Constitution,” Haley told CBS.
After being shown the clip and asked for comment, Grisham said: “I wouldn’t know. I obviously wasn’t in that room.”
“But I would say one thing that she just said in that clip,” Grisham continued, “which is undermining a president is dangerous, and it does go against the Constitution, and does go against the American people, which is something that is happening in Congress right now.”
Impeachment of a president is explicitly authorized in the Constitution.
8 a.m.: Federal judge to hear from lawyer for Mulvaney
A federal judge plans to hear Monday from lawyers for Mulvaney and others about how to proceed with the acting White House chief of staff’s request to join a lawsuit that could determine whether senior administration officials testify in the impeachment inquiry.
Mulvaney has gone to court seeking to join a separation-of-powers lawsuit filed by Charles Kupperman, a national security official, who has refused to appear before House investigators, against Trump and the House leadership.
Kupperman, who served as deputy national security adviser under John Bolton, is asking a federal judge to determine whether a congressional subpoena takes precedence over a White House order not to comply with the inquiry.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon has ordered lawyers for Mulvaney, Kupperman, Bolton and the government to join him in a conference call Monday afternoon.
7 a.m.: Trump to speak at Veterans Day parade in New York
As House investigators prepare for the first open hearings of the impeachment inquiry, Trump is scheduled Monday to participate in a wreath laying and deliver remarks at the New York City Veterans Day Parade.
Trump has events scheduled in New York on Tuesday as well before a planned afternoon return to the White House.
6:30 a.m.: Trump promotes calls of GOP allies for whistleblower, Hunter Biden to testify
Amid a spate of tweets and retweets on Sunday night, Trump shared posts by several of his Republican allies pressing the case for witnesses they have requested to appear in open hearings.
A list sent by Schiff on Saturday included Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint prompted the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry.
Schiff has signaled he is unlikely to allow either to appear. Under House rules, he must approve witnesses or a majority of the committee must vote to allow them to appear.
Among those retweeted by Trump on Sunday night was Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
“The ‘whistleblower’ & all of his supposed sources should testify & answer GOP questions,” Zeldin tweeted. “Schiff blocking this would signal the whistleblower testifying would hurt Schiff’s case &/or even implicate Schiff & his team in wrongdoing. Any other excuse is just a disgusting smokescreen!”
6 a.m.: Watergate hearings were a TV spectacle. Now veteran journalists are demanding PBS offer the same access.
For 51 nights in 1973, millions of people flipped on their televisions at 8 p.m. Eastern time to tune into the prime-time political soap opera brought to their living rooms from Capitol Hill — President Richard M. Nixon’s Watergate impeachment hearings.
It was like “a kind of extended morality play,” as one of the nascent PBS’s news anchors described the network’s gavel-to-gavel coverage at the time. Viewers picked their heroes and villains in Watergate spies and insider White House witnesses, watching as the episodes of dramatic testimony on burglary and “dirty tricks” stretched well past midnight.
But while the public broadcaster’s experiment in uninterrupted evening impeachment coverage was a wild success then, PBS won’t be doing it the same way for Trump’s impeachment hearings this week — a decision that has incensed some of broadcast journalism’s most veteran reporters.
— Meagan Flynn