House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President Trump’s wrongdoing strikes at the heart of the Constitution and asked House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, saying lawmakers have “no choice but to act.”

Her address, in which she invoked principles espoused by the nation’s founders, came shortly after Trump went on Twitter to urge House Democrats to impeach him quickly, if they plan to do it, and suggested that he would call an expansive list of witnesses during a trial in the Republican-led Senate.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

●White House gears up for aggressive effort to defend Trump in Senate as House moves toward impeachment vote.

●A look inside Trump’s anti-impeachment spin factory.

●Ukrainian lawmaker seeking Biden probe meets with Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in Kyiv.

2:45 a.m.
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Pelosi shoots down testifying as part of a witness deal

Pelosi shot down any chance that she would be willing to testify in an eventual Senate impeachment trial as part of a deal to get testimony from Trump administration witnesses who have resisted participating in the House’s probe, such as former national security adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

“They should be testifying because they have been asked to testify by Congress. It isn’t a deal. It is a system of checks and balances,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said to CNN’s Jake Tapper during a televised town hall Thursday night.

Republicans have called for Pelosi and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) to testify as fact witnesses, accusing them of pursuing a biased impeachment investigation. The Senate will determine what witnesses it hears from through a variety of motions, and both parties want to see testimony from individuals that were not part of the House’s proceedings.

Several senior administration officials, including Mulvaney, flouted House subpoenas for documents and testimony that Democrats believe could have directly corroborated accounts that the president and his inner circle were closely involved in plans to withhold military aid from Ukraine until its president committed to conduct investigations that could politically benefit Trump. Bolton was never subpoenaed, but did not comply with a request for testimony.

2:25 a.m.
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Pelosi says President Clinton impeached for ‘being stupid’

Pelosi sought to distinguish the Republicans’ impeachment of President Clinton in the 1990s with their refusal to impeach Trump today.

The speaker said that the Republicans were willing to impeach a good president “for being stupid” and a “personal indiscretion,” but now many of the same people say Trump did nothing wrong.

2:15 a.m.
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Pelosi, who for months pushed back against the impeachment surge amid fear of political blowback on the campaign trail, said at a CNN town hall Thursday night that she would have no regrets about impeachment — even if it cements Trump’s reelection in 2020. Pelosi, an impeachment skeptic who never believed ousting the president would resonate with voters in battleground districts, told Jake Tapper that she believed she had a duty to act, regardless of polls.

“No, this isn’t about politics at all; this is about patriotism…. It’s about honoring our oath of office,” she said. “Politics is not even a consideration in this. This is about: Protect and defend the Constitution.”

Pelosi later added that Trump has become a serious “challenge” to the republic created by the founders, arguing that “left to his own devices this president is taking us away from checks and balances.”

Pelosi also said she did not believe the 2020 election “is going to ride on” impeachment but on pocketbook issues such as health care, then plugged a new prescription drug bill.

12:00 a.m.
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Biden says even if Senate won’t remove Trump, House had to act

Biden told Telemundo in a wide-ranging interview that the House must move forward with impeachment even if it’s extremely unlikely the Senate will vote to remove Trump from office.

“But look, the House has no alternative. Imagine if the House said, ‘We’re not gonna ... do anything about this.’ It gives a great, big flashing green to every president. You can violate the Constitution with impunity. And you can’t let that happen. You gotta set a standard,” Biden said, according to a transcript.

When the reporter asked whether it was wrong that Hunter Biden made a lot of money working for foreign companies while his father was vice president, Biden wouldn’t engage.

“I’m not gonna — and I know you’re not intending to do this — play the game to take the eye off the culprit,” Biden said. “The culprit here is, what may have looked bad but wasn’t anything wrong, is totally different than whether a president has held up $400 million in aid ...”

11:30 p.m.
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Ukrainian working with Giuliani says: ‘The TRUTH will come out.’

Former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko tweeted a photo with Giuliani on Thursday, and wrote that he and “America’s Mayor” were preparing for more meetings in Ukraine, including with Viktor Shokin, the former top prosecutor whom Biden pressured Ukraine to fire in 2016.

“With America’s Mayor @RudyGiuliani prepping for tomorrow another hard working day in meetings with Mr. Shokin and Mr. Lutcenko. To all conspiracy theorist there is no secret on what we are doing.The TRUTH will come out. God Bless Ukraine and God Bless the United States of America,” Telizhenko wrote.

Telizhenko first planted in Giuliani’s head in the spring the claim that Biden had done something nefarious in Ukraine related to his son, Hunter, and that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

10:30 p.m.
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Trump to hold Michigan rally during week of likely impeachment vote

The Trump campaign announced Thursday that the president will hold a rally in Battle Creek, Mich., on Dec. 18 — during the same week that the House will probably vote to impeach him.

Battle Creek is in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, represented by Rep. Justin Amash, an independent who left the Republican Party over its uncritical support of Trump and is now leaning toward impeachment.

The event will be a “Merry Christmas Rally,” according to the campaign. Trump has frequently railed against the “war on Christmas,” a term he and other Republicans have used to denounce the adoption of the more-inclusive phrase “Happy Holidays.”

10:00 p.m.
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Giuliani says corruption in Ukraine is a ‘major obstacle’ to U.S. assistance

Giuliani warned via Twitter that investigations into Biden and Ukraine need to be resolved or else U.S. aid to Ukraine could be in jeopardy.

The president’s personal lawyer claimed that the conversations around corruption in Ukraine “was based on compelling evidence of criminal conduct by then VP Biden.”

Giuliani added that until it’s resolved, “it will be a major obstacle to the US assisting Ukraine with its anti-corruption reforms.”

It is unclear whether Giuliani, who was in Ukraine on Thursday meeting with a lawmaker there digging for dirt on Biden, was speaking from his own point of view or in his capacity as the president’s personal attorney. Giuliani is at the center of the impeachment inquiry for operating what some career diplomats have called a shadow foreign policy outside normal channels to press for an investigation into Biden.

In his tweets, Giuliani also lobbed an unsubstantiated accusation that Biden and other Obama administration officials “contributed to the increased level of corruption in Ukraine between 2014 to 2016.”

“This evidence will all be released very soon,” Giuliani said.

9:30 p.m.
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Turley says he received threatening messages after testifying

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, one of the four witnesses at Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment, said Thursday that he has been the subject of threats in the wake of his testimony.

“My call for greater civility and dialogue may have been the least successful argument I made to the committee,” Turley said in an op-ed published in the Hill.

“Before I finished my testimony, my home and office were inundated with threatening messages and demands that I be fired from George Washington University for arguing that, while a case for impeachment can be made, it has not been made on this record,” he added.

8:40 p.m.
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Top GOP member on Judiciary panel demands hearing with minority witnesses

Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to panel chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Thursday reiterating his demand for a hearing with GOP-selected witnesses that would take place before articles of impeachment are considered.

Collins wrote that the minority party is entitled to its own hearing.

“Considering the haste with which this sham impeachment has been conducted, it is imperative that you contact me or my office as soon as possible to consult on scheduling the requested minority hearing day,” Collins wrote.

Collins made the ask in person during Wednesday’s Judiciary hearing, calling the process unfair to the Republicans. Nadler said only that he’d review Collins’s request to hold a minority day of hearings.

7:45 p.m.
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Schiff’s spotlight

When Pelosi decided to endorse a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump, she put the gavel in the hands of one of her most trusted committee chairmen: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.).

For the past two months, Schiff has been the man at the center of a political firestorm, steering the House through an unprecedented investigation into whether Trump leveraged the power of his office and the resources of the country to exact personal, political favors from a foreign leader that could affect the next election.

Read more here.

7:00 p.m.
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Trump says he’s not worried about impeachment hurting his legacy

In an exchange with reporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Trump said he is “not at all” worried that impeachment could hurt his legacy as president.

“It’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. It’s a big, fat hoax,” he said in the exchange, which came during a meeting with United Nations representatives from various countries.

6:45 p.m.
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Pelosi tweets image comparing Trump to Nixon

Pelosi’s political Twitter account tweeted a post Thursday comparing Trump and former president Richard M. Nixon and suggesting that Republicans who continue to back the president need to be voted out of office.

In the black-and-white image tweeted by the account, both Nixon and Trump are looking downward. The words “I did nothing wrong” are shown next to Trump, while Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” line is shown next to the former president’s scowling face.

“We take an oath to defend our Constitution — not the president,” the tweet reads. “If Republicans in Washington don’t #DefendOurDemocracy by holding him accountable — they need to go, right along with him!”

6:30 p.m.
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Biden calls Iowa voter a ‘damn liar’ after he brings up his son and Ukraine

Biden got into an extraordinary exchange Thursday afternoon with an Iowa farmer who first called him too old to run and then challenged him on Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine, triggering Biden to call the man “a damn liar.”

During an event in New Hampton, Iowa, the man rose to say he had two issues with Biden’s candidacy.

“You’re damn near as old as I am,” the man started. “You’re too old for the job. I’m 83, and I know damn well I don’t have the mental faculties I did 30 years ago.”

Then he turned toward what he said was a more pressing concern.

Read more here.

6:15 p.m.
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Democrats consider bribery, obstruction for impeachment articles against Trump

House Democrats are considering articles of impeachment against Trump that include obstruction and bribery, but are unlikely to pursue a treason charge as they weigh how to illustrate that the president’s activities involving Ukraine were part of what they see as a pattern of misconduct, according to congressional aides.

Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, which this week released a report of their findings from a two-month-long impeachment investigation, have said that they believe Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Ukraine meet the definition of bribery, one of the crimes the Constitution identifies specifically as an impeachable offense.

Central to the Intelligence Committee’s findings is that Trump compromised U.S. national security when he held back diplomatic engagement and congressionally approved military aid from Kyiv, until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky committed to publicly announce he was launching investigations into a debunked conspiracy theory surrounding a hacked Democratic National Committee server and of the son of former vice president Joe Biden, currently running to replace Trump in 2020.

Read more here.