8:39 a.m. The pro-Trump, anti-impeachment talking points run the gamut: The president’s call to Ukraine was “perfect.” Former vice president Joe Biden corruptly benefited his family while working in government. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi started impeachment proceedings before reading the underlying evidence. Democrats previously talked with Ukrainians in the 2016 election. House Intelligence Committee chair Adam B. Schiff dramatized the phone call with made up words in the voice of a mob boss. The “deep state” is attempting a coup. Democrats, by contrast, benefit from message discipline. “It’s very simple,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) says on MSNBC. “The president compromised our national security by seeking political dirt on his rival from a foreign leader.”
9:05 a.m. Fox News’ news programming gets going with a golf course photo acquired by Tucker Carlson, the network’s prime time opinion host. The image shows Joe and Hunter Biden, the younger Biden’s longtime business partner Devon Archer and another unidentified man. They stand with their clubs on a putting green. The chyron says “Joe, Hunter Biden pictured golfing with Ukraine gas company exec in 2014.” That’s a reference to Archer, an American who joined the board of a Ukrainian gas company with Hunter Biden. Counting the younger Biden, there are two Ukraine gas company executives in the frame.
9:19 a.m. Trump continues to battle his own political appointees. “So if the so-called ‘Whistleblower’ has all second hand information, and almost everything he has said about my ‘perfect’ call with the Ukrainian President is wrong (much to the embarrassment of Pelosi & Schiff), why aren’t we entitled to interview & learn everything about the Whistleblower,” Trump tweets. His acting director of national intelligence announced last week that he is “committed to protecting whistleblowers.” The Intelligence Community Inspector General put out a statement Monday night saying the whistleblower had “direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct.” Both have praised the whistleblower’s professionalism, and there is no public evidence that almost all of what the whistleblower said was wrong.
11:07 a.m. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) pushes back on Trump’s efforts to out the whistleblower’s identity. “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality,” he writes. Grassley does not mention Trump, but he does say there is no legal distinction between a whistleblower with first- and secondhand information.
11:30 a.m. A Monmouth University poll taken last week finds little movement in Trump approval, which sits at 41 percent compared with 40 percent in August. Support for his impeachment and removal is at 44 percent, which is not far from where the number was in March of 2019 (42 percent) and July of 2017 (41 percent). The poll also compares Trump’s numbers to President Richard M. Nixon’s numbers before he left office. Nixon’s job approval, as recorded by Gallup, dropped from 44 percent in June of 1973 to 25 percent in April of 1974. Support for impeaching and removing Nixon rose from 19 percent to 46 percent over the same period.
11:40 a.m. The Washington Post posts a letter Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent today to House Democrats denying their request to depose promptly five current and former officials. He calls the requests an effort “to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly” State Department officials. “I will not tolerate such tactics,” Pompeo writes. He offers a number of legal and procedural reasons to argue the request is improper. The letter also appears to contain a warning to the officials not to produce requested documents for the House, saying such production “could potentially constitute a violation of numerous civil and criminal statues and regulations.” The requested officials include Marie Yovanovitch, who was recently recalled as ambassador to Ukraine, and Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as the Trump administration’s special envoy to Ukraine. Pompeo’s State Department, meantime, is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former department officials who sent messages to Hillary Clinton’s private email years ago, according to letters reviewed by The Post.
12:22 p.m. Sebastian Gorka, a former White House deputy assistant turned talk radio host, posts a video on Twitter from an outdoor cafe in Rome. He confirms reports that he recently traveled with Pompeo to Italy, which he describes as part of an effort to investigate the Obama Administration, presumably in relation to a broader Justice Department look at the 2016 election. “The house of cards that is Obamagate is collapsing. The crimes of the last administration are being uncovered, and people are running scared,” Gorka says. Then he announces he will smoke a cigar and drink a cafe affogato, which is vanilla gelato drowned in espresso. He does not lack theatricality, but he does misspell his website address in the tweet.
12:24 p.m. Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) announces he is drafting legislation to ban immediate family members of Senators, members of Congress, the president or the vice president from working for “any entity doing business in or with Ukraine.” This is an indirect shot at Hunter Biden, whose father is no longer vice president and who no longer works for a Ukrainian company. “The best way to resist temptation is a proper upbringing, a strong set of values and tough laws,” Kennedy says in a news release.
1:01 p.m. Bloomberg reports that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has told reporters in Kiev he never met or spoke by phone with Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani. “I want to tell you that I never feel any pressure and there are very many people in the west and in Ukraine who would like to influence me,” he said. He also said the text of his conversation with Trump released by the White House is similar to Ukrainian records. “I spoke Ukrainian, and President Trump unfortunately did not speak Ukrainian, he spoke English,” Zelensky said.
1:17 p.m. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, breaks from Democratic message discipline and launches a Twitter rant against the president and his advisers. She calls Attorney General William P. Barr “Trump’s puppet, ” accuses Trump of “dog whistling to his white supremacists” and calls the president “a dishonorable con man.” “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump,” she tweets. “He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.”
2:23 p.m. House Democratic leaders of the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees respond to Pompeo’s letter with a news release. “He should immediately cease intimidating Department witnesses to protect himself and the President,” they write. “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress — including State Department employees — is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”
2:24 p.m. Partisan views of the Justice Department have flipped under Trump. Pew Research Center releases a September poll that finds 61 percent of Republicans say they view the department favorably, up from 47 percent in 2017 when Trump took office. Among Democrats, 49 percent now approve, down from 74 percent in 2017.
2:52 p.m. Giuliani keeps up the media persecution messaging. He alleges via tweet that The Post, NBC News and CNN are “going after me because I’m the messenger, and covering up the message, Dem corruption.” He says Biden “is protected and immune like the Clintons and crooked Clinton foundation!” It is not clear what stories he is referring to. The Post reported last week that Giuliani was set to be paid to attend Kremlin-backed conference in Armenia. He canceled his appearance after the story published.
4:46 p.m. A House committee official announces that Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, will appear before the House on Thursday and that Yovanovitch, the former ambassador, will appear on Oct. 11. This comes just hours after the letter from Pompeo promising to fight their deposition before the House.
5 p.m. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick has requested a meeting with key committees on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, The Post reports. Linick’s office said in a letter to Congress on Tuesday that it had “obtained the documents from the acting legal adviser of the Department of State.” Linick said the purpose of the meeting is “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine.” It is not clear what the documents contain.