9:07 a.m. The Associated Press reports that Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko spoke with Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani in 2017 to discuss “political support and investment” but nothing else. “We never ever spoke about commercial companies,” Poroshenko said about his conversations with U.S. officials during his time leading Ukraine from 2014 to 2019.
10:03 a.m. Trump attorney Giuliani elaborates on his late-night text to a reporter announcing plans for a “Trump v The Swamp” lawsuit, which he misspelled as “jaw suit.” Now, he writes on Twitter, “We are carefully considering our legal options to seek redress against Congress and individual members, for engaging in an organized effort to exceed their limited powers, under the Constitution, and to trample on the constitutional rights of citizens in an illicit plan carried out by illegal means, to remove the President of the U.S., on deliberately falsified charges.” He does not clarify what he means. The Constitution gives the House “the sole Power of Impeachment” and the Senate “the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” Courts have interpreted these lines as instructions to stay away. In a ruling of a 1991 case, a court quoted Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 81 explaining that the legislative responsibility for impeachment is an important “constitutional check” on the judiciary.
10:19 a.m. Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) releases a memo announcing his intention to subpoena on Friday key White House documents as part of the impeachment inquiry. “I do not take this step lightly,” he writes.
10:45 a.m. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announces that he has signed on to a resolution to censure Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.). Last week, Schiff dramatized Trump’s phone call with Ukraine using made-up words in the voice of a mob boss. “Enough is enough,” McCarthy says. The censure motion is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, if it ever comes to a vote.
11:07 a.m. The Democratic message of the day is that other work is still getting done. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi comes to a news conference at the Capitol with Schiff. She wants to talk about a bill to lower prescription drug costs. She says the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is “on a path to yes.” She shows her frustration when reporters ask about impeachment. “Does anybody in this room care about the cost of prescription drugs and what it means to America’s working families?” she says. She eventually allows the questions about impeachment. Schiff calls Trump’s efforts to reveal the whistleblower’s identity “an incitement of violence.”
11:19 a.m. Trump tweets that the “impeachment nonsense” is responsible for a drop in stock markets, which are down roughly 2 percent since the open. This is not the dominant view on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average was effectively unchanged Monday from a week earlier, the day before Democrats announced an impeachment pursuit. But the Institute for Supply Management announced yesterday that its manufacturing index fell to the lowest level since the end of the 2007-2009 recession. “Global trade remains the most significant issue,” the report’s author concluded, a reference to U.S.-China tensions. The Atlanta Federal Reserve subsequently l
owered its GDP forecasts. On Tuesday, Trump blamed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell for the bad manufacturing numbers.
11:48 a.m. In a tweet, the president calls the impeachment inquiry “BULLSHIT.” He says Democrats should focus instead on “building up our Country.”
12:19 p.m. Trump further responds to Pelosi’s news conference in a whirlwind Oval Office meeting. He disputes Pelosi’s contention that Democrats are focused on topics other than impeachment. He rails against the “corrupt” media. He says his call with Ukraine’s leader was “perfect” and the Biden family is “corrupt.” “I don’t care,” he says, when asked whether the whistleblower should be allowed to remain anonymous, as indicated by law. He says that Schiff should resign from office and be charged with treason, and that the Intelligence Committee chairman is less impressive than Pompeo. “He couldn’t carry his ‘blank’ strap,” Trump says, to explain the relative worth of the two men. This is a knock on Schiff’s manliness, derived from the vernacular of locker rooms. “ ‘Blank’ strap” means “jock strap,” but Trump doesn’t want to say the word. The Finnish president, Sauli Niinisto, is sitting next to Trump. A Finnish reporter says Finland is a happy place and asks what the United States can learn from Finland. “Well, have you got rid of Pelosi and you got rid of shifty Schiff?” Trump asks. He is joking.
1:08 p.m. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who has traveled repeatedly to Ukraine on behalf of the Trump Administration, says “we’re going to work with Congress and answer all their questions,” according to CNN. Democratic House and Senate leaders have requested information about these visits.
1:40 p.m. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is asked at a Las Vegas event whether he would allow his vice president’s children to serve on a foreign company’s board, as Hunter Biden did during the Obama presidency. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., refuses to answer. “Playing that game is playing the president’s game,” Buttigieg says. “And the moment you’re playing it, even when you’re winning, you’re losing.” Several other Democratic candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.) and businessman Andrew Yang, have said they would seek to avoid a repeat of that situation.
1:55 p.m. Pelosi continues to challenge Trump’s messaging dominance. ABC News releases an interview with the speaker in which she talks again about the Democratic focus on lowering prescription drug prices and passing a new North American trade deal. Then she turns to impeachment. “I think the president knows the argument that can be made against him,” she says, “and he’s scared.”
2:12 p.m. The New York Times reports more details on the whistleblower’s efforts to raise his concerns. The whistleblower had a colleague convey a version of his accusations to the top lawyer at the C.I.A. before filing a whistleblower complaint, according to unnamed sources. The whistleblower also approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with some version of his concerns. Committee staff subsequently shared some of what the whistleblower conveyed with Schiff, the article reports. “Like other whistleblowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistleblower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” a spokesman for the committee explains in the story. “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” This appears to contradict a previous statement by Schiff. On Sept. 17, he told MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
2:25 p.m. Trump is back on television for a news conference with Niinisto, who tells Trump in the East Room that he has been visiting museums in Washington. “Mr. President, you have here a great democracy,” he says. “Keep it going on.” After an extended discussion about U.S.-Finland policy, Trump gets an impeachment question and launches another monologue on Schiff, the “hoax” impeachment investigation and his “perfect” phone call with Ukraine.
2:48 p.m. Trump cuts off a reporter who has already asked a question but wants to ask another. The reporter, John Roberts of Fox News, says Trump might like his next question. Trump’s interest is piqued. He lets Roberts ask a question about the New York Times scoop that dropped in the last hour. Trump is delighted. “I love that question,” he says. “Thank you, John.” Trump says the report shows Schiff is a fraud. In the Oval Office a couple of hours ago, he was merciless in his criticism of the New York Times. Now he is not. “I give a lot of respect for the New York Times putting it out,” he says of the scoop. The president then says, without evidence, that he believes Schiff helped write the whistleblower complaint. “It’s a scam,” Trump says. “The whole thing is a scam.”
2:55 p.m. Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asks the central question of the impeachment scandal: “Can you just make clear right here what do you or what did you want President Zelensky to do with regard to Joe and Hunter Biden?” Trump gives an extended answer about his frustration about European financial support for Ukraine and corruption in the country. He says he had frozen financial support for Ukraine because he did not want the United States to be the “sucker country.” Democrats have charged that the money was frozen to prod Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival. After Trump finishes, another reporter asks him to answer the original question about Biden. “Biden and his son are stone-cold crooked,” Trump says. “And you know it.”
3:01 p.m. Mason won’t let it go. “The question was, sir, what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son Hunter?” Trump is unhappy with this follow-up. “Are you talking to me?” he asks. “We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.” Mason calmly repeats the question again for Trump about Biden. “Did you hear me. Ask him a question,” Trump says. “Don’t be rude.”
3:02 p.m. “I don’t want to be rude,” Mason continues, calmly. “I just want to give you a chance to answer the question.” Trump will not answer the question. “I’ve answered everything,” Trump says. “It’s a whole hoax. And you know who is playing into the hoax? People like you and the fake news media that we have in this country.” He goes on for a bit about the “corrupt media.” “Ask the president of Finland a question, please,” Trump concludes.
3:03 p.m. Mason does just that, addressing the Finnish leader with a question about the resolution of a trade dispute between the U.S. and Europe. Before Niinisto can answer, Trump interrupts. “That was a big win for the United States, right?” Trump says. “You never had wins with other presidents.” Mason points out that the case started long before Trump became president. Trump disagrees.
3:40 p.m. CNN reports it has asked Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower, whether Schiff or the House Intelligence Committee helped in any way with the whistleblower complaint. “Absolutely not,” Zaid responds. Republican leaders continue to run with the story. “Chairman Adam B. Schiff just got caught orchestrating with the whistleblower before the complaint was ever filed,” McCarthy tweets. “Democrats have rigged this process from the start.”
4:25 p.m. An “urgent” briefing of House leaders by the State Department inspector general concludes with no official readout. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Oversight Committee, appears before reporters to announce that the inspector general turned over “a package of propaganda, disinformation and conspiracy theories” attempting to debunk special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s finding that Russia had sought to influence the 2016 election. Raskin says he doesn’t know where the documents originated, but they were addressed to the secretary of state. “The whole thing looks rather amateurish to me,” Raskin says. “There is nothing that relates to the president’s impeachable conduct.”
5:09 p.m. The ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez (N.J.), describes the documents from the inspector general as containing “long-debunked theories and false statements about the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and one of President Trump’s political opponents.” He says in a statement he wants to know Pompeo’s role in handling the documents. “It appears that he discussed these documents with at least one of his top aides and that the documents were distributed at the highest levels of the State Department,” Menendez says.
5:51 p.m. The Washington Post reports on Trump’s efforts to involve Vice President Pence in his pressuring of Ukraine. The article says people close to Pence insist he was unaware of Trump’s urging Zelensky to find damaging information about the Bidens.
6:35 p.m. Pelosi’s office releases quotes from a phone call she held with Democratic members earlier today. She calls Attorney General William P. Barr, Pompeo and Giuliani “henchmen.” She also repeats other talking points. “I do think that this is a moment beyond Donald Trump,” she says. “He’s almost not worth it, to do an impeachment, because he is so what he is, but the Constitution is worth it, and our Democracy is worth it, and our ‘Republic, if we can keep it’ is worth it.”