Politics: Live updates: Ukrainians ‘came to understand what was required’ to get a meeting with Trump, military assistance, State Dept. aide told Congress - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Live updates: Ukrainians ‘came to understand what was required’ to get a meeting with Trump, military assistance, State Dept. aide told Congress

04:15  19 november  2019
04:15  19 november  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

'Signs of concern': What Laura Cooper told impeachment investigators

  'Signs of concern': What Laura Cooper told impeachment investigators Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Ukraine, told impeachment investigators in a deposition made public Monday that President Donald Trump’s abrupt hold on military aid to Ukraine sent all corners of the Trump administration into a frenzy to get it released — and to understand what motivated Trump’s decision. © J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

Instead, Trump railed that the Ukrainians were “horrible, corrupt people” and ordered the three men to “talk to Rudy.” Trump ’s grievances were so ingrained and Volker then said he planned to meet with Zelensky in Toronto on July 2 to secure his commitment to “ get to the bottom of things,” a cryptic

Instead, Trump railed that the Ukrainians were “horrible, corrupt people” and ordered the three men to Volker then said he planned to meet with Zelensky in Toronto on July 2 to secure his commitment to Sondland had met with Zelensky earlier in the day and had called Trump to provide an update .

BREAKING: Ukrainians “came to understand what was required” to get a meeting with Trump and military assistance, a State Department aide told Congress.

David Holmes, an official assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, was questioned about a phone call he overheard between President Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. During the call, Holmes testified, Trump pressed Sondland about whether Ukraine's president would “do the investigation.” He told lawmakers that, after the call, Sondland said Trump didn’t care about Ukraine and was primarily interested in the investigations it could provide of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Cooper testimony highlights Defense Dept. concerns over aid holdup, transcript shows

  Cooper testimony highlights Defense Dept. concerns over aid holdup, transcript shows Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testified last month that the Trump administration was pushing Ukraine to issue a statement disavowing any efforts to influence U.S. elections -- but she stopped short of saying that officials wanted to include a reference to Joe and Hunter Biden's business dealings in the country.Cooper's testimony was made public as House Democrats on Monday also released transcripts from their interviews with Christopher Anderson, a career foreign service officer at the State Department, and Catherine Croft, a Ukraine expert at the State Department.

Office meeting for Zelensky until he committed to Trump -specified, politically motivated investigations. Volker then said he planned to meet with Zelensky in Toronto on July 2 to secure his commitment to “ get to the bottom of things,” a cryptic reference that Taylor sensed was tied to the

Sondland told Trump , according to Holmes, that Zelensky would do “anything you ask him to” and confirmed that this included “the investigation.” Unlike Trump , the New York Republican did not call into question Yovanovitch’s effectiveness, even as she sought to get Yovanovitch to confirm

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

EARLIER: President Trump said Monday he will “strongly consider” testifying in writing as part of the impeachment inquiry at the outset of a week in which nine current and former officials are scheduled to publicly testify about his controversial actions regarding Ukraine.

In morning tweets, Trump said he might take up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on a suggestion she made over the weekend. Trump also claimed that the rules of the inquiry had been “rigged” by Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.).

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Later Monday, House Democrats released transcripts of last week’s closed-door depositions of David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, and David Holmes, senior political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.

Sondland said he was acting on Trump’s orders, aide told investigators

  Sondland said he was acting on Trump’s orders, aide told investigators Tim Morrison, a top White House national security aide, told impeachment investigators that Gordon Sondland — a U.S. ambassador at the center of the Ukraine scandal imperiling Donald Trump’s presidency — claimed to be acting on Trump’s orders, and was regularly in touch with him. © Provided by Politico, LLC Top White House national security aide Tim Morrison. “Every time you went to check to see whether he had, in fact, talked to the president, you found that he had talked to the president?” one lawmaker wondered, according to a transcript of Morrison’s testimony released Saturday.“Yes,” Morrison replied.

Instead, Trump railed that the Ukrainians were “horrible, corrupt people” and ordered the three men to “talk to Rudy.” Trump ’s grievances were so ingrained and Volker then said he planned to meet with Zelensky in Toronto on July 2 to secure his commitment to “ get to the bottom of things,” a cryptic

Live updates : Trump complains of a ‘rigged’ impeachment inquiry at the beginning of a busy week of Trump returned to Twitter Monday morning to attack the impeachment inquiry as a “great fraud” and Schiff controls what gets released from his secret depositions. Schiff shuts out witnesses who

They also announced that Holmes is expected to testify publicly Thursday.

Democrats are seeking to prove Trump leveraged military assistance and an Oval Office meeting in exchange for investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden and a debunked theory concerning purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Speaking to reporters in Kentucky on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he “can’t imagine a scenario” in which his chamber would vote to remove Trump if he is impeached by the House.

●Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) says whistleblower’s sources “exposed things that didn’t need to be exposed.”

●House is investigating whether Trump lied to former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, its general counsel told a federal appeals court.

●How a CIA analyst, alarmed by Trump’s shadow foreign policy, triggered an impeachment inquiry.

Gordon Sondland Stepped in ‘And Things Went Really Off the Rails’

  Gordon Sondland Stepped in ‘And Things Went Really Off the Rails’ Ukrainian officials arrived at the White House on July 10 expecting something approaching normal. They were in Washington for a scheduled meeting with then-National Security Adviser John Bolton with a plan to propose a new path for U.S.-Ukrainian relations under the umbrella of energy and security cooperation. All seemed to go well—until U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stepped in. “That’s when things really went off the rails,” one person in the room said.

Sondland had met with Zelensky earlier in the day and had called Trump to provide an update . Sondland replied: “He’s gonna do it,” adding that The disclosure created a new rupture in the relationship on the eve of what was supposed to be the first encounter between Trump and Zelensky

Before this scandal came to light, U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he would accept foreign intelligence Giuliani met with Ukrainian officials to press the case for an investigation in June 2019 and As early as May 2019, Trump had instructed State Department officials attempting to set up a

Who’s involved in the impeachment inquiry | Key documents related to the inquiry | What’s next in the inquiry

8:15 PM: Democrats release transcripts of Holmes, Hale testimony

The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry released the transcripts of last week’s closed-door testimony by Holmes and Hale.

Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and acting House Oversight Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that Holmes testified about the July 26 phone call he overheard between Trump and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

“Mr. Holmes testified that he felt obligated to come forward to rebut the unfounded claim by the president and his allies that ‘certain senior officials may have been acting without the president’s knowledge in their dealings with Ukraine,’” they said in their statement.

By: Felicia Sonmez

7:15 PM: Senate Democrats ask Defense Department about continued delay in Ukraine aid

A group of Democratic senators is pressing Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper for an explanation as to why more than $35 million of the allocated $250 million in military aid to Ukraine remains unspent.

3 takeaways from Laura Cooper’s and David Hale’s testimony

  3 takeaways from Laura Cooper’s and David Hale’s testimony Laura Cooper testified Ukraine asked about its military aid the same day Trump asked Ukraine's president for a favor.Cooper provided new information about when Ukraine knew there were conditions on receiving its military assistance. Here are three takeaways from their testimonies.

Live blog of the House of Representative's public impeachment hearing. Witnesses Marie Yovanovitch, George Kent and William Taylor testify about President Trump . As we know, that would take 20 Senate Republicans to join every single Democrat to get the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

Trump posted a reminder that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his foreign minister said they felt there was no quid pro quo or pressure from Trump . Donald Trump bashed Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams after it was revealed Saturday she told What is it really like living with dementia?

The Democrats — Sens. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.) — said the Defense Department had told them Friday of the $35.2 million in unspent funds. They told Esper they’re seeking “additional clarification on why the delays persist for aid to a close partner of the United States.”

“That fiscal year 2019 USAI aid remains unspent is a direct contradiction to the false assertions made by officials outside of the Department of Defense that the White House hold on Ukraine funds had no practical effect,” the senators wrote. “In reality, the hold on USAI funds by the Office of Management and Budget at the direction of the White House is why these funds remain in the U.S. Treasury, rather than with Ukraine as Congress intended.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

6:30 PM: Johnson lays out road map for Vindman attacks

Presenting a road map for the Republican strategy ahead of this week’s hearings, Johnson laid out a series of criticisms against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official who is poised to give public testimony Tuesday morning.

In a lengthy and wide-ranging letter to the top Republicans on the House Intelligence and Oversight Committees Monday, Johnson suggested, without evidence, that Vindman may be a member of the so-called deep state that “never accepted President Trump as legitimate” and purportedly works in secret to end his presidency.

Former CIA Director: We worried arming Ukraine would hand technology to Russian spies

  Former CIA Director: We worried arming Ukraine would hand technology to Russian spies Under Obama the military opposed giving Javelin missiles to Ukraine because of fear Russia would get access to sensitive tech, said ex-CIA chief Brennan."President Obama's decision was portrayed as an example of his timidity in foreign policy. But the story is more complicated than that, said former CIA Director John Brennan.

WASHINGTON — By the time President Trump met with congressional leaders on the afternoon of June 20, he had already decided to retaliate against Iran for shooting down an American surveillance drone. Mr. Trump came to office fixated on Iran as an enemy to be confronted.

I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. 5 Here, Mr. Trump pushes the Ukrainian president to get his country’s prosecutor to open an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and

“I believe a significant number of bureaucrats ... resent [Trump’s] unorthodox style and his intrusion on their ‘turf,’” Johnson wrote. “They react by leaking to the press and participating in the ongoing effort to sabotage his policies and, if possible, remove him from office. It is entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile.”

Johnson’s letter intensifies a campaign of attacks on Vindman from Trump and his allies, which has included speculation by conservative commentators about Vindman’s patriotism and a White House statement Friday criticizing his job performance. The letter responded to a request from the two GOP lawmakers, Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Devin Nunes (Calif.), who requested “any firsthand information you have about President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine between April and September 2019” on Saturday.

In addition to its attack on Vindman, several points from Johnson’s 11-page letter stood out as relevant to the probe:

●Johnson, who participated in a May 23 White House meeting in which a delegation that had just returned from Ukraine briefed Trump on the trip, wrote that he has “no recollection” of Trump directing thse group to work with his personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, on Ukraine policy. Sondland and former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified that they heard Trump say this.

●Johnson wrote that he spoke with Sondland on Aug. 30 about the hold on military aid, but that neither he nor Sondland recalls what was said.

●Johnson wrote that he asked Trump on Aug. 31 for permission to tell Ukrainian officials that the hold on military aid had been lifted. In this conversation, Johnson has said he asked Trump about the alleged quid pro quo and Trump vehemently denied it.

Ukrainian officials give conflicting accounts of when they learned US aid was frozen

  Ukrainian officials give conflicting accounts of when they learned US aid was frozen When Ukrainian officials found out U.S. military aid was being withheld by the White House has become a key question in the impeachment case against President Trump and whether there was a quid pro quo. © Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hold a meeting in New York, Sept. 25, 2019. Fresh testimony in public hearings Wednesday appeared to suggest the Ukrainians had learned of the hold much earlier than previously known, after a senior Pentagon official, Laura Cooper, said the country's embassy had been asking one of her staffers about it as early as July 25.

The allegation that Trump held up nearly 0 million in military and security aid to Ukraine Sandy’s name came up in the closed-door deposition of Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of Cooper, reading from “apportionment letters” — documents required to hold up the money to Cooper testified that Duffey, in a meeting on July 26 — a day after Trump ’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr

Live blog of the House of Representative's public impeachment hearing. Witnesses Marie Yovanovitch, George Kent and William Taylor testify about President Article II podcast: What are voters saying? On the latest episode of Article II, host Steve Kornacki talks to Vaughn Hillyard, a political reporter for

By: Elise Viebeck

5:45 PM: Graham announces Justice Department inspector general will testify next month

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next month, the panel’s chairman, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), announced Monday.

Horowitz has been working on a long-awaited report on the FBI investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“Mr. Horowitz will be appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 11, where he will deliver a detailed report of what he found regarding his investigation, along with recommendations as to how to make our judicial and investigative systems better,” Graham said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing from him. He is a good man that has served our nation well.”

Democrats and Republicans alike have eagerly awaited the release of Horowitz’s report, hopeful that the Justice Department’s internal watchdog will validate their views on the law enforcement investigation that dogged the first two years of Trump’s presidency.

A spokeswoman for the inspector general confirmed that the office had received Graham’s letter but declined to comment further. A spokesperson for Graham would not say whether the inspector general had communicated a date that the report was expected to be released.

By: Felicia Sonmez and Matt Zapotosky

5:30 PM: U.S. judge to rule by Tuesday morning whether to bar House from getting Trump’s New York state tax returns without notice

A federal judge said he will rule by Tuesday morning whether the House Ways and Means Committee must notify Trump before requesting his New York state tax returns, even though the panel has not said whether it wants the records and the court has not ruled whether Trump can sue in federal court to shield them.

The potentially precedent-setting decision, pending before U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols of Washington, D.C., comes after Nichols last week dismissed Trump’s attempt to prevent New York officials from using a recently enacted New York state law to release Trump’s returns.

Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine

  Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine WASHINGTON — President Trump had already been briefed on a whistle-blower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter. Lawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said. TheLawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said.

A State Department aide overheard Trump pushing for Ukrainian investigations into Biden. According to Holmes, Trump asked Sondland, who had just come out of his own meeting with Holmes said Sondland told him that Trump only cares about “the big stuff” when it comes to Ukraine.

New York state officials had agreed while that case was pending not to turn over Trump’s records any sooner than seven days after Nichols ruled on whether the Trump lawsuit should be heard before him or before a federal judge in New York.

Read more here.

By: Spencer S. Hsu

5:00 PM: Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats criticize Pompeo for not defending diplomats by name

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee took a swipe at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday afternoon after Pompeo declined to defend individual diplomats who had testified in the impeachment inquiry.

“.@SecPompeo just said with a straight face, ‘I always defend @StateDept employees,’ while once again refusing to do so,” the panel’s Democrats said in a tweet. “Ambassador Yovanovitch, Jennifer Williams, and the other targets of the President’s smears probably see things a little differently.”

Trump has disparaged both former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Jennifer Williams, Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, on Twitter in recent days.

By: Felicia Sonmez

4:30 PM: Holmes to testify publicly Thursday

Holmes is expected to testify publicly Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee announced.

Holmes testified behind closed doors last week that he overheard a July 26 phone call in which Trump pressed Sondland about whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, according to three people who read his opening statement and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe its contents.

Holmes is scheduled to testify Thursday morning along with Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council Russia adviser.

By: Felicia Sonmez

3:30 PM: The full Trump-Ukraine impeachment 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 — including aides allegedly tying those investigations to official U.S. government concessions. The Fix team has compiled a timeline of relevant events.

Read more here.

By: Aaron Blake, Philip Bump and Irfan Uraizee

3:00 PM: Pompeo says he ‘always’ defends State Department employees, but declines to back Yovanovitch or Taylor by name

Pompeo said Monday he “always” defends State Department employees, although he declined to defend individual officials who have testified in the impeachment inquiry, including Yovanovitch and her successor, acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr.

Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee on Friday that Trump recalled her this year after a “smear campaign” aimed at advancing corrupt interests in Ukraine. As she was testifying, Trump disparaged Yovanovitch in a tweet, prompting an outcry from some Democrats who described the president’s actions as witness intimidation.

At a news conference Monday on U.S. policy toward Israel, Pompeo was asked why he hasn’t spoken out in defense of his employees.

“I’m happy to talk about Ukraine policy today,” Pompeo replied. “I’m not going to get into the issues surrounding the Democrat impeachment inquiry. Just not going to do it today.”

He went on to argue that Yovanovitch’s departure from Ukraine preceded Taylor’s arrival. “There’s some ideas out there that somehow this change was designed to enable some nefarious purpose,” he said. “You should all just look at the simple fact that it was Bill Taylor that replaced Ambassador Yovanovitch, who in each case has been driving towards the appropriate Ukraine policy.”

Asked again whether he would offer a defense of his employees, Pompeo gave a general endorsement of the diplomatic corps.

“I always defend State Department employees,” he said. “This is the greatest diplomatic corps in the history of the world. I’m very proud of the team.”

Later in the briefing, Pompeo was asked whether he agreed with Trump’s tweet disparaging Yovanovitch’s career. He declined to say.

“I don’t have anything to say. I’ll defer to the White House about particular statements and the like,” Pompeo said.

A reporter asked Pompeo a final question: Does he still have confidence in Taylor?

“Thanks, everybody,” Pompeo replied as he made his way toward the exit. “Have a fantastic day.”

By: Felicia Sonmez

2:05 PM: Pelosi says facts of the impeachment inquiry are ‘uncontested’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic colleagues on Monday that the facts of the impeachment inquiry are “uncontested,” asserting that President Trump “abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests.”

She also pushed back against those who have suggested “no serious wrongdoing” was committed because military aid that was withheld to Ukraine was eventually released without the launch of investigations sought by Trump.

“The fact is, the aid was only released after the whistleblower exposed the truth of the President’s extortion and bribery, and the House launched a formal investigation,” Pelosi said, referring to the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi also argued that it would be “dangerous” to leave Trump’s fate to next year’s election because “the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”

“None of us comes to Congress to impeach a President, but rather to make progress for America’s working families,” she said. “However, our first order of business is our oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.”

By: John Wagner

1:30 PM: McConnell ‘can’t image a scenario’ where Trump is removed from office

McConnell told reporters in Kentucky on Monday that he “can’t imagine a scenario” in which his chamber would vote to remove Trump from office following impeachment in the Democratic-led House.

“I can’t imagine a scenario under which President Trump would be removed from office with 67 votes in the Senate,” McConnell said, according to a report by the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Removal by the Senate requires a two-thirds vote of the chamber.

McConnell’s remarks echoed those he made in Washington about two weeks ago, before the start of open impeachment inquiry hearings, when McConnell said that if a Senate trial started then, “I don’t think there’s any question it would not lead to a removal.”

McConnell was in downtown Louisville on Monday to receive this year’s “Distinguished Rural Kentuckian” award from the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.

He indicated it remains an open question as to how long a Senate trial would last.

By: John Wagner

12:45 PM: House is investigating whether Trump lied to Mueller, its general counsel says

The House is investigating whether President Trump lied to former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, the House general counsel told a federal appeals court Monday in Washington.

The statement came during arguments over Congress’s request to have secret grand jury evidence from the Mueller report released urgently for its impeachment inquiry.

The request followed closely on the heels of Friday’s conviction of longtime Trump friend Roger Stone. Testimony and evidence at his trial appeared to cast doubt on written replies from Trump to Mueller about the president’s knowledge about attempts by his 2016 campaign to learn more about the release of hacked Democratic emails by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

“Did the president lie? Was the president not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?” General Counsel Douglas N. Letter said. “The House is trying to determine whether the current president should remain in office. This is unbelievably serious and it’s happening right now, very fast.”

Read more here.

By: Ann E. Marimow and Spencer S. Hsu

12:30 PM: Republicans press for release of deposition transcripts

Republicans on Monday reiterated their complaint that public hearings are being held before all deposition transcripts have been released, claiming Democrats are withholding information from the public.

“At the start of last week’s public impeachment hearings, Adam Schiff had not released 4 of the transcripts from his Soviet-style hearings,” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). “There are again 4 unreleased transcripts as we prepare for week #2. What is Mr. Schiff hiding? Why does he want to control the narrative?”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) also suggested Democrats don’t want Americans to view all of the information.

“Not being discussed enough: House Democrats are holding public impeachment hearings when critical depositions haven’t been released — some that include key exculpatory information for the President,” he wrote on Twitter. “Perhaps it’s because they’re not interested in you seeing the full set of facts.”

Democrats are giving witnesses a chance to review transcripts of their closed-door testimony before releasing them publicly.

By: Brittany Shammas

12:10 PM: White House officials urge GOP aides to argue on substance

Two top officials recently enlisted by the White House to help on impeachment strategy urged Senate Republican aides on Monday to argue on the substance of the case against Trump, even as congressional allies continue to largely focus on perceived process fouls against Democrats.

The appearance of Pam Bondi and Tony Sayegh at a Monday meeting of Senate Republican press and communications aides shows how the White House has stepped up its coordination with the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue after a period during which congressional GOP officials say they had heard little from the Trump administration.

Bondi and Sayegh’s visit was confirmed by three officials in attendance who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting. Their messaging guidance to Republican aides largely echoed what Trump and his allies have insisted publicly.

That includes: urging the public to read the rough transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, which is at the heart of the Democrats’ impeachment investigation; that the president committed no impeachable crime; and that the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was eventually released without Ukraine launching any investigation of Joe Biden or the 2016 election.

The White House officials also highlighted the testimony of Tim Morrison, a former top official at the National Security Council who had listened in on the July 25 conversation but testified to House investigators that “I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.”

Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, and Sayegh, a former top aide at the Treasury Department under Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have been hired at the White House on a temporary basis to aid in impeachment strategy and messaging.

By: Seung Min Kim

11:15 AM: Trump highlights views of Rep. Van Drew

Trump returned to Twitter on Monday morning to highlight the views of Rep. Van Drew (N.J.), one of only two Democrats to vote last month against the rules governing the public phase of the impeachment inquiry.

In his tweet, Trump alluded to an appearance by Van Drew on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo.”

“Congressman Van Drew (D-NJ) SLAMS Democrats for ‘fracturing the Nation’ with Impeachment probe,” Trump tweeted.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars, in my opinion, tons of money, tons of time, tons of hurt, fracturing the nation apart, and I haven’t seen this to be a good thing,” Van Drew said of the impeachment inquiry on the program.

Van Drew represents a district that Trump carried in 2016.

By: John Wagner

10:50 AM: Zeldin counsels Trump against providing testimony

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), a staunch Trump ally, said Monday that it would be beneath the president to provide testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

“It would be a ‘Heck no’ from me as far as whether or not he should testify,” Zeldin said during an interview on Fox News, adding that the president “would just be lowering himself to Adam Schiff’s level — he would be lowering himself below Adam Schiff’s level.”

Zeldin said the president should “focus on the issues of the country” rather than participating in a hearing while “these people just scream at the sky.” He said Trump has shown he “has nothing to hide” and shouldn’t involve himself in “this game Pelosi and Schiff are daring him to.”

“Maybe he should send an autographed copy of his son’s new book ‘Triggered,’ ” Zeldin added, referencing a book by Donald Trump Jr. “I think the title of the book sums up why we’re having this process.”

By: Brittany Shammas

10:35 AM: Trump thinks Nixon should have fought impeachment, Nixon’s son-in-law says

Former president Richard Nixon’s son-in-law said Monday that Trump told him Nixon should have fought impeachment instead of resigning from office.

Ed Cox, who serves as national coordinator of the Trump Victory Fund, made the comment during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”

Asked by host Steve Doocy whether Trump should fight the impeachment inquiry, he said Trump was “going to fight all the way through it.”

“He’s a fighter,” Cox continued. “He told me that. He said President Nixon should have fought all the way through it. But it was a different time back then. Both — President Nixon had both houses against him.”

He pushed back against Doocy’s characterization of the Nixon impeachment proceeding as bipartisan, claiming it was partisan and driven by Democrats.

“They drove it because they wanted to depose a very powerful president who had just a great reelection in ’72,” Cox said. “The first Republican landslide since the 1920s. And they wanted to get back power, and that’s what they did.”

By: Brittany Shammas

10:30 AM: Schumer seeks formal notification from Pentagon on rights to make disclosures to Congress

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday asked Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper to “formally notify all civilian and military personnel of their legal rights to make protected disclosures to Congress free from retaliation.”

Schumer’s request, relayed in a letter, comes ahead of planned open testimony in the impeachment inquiry by Vindman, who is detailed to the National Security Council, and Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, among others.

“Since their identities were revealed, LTC Vindman and Ms. Cooper have been vilified and attacked by individuals in the media and elsewhere,” Schumer wrote. “Some have even gone so far as to call LTC Vindman, a recipient of the Purple Heart after being wounded while serving in Iraq, a spy and question his loyalty to the United States.”

“Bravely, in the face of these shameful attacks, these individuals have still chosen to come forward and tell the truth despite the risk of professional reprisals and threats to their personal safety,” Schumer continued. “I fear, however, these attacks will only increase after their participation in these public hearings.”

By: John Wagner

10:15 AM: Democrats express skepticism about Trump testimony

Congressional Democrats reacted to Trump’s statement that he will consider testifying in the impeachment inquiry with skepticism and calls for more cooperation from the White House.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said in a tweet that the president should testify and allow the testimony of other officials, claiming Trump was engaged in an “illegal coverup.”

“He should allow Rick Perry and John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani to testify,” Beyer tweeted, referring to the energy secretary, former national security adviser and the president’s personal lawyer. “He should turn over the documents Congress subpoenaed. He should end his illegal coverup. I’m not holding my breath.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) also expressed doubt that Trump would come through with testimony.

“I’m sure we can expect this testimony along with your plan to provide coverage for preexisting conditions, your gun violence legislation, and your tax returns, all of which you promised would be coming ‘soon,’” she wrote on Twitter.

By: Brittany Shammas

9:45 AM: Seventy percent of Americans think Trump did something wrong

Seventy percent of Americans think Trump did something wrong regarding Ukraine, according to a new ABC-Ipsos poll.

In the poll, 51 percent agreed that Trump had done something wrong and said he should be impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate. Another 6 percent agreed that Trump had done something wrong and said he should be impeached but not removed from office. Another 13 percent agreed that he had done something wrong but said he should not be impeached or removed.

Meanwhile, 25 percent said Trump had done nothing wrong.

By: John Wagner

9:00 AM: Trump says he will ‘strongly consider’ testifying in writing

Trump said Monday that he will “strongly consider” taking up an offer by Pelosi to testify in writing as part of the impeachment inquiry.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Trump said in tweets in which he also disparaged Pelosi as “Nervous Nancy” and “crazy.”

Pelosi made the suggestion during an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” arguing that if Trump is innocent he should come forward.

“The president could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants,” she said.

Trump testified in writing during the investigation into Russian election interference by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III after declining to be interviewed in person. He previously had said he was eager to testify.

By: John Wagner

8:45 AM: Mueller grand-jury material urgently needed for impeachment inquiry, Congress tells court

A federal appeals court in Washington on Monday is set to consider whether the Justice Department must immediately release to Congress secret grand-jury materials from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is due to review a lower-court ruling that requires disclosure of evidence the House Judiciary Committee says it needs in its “urgent efforts” to determine whether Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Last month, Judge Beryl A. Howell, chief of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, found that the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from grand-jury secrecy rules.

The case is one of several separation-of-powers battles teed up for the Supreme Court. Trump’s private lawyers last week asked the high court to block a subpoena for his tax records from New York prosecutors and to stop a separate House subpoena for his personal and business records.

Read more here.

By: Ann E. Marimow

8:30 AM: The quid pro quo evidence so far

Quid pro quo — Latin for “something for something” — is a common concept in foreign relations. U.S. assistance for other countries is typically contingent on an agreement to help achieve an American objective.

The current impeachment inquiry is focused on whether Trump abused his office by seeking a quid pro quo from Ukraine that would benefit him personally rather than promote the country’s interests: namely, investigations of his political opponents.

There have been six episodes in which top Trump administration and Ukrainian officials discussed such a potential quid pro quo, according to congressional testimony, public statements and documents.

Read more here.

By: Washington Post Staff

7:45 AM: McDaniel seizes on profane description of Trump

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel seized Monday on a Nevada congresswoman’s profane description of Trump to argue that Democrats have long sought Trump’s impeachment regardless of the facts.

During remarks at a fundraising dinner for the Nevada Democratic Party on Sunday night that drew presidential contenders, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) spoke about the prospects for Trump’s impeachment.

“I think the House is going to do it,” she said. “Frankly, I’d like to impeach the bastard right now.”

In a morning tweet, McDaniel shared the quote.

“More House Democrats showing their true colors,” she wrote. “Impeachment is all they’ve ever wanted!”

By: John Wagner

7:30 AM: Trump dismisses impeachment inquiry

Trump returned to Twitter Monday morning to attack the impeachment inquiry as a “great fraud” and take aim at Pelosi and Schiff.

In one tweet, Trump claimed unprecedented unity among Republicans.

“This is a great fraud being played out against the American people by the Fake News Media & their partner, the Do Nothing Democrats,” he tweeted. “The rules are rigged by Pelosi & Schiff, but we are winning, and we will win!”

Earlier, Trump shared a tweet by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) that also took issue with how Schiff is running the process.

“Schiff controls who testifies,” Scalise wrote. “Schiff controls how Republicans use our question time. Schiff controls what gets released from his secret depositions. Schiff shuts out witnesses who would contradict his one-sided narrative. This is what Pelosi is calling fair? It’s a sham.”

By: John Wagner

7:00 AM: Eight witnesses scheduled to testify publicly this week

Eight witnesses are scheduled to testify publicly this week in the impeachment inquiry, including four on Tuesday alone.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, European affairs director at the National Security Council, and Williams are scheduled to appear on Tuesday morning.

Vindman testified in a closed-door deposition last month that he “did not think it was proper” for Trump to seek a Ukrainian investigation of a U.S. citizen. He was among those who listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky. Vindman later reported his concerns to the lead counsel of NSC.

The closed-door testimony of Williams, which was released Saturday, suggests that the Office of Management and Budget had clamped down on Ukraine military aid more than two weeks earlier than has been previously reported.

Trump attacked Williams in a tweet on Sunday.

“Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released statement from Ukraine,” Trump said. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”

Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council, and Kurt Volker, a former Trump administration envoy to Ukraine, are scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon.

Morrison told House investigators last month that Sondland was acting at Trump’s behest and spoke to a top Ukrainian official about exchanging military aid for political investigations.

Trump has said he does not know Sondland well and has tried to distance himself from the E.U. ambassador, whom Trump put in charge of Ukraine policy along with two others, even though Ukraine is not part of the European Union.

Volker told impeachment investigators he worked with Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, the White House and Ukrainian officials to arrange the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, as well as a potential White House visit, while pushing for investigations into Trump’s political enemies.

Sondland is scheduled to testify on Wednesday morning. Hale and Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, are scheduled in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Hill is scheduled to appear.

By: John Wagner

6:45 AM: Democrats targeted in $7 million advertising campaign

The American Action Network, a group that promotes “center-right policies,” has launched a $7 million television and digital advertising campaign in 37 House districts calling the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry a “politically motivated charade.”

The ads target Democrats in 30 districts, urging their constituents to call their representatives and tell them to “let voters decide elections” and “get to work” on other issues. The ads also feature a clip of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) saying in a television interview that the impeachment process is “preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year.”

Ads in another seven districts thank Republicans for standing against impeachment.

Zach Hunter, the group’s vice president, said it plans to spend $5 million on television ads and $2 million on digital ads.

By: John Wagner

6:30 AM: Majority of young voters favor impeachment and removal

A new poll finds that 58 percent of likely general election voters under age 30 think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

The question was included in a survey of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted for the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School on a wide range of issues. Among the other findings released Monday: 48 percent of likely general election voters under 30 support dismantling the electoral college and electing the president by the national popular vote. Twenty-eight percent opposed the idea, with the remainder unsure.

By: John Wagner

6:00 AM: In late-night tweets, Trump shares a Fox Host mocking Democrats for describing Trump’s actions as ‘bribery’

Trump continued his efforts to undermine the credibility of the impeachment inquiry through late-night tweets on Sunday, including one that shared a clip of a Fox News host mocking leading Democrats for characterizing Trump’s actions of “bribery.”

Steve Hilton, host of “The Next Revolution,” said use of the term by Pelosi and others showed “the laughable hypocrisy of the Democrats latest desperate impeachment gambit.”

Hilton contended fundraising conducted by Pelosi and other leading Democrats “in the swamp” amounts to bribery and called the House speaker “the queen of bribery.”

“Raising money is the way she clings to power,” he said in the clip shared by Trump with his nearly 67 million Twitter followers.

In another tweet, Trump claimed that “nothing matters” beside the rough transcripts of his two calls with Zelensky and public statements by Ukrainian officials that they did not feel pressured.

By: John Wagner

Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine .
WASHINGTON — President Trump had already been briefed on a whistle-blower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter. Lawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said. TheLawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said.

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