April 2, 2019

President Trump may have just made the most demonstrably false statement of his life.

On Tuesday, Trump met with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Secretary General to seemingly discuss nothing related to NATO at all. After all, beyond the fact that Germany is in the military alliance, there was no apparent reason for Trump to falsely claim his father was "born in a very wonderful place in Germany" when he was definitely born in New York City.

Beyond this random gaffe, Trump answered — or tried to answer — questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. While trying to say someone should look at the "origins" of the probe, Trump definitely said "oranges" three times before swapping it for "beginnings" instead. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:28 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants President Trump to testify in the impeachment inquiry, and he's not shooting down the idea.

Pelosi on Sunday invited Trump to testify in the ongoing probe focused on whether he abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, with the Democratic leader saying he "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants" and "could do it in writing."

In a tweet Monday morning, Trump at first lashed out at Pelosi, only to actually decide this isn't such a bad idea after all, promising he will "strongly consider" testifying.

Still, many were skeptical that Trump's supposed consideration will actually lead to anything, especially after he said he "wanted" to sit down for an interview with then Special Counsel Robert Mueller, only to never do so. Mueller would later testify that his team spent more than a year negotiating for an interview with the president but had "little success." Trump, instead, provided written answers to Mueller, but the former special counsel told Congress this was "certainly not as useful as the interview would be."

Regardless of whether this testimony will ultimately happen, though, Politico's Jake Sherman asked "how long Dems will give the president to do this" and wondered "could this delay their probe," also writing that "whether he does or not, there's an argument now they have to give him a reasonable timetable." Brendan Morrow

9:10 a.m.

Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton told a group of bankers in Miami two weeks ago that his former boss President Trump "believes his personal chemistry with foreign leaders, including authoritarians like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, means that the U.S. relationship with those countries is a positive one," Axios reported last week. If that's the case, America's relationship with North Korea is ... complicated.

Kim has set a year-end deadline for a breakthrough in the U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks, and Trump tweeted Sunday that Kim "should act quickly, get the deal done." U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that the U.S. had indefinitely scrapped joint military exercises with South Korea as an "act of goodwill" toward Pyongyang to create space for diplomacy.

On Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan poured cold water on the Trump administration's outreach. "The U.S. only seeks to earn time, pretending it has made progress" with North Korea, he said. "We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us. As we have got nothing in return, we will no longer gift the U.S. president with something he can boast of."

North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests and publicizing its military drills. It's not clear what Kim is willing to put on the table, but along with suspending the joint military exercises with Seoul, Trump has asked Tokyo to pay four times as much to host U.S. troops in Japan and demanded that South Korea pay nearly five times as much, Foreign Policy and Reuters report. Bolton delivered the news in July.

"This kind of demand, not only the exorbitant number, but the way it is being done, could trigger anti-Americanism" in close allies, Bruce Klingner at the Heritage Foundation tells Foreign Policy. "If you weaken alliances, and potentially decrease deterrence and U.S. troop presence, that benefits North Korea, China, and Russia who see the potential for reduced U.S. influence and support for our allies." Peter Weber

8:31 a.m.

Most Americans are closely following the public impeachment hearings and believe the actions by President Trump that spawned them were wrong, a new poll has found.

In an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Monday, 70 percent of Americans said they believe Trump's actions tied to Ukraine were wrong. This comes after the first week of public hearings in the official impeachment inquiry, which is examining Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Of the 70 percent who say Trump's actions at the center of the inquiry were wrong, 51 percent say he should be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate for them, while 13 percent believe his actions were wrong but don't support impeachment and removal, and another six percent believe they were wrong and support impeachment but not removal. Twenty-five percent of Americans believe Trump's actions weren't wrong.

Asked how closely they've been following the House's impeachment hearings, 37 percent said they've been following them somewhat closely, while 21 percent said they've been following very closely. Forty-two percent said they aren't following them that closely or closely at all. Twenty-one percent of those polled also said they made up their mind about whether Trump should be impeached and removed following this first public week of hearings, although 78 percent of those polled had already decided before the public hearings began, including 32 percent who had their mind made up prior to September, when the news about the whistleblower complaint concerning Trump's Ukraine actions was reported.

The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by speaking to a random national sample of 506 adults on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. The margin of error is 4.8 percentage points. Read more at ABC News. Brendan Morrow

7:15 a.m.

Ford on Sunday unveiled its all-electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E, an SUV based on the automaker's new EV architecture. The Mach-E marks an attempt to expand the appeal of the iconic Mustang and lure in a new generation of buyers. The Mach-E is the first Mustang that isn't a two-door sports car.

The vehicle, with a starting price of about $44,000, is part of Ford's $11 billion effort to introduce 40 new electric and hybrid models by 2022, reports CNBC. Ford said the Mach-E would get 210 miles to 300-plus miles on a charge, depending on the battery option. The Mach-E's performance and price will rival Tesla's Model Y SUV. Ford CEO Jim Hackett said the Mach-E also will have the company's new hands-free driver assist system, similar to Tesla's Autopilot and Cadillac's Super Cruise systems. Harold Maass

7:12 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday said that President Trump was welcome to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. If Trump has information to clear himself "then we look forward to seeing it," she said on CBS' Face the Nation. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said if Trump wants to counter testimony suggesting he abused his power by withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democrats, "He should come to the committee and testify under oath. And he should allow all those around him to come to the committee and testify under oath," The Associated Press reports. The remarks came ahead of the House Intelligence Committee's second week of public impeachment hearings. Trump's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, is one of the people due to appear this week. Harold Maass

6:48 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a linguistic shift from "quid pro quo" to "bribery" last week. She explained at a press conference Friday that when discussing the possible impeachment of President Trump, often "we're talking Latin around here," from "'E Pluribus Unum,' from many one," to "quid pro quo," but "bribery" is actually "in the Constitution attached to the impeachment proceedings." It is also English, which is helpful for explaining things to an English-speaking electorate. But in the same press conference, Pelosi dipped into Latin derivatives — and then explained what she meant to an audience of one.

"If the president has something that is exculpatory — Mr. President, that means you have anything that shows your innocence — then he should make that known and that's part of the inquiry. And so far, we haven't seen that, but we welcome it."

Pelosi, like any Catholic who grew up before Vatican II, could probably figure out what "exculpatory" means without having to consult a dictionary, but she is likely right to assume that Trump, raised in the Presbyterian tradition, has never uttered the phrase mea maxima culpa. So in an interview with CBS's Margaret Brennan for Sunday's Face the Nation, she broke down "exculpatory" into its Latin roots for any president who might be watching. If Trump "has information that is exculpatory — that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame — then we look forward to seeing it," Pelosi explained.

In both interviews, Pelosi also argued that Trump has already admitted to offenses worse than those that drove Richard Nixon to resign. So perhaps she is hoping that Trump, confronted with the prima facie evidence of his actus reus, will reflect on his culpability ex post facto, when he is president emeritus. Peter Weber

5:16 a.m.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden before President Trump's administration belatedly released Ukrainian military aid on Sept. 11 — a point President Trump's Republican defenders frequently raise to dismiss the House impeachment inquiry. But Zelensky had been prepared to capitulate and announce the investigations in a Sept. 13 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, The New York Times reported. On his show Sunday night, Zakaria recounted his "best understanding of what actually happened."

"Ever since Zelensky was elected president in April, my team and I have been interested in having him appear on the show," Zakaria began. "On Sept. 13, I met with Zelensky in Kyiv on the sidelines of a conference I was participating in. He came across as smart, energetic, and with a much sharper feel for politics than you might expect from a neophyte." In their "brief conservation," they discussed Ukraine's issues with Russia and the U.S. and also corruption, he said. Zelensky seemed "a bit distracted," but "it's a testament to Zelensky's skill that he did not let on in any way the immense pressure he was under" from Trump and his allies.

Zelensky apparently decided he would announce the Biden-linked investigation during an already scheduled interview with Zakaria, "though neither he nor any of his team ever gave us any inkling of that," Zakaria said. The contours of the pressure campaign were starting to sharpen in early September, but "just imagine Zelensky's dilemma. By the time I met with him in Kyiv, he knew the aid had been released but the backstory had not yet broken into public view," and Zelensky's aides said at the time they were unsure why the aid was suddenly unfrozen," he said. When The Washington Post revealed the plot on Sept. 18, "the interview was called off — we are, of course, still trying to get it." Peter Weber

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