impeachment inquiry
December 17, 2019

Shortly after his scathing impeachment protest letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was publicized Tuesday, President Trump addressed his displeasure with the proceedings in person.

While meeting with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales at the White House, Trump called the House's impeachment proceedings a "total sham" and, as he often does, saved some personal criticism for House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Trump accused Schiff of falsely attributing a statement to him and then complained about how "House immunity" protected the congressman from prosecution.

"In Guatemala they handle things...much tougher than that," Trump said with Morales seated beside him.

It's not exactly clear what Trump was implying with the comment — or how much he knows about Guatemala's judicial system — but he certainly thinks Schiff should face some form of punishment.

As for himself? In case you were still wondering, Trump won't be taking any responsibility for the creation of the impeachment saga. Tim O'Donnell

December 17, 2019

It's tough to tell, but President Trump doesn't seemed thrilled at the prospect of being impeached.

Trump on Tuesday sent a scathing leader to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to express his "strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade," just a day before the House is scheduled to vote on two articles of impeachment. Trump went on to accuse Democrats of violating their own oaths of office, breaking their allegiance to the United States Constitution, and "declaring open war on American democracy." Trump also compared impeachment to an "attempted coup" and called the process a "perversion of justice."

Most of the six-page letter reiterates familiar talking points voiced by Trump since Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry — he defends his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, baselessly chastises Democrats for not attempting to pass any legislation, and paints himself as an innocent victim. "More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials," the letter reads.

Indeed, several observers likened the letter to one of Trump's patented rambling tweets, just without a character limit.

Even still, the weight of its release was not lost on people, some of whom are predicting it will be remembered for quite a while. Read the full letter here. Tim O'Donnell

December 16, 2019

Despite their seats being at risk, two more House Democrats in districts won by President Trump in 2016 will vote to impeach him.

Reps. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) and Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) are throwing caution to the wind and standing by their fellow Democrats, even though they're two of the most vulnerable Democratic congressmen.

McAdams, whom Politico describes as a conservative Democrat, represents a district Trump won by 7 percentage points in 2016. In 2018, he won his seat by a mere 700 votes, so his tenure may be short-lived regardless of impeachment, but when it comes to the i-word he said his "duty is to the Constitution and the country." He said he "cannot turn a blind eye" to Trump's actions involving Ukraine.

Cunningham stunned everyone in 2018 when he won his South Carolina district that backed Trump by 13 percentage by just 4,000 votes. "At the end of the day, this is simply about rule of law," he said of his decision to support impeachment.

There are now 15 House Democrats from Trump-won districts who plan to vote in favor of impeachment Wednesday, which gives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a boost. But there are 16 other Democrats in the same situation, many of whom haven't yet tipped their hand. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

December 16, 2019

Well, that wasn't subtle.

In a sweeping article in The New Yorker, focused on Ukraine's former General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, President Trump's personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was pretty open about his plan to get rid of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Lutsenko reportedly wasn't fond of Yovanovitch, whom he felt favored his rival, the head of Ukraine's new anti-corruption bureau. That seemingly made him a good partner for Giuliani, who was launching a campaign to get Kyiv to investigate the actions of some of Trump's domestic political rivals in Ukraine. Giuliani has widely been viewed as the leading force behind the movement to drive Yovanovitch out of her role because she was seen as an obstacle to his investigation-related plans, and he admitted as much to The New Yorker.

Giuliani then compiled a dossier on Yovanovitch and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who once served on the board of a Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company at the center of corruption allegations. He went on to coordinate with journalist John Solomon, who interviewed Lutsenko for The Hill, to push the story and force out Yovanovitch. "I said, 'John, let's make this as prominent as possible,'" Giuliani told The New Yorker. Read more at The New Yorker. Tim O'Donnell

December 16, 2019

Bribery didn't work its way into the House's articles of impeachment, but the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee accused President Trump of the crime anyway in a 658-page report released Monday.

The committee notes that while proof of a crime isn't necessary to impeach a president, Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals registered as offenses "both constitutional and criminal in nature." The committee specifically mentioned bribery, which is an impeachable offense but won't be voted on as such by the House this week.

Still, the committee said there is "little doubt" the constitutional definition of the crime can be "satsified" considering Trump solicited a favor of personal value to him from Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky in an attempt to benefit himself and his political future. The committee's report will be considered by the full House when it goes to vote, so it's likely the bribery section will have some influence despite getting left out of the articles. Tim O'Donnell

December 8, 2019

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) believes the Democrats have a "solid" case for the impeachment of President Trump, he declared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.

In fact, the case is so strong he's convinced if presented to a jury, it "would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat," Nadler said. There is "considerable direct evidence," he continued, and it "ill behooves the president or his partisans to say you don't have enough direct evidence when the reason we don't have even more direct evidence is the president has ordered everybody in the executive branch not to cooperate with Congress in the impeachment inquiry, something that is unprecedented in American history and is a contempt of Congress by itself."

On Monday, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing where evidence gathered by the Intelligence Committee will be presented. Nadler said the scope and nature of the articles of impeachment are still being considered, and won't be decided until after the hearing. "We'll bring articles of impeachment, presumably, before the committee at some point later in the week," he said on NBC's Meet the Press. The articles of impeachment are expected to center on abuse of presidential power in regards to Ukraine policy and obstruction of the impeachment probe. Catherine Garcia

December 7, 2019

The House Judiciary Committee released a report Saturday geared toward defining what the Constitution's framers considered an impeachable defense.

The report comes after four legal experts testified about the subject Wednesday in the committee's initial hearing in President Trump's impeachment inquiry. The report, which traces impeachment's origins to monarchical England, doesn't conclude that Trump should be impeached, although Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) didn't mince words when announcing its release.

Ultimately, though, the committee is leaving that decision up to the House as a whole. Still, there's seemingly some hints at what future articles of impeachment — which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked committee chairs to draft — might look like.

Trump appears to have heard about the report and was quick as always to argue over Twitter that he was putting the U.S., not himself, first in his dealings with Ukraine. Tim O'Donnell

December 1, 2019

As promised, President Trump's impeachment inquiry will pick up right where it left off this week.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee will reportedly begin reviewing a report on the panel's probe into Trump's alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals Monday.

The committee members will reportedly have a 24-hour window to sift through the report before it goes to a vote Tuesday. The vote is mainly a formality and is expected to be split along party lines, which means it will likely be approved and then passed along to the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will then begin its own proceedings Wednesday.

President Trump's counsel has been invited to attend and participate in the initial hearing, but there is no indication that will happen. Trump, for his part, seemingly made it clear he won't be involved when he tweeted Saturday evening that he'll be in London on Wednesday for NATO business. Read more at NBC News and Politico. Tim O'Donnell

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