House Staffers On A Trip To Ukraine Learned Us Aid Was Frozen Stunned Here’s What They Did Next
Two days after a whistleblower secretly filed a complaint about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine in August, two top congressional staffers arrived in Kyiv on a routine business trip.
The staffers, who work for the committee responsible for federal spending, were shocked to learn from U.S. embassy officials that there was no new money coming into Ukraine.
That revelation set off a scramble in Washington to find out what happened to the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that had been specifically earmarked by Congress for Ukraine and that now play a pivotal role in a mushrooming scandal that threatens to lead to the president’s impeachment.
Meantime, the first public presidential impeachment hearings in over 20 years continue today with lawmakers’ busiest day yet.
They are set to hear testimony from four witnesses three of whom were listening in on the July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, will begin testifying at 9 a.m. ET. Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former NSC staffer Tim Morrison are scheduled to take begin testifying at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET.
Read more about who they are and the format for today’s hearing here.
You can watch the hearings live on NBC, MSNBC and NBCNews.com.
And follow our live blog for the latest news and analysis on the hearings.
Key Witnesses Tell Of Concern Over Trumps Inappropriate Ukraine Call
The afternoon hearing has finally concluded, after hours of fascinating testimony.
Republican Devin Nunes used his closing remarks to broadly attack the impeachment investigation, which he described as the culmination of three years of Democratic efforts to find an excuse to impeach the president.
Today we are witnesses the Ukraine hoax the plot is hard to follow and the evidence shifts from day to day, he said.
Democrat Adam Schiff used his closing remarks to focus on Volkers testimony. Addressing viewers directly, he said: Why should Americans care about Ukraine?
They will need to ask themselves are we prepared to accept that a president of the United States can leverage official acts, military assistance, White House meetings, to get an investigation of a political rival? he said.
I dont think we want to go there.
The hearings are still going, but energy from the crowd has evidently waned after hours and hours of testimony.
A reporter from the Huffington Post tweeted a photo showing a row of empty chair.
Ryan J. Reilly
Plenty of room in the crowd for hour 12 of todays impeachment hearing if you care to join.
Time Magazine is reporting that Mike Pompeo has told three prominent Republicans that he plans to resign as secretary of state to run for senate in Kansas in the 2020 election.
More from Time:
As the afternoons testimony approaches its conclusion, here are some striking images from inside the hearing room.
Donald Trump’s Second Acquittal Summary
Thats it from me tonight, after a historic day in Washington. Heres how the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump came to a close today:
Thanks for following along with our impeachment trial coverage tonight. Tune back in tomorrow, when the live blog will cover more fallout from the acquittal vote.
The White House has not yet released a statement about the end of the impeachment trial, but press secretary Jen Psaki just announced that deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo has resigned.
We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening. This conversation occurred with the support of the White House Chief of Staff, Psaki said in a statement.
We are committed to striving every day to meet the standard set by the President in treating others with dignity and respect, with civility and with a value for others through our words and our actions.
The statement comes a day after Vanity Fair reported that Ducklo made insulting and threatening comments to a reporter who posed questions about his romantic relationship with another journalist. The White House announced yesterday that Ducklo would be suspended for one week.
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House Prosecutor Cites Former Republican Expert Witness In Pro
A House impeachment manager cited professor Jonathan Turley, who had appeared as a Republican witness during Trump’s first impeachment battle, as part of the prosecution’s argument in favor of holding the former president on trial.
Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., quoted Turley’s assertion in a past study on the executive branch that “resignation from office does not prevent trial on articles of impeachment.”
Neguse also quoted Turley’s writing in a 1999 article on impeachment, where the professor approvingly quoted 18th century statesman Edmund Burke’s declaration that “no man in no circumstance, can escape the account, which he owes to the laws of his country.”
Turley in recent weeks, however, has argued that“the planned impeachment trial is at odds with the language of the Constitution, which expressly states that removal of a president is the primary purpose of such a trial.”
Turley had appeared before the House as Republicans’ expert witness in 2019, as part of the proceedings related to Trump’s first impeachment. Kevin Breuninger
How To Watch Trumps Second Senate Impeachment Trial
Former President Trumps second impeachment trial continues for its fourth day on Friday, February 12. Democrats on Thursday rested their case, after arguing that Mr. Trumps words and actions prior to the incited the riot.
Mr. Trumps lawyers will begin their arguments on Friday.
CBSN will air the trial in full and CBSNs Elaine Quijano will provide analysis after it has concluded for the day. CBSN coverage begins 30 minutes before the trial starts each day. On CBS television stations, CBS Evening News anchor Norah ODonnell will anchor special report coverage of the impeachment proceedings from Washington, D.C.
On the first day of the trial, the Democratic House impeachment managers presented a dramatic 13-minute video that showed the chaos at the Capitol on January 6 juxtaposed with Mr. Trumps speech to supporters earlier in the day, when he urged his followers to fight like hell. On Wednesday, the impeachment managers showed never-before-seen footage from January 6 that showed just how close the rioters were to many members of Congress, including video of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman steering Senator Mitt Romney away from the mob.
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Who Are The Members Of Trumps Defense Team
A mash-up of White House and private lawyers many of whom are familiar TV pundits will offer Trumps defense during the Senates impeachment trial. They are:
Pat Cipollone, White House counsel
Jay Sekulow, personal Trump lawyer
Kenneth Starr, former independent counsel
Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor
Robert Ray, former independent counsel
Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general
Pat Philbin, deputy counsel to the president
Mike Purpura, deputy White House counsel
This Blog Is Adjourned For The Day
But itll resume tomorrow when the Senate does. For any brave souls willing to stay awake , the House managers closing arguments begin at 1:00 AM AEST. Barring any big surprises, well see a vote to convict a few hours later, but well be sure to stick around until a healthier daylight hour to answer questions for anyone choosing to sleep in.
Thanks again for being here today! Theres nowhere Id rather be then here with you all, watching history unfold. So dont leave me hanging and come back tomorrow.
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Senate Trial To Restart At Noon Wednesday
Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will reconvene at noon ET on Wednesday after a day of arguments about the constitutionality of trying a former president for high crimes and misdemeanors.
The Senate voted by a 56-44 margin that the proceedings are constitutional, as only six Republicans joined with all Democrats.
On Wednesday, the nine House impeachment managers prosecuting the case against Trump and the former president’s defense team will start arguments about whether Trump incited an insurrection when a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. Each side will have up to 16 hours over no more than two days to make their case.
The House managers are expected to start Wednesday by rebutting the arguments Trump’s lawyers made before the constitutionality vote. Jacob Pramuk
Trump Impeachment Inquiry: A Guide To Key People Facts And Documents
But in Tuesday’s opening statement, Volker testified “As I remember, the meeting was essentially over when Ambassador Sondland made a generic comment about investigations.” Volker continued “I think all of us thought it was inappropriate the conversation did not continue and the meeting concluded.”
Volker said he did not understand that others believed that any investigation of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, “was tantamount to investigating Vice President Biden.”
The former Ukraine envoy said he had known Biden for 24 years, calling him “an honorable man and I hold him in the highest regard.”
Volker also said that he didn’t think that “raising the 2016 elections or Vice President Biden or these things I consider to be conspiracy theories that have been circulated by the Ukrainians” should be pursued as part of the U.S. security strategy with Ukraine.
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The Whistleblower & How We Got Here
A look back at the origins of the impeachment inquiry.
The whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump alleges the president sought foreign interference in the 2020 election and that White House officials moved to cover it up.
This week’s impeachment hearings give Democrats more chances to sway public opinion — unless Americans stick to already rigid partisan lines, according to a new poll from the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist.
Ukraine lies at the heart of the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, who has urged the countrys new president to investigate the Biden family. Special correspondent Simon Ostrovsky, who has reported from the country for years, returns there to
House Impeachment Managers Say Trump’s ‘incitement’ Is Not Protected Speech
Trump’s legal team also argued that his Jan. 6 rally speech was protected by the First Amendment, a contention that impeachment managers labeled ludicrous. This, after all was an impeachment trial, not a criminal proceeding. An impeachment trial is a political process intended to judge whether an official was upholding their oath of office and a standard of conduct.
With his second acquittal, Trump now plots his next steps in political and public life. Yet he is also contending with potential legal trouble stemming from a New York grand jury investigation and a newly announced criminal probe in Georgia.
Trump has been able to spin difficulties in his business and personal life before, and the country waits to see if has a next, and perhaps final, act.
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., delivered his closing arguments on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.hide caption
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., delivered his closing arguments on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
“It’s now clear beyond doubt that Trump supported the actions of the mob,” lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said on the Senate floor.
“He must be convicted,” said the Maryland Democrat. “It’s that simple.”
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New: The House Gop Memo
The Republican staff, spearheaded by the leadership, on the three committees involved in the impeachment investigation drafted an 18-page memo, based on the depositions and public reporting, that was circulated Monday night to GOP members.
The memo, obtained by CNN, lays out four central defenses of Trump, but perhaps more notably, marks the most centralized and detailed effort to lay out the Republican counterargument to impeachment that has been crafted. It underscores that with or without significant White House help, Republicans are attempting to put into place a clear line of defense, one that relies heavily, and notably, on the root of Trumpâs outright disdain for Ukraine, and why that is, to some degree, exculpatory in their view.
Of note, there are holes or omissions in various elements of the defense but the memo is detailed and clearly designed to serve as the roadmap for Republicans both on and off the Intelligence Committee as they defend the President this week.
Read: Impeachment Witnesses’ Opening Statements For Tuesday’s Hearings
Vindman stated that it was his view that Trump demanded Zelenskiy conduct an investigation into the activities of former vice president and potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s involvement in Ukraine.
Vindman said there was a “power disparity” between the two presidents and that because of his military culture, “a request, no matter how politely expressed,” is an order or demand.
Trump has argued that there was no pressure on the call.
“Do not worry”
Testifying in his military uniform, Vindman movingly referred to his father, who fled the Soviet Union with his family to the U.S.: “Dad, I’m sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union.” Vindman continued, “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”
Asked later why he was confident that he could tell his father not to worry about challenging the president, Vindman responded, “Here, right matters.”
It was followed by applause in the hearing room.
Vindman also lashed out at the attacks on the three witnesses who testified before the panel last week. “The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible,” Vindman said. He added, “We are better than personal attacks.”
Tim Morrison, Alexander Vindman’s former boss, testified in his deposition that he had concerns about Vindman’s judgment.
â The White House 45 Archived
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Louisiana Gop Censures Cassidy Over Conviction Vote
The executive committee of the Republican party of Louisiana has unanimously decided to censure Senator Bill Cassidy over his vote to convict Donald Trump of incitement of insurrection.
The state party said in an earlier statement, We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the vote today by Sen. Cassidy to convict former President Trump. Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and President Trump has been acquitted of the impeachment charge filed against him.
Republican Party of Louisiana
We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the vote today by Sen. Cassidy to convict former President Trump. Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and President Trump has been acquitted of the impeachment charge filed against him.
Senate Acquits Trump In Impeachment Trial Again
A majority of senators voted to hold Trump guilty on one charge of inciting an insurrection, but the 57-43 tally fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction. In all, seven Republicans voted to convict the former president, making Saturday’s vote the most bipartisan in a presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.
“While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute,” Biden said. “Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol.”
Until his comments on Saturday, Biden had remained mostly silent about his predecessor’s impeachment, telling reporters last week that he did not even plan to watch the trial. He neither fully supported nor opposed the vote by the House of Representatives last month to impeach Trump, saying he wanted to leave the matter up to Congress. He also declined to say whether the Senate should move to convict.
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Trumps Lawyer Claims Trump Didn’t Ask Ukrainian President To Investigate The Bidens
Several Republican senators asked both President Donald Trumps lawyers and Democratic impeachment managers under what circumstances a president could request a foreign country to investigate a US citizen including a political rival who is not under investigation.
Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin answered the question by going back to the record of Trumps July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump had asked Zelensky to do us a favor and look into allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Philbin, however, asserted that Trump had not called for an investigation necessarily into Vice President Biden or his son, but the situation in which the prosecutor had been fired, referring to the ouster of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
Republicans have argued Trumps conduct on the call was justified because of his concerns about the Bidens and corruption.
Philbin continued, arguing that potential malfeasance by an American overseas would be perfectly legitimate” to ask about, even if its not something that would mean a criminal investigation here in the United States.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Me., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, had posed the question. Collins is a key undecided vote on both allowing witnesses and Trumps conviction or acquittal.
Citing reforms made after the Watergate scandal, Schiff said such an ask would be contrary to the history of our legal traditions.
Louisiana Gop Votes To Censure Sen Cassidy
Literally minutes after Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., voted to convict President Donald Trump the Louisiana GOP voted to censure him. Cassidy was one of seven Republicans to cross party lines.
“The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Louisiana has unanimously voted to censure Senator Bill Cassidy for his vote cast earlier today to convict former President Donald J. Trump on the impeachment charge,” the Republican Party of Louisiana said in a statement.
Cassidy, who vacillated between convicting and acquitting the president this week, has been a senator since 2014. He was previously a congressman from the state. A censure officially condemns a politician, but does not carry any further power, such as removal from office.
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” Cassidy said in a statement. “I voted to convict President Trump because he is guilty.”
-ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan
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