House launches Trump impeachment inquiry

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Here’s the transcript:

Trump hasn’t talked to attorney general about having Ukraine investigate Biden, DOJ says

The Department of Justice said President Trump has not asked Attorney General William Barr to contact Ukraine.

Here’s the full statement from Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec:

The Attorney General was first notified of the President’s conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky several weeks after the call took place, when the Department of Justice learned of a potential referral. The President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine — on this or any other matter. 

The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine — on this or any other subject. Nor has the Attorney General discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani
A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.

Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate Biden, White House transcript shows

President Trump repeatedly pushed for the Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky to reopen an investigation of his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and asked the Ukrainian leader to work with Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr on the issue, according to a transcript of the July call.Paid Content

Intel inspector general asked Justice Department to investigate if President’s push was campaign finance violation

The Intelligence Community Inspector General in late August referred a criminal complaint to the Justice Department to investigate whether the President’s pushing for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival, was a violation of campaign finance law, the Justice Department said.

The Justice Department’s criminal division last week determined to not open a formal investigation of the president for possible campaign finance violations. 

White House aides see Trump’s meeting with Ukraine president as a way to counter accusations of wrongdoing

The meeting today between President Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky at the UN General Assembly was arranged well before the whistleblower controversy exploded into public view, according to people familiar with the plans.

Aides initially did not view the meeting as a major highlight of Trump’s UN agenda, which they expected would focus heavily on Iran and not on the questions of abuse of power that are now swirling. 

Now, officials say they view the meeting as an important venue for Trump to counter Democratic accusations of wrongdoing, particularly because they believe the “transcript” that will be released ahead of the meeting won’t be the smoking gun that some are expecting. 

One official said there have not been extensive conversations between US and Ukrainian officials about what each leader will say during the open-press part of the meeting, though could not rule out more informal discussions.

Trump signaled Monday he believes Zelensky will back him up: “They don’t know either what the big deal is,” he said, referring to the Ukrainians, in a tweet.7 hr 39 min ago

Here’s what Freshman House Democrats are saying about the impeachment news

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) walks with her press secretary to a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday where formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump were announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) walks with her press secretary to a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday where formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump were announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer and moderate, said that she hopes the Democrats take this process seriously, saying they “have a responsibility to be as thoughtful as possible in this process.” 

Spanberger, who supports impeachment with the condition that the allegations related to Ukraine are true, said when asked about concerns that Speaker Pelosi announced her support for an impeachment inquiry before the transcript was out, she said “it’s one element of evidence not end all not just one piece of evidence necessary responsibility to be as thoughtful as possible.” 

Liberal member Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who famously told a crowd earlier this year that she wanted to impeach that (expletive), said she’s pleased Pelosi is finally there. “Really excited I think for my residents there has always been a need to hold this president accountable.”

Asked what this really changes, she said “[President Trump] can’t abuse the power he has this is the only option we have left.”

When asked about what the tipping point was for moderate colleagues, she responded that “many of them though they see a national security risk.. I think that’s what pulled them all on board.”

Pelosi won’t give details about her phone call with Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning declined to offer details of her phone call yesterday with Trump regarding impeachment.

She spoke to reporters as she arrived to this morning’s meeting with her caucus. 

“I would never say anything that the President says in a call. I might tell you what I said, but I won’t tell you what he said,” she said. “At some point I’ll talk about what that is and relationship to the new level of lawlessness to which the President has resorted in his asking a foreign government to manufacture wrongdoing to benefit his campaign. That’s really kind of the essence of all of this.”

Asked what Democrats need to see beyond the whistleblower complaint in their investigation, Pelosi responded: “There’s nothing beyond. The President admits that he made the statement.” 7 hr 49 min ago

The White House is doing damage control this morning

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senior Trump Administration officials are doing damage control on a call with outside allies, according to a source who was invited and shared the invitation with CNN.  

Schiff sends letter to attorney general demanding information on the handling of the whistleblower complaint

From CNN’s Manu Raju

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff has sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr demanding information and records about the handling of the whistleblower complaint.

Schiff claims that should the Justice Department’s previously stated position — which said “the disclosure in this case did not concern allegations of conduct by a member of the Intelligence Community or involve an intelligence activity under the DNI’s Supervision” — be allowed to stand, it could have “serious corrosive consequences for whistleblowing within the IC and the Committee’s exercise of its lawful oversight duties”

Schiff gave Barr until this Friday to produce “any legal opinion, legal analysis, or factual analysis” by the Justice Department related to the whistleblower complaint, and until Tuesday to produce additional material requested, including any DOJ communications with the White House regarding the complaint.Paid Content

Recommended by7 hr 57 min ago

The Republican-led Senate unanimously called for Trump to release the whistleblower complaint

The Senate unanimously approved a resolution urging the Trump administration to provide the full whistleblower compliant to Congress.

The measure was authored by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He said the resolution was “aimed at a recalcitrant executive branch, which has blocked the ability for the committees to see the complaint, even though the law requires it.”

McConnell said Republicans would go along with the resolution in the spirit that it would assist the Intelligence Committee conduct its investigation.

About the complaint: The Trump-Ukraine drama was first triggered by a whistleblower, who filed a complaint about Trump’s contact with a foreign leader. After that, allegations surfaced that Trump threatened to withhold $400 million in military and security aid from Ukraine to force Kiev to open an investigation into his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.7 hr 59 min ago

200 House Democrats are now calling for an impeachment inquiry into Trump

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

As President Trump has been openly feuding with House Democrats pursuing investigations into him, his administration and his finances, more than 200 lawmakers — almost entirely Democrats — are calling to start an impeachment inquiry, the first step in a lengthy and likely divisive process.

There has been a surge in support of launching an inquiry amid a growing controversy over Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the President, and the number of House Democrats who at least support launching an impeachment inquiry is quickly approaching the 218 votes needed to impeach Trump in the House, though it is unknown if all those who are in favor of an impeachment inquiry will vote to do so.

CNN previously reported that Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter, according to a person familiar with the situation, and that call was part of the whistleblower complaint submitted to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, another person familiar with the situation told CNN. Trump has admitted he delayed aid to Ukraine ahead of the call, but has denied doing anything improper.

There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

Many Democratic lawmakers had previously opened the door to impeachment proceedings after testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller before Congress in July. More than four dozen House Democrats came out publicly in support of an impeachment inquiry following Mueller’s appearance — including House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel of New York and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.

Impeachment appears politically risky for Democrats for many reasons, not least of which is that even if the House could get a majority to support impeachment, it likely would go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

While there are varying degrees of how far critics of the President are willing to push the process, one relatively basic litmus test is whether lawmakers would support starting an impeachment inquiry, the first significant step in the process.8 hr 7 min ago

Ukraine president posts photo with Trump, says he’s looking forward to their meeting today

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina and Nathan Hodge

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a picture with President Trump and first lady Melania Trump from yesterday’s UN reception.

He said he had a brief interaction with Trump yesterday and is going to continue talking with the US President “in the working mode” today.

Zelensky is scheduled to meet with Trump at 2:15 p.m. ET at the United Nations.

Володимир Зеленський@ZelenskyyUa

Вчора поспілкувалися з @RealDonaldTrump та @FLOTUS на Офіційному прийнятті від Президента США та Першої леді. Сьогодні продовжимо у робочому режимі!

View image on Twitter

9865:26 AM – Sep 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy409 people are talking about this

 Here’s the translation of his tweet: “Had a chat yesterday with @RealDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS at the official reception with the US President and First Lady. Today we’ll continue in the working mode!” 8 hr ago

Here’s what’s happening when today

President Trump is at the United Nations as the House gets moving on its impeachment inquiry. Here are the most important events we are watching today.

  • 11:20 a.m. ET: Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans who has spoken out about the Trump Ukraine drama, is speaking in DC
  • 1 p.m. ET: The House votes on a resolution demanding that the Trump administration release the whistleblower complaint involving the president and Ukraine to Congress.
  • 2:15 p.m. ET: President Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
  • 4 p.m. ET: President Trump holds a news conference in New York City

A timeline of how the Clinton impeachment went down

Margie Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, carries signs calling for the impeachment of US President Bill Clinton in December 1998
Margie Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, carries signs calling for the impeachment of US President Bill Clinton in December 1998 PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/

Bill Clinton was the latest US president to face impeachment. Here’s a timeline of that process:

House intel chair: This is “the most serious misconduct of the President thus far”

Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said he sees the Ukraine scandal as the “most serious misconduct” of Trump’s presidency so far.”I do see this as the most serious misconduct of the President thus far, and that comes after a long history of other very serious misconduct,” he told CNN this morning.

Schiff said he wants to get “the full facts” before deciding to impeach the President. (Remember: Democrats have announced a formal impeachment inquiry, but have not yet begun possible impeachment.)

“There’s certainly enough to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. And at the end of the day, they may be enough to impeach the President. But we need to get the full facts first,” he said.Paid Content

At least 200 House members support the Trump impeachment inquiry

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/

Of the 235 Democrats in the House, there are at least 199 — according to a CNN count — who’ve made clear they support starting the impeachment inquiry process, while some have gone further.

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican who has since become an independent, has also called for impeachment proceedings, bringing the total number of representatives to 200.

You can see the full whip count here.9 hr 28 min ago

Ukrainian president: “Nobody can put pressure on me”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “nobody can put pressure on me” when asked if President Trump pressed him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in a controversial July 25 phone call. 

“Nobody can put pressure on me, because I’m the president of an independent Ukraine,” Zelensky said late Tuesday.

He continued: “There is only one person that can pressure me, and it’s my 6-year old son.”

Asked whether he intends to ask Trump for anything in an expected one-on-one meeting Wednesday, Zelensky said: “I can say once again that we can talk about support, but we are not asking for anything, Ukraine is a new, powerful country that isn’t asking anybody for anything, we can help others ourselves.”  9 hr 37 min ago

The impeachment process can take months

The Clinton impeachment trial on the Senate floor on February 12, 1999.
The Clinton impeachment trial on the Senate floor on February 12, 1999.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not given a timeframe for this process but she told her colleagues it would be done “expeditiously,” and Rep. Jerry Nadler, the current chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has hoped to conclude it by the end of the year.

This process can take months:

  • For Andrew Johnson, the entire process lasted 94 days, from first congressional action to Senate acquittal, from February 22, 1868 to May 26, 1868.
  • For Richard Nixon, it lasted 184 days. The House approved the impeachment inquiry on February 6, 1974 and Nixon announced his resignation on August 8, 1974.
  • For Bill Clinton, it lasted 127 days. The House approved the impeachment inquiry on October 8, 1998, and the Senate acquitted him on February 12, 1999.

Some Democrats worry Pelosi may have acted too soon on impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held off on impeachment for months — but now some Democrats are worried the Speaker may have acted days too soon.

Several Democratic aides say that some in the caucus are quietly expressing reservations that Pelosi’s announcement came before the transcript of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s President was released and before Congress received the whistleblower’s complaint.

Many of the moderate members who have come out in support for impeachment have made their support conditional: If it is true Trump withheld military funding to Ukraine in order to elicit dirt on a political opponent, then it is impeachable.

But, Pelosi’s announcement yesterday caught some by surprise even as members were racing to come out in support of impeachment. A senior Democratic aide with insight into moderate Democratic thinking told CNN that many members preferred for Pelosi to wait until the end of the week when the contents of the complaint and transcript were fully known. 

Another Democratic aide said there is grumbling about what happens if the transcript and report are not the “smoking guns that everyone is hyping them to be.” 9 hr 55 min ago

Trump tweets: “Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear”

President Trump is on Twitter this morning, continuing to lash out at Democrats, who he describes as “frozen with hatred and fear.”

Here’s the tweet:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have. The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!89.4K4:24 AM – Sep 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy56K people are talking about this

Note: That was Trump’s second tweet of the morning. In his first tweet of the morning, President Donald Trump recommends a book by National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy: 

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Great new book by the brilliant Andrew McCarthy, BALL OF COLLUSION, THE PLOT TO RIG AN ELECTION AND DESTROY A PRESIDENCY. Get it, and some other great new books which I will soon be recommending. They tell you about the Crooked Pols and the Witch Hunt that has now been exposed!41.8K4:14 AM – Sep 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy17.2K people are talking about this10 hr 13 min ago

At least 198 House Democrats support the impeachment inquiry

As President Trump has been openly feuding with House Democrats pursuing investigations into him, dozens of lawmakers — almost entirely Democrats — are calling to start an impeachment inquiry, the first step in a lengthy and likely divisive process.

While there are varying degrees of how far critics of the President are willing to push the process, one relatively basic litmus test is whether lawmakers would support starting an impeachment inquiry, the first significant step in the process.

Of the 235 Democrats in the House, there are at least 198 — according to a CNN count — who’ve made clear they support starting the impeachment inquiry process, while some have gone further.

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican who has since become an independent, has also called for impeachment proceedings, bringing the total number of representatives to 199.

You can see the full whip count here.Paid Content

Recommended by10 hr 23 min ago

Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry. Here’s what happens next.

Behind closed doors, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not specify to her colleagues yesterday exactly how the impeachment inquiry will play out. In part, that’s by design.

Here’s what you need to know about what happens next:

  • What committees are involved? Each of the six committees — Judiciary, Intelligence, Ways and Means, Financial Services, Oversight and Foreign Affairs — will continue with their investigations, looking at different elements of Trump’s presidency, his past and his businesses. Months ago, these committees sorted out the different areas they are investigating, and many of the investigations are still charging ahead or their fights are tied up in court. If the Democrats decide to impeach President Trump, the Democrats on these committees will each provide their input over what they believe should be included in articles of impeachment, which will be introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. (Pelosi will have the ultimate say on this.)
  • When would an impeachment vote happen? The House Judiciary Committee will consider the articles of impeachment resolution and schedule a vote on it. If it passes the House panel, then the full House is expected to take it up. If a majority of House members vote for the resolution, then the House will have impeached Trump. To convict the President and remove him from office, it would require support from a two-thirds majority of the Senate, a highly unlikely proposition.
  • So in the end, what’s changed? Not a whole lot, other than Pelosi formally endorsing an impeachment inquiry. But for the past couple months, the House Judiciary Committee has made the case that it was already conducting an impeachment inquiry with the goal of deciding whether to vote on articles of impeachment. There will not be a separate vote to open up an impeachment inquiry, Democrats say. Pelosi would not give a timeframe over this process but she told her colleagues it would be done “expeditiously,” and Nadler has hoped to conclude it by the end of the year.

Trump says impeachment could help him politically. He actually doesn’t want it, source says.

A source close to the White House who routinely speaks with Trump says the President does not want to be impeached.

Despite his comments that he believes the process might help him politically, Trump, according to the source, has worried about the possibility of being impeached for nearly a year, dating back to the weeks that followed the November 2018 midterms when Democrats won the House.

His decisions to quickly authorize the release of the call transcript, as well as the whistleblower complaint, are signs of Trump’s wariness of the potential of entering the history books as an impeached president, the source added. 

 A White House official said a declassification process is currently underway for releasing the whistle blower complaint which is expected to be handed over to Congress by Thursday.

source: cnn

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