“”If you like subpoena coladas, and getting caught in Ukraine…
| Guide to:|
|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
The Trump-Ukraine scandal revolves around the circumstances surrounding a July 25th, 2019 phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Володи́мир Зеле́нський, sometimes transliterated as Zelenskyy) is a major turning point for the Trump Administration that has been mired in scandal since Trump's inauguration. While there have been a series of credible charges and accusations of administrative malfeasance, as well as evidence of self-dealing and general corruption, most Americans, as well as members of the House of Representatives, have been unwilling to support impeaching the President. But after word of a whistleblower complaint being identified as "urgent and credible", legal terms that require the complaint to be reported to the US House and Senate Intelligence committees, was being suppressed by acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, the House began the process of an impeachment inquiry and public support for impeachment has begun to grow.
- 1 Stupid Watergate
- 2 If it ain't broke, don't fix it
- 3 July 25, 2019
- 4 After the call
- 5 Shit hits the fan
- 6 The complaint
- 7 Impeachment Inquiry Begins
- 8 Closed Door Depositions
- 9 House Intelligence Committee investigation
- 10 House Judiciary Committee investigation
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
There are a host of people responsible for a routine congratulatory call that turned into a massive clusterfuck, which actually represents a massive threat to the administration. The person deserving of the most blame, is President Trump. Though he has a history of believing and promoting wild conspiracies, as well as peddling in misinformation, he most enjoys conspiracies that paint him in a positive light and target his political opponents. Without Hillary Clinton to use as a foil, Trump targeted most of his ire to Robert Mueller III, Republican, former-FBI Director, tasked to investigate the Russian Interference into the 2016 Presidential Election. During the course of the investigation, Trump attempted to have Mueller removed multiple times, and frequently attacked the investigation and its premise that the Russian government interfered in the election to hurt Clinton and benefit Trump. Even though this fact has been confirmed by eight US intelligence agencies, Mueller's investigation and the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Trump has insisted that anyone else could be responsible, and he appears to have become enamored with a particularly insane conspiracy theory, that Ukraine actually interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of the Democrats — the conspiracy involves a CrowdStrike, a security company that was hired by the DNC and is now part of the QAnon unified conspiracy theory. He has been joined in his belief of this theory by
batboy a walking corpse Dumber Fredo Mayor Stop and Frisk Mayor Broken Windows Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani, who holds no official position in the Trump Administration, has been pursuing evidence of this theory, through unofficial State Department channels. Though this particular conspiracy is related to a DNC server believed to have been whisked to Ukraine by Crowdstrike, it is adjacent to a black ledger that found its way to the US at the height of the 2016 election, detailing private payments by former-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych paid to Paul Manafort. Manafort had previously been a consultant for Yanukovych, rehabilitating his image to secure the 2010 Ukrainian election. At the time of the ledger's release, Manafort was serving as the second Trump campaign manager. The details were embarrassing to Manafort, who would resign the position, years later finding himself under scrutiny for his actions with Russian oligarchs, and financial crimes, for which he is currently incarcerated.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it
It is unclear how one conspiracy theory led to another, but Giuliani has also been pursuing another conspiracy theory connected to the Obama Administration, specifically relating to then-Vice President Joe Biden. The Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings added the then VP's son Hunter Biden to their company board in 2014. 2014 was a particularly volatile time in Ukraine, as Yanukovych found himself ousted during the Euromaidan movement. Yanakovych spurned closer relations to the European Union, favoring a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia. After Yanakovych fled to Russia, the interim government sought closer ties to the West, which included pursuing an aggressive commitment to eliminate corruption. VP Biden was assigned to spearhead this effort. The actions of Burisma to add the younger Biden was clearly an effort to show the administration and the Vice-President himself they were committed to addressing corruption. While Biden had no experience in hydrocarbons, his law firm had connections to Burisma. Hunter Biden obviously profited from his family name, but that isn't illegal.
In 2016 VP Biden, in his official capacity representing the United States, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund, Joe Biden visited with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The official message being carried by the VP was that Poroshenko must remove Viktor Shokin. The prosecutor had been appointed by President Poroshenko in 2014, in keeping with the administration's message of a commitment to closer relations to the EU and rooting out corruption. Shokin was not living up to this task, so the VP's official message was that $1 billion dollars of military assistance would not be provided to Ukraine, currently under assault from Russian and rebel forces in the east. Shokin was removed, and the funds were transferred. Shokin, obviously unhappy about losing his position, began stating that his removal was because Biden was attempting to protect his son, even though Shokin had closed his investigation on Burisma, Hunter Biden had never been the target of any investigation, and he was fired for not investigating corruption enough.
Shokin and Yuriy Lustenko, another Ukrainian prosecutor with a shady record on investigating corruption, made contact with Giuliani. Giuliani sought more evidence for this baseless charge, admitting that he sought the information to hurt Biden, who is running for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination and, in a variety of head to head polls, has been beating Trump in multiple states.
Fraud Guarantee (No, really!)
Giuliani's interest in Ukraine seems to go beyond this initial bullshit, as he was associated with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. These two Soviet-born, Florida-based businessmen worked with Giuliani, and Parnas paid Giuliani for work he did for a company appropriately named Fraud Guarantee.[note 1] Parnas and Fruman then apparently were assisting Giuliani in his Ukrainian effort, as well as receiving an unprecedented level of access to the administration, functioning as a shadow State Department. Both men have photos with Trump and Trump Jr., both were at the election night party for Trump in 2016, and were special guests of Giuliani at the funeral service for George H. W. Bush. Ambassador Yovanovitch identified that the men likely were calling for her ouster because her support for corruption reforms in Ukraine interfered with their business.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested October 10, 2019 at the airport before flying to Latvia. They had only just previously met with Giuliani at Trump's DC hotel for lunch, and Giuliani was supposed to meet them again in Latvia the next day. Parnas and Fruman have been charged with campaign finance violations, funneling foreign money into the campaigns of GOP candidates. Among those that have received contributions include Trump's re-election campaign, Ron DeSantis' gubernatorial campaign in 2018, Pete Sessions' (TX-R) Congressional re-election campaign, as well as other unnamed local officials. The Sessions donation is particularly concerning, considering he sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for Yovanovitch's ouster.
July 25, 2019
At 9:03 EDT, President Trump called President Zelensky from the White House residence. This is apparently highly unusual according to Michael McFaul. with several officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an aide to Vice President Mike Pence listening in. It is unclear where Pompeo listened to the call, while everyone else likely listened in the Situation Room. This was the second call from Trump to Zelensky, the first being a quick congratulatory call in late June. The call began innocently enough:
[Trump]: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn't given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It's a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.:1
They exchange pleasantries, then things take a turn:
[Trump]: Well it is very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it's something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn't do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it's something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.[note 2]:2
Now, this is not an uncommon tactic by Trump. There is ample evidence that he respects loyalty above everything (except money and gold electroplating), especially from people he views as his subordinates. To some it may appear unseemly, but remember that Trump operated as a
slum lord racist real estate developer in 1980s New York. But anyone that has ever seen The Godfather, Goodfellas or any organized crime movie ever, may also recognize this as the beginning of an ask. Zelensky seemed to pick up on this:
Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. 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. They are not enforcing the sanctions.[note 3] They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I'm very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps, specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.[note 4]:2
Trump takes the conversation to its logical (in his mind) next step:
[Trump]:I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation … I think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible.[note 5]:3
First, "I would like you to do us a favor though", is a clearly intending to be a favor to benefit himself. Trump never uses "us" to describe the United States, more frequently he is referring to his supporters or himself. Second, this baseless conspiracy theory comes from the dregs of the internet (i.e., 4chan, Breitbart, The Blaze, and Fox News) and is essentially a way to discredit the assessment from US intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee, that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to harm Hillary Clinton and support Trump. The "server" Trump is alluding to is a DNC server, that many idiots seem to think contains evidence that Ukraine interfered to benefit the Democrats, or alternatively that the server contains HRC emails. Either way it's absolute bollocks. Again Zelensky seems to definitely pick up where Trump is going:
President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine… I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us…[note 6]:3
Now, an idiot might read this and think, "See, Zelensky is acknowledging the seriousness of this investigation." But Zelensky is playing politics. Trump has a history of responding well to leaders who stroke his ego, and ending agreements and meetings with leaders who don't. At this point Ukraine is desperately in need of additional lethal assistance (which Zelensky knew was being held up at the request of Trump a week before this call) and had been seeking a WH meeting with the two leaders; why not suck up a little bit? Trump keeps on rolling:
[Trump]: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.[note 7]:4
Before breaking down everything that is bullshit about this statement, it cannot be stressed more that this is the President of the United States seeking information from a foreign nation to damage a likely election competitor. This would be a campaign finance violation at a minimum, a breach of public trust, and definitely a violation of the oath of office.[note 8]
Now there are several things in this ask that are inaccurate. First, the prosecutor that Trump is referring to is Viktor Shokin. Shokin was appointed by then-President Poroshenko in 2014. Though he talked a big game about fighting and prosecuting corruption, his record was less than stellar. Joe Biden, in his formal capacity as Vice President of the United States, was sent to Ukraine to meet with President Poroshenko with a message from the US, the EU, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF): sack Shokin. On the 2020 campaign trail he has discussed this incident, specifically telling Poroshenko that he would leave the country in one hour, and that one billion dollars of military aid would not be transferred to Ukraine if Shokin was not removed. On the way to the airport, he discovered Poroshenko had indeed removed Shokin. Second, this is the second time that Giuliani has been mentioned meeting with members of Zelensky's administration. Giuliani is not a government employee but only Trump's private attorney, and would seem to be in violation of the Logan Act. Additionally the Attorney General, William Barr, is also not a member of the State Department and would seem to be ill-equipped to work on matters of State (especially considering his job is to be the lawyer for America, not the President). Third, the Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, was removed not for dealing with people that were "bad news", but because she had been maintaining the administration line about corruption, and had resisted efforts by Giuliani to investigate the DNC server and Hunter Biden.
After the call
Advisers and officials listening to or aware of the details of the call seemed to appreciate the gravity of it: President Trump had used his office to seek assistance from the President of Ukraine in finding damaging information on Joe Biden. White House lawyers quickly moved to limit those who had access to the records of the call, directing officials to move the transcript of the call from the typical system which cabinet-level officials had access to a National Security system where highly sensitive information is stored, even though the call didn't contain any sensitive information from a national security perspective.:1,3-4 Apparently this was not the only time "politically" sensitive transcripts had been moved to this system.[note 9] Additionally, on July 26 Trump administration officials Kurt Volker[note 10] and Gordon Sondland[note 11] met with President Zelensky. While scheduled before the call, this meeting focused on a "deliverable" from the new Ukrainian administration.
Shit hits the fan
On August 12, a whistle-blower in the intelligence apparatus filed a complaint with Michael Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. Atkinson then investigated claims made in the complaint. Sometime in early September, he referred the complaint to the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire. We do not yet know details of the investigation, but Atkinson deemed the complaint "urgent and credible". By labeling the complaint as such, the law requires that the DNI transfer the complaint to the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence within seven days. Maguire, however, did not do that. Instead, he sought advice from the White House and the Department of Justice. In keeping with the posture of the administration to stonewall on all investigations, the Office of Legal Counsel submitted a memo stating that because the complaint dealt with someone "outside the intelligence apparatus" (i.e., the head of the Executive branch) the complaint was not "urgent" and did not need to be relayed to Congress, so Maguire sat on the complaint. Sometime during the third week of September, Atkinson took it upon himself to alert Chairman of the HPSCI Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Chairman of the SSCI Richard Burr (R-NC) to the existence of the complaint. Chairman Schiff reacted to this discovery with outrage, and over the course of the week a slow drip of information began to appear in the media about the contents of the complaint. Democrats who hadn't supported impeachment after the Mueller report, slowly became compelled to support impeachment after the most damaging details emerged. The flood gates opened when Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formal impeachment inquiry on September 24. Trump reacted incredulously, saying that making the announcement without seeing the readout of the call was a mistake. When the call details were released later that day,:2 they clearly confirmed what all reporting had indicated.[note 12]
Made public September 26, the nine-page complaint is written in a succinct and clear fashion that would be expected from an intelligence analyst. Mostly unredacted, the complaint details the events of the call and how they relate to other events concerning the whistleblower. On the first page is a paragraph that undoubtedly will be echoed by Republicans endlessly until sources are identified:
I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues' accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.:1
However, the whistle-blower is a CIA analyst (probably) who has access to much of this underlying information, and additionally identifies the individuals whom they spoke to (though that is withheld from the unclassified complaint). This type of information sharing is not uncommon as the whistleblower notes, "It is routine for U.S. officials with responsibility for a particular regional or functional portfolio to share such information with one another in order to inform policymaking and analysis.":1 With that, the complaint identifies the threat:
I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute "a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order" that "does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters," consistent with the definition of an "urgent concern" in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(G). I am therefore fulfilling my duty to report this information, through proper legal channels, to the relevant authorities.
- I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government's efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.:1
The first section details the July 25 call, which matches what was discussed above. Additionally, the complaint supports this reading of the call with the statement from the Ukrainian government after the call, "Donald Trump expressed his conviction that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve Ukraine's image and complete the investigation of corruption cases that have held back cooperation between Ukraine and the United States.":3 The only case discussed during the call was about the DNC server and Hunter Biden. Because of the assumed routine nature of the call, multiple people were involved, including T. Ulrich Brechbuhl from the State Department. The whistleblower states they were not the only non-WH official to receive the call readout.[note 13] The second part details the attempt by the administration to limit the exposure from the consequences of the call. The complaint uses the phrase "lock down" to describe the efforts undertaken by WH lawyers, including removing the transcript from one system and moving it to another higher security clearance system.
Sections three and four form the roadmap for the seriousness of the complaint. Section three documents that US Ambassadors discussed the call the next day with Zelensky and his staff. It also details word about an August 2 meeting in Madrid, where Giuliani met with Andriy Yermak, an adviser to Zelensky, that was framed as a direct followup of the July 25 call. A week later, the complaint identifies statements made by Trump that are real weird.[note 14] Going into the fourth section the context is laid bare: Allegations from Yuriy Lutsenko about Vice President Biden's pressuring for the removal of Shokin to protect Burisma (which is debunked above),[note 15] including an accusation that two Ukrainian officials had interfered in the 2016 Presidential election to benefit the Democrats.[note 16] Mr. Lutsenko appears to have begun making these wild accusations because he anticipated being removed from his post after Zelensky defeated President Poroshenko in a future run-off election. Lutsenko met Giuliani at least twice, and by April 25, Giuliani had begun making the media rounds bragging about information that would be of interest to the Attorney General. The complaint then details the multiple efforts that Giuliani seemed to engage in with regards to Ukraine. First was the recall of the Ukrainian Ambassador. Giuliani is on the record as saying "[Ambassador Yovanovitch] was removed… because she was part of the efforts against the President." Second, the aforementioned trip that Giuliani planned in May 2019 where he stated multiple times he was traveling to Ukraine on behalf of President Trump, seeking information on Biden.[note 17] These actions had spooked the State Department so much they spoke to Giuliani to "contain the damage".:7 The last five paragraphs in the complaint tie everything together in a neat little bow:
During this same timeframe, multiple U.S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to "play ball" on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani. (Note: This was the general understanding of the state of affairs as conveyed to me by U.S. officials from late May into early July. I do not know who delivered this message to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.)
Shortly after President Zelenskyy's inauguration, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani met with two other Ukrainian officials: Ukraine's Special Anticorruption Prosecutor, Mr. Nazar Kholodnytskyy, and a former Ukrainian diplomat named Andriy Telizhenko. Both Mr. Kholodnytskyy and Mr. Telizhenko are allies of Mr. Lutsenko and made similar allegations in the above-mentioned series of articles in The Hill.
On 13 June, the President told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign government.
On 21 June, Mr. Giuliani tweeted: "New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 and alleged Biden bribery of Poroshenko. Time for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused by Hillary and Clinton people."
In mid-July, I learned of a sudden change of policy with respect to U.S. assistance for Ukraine.:7
That first and last paragraphs are particularly troubling and further detailed in the appendix:
I learned from U.S. officials that, on or around 14 May, the President instructed Vice President Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend President Zelenskyy's inauguration on 20 May; Secretary of Energy Rick Perry led the delegation instead. According to these officials, it was also "made clear" to them that the President did not want to meet with Mr. Zelenskyy until he saw how Zelenskyy "chose to act" in office. I do not know how this guidance was communicated, or by whom. I also do not know whether this action was connected with the broader understanding, described in the unclassified letter, that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to "play ball" on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.[note 18]:8-9
On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President "earlier that month" had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S … aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it.[note 19]:9
Impeachment Inquiry Begins
Outrage abounds. As of October 8, there are 227 House members who support impeachment. Every single candidate running for the Democratic nomination supports an impeachment inquiry. Two of the three Republicans seeking to oust the President for the Republican nomination support the inquiry. Though Republicans in the House remain steadfast in their denial that the President has done anything wrong, several Senate Republicans have been frustrated with the President's actions and are open to exploring the charges brought by the House. Chairman Schiff has established an aggressive schedule, and a vote on articles of impeachment seemed likely before Thanksgiving.
Giuliani has responded more like his client, calling journalists to rage at them on the phone, making the rounds on cable television declaring himself "the Hero", and accomplishing "his mission in life".[note 20] He also has floated the brilliant idea to "sue the swamp", even though legally, Congresspersons are protected from litigation about their actions in office.
Support for impeachment from Americans seems to be trending in the wrong direction for the administration, as following the conclusion the Mueller Investigation, support among Democrats was still mixed, mixed but lower for independents and nil for the GOP. Over the course of three weeks however there has been a substantial increase, with nearly 2 of 10 Republicans supporting removal.
Trump's rage over the investigation reached a new low October 22, with comparisons to the inquiry as a "lynching". Though par for the course for Trump to capitalize on racial resentment, the comparison is particularly disgusting as lynchings were frequently used to terrorize black communities in the South, and now are treated as hate crimes. South Carolina[note 21] Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC) proved that the GOP defense of Trump has no boundaries, with Scott obfuscating the comparison to a death penalty trial, and Graham wholeheartedly agreeing with the comparison.
Official White House Response
After three weeks of letting Trump tweet and commit additional crimes, the White House released an official response to the inquiry October 8. The eight-page document has the signature of White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, but apparently was wholly dictated by the President himself. The letter was directed to Chairs Schiff, Cummings, Engle as well as Speaker Pelosi. From the jump, the letter displays a breathtakingly poor understanding of Constitutional law as well as impeachment as a process: :1
…you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives — under the control of either political party — taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue.[note 22]
First, the process of impeachment is not a trial, that happens in the Senate. Think of impeachment like a grand jury, where the prosecutors (committee chairs) are collecting evidence (the call notes, whistleblower complaint and text records) and depositions from witnesses (all the ambassadors involved, Giuliani) to create a list of charges (Articles of Impeachment) that the grand jury (House members) vote on. Now grand jury proceedings are secret, there is no counsel most times, and there are no cross-examinations. Threatening officials in the Executive branch, better known as Congressional oversight, is essential for the House to actually get all relevant information before addressing Articles of Impeachment. If you fail to comply with a subpoena, that is against the law, and you could go to jail. Additionally, threats of imprisonment are nothing compared to the President talking about executing the whistleblower and anyone who provided them information. This last bit though is hysterical, considering the previous times in history the House seriously considered impeachment was when Andrew Johnson was a threat to the efforts of Reconstruction and Richard Nixon was trying to cover-up knowledge of breaking into the Watergate Hotel before an election. But the modern GOP dragged Bill Clinton through the mud for a blowjob, they don't really have any room to talk. The ignorance continued::1
Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the [[2016 U.S. presidential election |2016 election]] and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away…[note 23]
This is so incredibly stupid, that Cipollone should honestly be sent back to school. Support for impeachment didn't actually gain any significant support until the Mueller Investigation concluded, and even then it was barely half of the Democrats. From the 23rd to 26th of September, more than 70 members supported impeachment, with the largest amount coming immediately before and after Speaker Pelosi announced the inquiry. The Mueller Investigation looked into whether Trump conspired to effect the 2016 election, and it was inconclusive at best. This inquiry began because Trump is actively attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. This editor thinks Cipollone is overstating the influence of impeachment versus foreign interference. It continues with "For his part, President Trump took the unprecedented step of providing the public transparency by declassifying and releasing the record of his call with President Zelensky of Ukraine…":2 which is hilarious because it definitely made the situation much much worse. They throw in another conspiracy theory to really drive home their incompetence, "In addition, information has recently come to light that the whistleblower had contact with Chairman Schiff's office before filing the complaint. His initial denial of such contact caused The Washington Post to conclude that Chairman Schiff 'clearly made a statement that was false.'":2 which is definitely the wrong take, considering Schiff did not engage the whistleblower personally, was not involved in writing the complaint, and was only made aware that a complaint may be coming by way of a Congressional aide. Schiff didn't know details until Atkinson made him and Chairman Burr aware in September. The rest of the letter is not really worth getting into, but it includes a fundamental misunderstanding of Constitutional law, the rights of Congress to act as a check on the Executive and challenges the "fairness" of the inquiry. This is basically the third Article of Impeachment writing itself, and provides Congress with a considerable amount of cover
when if they decide to stop playing nice with the administration.
Biden, Ukraine and China, oh my!
While Republicans struggled to defend the indefensible, on October 4 Trump made it even harder. While in front of the White House, Trump said that Ukraine should open an investigation into the Biden family and called for China to open an investigation into them as well. This seems to have motivated some Republicans to move from concerned to disturbed (primarily Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Susan Collins (R-ME)), and a host of other Republicans to suggest that he was joking. China has issued official statements that they have no intention of getting involved in domestic American politics.
What the fuck is he talking about?
This latest conspiracy theory from Trump is even more bonkers than the Ukraine one it seems. Trump has repeated that Hunter Biden has taken billions out of China.
"When Biden’s son walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund, and the biggest funds in the world can’t get money out of China, and he’s there for one quick meeting and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that's a horrible thing. I think it's a horrible thing."
— President Trump, remarks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sept. 25, 2019
"Ask how his son made millions of dollars from Ukraine, made millions of dollars from China, even though he had no expertise whatsoever."
— Trump, in remarks to reporters with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sept. 24
"The son took money from China — a lot of money from China."
— Trump, remarks to reporters at the United Nations, Sept. 23
Now, to the surprise of no one, this is false. Biden created a consulting business that in 2013 created connections for him to serve on the advisory board of a private Chinese equity firm BHR Partners. He was not paid while on the board and received a 10% stake after the fact. Conservative author Peter Schweizer, of Uranium One fame, wrote that this fund accumulated $1.5 billion, even though evidence indicates it actually raised $4.2 million. Now Biden did travel with his father in 2013 to China, and did at least attempt to have the Vice President meet with Jonathan Li. But the evidence of a conspiracy is that Biden waved an ice cream bar(?), and Biden wasn't invested in the firm; he only advised those that were. Now just like the Burisma board, this looks bad and it isn't illegal. Hunter seemed intent on cashing in on the family name, and Trump is one to speak given how nepotistic his administration is.
From the Intelligence Community Inspector General
The reaction from conservatives and especially Trump and Giuliani appears to have severely pissed off Inspector General Atkinson. On September 30, his office released a public statement titled Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community's Statement on Processing of Whistleblower Complaints. The statement lays bare the statutory requirements of the ICIG in processing a complaint,[note 24] then refutes a talking point frequently used by the rightwing that because this information is "secondhand" it is not credible. As an aside, willful toadies like Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have been saying this information amounts to "hearsay". Legally, this does not meet that definition. Even if it is hearsay, there is nothing precluding hearsay from being used to begin an investigation. Prosecutors use hearsay all the time in grand juries in order to seek information, then confirm said statements with an investigation. Atkinson directly shits all over the perceived problem with "secondhand" knowledge:
Mr. Atkinson surely will reinforce this in his testimony behind closed doors to the Intelligence Committee.
"The Disclosure of Urgent Concern form the Complainant submitted on August 12, 2019 is the same form the ICIG has had in place since May 24, 2018, which went into effect before Inspector General Atkinson entered on duty as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community on May 29, 2018, following his swearing in as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community on May 17, 2018. Although the form requests information about whether the Complainant possesses first-hand knowledge about the matter about which he or she is lodging the complaint, there is no such requirement set forth in the statute. In fact, by law the Complainant – or any individual in the Intelligence Community who wants to report information with respect to an urgent concern to the congressional intelligence committees – need not possess first-hand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern. The ICIG cannot add conditions to the filing of an urgent concern that do not exist in law. Since Inspector General Atkinson entered on duty as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, the ICIG has not rejected the filing of an alleged urgent concern due to a whistleblower's lack of first-hand knowledge of the allegations.
The Complainant on the form he or she submitted on August 12, 2019 in fact checked two relevant boxes: The first box stated that, 'I have personal and/or direct knowledge of events or records involved'; and the second box stated that, 'Other employees have told me about events or records involved.'":2
Accusations of Witness Intimidation
Secretary Pompeo and the chairs of the Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight committee traded barbs over accusations of witness intimidation in regards to deposition requests from each of the committees. The State Department issued a statement accusing the committee chairs of attempting to "strong arm" and intimidate career employees into agreeing to be deposed. The statement includes phrases ripped directly from the talking points the WH distributed to House Republicans, and inadvertently to House Democrats. Each committee chair has responded by accusing Pompeo of intimidating would-be employees from agreeing to be deposed. It's important to note that House Democrats could include this attempt to stop cooperation with investigators as obstruction of justice in an impeachment article (similar to Nixon). Former Ambassadors Volker and Yovanovitch, who testified later, appear to have been thrown under the bus by Pompeo, and were eager to set the record straight.
Closed Door Depositions
While the White House and Pompeo seem to want to stonewall investigators completely, multiple current and former Trump administration officials have made themselves available.
State Department Inspector General Steve Linick provided information to the committees on October 2 that detailed some of the unsubstantiated claims that likely lead to the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch. IG Linick acknowledged that Pompeo had seen these documents, and although they featured official seals, they were likely generated by Giuliani (some the documents feature an address associated with his law offices). Ambassador Volker has provided the most detailed insight into conversations about the Ukraine situation. Volker seemed to see that the administration wanted to use him as a fall guy, after Giuliani's multiple Fox News appearances. While there wasn't any context for the messages from Giuliani, Volker dropped sixty pages of texts, and
it validated everything Giuliani said it looks fucking awful:
(07/19/2019 19:01) Volker: Good. Had breakfast with Rudy this morning—teeing up call w Yermak Monday. Must have helped. Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation—and address any specific personnel issues—if there are any.
Smoke meet gun. Now there are others included in these text threads, including US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and Bill Taylor, a former US Ambassador to Ukraine, who at the time was chargé d'affaires for Ukraine. In context, and according to people familiar with these individuals, Volker[note 25] is committed to the mission of helping Ukraine, Sondland is the main conduit between the Trump and the other ambassadors on the continent,[note 26] and Taylor was primarily concerned with supporting Ukraine in its efforts against Russia and corruption.[note 27] The text messages also include Yermak who the entire time, like Zelensky, seems to understand that a White House meeting is conditional on being involved in these political investigations. Yermak also confronts Volker directly about the military aid, sending Volker a link to a Politico article from August. Taylor appears to be very uncomfortable with what's coming from the White House:
(09/01/2019 12:08) Taylor: Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?
(09/01/2019 12:42) Sondland: Call Me
To the point he seems to threaten to quit:
(09/08/2019 11:40) Taylor: Gordon and I just spoke. I can brief you if you and Gordon didn't connect. (09/08/2019 12:37) Talyor: The nightmare is they give the interview and don't get the security assistance. The Russians love it. (And I quit.)
The conversation on September 9 is particularly striking, considering Taylor appears to cut through the bullshit and get Sondland to admit the White House line:
(00:31) Taylor: The message to the Ukrainians (and Russians) we send with the decision on security assistance is key. With the hold, we have already shaken their faith in us. Thus my nightmare scenario.
(00:34) Taylor: Counting on you to be right about this interview, Gordon.
(00:37) Sondland: Bill, I never said I was "right". I said we are where we are and believe we have identified the best pathway forward. Let's hope it works.
(00:47 Taylor: As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.
(05:19) Sondland: I Believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been clear no quid pro quo's of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.[note 28]
IG Atkinson spoke behind closed doors on October 4 to detail how he proceeded with his investigation into the whistleblower complaint.
Ambassador Yovanovitch spoke to the inquiry October 11, after the State Department and the White House stopped her from voluntarily appearing October 2 and asked her not to comply with the Congressional subpoena. She made quite a theatrical entrance, crossing the rotunda rather than using the traditional entrance. With her opening statement, she directly addressed the accusations that led to her ouster as malicious and capricious. In the course of her testimony she described her tenure in Ukraine, including the unusual nature of her removal, with a cryptic call that her safety was threatened and she needed to be on the next plane to the US. She also expressed frustration about being the subject of a smear campaign, and feeling threatened by statements by the President that she was "going to go through some things".
Former NSC Adviser Fiona Hill testified on October 10, making clear that she had grave concerns about the actions being taken by the State Department with Ukraine. She claims to have confronted Sondland directly about Giuliani's involvement. Hill described the scene after a meeting featuring Perry, Volker, Bolton, Sondland, and several Ukrainian officials. Bolton attempted to temper expectations of a WH meeting, but Sondland contradicted him, stating that an agreement was already on the table. Bolton apparently ended the meeting immediately, and Sondland met with the Ukrainian officials down near the Situation Room. Bolton told Hill he wanted nothing to do with the "drug-deal" that Sondland, Mulvaney, and Perry were arranging, asking Hill to follow, where she walked into a chaotic scene with Sondland describing their agreement. After a confrontation (where the Ukrainians were in the hall outside the Situation Room, not a great idea), Hill took her concerns to an NSC lawyer. Bolton apparently further made clear that no one in the NSC talk with Giuliani, who he described as a "hand-grenade that is going to blow someone up." Hill also expressed general frustration with conspiracy theories surrounding the 2016 election, making it clear that Ukraine was not involved at all. She also voiced particular support for Yovanovitch, who was the highest ranking State Department employee at the time, and seemed to insinuate that many of the issues she was dealing with were motivated by sexism. Hill also described being the victim of death threats and unfounded conspiracy theories, which her lawyer made clear on the record the Republican counsel found amusing.
Michael McKinley testified to investigators October 16, less than a week after resigning from his post as an adviser to Pompeo. McKinley told investigators he resigned over concern about the treatment of foreign service officers. McKinley, who was in the State Department for 37 years and had served in four diplomatic missions, had been assigned to help Pompeo after the disastrous tenure of Rex Tillerson. McKinley was disturbed about attempts to use foreign governments to help with domestic matters, but the final straw appears to have been the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch, and Pompeo not supporting her. McKinley said that he brought up issuing a letter of support to Pompeo three times after Yovanovitch became the target of attacks from President Trump and Trump Jr. Pompeo thought the better course of action was to keep her out of the news. McKinley resigned after the third attempt, and Pompeo denies completely that he brought up the issue.
Sondland eventually testified to investigators October 17, attempting to clarify the timeline of events. In his opening remarks, he made clear that he was directed by Trump to coordinate with Giuliani for a 'deliverable' regarding corruption. Sondland also made clear the the claim of "No Quid Pro Quo" came directly from a conversation with the President after the text from Ambassador Taylor. However, Sondland seems to claim ignorance that his actions with Giuliani were not approved by the NSC, or that he was aware what Giuliani's true motives were, which seems… unlikely. His testimony is filled with imprecise language and obfuscation, likely to avoid revealing too much, which blew up in his face spectacularly after the opening statement from William Taylor.
Chargé d' Affaires Taylor gave testimony to the inquiry October 22, and with his fifteen page opening statement blew every single defense of these actions to smithereens. Critically, Taylor made clear that his acceptance of this role came only after the unceremonious sacking of Yovanovitch and assurances from Pompeo that the primary mission for Ukraine was consistent with goals of supporting anti-corruption measures and against aggression from Russia. Taylor describes two channels that guided Ukrainian policy; the regular channel, which Taylor had control over with bipartisan support, and an irregular channel which included Volker, Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Giuliani. Taylor was a party to this channel, through the texts described above, but it operated outside of the State Department. Both channels sought a WH meeting between Zelensky and Trump, but the reasoning for the meeting was different for each channel::6
By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. It was also clear this condition was driven by the irregular channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani.
Taylor then detailed meeting with Andrei Bohdan and Vadym Prystaiko and that they had been in contact with Giuliani, calling into question a future call between the presidents, as well as a July 18 conference call where an OMB staff person stated additional security assistance had been frozen by President Trump, even after an assessment from the Defense Department that the security assistance was effective and should be resumed. Taylor made clear that Bolton was concerned about efforts in the regular channel, while Sondland was concerned about investigations in the irregular channel. Taylor documented multiple times in communications with Volker and Sondland a desire to pump the brakes on the investigation talk, citing concerns from Zelensky about getting involved in domestic affairs. Taylor, encouraged by Bolton, issued a cable directly to Pompeo about his concerns, which never received an official response. Taylor documented as well the conversation he had with Sondland September 1, after texting his concern (above)::11
During that phone call, Ambassador Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interfernce in the 2016 U.S. election.
Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations—in fact, Ambassador Sondland said "everything" was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. He said that President Trump wanted President Zelensky "in a public box" by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.
Taylor asked Sondland to push back against such a request, especially from Zelensky specifically, though they discussed a statement from the Prosecutor General in coordination with the probe led by AG Barr. A week later Sondland reported Trump was adamant the statement come from Zelensky. Failure to do so would result in a "stalemate", meaning the funds would not be transferred and would expire September 30. Taylor followed this conversation with a text where he threatened to quit (above). This call also included an asinine assessment of Trump's approach to this issue:
…Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a business man. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check.
Sondland would use this analogy a few days later as well. This is bullshit for a plethora of reasons, primarily, as Taylor correctly identifies, the Ukrainians don't owe Trump shit. Second, the funds aren't Trump's. They are tax dollars, paid by Americans, and allocated by Congress, who are elected by Americans to allocate on their behalf. The deposition by Taylor disturbed many congresspersons, and made crystal clear that this was a "quid pro quo" no matter what the administration may say.
October 29 saw testimony from Alexander Vindman, a Ukrainian immigrant, naturalized as an American citizen, who has served multiple tours in the Army, and for the past 11 years had been employed as a Foreign Area Officer, who was added to the NSC under Bolton and Hill. Vindman was the first person to give testimony who had actually listened to the call. Two weeks before the call, Vindman first voiced his concern after the July 10 meeting at the White House with Bolton, Sondland and Oleksandr Danyylyuk. Vindman said he confronted Sondland directly about the emphasis on investigations and reported his concern to NSC counsel. After the call, Vindman was concerned about the implications of Trump asking about investigating Biden, and again brought his concerns to NSC counsel, where at this point a decision was made to move the conversation to the more secure NSC server.
October 31 saw testimony from Tim Morrison, a former member of the NSC brought on by Bolton in 2018. Morrison largely confirmed the testimony from Taylor and Vindman. Morrison however didn't think there was anything illegal about Trump's request, however just because something isn't illegal doesn't mean it isn't impeachable.
November 7 saw testimony from Jennifer Williams, a personal aide to VP Pence, who was also on the call. Williams stated she wasn't aware Pence connecting the military aid to a promise of investigations when he later met with Zelensky, but she suspected they may be connected from the call. She also found the call informal compared to normal communications between heads of state.
November 15 saw testimony from David Holmes, a foreign service officer working in Ukraine. Holmes shared with his boss, Taylor, that on July 26, Sondland called President Trump to report that Ukrainians had agreed to make statements about investigations involving the 2016 election and the Biden family. After the call, Sondland shared Trump's assessment of Ukraine with Holmes, telling him Trump only cared about investigations into Biden. Following this revelation on November 13, another official confirmed the call because they also overheard it. Trump denies the call ever occurred.
November 16 saw testimony from Mark Sandy, an OMB official expected to detail conversations in the OMB about holding up aid.
House Intelligence Committee investigation
On October 31, the House voted for the formal rules of impeachment. After 150 minutes of debate, the House approved the rules 232-196, mostly along party lines. Two Democrats did defect, Collin Peterson (MN) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ). Both represent districts carried by Trump in 2016. Justin Amash (I-MI) (recently a Republican) joined the Democrats, so both parties can claim that they have "bi-partisan support". The text of the resolution is rather straight forward, assigning Chairman Schiff and the Intelligence committee to spearhead the impeachment and help craft the articles of impeachment with the Judiciary committee.
In keeping with their promise to make the process open, the Intelligence committee has begun releasing the full transcripts from depositions. Most everything in the transcripts confirms the complaint and what has been reported to the press. Most illuminating so far was that Sondland amended his testimony following the testimony from Taylor. Sondland says he was reminded that the request for investigating the Bidens was explicit, directly from Giuliani and Trump. Sondland is not out of the woods yet, as he appears to have perjured himself at least two other times, and Republicans in the House are openly discussing throwing him under the bus with Mick Mulvaney and Giuliani, while claiming the three pursued this course of action without authorization from Trump, despite evidence to the contrary.
The first public hearings into impeachment began Wednesday, November 13, 2019 in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The rules for the hearings were written by Republicans in 2015 and members of the Committee approved specific guidelines for interviewing witnesses in October. The first 90 minutes of questioning, after opening statements from the Committee Chair, Ranking Member and the witness, is dedicated to questions from the Committee Chair and their counsel as well as the Ranking Member and their counsel. Following that 90 minutes, Congresspersons may interview the witness for 5 minutes or yield their time to counsel.
William Taylor and George Kent were featured for the first day of hearing November 14. Chairman Schiff opened proceedings with a statement outlining the purpose of these hearings and the accusations leveled against the President. Ranking Member Nunes followed with a statement steeped with the right-wing talking points that only the most dedicated of Fox News watchers could possibly understand. It included accusations that this is a sequel to the Russia investigation, which isn't wrong, but it isn't the Democrats that can't let that go, because Trump asked for this investigation in part because he cannot accept that Russia interfered in the 2016 election despite all the evidence.
Kent and Taylor proved to be excellent witnesses, each of them leading with strong opening statements, affirming their bona-fides as nonpartisan civil servants. Taylor's statement included a new piece of information, that a member of his staff (later identified as David Holmes) while with Gordon Sondland, overheard a call between Sondland and Trump. During the call Sondland made clear the Ukrainians were prepared to play ball with investigations. Afterward, Holmes asked Sondland about what Trump thought of Ukraine and Sondland told Holmes that Trump only cared about investigating Biden. After this revelation a second official, Suriya Jayanti, confirmed this account of the call. Holmes will be questioned behind closed doors November 15.
Taylor was the focus of most of the questions, with Democrats and their counsel focusing on the situation in Ukraine and the irregularity of the second channel driven by Rudy Giuliani. Republicans and their counsel tried to do a bunch of things: first, to discredit their testimony as second and third hand accounts,[note 29] then to try to get them agree that the irregular channel wasn't "outlandish", which is a weird way to describe policy goals that were contrary to the goals of US foreign policy. Republicans also tried to push for testimony from the whistleblower, which led to an excellent take-down from Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).
Thirteen million Americans watched the hearings, and response to them is generally encouraging for the Democrats, as they were able to create a credible account of events and seemed professional and diligent. Those in the media seemed more muted, and right-wing media continued to misrepresent basic facts. It was particularly startling to see the chyrons featured on CNN and MSNBC versus Fox News.
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was the only witness during hearings on November 16. Chairman Schiff and Ranking Member Nunes opened proceedings with the same basic lines from day 1. Amb. Yovanovitch's opening statement was similar to her statement behind closed doors. The hearing was devoid of anything particularly central to the withholding of military aid, but served to better illustrate how Yovanovitch was collateral damage of the irregular channel driven by Giuliani and his associates, who saw her as a road block to their own objectives. The hearings had two major highlights; one came during Nunes' question, where he tried, against the rules, to yield his time to Elisa Stefanik (R-NY) in an effort to manufacture a conflict that would appear to be sexist as Schiff essentially shouted down the only female GOP representative. The other was provided, after the first break, by Trump, who, despite being the President of the United States and having responsibilities, was watching the hearings and tweeted an attack against Yovanovitch. Chairman Schiff read the tweet to Yovanovitch, who said the tweet was intimidating. The attack served to present Yovanovitch even more as a victim, and had bipartisan pushback, including from Republicans on the committee. Even Kenneth Starr saw the tweet attack as irresponsible.
November 19 featured four witnesses; Jennifer Williams, assistant to VP Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, NSC adviser focused on Ukraine in the morning and Tim Morrison, NSC Adviser, as well as Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, in the afternoon.
Chairman Schiff and Ranking Member Nunes continued with their usual statements. Williams provided a short statement, mostly outlining the timeline of updating VP Pence. Vindman delivered a much more in depth statement, outlining his unique family history, emigrating to the US from Ukraine age 3, and then deployments during the Iraq War that earned him Purple Heart. Both Williams and Vindman were the first witnesses that actually listened to the phone call. Williams primarily noted that she found the call unusual and included notes of the call to Pence's briefing information. She also accompanied the VP for his meeting with Zelensky in Warsaw on September 1. A career foreign service officer, she was attacked by the President on Twitter, accusing her of being a "never Trumper" and suggesting that she read the transcript again, but considering she was listening to the call in real time and took notes that would be unnecessary.
The majority of the questioning from both sides was directed to Vindman. Vindman was involved at several levels, he confronted Sondland after the July meeting with Ukrainian officials where Sondland said that a deal was on the table for a WH meeting pending an investigation. Vindman also reported to an NSC lawyer his concerns about the call, which was subsequently moved from the normal secure server to a more secure NSC server. Schiff and Democratic counsel used Williams and Vindman primarily to establish facts, and specifically with Vindman how he came to understand that the investigations were political in nature. Nunes and Republican counsel targeted Vindman with accusations questioning his ability and commitment to pursue the president's agenda. Vindman had his loyalty to the US challenged by questions about thrice being offered a position as Defence Minister for Ukraine (this apparently was a joke, and he still reported it to his superiors) and what language he was asked the question. Vindman is still active duty for the Army, and showed up in his formal uniform, which was also the target of snide comments from Republican congresspersons. Two specific highlights were when Nunes in questioning Vindman failed to use his rank when addressing him, and when
pedophile apologist Jim Jordan (R-OH) seemed to imply he wasn't good at his job, Vindman pulled out his review from his former boss Fiona Hill where she said, "Alex is a top 1% military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service…".
November 20 featured three witnesses; Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the EU in the morning and Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary at the Defense Department, as well as David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs at the State Department, in the afternoon. Directly answering a question that's repeatedly emerged in the impeachment hearings, ambassador Sondland testified that there was a quid pro quo:
Sondland: I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo? As a testify previously, with regards to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.
November 21 featured; Fiona Hill, formerly the top Russia specialist on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, senior political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.
Conclusion of the Intelligence Committee's inquiry
- That Trump should be impeached because of: A) abuse of power B) Obstruction of justice and C) Compromising national security.
- The most solid evidence for these crimes came from Trump himself.
- There is broad complicity for these crimes within the Trump administration.
- Representative Devin Nunes is listed multiple times in the report as having contact with Rudy Giuliani during the time that Giuliani was trying to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
- The Trump should be impeached quickly to prevent him from continuing to engage in illegal solicitation of foreign interference in the 2020 election.
Key additional evidence provided in the report were call logs of:
- August 8 calls between Giuliani and the White House, the White House Situation Room, and the OMB (responsible for holding up the Ukraine funding):116-117
- April 10 calls between Giuliani and Nunes:155
- April 12 calls between Victoria Toensing (a Trump lawyer who hired Lev Parnas) and Giuliani, Giuliani and the White House, Giuliani and the OMB, and Toensing and Parnas, Parnas and Nunes, Giuliani and Sekulow, Parnas and John Solomon:156-158
- April 23 calls between Giuliani and Parnas, Giuliani and the White House, Giuliani and the OMB:158-159
- Several other phone calls among Kashyap "Kash" Patel (an official at the National Security Council who previously served on Nunes' staff), Giulini, Nunes, Parnas, and Volker.:58,163
Due to the committee's agreed upon subpoena rules, Nunes was apparently unaware that Schiff knew that Nunes was on the same committee that was investigating Nunes.
House Judiciary Committee investigation
With the Intelligence Committee investigation concluded and its report written and sent to the Judiciary Committee, the Judiciary Committee is tasked with deciding what articles of impeachment (if any) against the President to write. The basis for the articles will be the Judiciary Committee's report, but may also include additional articles, such as from information gathered within the Mueller investigation's report.
The first day of hearings was meant to establish whether the President's actions, specifically as detailed in the Judiciary Committee's report, met the Constitutional requirements for impeachable offenses. Democrats on the Committee called three witnesses: Pamela Karlan (professor of law at Stanford Law School), Michael Gerhardt (Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill), and Noah Feldman (Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School). Republicans on the Committee called a single witness, Jonathan Turley (professor at the George Washington University Law School). The White House had been alloted time to testify, but declined to show.
Today, you are being asked to consider whether protecting those elections requires impeaching a President. This is an awesome responsibility. But everything I know about our Constitution and its values, and my review of the evidentiary record, tells me that when President Trump invited, indeed, demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country to which we pledge allegiance. That demand constituted an abuse of power. Indeed, as I want to explain in my testimony, drawing a foreign government into our election process is an especially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself.
Regarding the charge of obstruction of Congress, Gerhardt testified:
His [Trump's] refusal to comply with those subpoenas is an independent event. It's apart from the courts. It's a direct assault on the legitimacy of this inquiry, which is crucial to the exercise of this power.
Feldman testified:
I believe the framers would identify President Trump's conduct as exactly the kind of abuse of office, high crime and misdemeanors that they were worried about.
Turley did not contest the facts, but primarily relied on attacking the process, a spurious argument about his goldendoodle dog being mad, an erroneous argument that the impeachment process is moving too fast, even though the timeline is on par with two previous impeachments (those of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton).
- The writers for this nightmare we are living in must be so fed up with this whole thing that they're just lazy.
- Emphasis added
- An aside, Trump had to be dragged kicking and screaming to implement sanctions that Congress that passed in response to Russian election interference.
- Emphasis added
- Emphasis added
- Emphasis added
- Emphasis added
- One can't claim to protect the nation from "…threats foreign and domestic…" while inviting a foreign nation to meddle in the election
- Since this has been brought to the public attention, reports are that this system was upgraded in 2018 after embarrassing leaks of the calls between former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Additionally, it has been acknowledged that calls from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin were moved to the NSC server for their politically-sensitive nature.
- U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations
- U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
- As an aside, this memo is not a word-for-word transcript, it is assembled via contemporaneous notes taken by those on the call. And this was the best version that the WH chose to release. Also the memo is only five pages for a thirty minute call, so it is not publicly known what else isn't included.
- It is apparently best practice that those officials mentioned and directly involved with materials in a call would receive a readout.
- "I think [President Zelenskyy is going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He's already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He's a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine, and I think he will be coming very soon, actually.":4
- Even Lutsenko walked this back considerably.
- The complaint refutes this really well, "Mr. Sytnyk and Mr. Leshchenko are two of Mr. Lutsenko's main domestic rivals. Mr. Lutsenko has no legal training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian officials. He has publicly feuded with Mr. Sytnyk, who heads Ukraine's only competent anticorruption body, and with Mr. Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Lutsenko's record.":5
- Giuliani stated that the President "basically knows what I'm doing, sure, as his lawyer.":6 Giuliani also stated, "We're not meddling in an election, we're meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do … There's nothing illegal about it. … Somebody could say it's improper. And this isn't foreign policy — I'm asking them to do an investigation that they're doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I'm going to give them reasons why they shouldn't stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.":6
- emphasis added
- emphasis added
- A reminder that this man was the Mayor of New York City during 9/11
- a state with a long history of racial terrorism
- Emphasis added
- Emphasis from the letter
- "The law required that the Complainant be '[a]n employee of an element of the intelligence community, an employee assigned or detailed to an element of the intelligence community, or an employee of a contractor to the intelligence community.' 50 U.S.C. § 3033(k)(5)(A). The ICIG confirmed the Complainant was such an employee, detailee, or contractor.
The law also required that the Complainant provide a complaint or information with respect to an 'urgent concern,' which is defined, in relevant part, as: 'A serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of the law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.' Id. § 3033(k)(5)(G)(i). The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined that the Complainant alleged information with respect to such an alleged urgent concern.
In addition, the law required the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community within 14 calendar days to determine whether information with respect to the urgent concern 'appeared credible.' Id. § 3033(k)(5)(B). The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community determined, after conducting a preliminary review, that there were reasonable grounds to believe the urgent concern appeared credible.":1
- Importantly, Volker is unpaid for his work as ambassador.
- Volker bought his position with contributions of $1 million to Trump's inauguration.
- George W. Bush previously had appointed Taylor to be ambassador to Ukraine, who served from 2007 to 2009, and Pompeo had personally come to him to temporarily replace Yovanovitch.
- There is almost a five hour difference between Taylor outright stating the issue, and Sondland responding with a much changed tone, and using the line that has become the critical administration talking point "no quid pro quo". It has been reported that during this space between texts, Sondland called the White House. Coincidentally, the military aid was released by the administration two days later.
- This is fucking rich considering the people that have first-hand knowledge are being withheld by the White House.
- If you like subpoena coladas / and getting caught in Ukraine by Dave Brown (12:34 - 2. Okt. 2019) Twitter (archived from October 14, 2019).
- Fox News Poll: Record support for Trump impeachment by Dana Blanton (October 9, 2019) Fox News (archived from November 20, 2019).
- Oct. 1-6, 2019 Washington Post-Schar School national crosstabs (archived from October 18, 2019).
- The Economist/YouGov Poll: September 28 - October 1, 2019 - 1500 US Adult citizens (archived from October 12, 2019).
- 8 U.S. Intelligence Groups Blame Russia for Meddling, but Trump Keeps Clouding the Picture by Karen Yourish & Troy Griggs (Updated Aug. 2, 2018) The New York Times.
- A GOP-led Senate intel committee report states the obvious: Russia favored Trump in 2016: Trump should really take a look at this Senate report. But he won’t. by Alex Ward (Oct 8, 2019, 4:40pm EDT ) Vox.
- First Presidential Debate: "Somebody Sitting on Their Bed That Weighs 400 Pounds" (September 26, 2016) The Moscow Project.
- Here's How Donald Trump Ended Up Referencing A Russian-Promoted 4chan Conspiracy Theory In His Call To The Ukrainian President: From the depths of 4chan, to the president's mouth, and then back to the depths of 4chan. by Ryan Broderick (September 26, 2019, at 4:59 p.m. ET) BuzzFeed News.
- Paul Manafort sentenced to a total of 7.5 years in prison for conspiracy and fraud, and charged with mortgage fraud in N.Y. by Spencer S. Hsu et al. (March 13, 2019 at 1:27 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Why Was Ukraine's Top Prosecutor Fired? The Issue At The Heart Of The Dispute Gripping Washington by Christopher Miller (September 24, 2019 13:31 GMT) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
- Trump called this ex-Ukrainian prosecutor 'very good.' But he resigned in disgrace. by David L. Stern (September 25, 2019 at 2:47 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Former Ukraine prosecutor says Hunter Biden 'did not violate anything' by Michael Birnbaum et al. (September 26, 2019 at 9:47 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Rudy Giuliani Cancels His Trip to Ukraine, Blaming Democrats' 'Spin' by Kenneth P. Vogel (May 11, 2019) The New York Times.
- After backlash, Giuliani cancels Ukraine trip meant to 'meddle' in investigations to help Trump by Aaron Blake (May 11, 2019 at 4:42 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Giuliani cancels Ukraine trip amid political meddling charges by Andrew Restuccia and Darren Samuelsohn (05/11/2019 10:49 AM EDT) Politico.
- Rudy Giuliani says Ukraine trip not election meddling by CNN' (May 10, 2019) YouTube.
- Biden holds 12-point lead over Trump in head-to-head poll by John Bowden (09/03/19 03:45 PM EDT) The Hill.
- Giuliani was paid $500,000 by company founded by arrested associate by Josh Dawsey & Rosalind S. Helderman (Oct. 15, 2019 at 7:29 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Here Are Rudy Giuliani’s Various Claims About His Ties to the Two Men Arrested Wednesday: Even Rudy seems confused. by Dan Friedman (October 11, 2019) Mother Jones.
- Two men tied to Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to open Ukraine investigation of Bidens arrested while trying to flee the U.S. by Michael Biesecker et al. (Oct 10, 2019 | 6:18 PM) Associated Press via Chicago Tribune.
- Indicted Giuliani associate attended private '16 election night party for 'friend' Trump: Lev Parnas' relationship with the president might have begun years earlier than previously reported. by Darren Samuelsohn & Ben Schreckinger (10/11/2019 05:16 PM EDT) Politico.
- Arrested Giuliani associate attended Trump's invite-only 2016 election night party: report by Rachel Frazin (10/11/19 06:48 PM EDT) The Hill.
- Giuliani Took His Ukrainian 'Associates' To Bush 41's Funeral: As his "special guests." What did Rudy get in return? by Frances Langum (10/14/19 7:25am) Crooks and Liars.
- Two business associates of Trump’s personal attorney Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance charges by Devlin Barrett et al. (Oct. 10, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- United States v. Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, David Correia, and Andrey Kukushkin United States District Court, Southern District of New York.
- Pompeo Took Part in Ukraine Call, Official Says: Secretary of State listened in on July 25 Trump-Zelensky contact that is center of impeachment inquiry by Courtney McBride & Sadie Gurman (Updated Sept. 30, 2019 8:32 pm ET) The Wall Street Journal.
- Official readout: President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky (Updated Sep 25, 2019 at 7:19 AM) The Washington Post.
- Memorandum of Telephone Conversation. Subject: Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine (July 25, 2019, 9:03-9:33 a.m. EDT) The White House via The Washington Post.
- Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence United States Senate on Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election: Volume 2: Russia's Use of Social Media, with Additional Views 116th Congress, 1st Session: Senate.
- The Cybersecurity 202: Trump’s CrowdStrike conspiracy theory shows he still doubts Russian election interference by Joseph Marks (September 26, 2019) The Washington Post.
- The Truth About Trump’s Insane Ukraine ‘Server’ Conspiracy: Trump asked Ukraine’s president to help prove a bonkers, Russia-friendly conspiracy theory that U.S. intel relied on manufactured evidence to blame the 2016 DNC hack on Moscow. by Kevin Poulsen (Updated Oct. 16, 2019 12:47PM ET; Published Sep. 25, 2019 4:38PM ET) The Daily Beast.
- Trump mentioned a wild conspiracy theory about the DNC and the Russia probe in his phone call with Ukraine's president by Sonam Sheth (Sep 25, 2019, 6:32 PM) Business Insider.
- U.S., Japan Reach Trade Deal on Farm Goods, Digital Trade: Limited accord Trump, Abe signed on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly will lower agricultural tariffs in Japan, industrial tariffs in the U.S. by Vivian Salama & Josh Zumbrun (Updated Sept. 25, 2019 6:12 pm ET) The Wall Street Journal.
- President Trump Supports Boris Johnson After Embattled U.K. Prime Minister Loses in Court (September 24, 2019) Associated Press via Time (archived from September 30, 2019).
- Trump cancels Denmark trip after PM says Greenland isn't for sale: Trump had expressed interest in buying Greenland, a Danish territory. by Dareh Gregorian (Aug. 20, 2019, 5:07 PM PDT / Updated Aug. 21, 2019, 4:12 AM PDT) NBC News.
- Trump cancels Pompeo trip to North Korea, cites lack of ‘sufficient progress’ on denuclearization by Christina Wilkie (Published Aug 24 20181:42 PM EDT; Updated Aug 24 20183:43 PM EDT) CNBC.
- Trump’s Hold on Military Aid Blindsided Top Ukrainian Officials by Andrew E. Kramer (Sept. 22, 2019) The New York Times.
- Who can and can't contribute Federal Election Commission, United States of America.
- Trump Blasts Own Ambassador in Call With Ukrainian President: The U.S. president said he wanted to keep Kyiv honest. So why did he fire his ambassador after she called out corruption? by Amy Mackinnon & Robbie Gramer (September 25, 2019, 3:04 PM) Foreign Police.
- Whistle-blower Complaint:Unclassified(WC)
- WC Appendix for Section II Page 8
- White House ordered ultrasecret system upgraded to prevent leaks by Daniel Lippman & Natasha Bertrand (10/01/2019 03:19 PM EDT; Updated: 10/01/2019 06:56 PM EDT) Politico.
- Unpacking the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Complaint by Robert S. Litt (September 17, 2019, 12:37 PM) Lawfare.
- Seven freshman Democrats: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect by Gil Cisneros et al. (September 23, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. PDT) The Wasington Post.
- Pelosi announces Trump impeachment inquiry (Sep 25, 2019) ABC News via YouTube.
- Press Conference: Donald Trump Holds a Press Conference in New York (September 25, 2019) Factbase Videos via YouTube.
- At least four national security officials raised alarms about Ukraine policy before and after Trump call with Ukrainian president by Greg Miller & Greg Jaffe (Oct. 10, 2019 at 3:46 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- President Trump White House Departure (August 9, 2019) C-Span.
- Ukraine Prosecutor Says No Evidence of Wrongdoing by Bidens by Daryna Krasnolutska et al. (May 16, 2019, 12:14 PM PDT) Bloomberg.
- Outnumbered — Thursday, April 25 (April 25, 2019) Fox News.
- Trump has awarded next year’s G-7 summit of world leaders to his Miami-area resort, the White House said by Toluse Olorunnipa et al. (Oct. 17, 2019 at 3:59 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Mulvaney acknowledges Ukraine aid was withheld to boost political probe: "I have news for everybody: Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy," the acting White House chief of staff told reporters. by Quint Forgey (10/17/2019 01:27 PM EDT; Updated: 10/17/2019 06:09 PM EDT) Politico.
- There are still 12 House Democrats who don't support impeachment proceedings. Why? by Chris Cillizza (Updated 9:23 PM ET, Fri September 27, 2019) CNN.
- Tulsi Gabbard, Last 2020 Holdout, Supports Impeachment Inquiry by Maggie Astor (Published Sept. 27, 2019; Updated Oct. 25, 2019) The New York Times.
- Larry Hogan comes out in support of Trump impeachment inquiry: "I don't see any other way to get the facts," the Maryland governor said. by Abbey Marshall (10/11/2019 09:16 AM EDT; Updated: 10/11/2019 10:21 AM EDT) Politico.
- Republican Joe Walsh campaigns in NH, says he supports impeachment inquiry (October 10, 2019) WMUR via Yahoo! News.
- Pompeo Subpoenaed for Ukraine Documents as House Committees Accelerate Impeachment Inquiry: Three Committees Schedule Multiple Depositions with Key State Department Officials Over Next Two Weeks (September 27, 2019 ) U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
- Articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving? Pelosi wants to move 'expeditiously' by Benjamin Siegel & Katherine Faulders (Sep 28, 2019, 4:31 AM ET) ABC News.
- Rudy Giuliani: 'You Should Be Happy for Your Country That I Uncovered This': President Trump's personal attorney unleashes in a new phone call with The Atlantic while Trump allies turn on him. by Elaina Plott (September 26, 2019) The Atlantic.
- Rudy Giuliani calls Kamala Harris 'phony' after she suggests he should be 'disbarred' by Brie Stimson (September 27, 2019) Fox News (archived from September 27, 2019).
- Rudy Giuliani: I've accomplished my mission: President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani defended his actions in Ukraine by telling Fox News that he accomplished his mission and that he is a "legitimate whistleblower." (September 27, 2019) CNN.
- Rudy Giuliani Proposes Suing Congress And ‘The Swamp’ Over Impeachment Inquiry by Lisette Voytko (Oct 2, 2019, 09:03am) Forbes.
- Congressional Immunity (April 25, 1952) Congressional Quarterly Press.
- Democrats' Impeachment Inquiry Reportedly Welcomed by President's Advisers, But Trump Himself Tweets With Fury by Jonathan Lemire & Zeke Miller (7:46 AM EDT) AP via Time (archived from September 25, 2019).
- President Trump Tweets Four Clips From Thursday Night's "Hannity," Three From Lou Dobbs by Tim Hains (September 27, 2019) Real Clear Politics.
- Exasperated Trump's strategy: Flail at Democrats, attack whistleblower, tweet like crazy (September 26, 2019 / 3:10 PM) Reuters.
- Trump goes on tweet offensive about whistleblower, his 'perfect call' and 'Liddle' Adam Schiff: The tweets included a confounding attack on CNN. by Dareh Gregorian (Sept. 27, 2019, 11:34 AM PDT) NBC News.
- "Liddle', not Liddle": Trump’s latest tweets are among his most bizarre yet. The Ukraine scandal seems to be making Trump’s tweets even more unhinged. by Aaron Rupar (Sep 27, 2019, 11:30am EDT) Vox.
- NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Results and Analysis: Americans Divide About Impeachment Inquiry But Want to Know More (September 27, 2019) Marist Poll.
- Support For Impeachment Grows Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Majority Of Voters Approve Of Impeachment Inquiry (September 30, 2019) Quinnipiac University Poll.
- Oct. 1-6, 2019 Washington Post-Schar School national crosstabs
- The Economist/YouGov PollSeptember 28 - October 1, 2019 - 1500 US Adult citizens YouGov.
- "@ellenEspence: @marklevinshow Thank you for maintaining your integrity during this disgusting lynching of @realDonaldTrump" Thanks Mark! by Donald J. Trump (19.24 - 21 Sep 2015) Twitter (archived from November 7, 2019).
- History of Lynchings NAACP.
- Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Making Lynching a Federal Crime by Mihir Zaveri (Dec 20, 2018) The New York Times.
- New report says 164 lynched in Jim Crow S.C. by Andy Brack (02/12/2015 2:45 pm) Statehouse Report.
- Letter from Pat A. Cipollone, Counsel to the President, to: Nancy Pelosi, Eliot L. Engel, Adam B. Schiff, Elijah E. Cummings (October 8, 2019) The White House.
- Law classmates tell Trump lawyer Cipollone he distorts Constitution by blocking impeachment witnesses: University of Chicago Law School classmates signed a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone criticizing him for blocking impeachment witnesses. by Julia Ainsley (Oct. 10, 2019, 4:22 PM PDT) NBC News.
- 'Me! Me!': An aggrieved Trump spins an alternate reality as impeachment probe escalates by Ashley Parker (Oct. 4, 2019 at 3:47 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Trump Name-Calls Mitt Romney For Criticizing Ukraine, China Comments: The Republican senator from Utah said Trump's actions were "brazen and unprecedented." The president called him an "ass." by Ryan Grenoble (10/04/2019 12:26 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2019) Huffington Post.
- Republicans Embrace New Talking Point: Trump Wasn't 'Serious' About China Investigating Bidens by Justin Baragona (Updated Oct. 07, 2019 3:52AM ET; Published Oct. 06, 2019 12:42PM ET)Daily Beast.
- Marco Rubio Says Trump Was Joking When He Asked China to Investigate Biden: 'Not a Real Request' by Connor Mannion (Oct 4th, 2019, 1:53 pm) Mediaite.
- Jim Jordan suggests Trump was joking about China investigating Bidens by Jacob Knutson (Oct 6, 2019) Axios.
- Roy Blunt says not to take Trump's requests for Biden probes seriously by Camilo Montoya-Galvez (October 6, 2019, 12:43 PM) CBS News.
- China rejects Donald Trump’s call to investigate Democrat rival Joe Biden and son by Teddy Ng (Published: 7:59pm, 8 Oct, 2019; Updated: 3:51am, 24 Oct, 2019) South China Morning Post.
- Fact-checking President Trump’s wild jabs at Joe Biden by Salvador Rizzo (May 23, 2019 at 12:00 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Trump meets with Ukraine’s Zelensky after release of rough transcript of July call (Sep 25, 2019) The Washington Post via YouTube.
- Donald Trump Holds a Bilat with Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom (Sep 24, 2019) The Washington Post via YouTube.
- President Trump speaks at the United Nations event on religious freedom (Sep 23, 2019) The Washington Post via YouTube.
- Trump says Hunter Biden 'walks out of China with $1.5 billion.' Biden's lawyer said that's not true. by Michael Kranish (September 25, 2019 at 6:03 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community's Statement on Processing of Whistleblower Complaints (September 30, 2019) Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
- Democrats Postpone 1st Ukraine Deposition Following Pompeo Objections by Franco Ordoñez (October 1, 201911:48 AM ET) NPR.
- White House appears to inadvertently send Ukraine talking points to Democrats: In a separate email obtained by NBC News, a White House staffer sought "to recall the message." by Allan Smith & Alex Moe (Sept. 25, 2019, 10:43 AM PDT / Updated Sept. 25, 2019, 11:16 AM PDT) NBC News.
- House committee chairs warn Pompeo that stonewalling could be used as evidence of obstruction by Cristina Marcos (10/01/19 03:03 PM EDT) The Hill.
- Democrats say Trump administration used misinformation to attack U.S. diplomat by Jonathan Landay & Mark Hosenball (October 2, 2019 / 9:05 AM) Financial Times.
- "The Ingraham Angle" (September 26, 2019) Fox News.
- "The Ingraham Angle" (September 24, 2019) Fox News.
- Giuliani Fires Back at Kamala Harris' Call for His Disbarment By Showing Off Giant Texts From State Department on an iPad by Reed Richardson (Sep 26th, 2019, 11:41 pm) Mediaite.
- The Ukraine text messages, annotated: Messages between top US diplomats detail negotiations between Trump allies and the Ukrainian President. by Zachary B. Wolf a&nd Sean O'Key (October 4, 2019) CNN.
- Meet the GOP Megadonor at the Center of the Ukraine Scandal by Russ Choma (October 5, 2019) Mother Jones.
- Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to confront Russia by Caitlin Emma & Connor O’Brien (08/28/2019 06:11 PM EDT; Updated 08/29/2019 03:40 PM EDT) Politico.
- Ambassador to E.U. called Trump before texting 'no quid pro quo' to top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine: The ambassador was responding to the senior diplomat's remark that it would be “crazy” to link Ukraine assistance to help with a political campaign. by Josh Lederman et al. (Oct. 8, 2019, 12:59 PM PDT) NBC News.
- Chairman Schiff Statement on Intelligence Community Inspector General Briefing (October 4, 2019) U.S. House of Representatives, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
- Ousted Ukraine envoy expected to testify in impeachment probe despite White House vow not to cooperate, congressional aides say by Karoun Demirjian & Carol Morello (Oct. 10, 2019 at 11:39 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Trump’s ex-Russia adviser told impeachment investigators of Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine by Karoun Demirjian et al. (Oct. 15, 2019 at 5:24 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Ex-Pompeo adviser tells impeachment investigators he was 'disturbed' by attempts to enlist foreigners to hurt Trump's political opponents by Carol Morello & John Hudson (Oct. 16, 2019 at 4:58 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Senior adviser to Pompeo resigns by Karen DeYoung (Oct. 10, 2019 at 5:44 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Subpoenas issued in impeachment inquiry following blocking of ambassador deposition by Jeremy Herb et al. (Updated 6:35 PM ET, Tue October 8, 2019) CNN.
- Opening Statement before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by Gordon D. Sondland (October 17, 2019) Politico.
- This central claim in Gordon Sondland's testimony just doesn't add up: Sondland isn't the first to say he didn't know what Giuliani was up to. But that's extremely difficult to swallow — for this reason. by Aaron Blake (Oct. 17, 2019 at 8:47 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Opening Statement of Ambassador William B. Taylor (October 22, 2019).
- Trump made Ukraine aid contingent on public pledge to investigate Bidens and 2016 election, U.S. envoy says he was told by Rachael Bade et al. (Oct. 22, 2019 at 1:13 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
- Top U.S. envoy ties Trump directly to Ukraine quid pro quo: William Taylor’s testimony provides some of the most damaging evidence yet in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. by Andrew Desiderio & Kyle Cheney (10/22/2019 10:03 AM EDT; Updated: 10/22/2019 09:07 PM EDT) Politico.
- Opening Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman (October 29, 2019) House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence via Politico.
- White House official on Ukraine call wasn't concerned "anything illegal" occurred by Arden Farhi et al. (Updated on: October 31, 2019 / 3:37 PM) CBS News.
- Pence aide said Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine was political and not a normal diplomatic call by Rene Marsh et al. (Updated 8:41 PM ET, Thu November 7, 2019) CNN.
- Statement of David A. Holmes (November 15, 2019) U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Department of State via CNN.
- White House budget official appears for testimony on Ukraine aid hold amid impeachment inquiry by Andrew Desiderio (11/16/2019 09:52 AM EST; Updated: 11/16/2019 07:02 PM EST) Politico.
- House votes on impeachment inquiry resolution (October 31, 2019) PBS.
- A sharply divided House approves the rules for its impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The near party-line 232-196 roll call was the chamber's first formal vote on a process that's likely to take months, possibly stretching into the 2020 election year. The Associated Press (08:37 - 31 oct. 2019) Twitter (archived from November 26, 2019).
- H.Res.660 - Directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes. United States House of Representatives.
- "I couldn’t imagine all of the things that have happened": What Marie Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators. The former US ambassador to Ukraine described a harrowing series of events. by Andrew Prokop (Nov 4, 2019, 4:50pm EST) Vox.
- The weekend in impeachment news, explained: Deposition transcripts have been released and Trump has threatened a White House staffer. by Alex Ward (Nov 4, 2019, 1:40pm EST) Vox.
- Read Kurt Volker's opening statement for testimony in Trump impeachment inquiry: The former US special representative for Ukraine testified behind closed doors Thursday. by Andrew Prokop (Oct 4, 2019, 1:50pm EDT) Vox.
- Gordon Sondland's revised testimony is still very difficult to believe: Many of his continued memory failures involve President Trump. by Andrew Prokop (Nov 6, 2019, 12:10pm EST) Vox.
- The 3 main takeaways from US diplomat William Taylor’s impeachment testimony: This is what you need to know from an over 300-page document. by Alex Ward (Nov 6, 2019, 5:40pm EST) Vox.
- Deposition of: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman (October 29, 2019) Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joint with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives via The Washington Post.
- Deposition of: Fiona Hill (October 29, 2019) Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joint with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives via The Washington Post.
- Deposition of: Jennifer Williams (November 7, 2019) Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joint with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives via The Washington Post.
- Deposition of: Tim Morrison (October 31, 2019) Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joint with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives via The Washington Post.
- Ambassador amends testimony, acknowledges quid-pro-quo message by Steve Benen (11/05/19 03:53 PM; Updated 11/06/19 04:37 PM) MSNBC.
- 4 big takeaways from Fiona Hill’s and Alexander Vindman's transcripts by Aaron Blake (November 8, 2019 at 11:08 a.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Jim Jordan assigned to Intel Committee ahead of Trump impeachment hearings by Brooke Singman & Chad Pergram (November 8, 2019) Fox News (archived from November 8, 2019).
- Trump rails against impeachment: 'They shouldn't be having public hearings' by Brett Samuels 11/08/19 11:06 AM EST) The Hill.
- House Republicans Complain About Rules They Approved In 2015 by Josh Israel (October 24, 2019) The National Memo.
- H. Res. 660 (October 31, 2019) U. S. House of Representatives.
- Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the first impeachment hearing by Zachary Basu (Nov 13, 2019) Axios.
- Read Devin Nunes' opening statement in the impeachment hearing (Nov 13, 2019) Axios.
- George Kent's full opening statement on first day of Trump impeachment hearings (Nov 13, 2019) PBS via YouTube.
- Bill Taylor's full opening statement on first day of Trump impeachment hearings (Nov 13, 2019) PBS via YouTube.
- Second US official in Kyiv heard Trump call by Desmond Butler et al. (November 14, 2019) AP.
- Rep. Jim Jordan's Attempt at Attacking a Whistleblower Draws Laughter at Impeachment Hearing: One of Trump's most dedicated supporters flubbed it. by Luke Darby (November 13, 2019) GQ.
- Fox News uses on-screen graphics to push pro-Trump lies during impeachment hearing: George Kent and William Taylor testified. Fox News tried to put its thumb on the scales for Trump. by Eric Kleefeld (11/13/19 1:12 PM EST) Media Matters for America.
- Fox News Covered the Impeachment Hearings in the Fox Newsiest Way Possible: The network that helped put Donald Trump into power is now showing how insistently it will work to keep him there. by Megan Garber (11:58 AM ET) The Atlantic.
- Amb. Yovanovitch's full opening statement | Trump impeachment hearings (Nov 15, 2019) PBS via YouTube.
- Rep. Adam Schiff’s full opening statement in Yovanovitch hearing | Trump impeachment hearings (Nov 15, 2019) PBS via YouTube.
- TRUMP IMPEACHMENT DAY 2: Devin Nunes Opening Statement (Nov 15, 2019) Fox 10 via YouTube.
- Read Marie Yovanovitch’s full opening statement on day 2 of the impeachment hearing by Gretchen Frazee (Nov 15, 2019 9:56 AM EST) PBS.
- Schiff denies Stefanik's attempts to question Marie Yovanovitch (Nov 15, 2019) ABC News via YouTube.
- Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors. by Donald Trump (7:01 AM - 15 Nov 2019) Twitter (archived from November 15, 2019).
- With a Tweet, Trump Upends Republican Strategy for Dealing with Yovanovitch by Michael D. Shear (Nov. 15, 2019) The New York Times.
- 'He essentially added an article of impeachment in real-time': Trump criticised by Fox News and Ken Starr for attacking Yovanovitch during hearing: 'This whole hearing turned on a dime when the president tweeted about her real-time' by Clark Mindock (15 November 2019 17:52) The Independent.
- Day 3, Part 1: Adam Schiff's opening statement (Nov 19, 2019) CBS News via YouTube.
- Day 3, Part 2: Devin Nunes' opening statement (Nov 19, 2019) CBS News via YouTube.
- Opening Statement before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by Jennifer Williams (November 19, 2019).
- Opening Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. VindmanBefore the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by Alexander S. Vindman (November 19, 2019).
- Trump advisor comments on Zelensky-Pence meeting in Warsaw: The U.S. position toward Ukraine's integrity remains unchanged. (12:45, 02 September 2019) Unian.
- Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement from Ukraine. 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! by Donald Trump (11:57 AM - 17 Nov 2019) Twitter (archived from November 20, 2019).
- Lt. Col. Vindman responds to Nunes addressing him as "Mr. Vindman" in exchange about whistleblower (Nov 19, 2019) CBS News via YouTube.
- Vindman humiliates Jim Jordan w/ epic response when he tries to discredit him (Nov 19, 2019) YouTube.
- "WATCH: Was there a 'quid pro quo'? 'The answer is yes,' Sondland says". PBS NewsHour. November 20, 2019.
- The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report (December 2019) Report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Pursuant to H. Res. 660 in Consultation with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
- 5 takeaways from the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report on Trump by Amber Phillips (Dec. 3, 2019 at 1:17 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Devin Nunes Busted by House Intelligence Committee Phone Records by Jonathan Chait (December 4, 2019) The New Yorker.
- [Opening Statement of Professor Pamela S. Karlan (December 4, 2019) House Judiciary Committee.
- Written Statement of Michael Gerhardt (December 4, 2019) House Judiciary Committee.
- Noah Feldman: Prepared Statement (December 4, 2019) House Judiciary Committee.
- Written Statement: Jonathan Turley (December 4, 2019) House Judiciary Committee.
- Next phase in Trump impeachment inquiry begins by Meg Wagner et al. (Updated 6:55 PM ET, Wed December 4, 2019) CNN.
- 5 takeaways from the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing by Aaron Blake (Dec. 4, 2019 at 2:32 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- More than 500 law professors say Trump committed 'impeachable conduct' by Matt Zapotosky (Dec. 6, 2019 at 8:17 a.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Letter to Congress from Legal Scholars by Legal Scholars on Impeachment (Dec 6, 2019) Medium.