THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: CONTINUED
WASHINGTON— For a second day, Republican senators Thursday questioned lawyers for President Donald Trump to give them opportunities to rebut House impeachment managers, while Democratic senators gave the House Democrats opportunities to criticize the president’s lawyers for “the normalization of lawlessness.”
The pointed questions allowed for rhetorical sparring between the two legal teams.
House Manager Adam Schiff, D-Calif., criticized the president’s defense team, calling their legal strategy “a dissent into constitutional madness.”
“We are right back to where we were a half-century ago,” Schiff said in reference to parallels between arguments for acquittal for Trump and Richard Nixon. “That is the normalization of lawlessness.”
WASHINGTON — When Chief Justice John Roberts rejected the question that Sen. Rand Paul wanted to ask Thursday in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the Kentucky Republican immediately left the chamber to tell reporters his question may have named the whistleblower whose account of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led to the impeachment inquiry.
In his question, Paul asked if House impeachment manager Adam Schiff and the president’s lawyers were that two individuals “may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.”
When a reporter asked Rand if he has any evidence that the whistleblower conspired with Schiff’s office, Rand said, “I don’t know who the whistleblower is. Adam Schiff doesn’t know who the whistleblower is. My question’s not about the whistleblower.”
He said his question was about two people who he says were overhead talking about impeaching Trump “years in advance.”
“I think it was an incorrect finding to not allow a question that makes no reference [to a whistleblower],” Paul said. “It means that anybody that anybody ever said might have been a whistleblower could never be discussed in the proceeding.”
On Aug. 12, a whistleblower filed an anonymous report alleging Trump attempted to pressure Zelensky to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden. The complaint ultimately led to Trump being impeached by the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
11:50 a.m. Jan 30, 2020
By Megan Lebowitz
WASHINGTON — Senators will finish the second day of questioning President Donald Trump’s defense team and the House impeachment managers Thursday.The session is expected to begin at 1 p.m.
Sixteen hours are reserved for questions and answers, split between Republicans and Democrats. Wednesday’s session, which also began at 1 p.m., ended at around 11 p.m.
On Friday, senators will debate whether to call witnesses. Democrats have been pushing for former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and others to testify before the Senate.
Four Republicans are needed to vote in favor of witnesses. At a news conference Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asserted that his priority is securing those votes. He did not entertain speculation about what would occur and whether Chief Justice John Roberts would get involved if the vote was a 50-50 tied.
There is speculation that if the Senate votes against witnesses, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may move to a vote to acquit Trump tomorrow.
THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: DAY 5
WASHINGTON — After nearly 24 hours of the House impeachment managers making a case for President Donald Trump’s conviction on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, the president’s lawyers began their defense on Saturday by saying the Democrats didn’t meet the burden of proof.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said that he does not expect Trump’s defense team to use all 24 hours afforded to them by the rules of the Senate impeachment organizing resolution. On Friday night, House Democrats concluded three days of oral arguments.
The charges against Trump stem from allegations that he withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to persuade Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s son.
Cipollone and Mike Purpura, deputy counsel to the president, said the Democrats have not met the burden of proof in this trial and have also not presented all of the relevant evidence. Cipollone cited portions of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as one piece of key evidence that Democrats largely ignored during their oral arguments, which he said undermines their case. Referring to the transcripts, Cipollone said Trump discussed burden sharing in a July 25 call with President Zelensky, arguing that the U.S. has done more for Ukraine than the European Union.
Purpura also dispute the House impeachment managers’ argument that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo. He said Ukrainians did not know security assistance was paused until they read about it in a Politico article published on Aug. 28.
Cipollone said the Democrats are asking senators to overturn the results of the last election as well as interfere in the 2020 election.
“They’re asking you to do something no Senate has ever done,” Cipollone said. “And they’re asking you to do that with no evidence.”
THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: DAY 4
9:17 p.m. Jan 24, 2020
By Evan Ochsner
WASHINGTON — For a moment on Friday, House impeachment manager Adam Schiff had captivated the Senate. Eloquently speaking about moral courage, he had senators on both sides of the aisle in the packed chamber intently listening to him. And then he didn’t.
Schiff mentioned a CBS News report from Thursday night that said Republican senators were threatened that their heads “ will be on a pike” if they voted against President Donald Trump. Half of the chamber stirred. Multiple Republicans said “that’s not true,” turning to their neighbors but also speaking directly to Schiff.
After Schiff closed the impeachment managers’ opening arguments, Sens. James Langford, R-Okla., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo. denied being threatened as the CBS report alleged.
THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: DAY 3
9:58 p.m. Jan 23, 2020
By Sneha Dey
WASHINGTON – After a quick dinner break, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., made the case President Donald Trump initiated a quid pro quo or “this for that” with Ukraine.
The President conditioned an Oval Office meeting with Ukraine “as part of a corrupt scheme,” Jeffries said. In exchange for a White House meeting – symbolic of U.S. backing a fragile Ukraine – Ukranian officials would need to initiate investigations on the Bidens.
The White House meeting was never held, according to fellow manager Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas. Ukrainian President Zelensky wanted Ukraine to be taken seriously, and did not want Ukraine to act as a pawn in the 2020 election.
Evidence presented by Garcia showed that Ukraine top advisor Andriy Yarmik voiced discomfort and suggested an initiation of an investigation go through official channels.
“Even Ukraine, a struggling new country, knew this was wrong. They stood up to President Trump,” said Garcia. Garcia highlighted how Trump prioritized his personal interests over the country’s national security, actions she characterized as an abuse of power.
“If we allow this gross abuse of power to continue…then this president and any president become above the law,” Garcia said. “In this country, no one is above the law.”
9:43 p.m. Jan. 23, 2020
By Gregory Svirnovskiy
WASHINGTON – Trump administration officials and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani attempted to force Ukraine into launching an investigation on the Bidens by leveraging a White House meeting, House impeachment manager Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said.
Jeffries said for a fragile state like Ukraine, close relations with the United States are critical for stability. As a newly elected President, it was critical for Volodymyr Zelensky to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.
“An Oval Office meeting would have sent a strong signal of support that President Trump had Ukraine’s back,” Jeffries said. “The absence of such a meeting could be devastating.”
The House impeachment manager said the Trump administration recognized the resulting imbalance of power and demanded a Ukrainian investigation on the Bidens in exchange for a White House meeting.
Jeffries said President Trump’s message was delivered to Zelensky in four separate meetings in July. He said the evidence against the Trump team is “hidden in plain sight” within the transcript of the July 25 phonecall.
By the time Zelensky and Trump first spoke, Jeffries said, the Ukrainian President “understood exactly what needed to be done, a quid pro quo.”
9:33 p.m. Jan. 23, 2020
By Janea Wilson
WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the House impeachment managers “threw Joe Biden under the bus” in today’s arguments.
Cruz said the Democrats’ argument that using Senate subpoena powers for an investigation into Burisma — the Ukrainian gas company to which Hunter Biden served on the board — would allow President Donald Trump’s defense team the opportunity to request an investigation into the company and the younger Biden. Cruz said that investigation could extend to the former vice president.
The house managers said any investigation into the Bidens would be illegitimate.
President Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow said the White House defense team would call witnesses if the Senate voted to allow it. The elder Biden has said he will not be a witness if called upon during the impeachment trial.
All motions subpoenaing witnesses and documents from the White House, Office of Management and Budget and others were tabled Tuesday.
6:34 p.m. Jan. 23, 2020
By Janea Wilson
WASHINGTON- House impeachment manager Rep. Zoe Lofgren pointed out the close ties between President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Thursday, noting the phone records show Giuliani was in constant contact with the White House while in Ukraine.
Lofgren said that Trump was well aware of Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine “doing a domestic political errand” for the president.
“Both U.S. and Ukrainian officials knew Mr. Giuliani was the key to Ukraine,” she said.
The California Democrat also said Trump’s July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky was all about Trump’s re-election.
3:28 p.m. Jan 23, 2020
By James Pollard
WASHINGTON — Continuing the House impeachment managers’ case against President Donald Trump, Rep. Jerry Nadler emphasized Thursday afternoon that the constitutional requirement of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for impeachment does not imply a violation of law.
Impeachable offenses are not merely “mistakes” or “unwise decisions,” but involve wrongdoing that reveal the president to be a continuing threat to the political system, Nadler argued during day two of the Senate trial.
Trump was impeached by the House on Dec. 18 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his administration’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine and request for help in investigating Hunter Biden’s actions while on the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma in hopes of embarrassing his father, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
To further his argument, the New York Democrat played a video clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., when the senator was a manager in President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial. Graham argued at the time that a high crime involves “acting in a way that hurts people.” “What’s a high crime?” Graham said at the time. “It doesn’t have to be a crime.”
Nadler then took the Senate back to 1837 — the year bribery became a statutory crime. Because bribery had already been outlined years earlier as an impeachable offense, the framers of the Constitution could not have set “statutory crime” as the standard for impeachment, Nadler argued. Having argued that impeachment does not require a strict violation of statutory law, Nadler then said Trump has made it clear he will continue to act on his assumption that he is above the law.
2:28 p.m. Jan 23, 2020
By Benjamin Rosenberg
WASHINGTON — The framers of the Constitution created a provision for impeaching an executive
because they recognized that presidents might seek foreign assistance for personal gain, House
impeachment manager Jerrold Nadler said Thursday – day two of the Senate impeachment trial of
President Donald Trump.
The New York Democrat outlined what he called “the ABCs of high crimes and misdemeanors” —
abuse of power, betrayal of the nation and corruption.
“The framers expected that free elections would be the usual means of protecting our freedoms,”
Nadler said. “But they knew a president who sought foreign assistance for a campaign must be
removed from office before he can steal the next election.”
Despite Democrats’ insistence that the trial is necessary, several Republican senators have continued
to emphasize that the House should not have undertaken an impeachment inquiry.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Thursday afternoon that he would prefer the trial to be short and
called the House’s case “repetitive.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, concurred that the impeachment managers have been presenting the same
information several times, saying Republicans are still waiting to hear overwhelming evidence that
witnesses are needed, as Democrats have demanded.
But Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier Thursday that “the same Republicans
saying they’re hearing nothing new voted nine times on Tuesday to hear nothing new.”
12:14 p.m. Jan 23, 2020
By Olivia Olander
WASHINGTON – Republican senators still can be convinced that President Donald Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and should be interested in hearing new witnesses, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday morning before the start of the second day of Trump’s impeachment trial.
Schumer framed Wednesday’s Democratic testimony as the first time some Republican senators may have heard impeachment evidence outside the “kaleidoscope lens of Fox News.”
He was joined by Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. They repeatedly questioned why Republicans have publicly complained about a lack of new evidence, even after voting against seeing new witnesses and documents earlier in the week.
Schumer said Republicans should vote with Democrats to release new evidence, unless they’re “afraid of the truth.”
The senators at the conference also praised the work of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead impeachment manager.
“The atmosphere of the Senate took on an entirely different dimension” when Schiff spoke, Schumer said. “House managers are setting the bar.”
Schiff and the Democrats will continue their testimony against Trump this afternoon. The president’s legal team will begin presenting their case later in the week.
THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: DAY 2
6:03 p.m. Jan. 22. 2020
By Martha Castro
President Donald Trump endangered American national security by withholding aid to Ukraine, which is crucial to fighting Russian aggression, a House impeachment manager told the Senate on Wednesday.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., that Ukraine prevents Russian expansion in Europe, which could eventually also endanger the U.S.
“We help our partner fight Russia over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here,” said Crow. “Protecting Europe from Russia is not a political game.”
House Manager Val Demings, D-Fla., called on senators to subpoena John Bolton, former national security advisor to Trump. Bolton is a direct witness to the president’s actions and conversations with Ukraine and did not wish to withhold aid from Ukraine, according to several testimonies.
“We need to hear from Ambassador Bolton, and I know the American people want to hear from Ambassador Bolton as well,” said Demings.
All Democratic votes and an additional three Republican votes are needed to subpoena Bolton. Sen. Mitt Romney, R- Utah, said he would vote to hear Bolton’s testimony.
5:07 p.m. Jan. 22. 2020
By Joshua Irvine
The president exerted a monthslong pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government to extract political favors and did so at the expense of American foreign policy, House impeachment manager Adam Schiff charged.
Schiff laid out the case behind the first article of impeachment, leaning heavily on video testimony from witnesses and collected evidence as he described a scheme by the president and his operators to withhold aid until the Ukrainian government announced investigations of Hunter Biden and the 2016 election.
The impeachment manager cast his tale as a juxtaposition between dedicated civil servants like former United States Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who Schiff cast as an anti-corruption crusader, and a president “emboldened” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inconclusive investigation to act with impunity.
Schiff cast the aid withheld from Ukraine as essential to combatting Russian interference in Europe and beyond.
“This isn’t just about Ukraine and its national security. This is about our national security,” Schiff said.
Schiff further emphasized the severity of the Trump administration’s decision to withhold documents and testimony from the House’s investigation of the Ukraine affair.
“It should not be misunderstood as a dispute between two branches of government,” Schiff said. “The charges in the second article are much more serious than that.”
2:13 p.m. Jan. 22. 2020
By Joshua Irvine
House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff described for the Senate the outline of the case the Democrats will lay out for senators in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump over the next three days.
The impeachment managers’ case will be presented in three parts – a narrative of the President’s pressure campaign on the Ukrainian government and subsequent attempts to conceal those efforts compiled through testimony and documents obtained in the House impeachment inquiry, a discussion of the constitutional framework for impeachment and, finally, how Trump’s actions met the benchmark for impeachable conduct.
Schiff urged the Senate to subpoena documents from several executive agencies and hear to testimony from individuals who had not yet testified, including former national security adviser John Bolton. Several of the parties Schiff named had been the subject of impeachment rules that Senate Democrats had unsuccessfully attempted to change the Tuesday night.
THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: DAY 1
2:15 a.m. Jan. 22. 2020
By Evan Ochsner
The Senate has adjourned after 12 hours of deliberation.
Eleven times Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rose before Chief Justice John Roberts to introduce amendments to allow more evidence in the Senate trial. Each time, those amendments failed along party lines, and the Senate passed a Republican-approved rules package that will provide the structure of the impeachment trial.
6:30 p.m. Jan. 21. 2020
By Evan Ochsner
The Senate voted 53-47 to table an amendment introduced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that would subpoena evidence from the State Department related to the impeachment trial. It’s the second time today a party-line vote has downed a Schumer-introduced resolution.
The House impeachment managers argued for the resolution, while President Trump’s defense team continued to argue against admitting more evidence into the trial. Impeachment manager Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla, argued for the amendment and said the Senate should obtain notes, memos, emails and other documents from the State Department.
“If we want the full and complete truth, we need to see those emails,” she said.
4:30 p.m. Jan. 21. 2020
By Evan Ochsner
The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment that would allow its members to subpoena documents and witnesses related to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced the amendment as the Senate prepares to vote on a resolution that would establish the rules of the trial. The House of Representatives Democratic impeachment managers urged the Senate to adopt the amendment. Instead, the resolution was tabled until later.
The President’s lawyers said allowing further evidence in the Senate trial would infringe on Trump’s executive privilege and due process rights.
“To turn this body into the investigatory body would permanently alter the relationship between the house and the senate in impeachment proceedings,” Deputy White House Counsel Patrick Philbin said.
Impeachment managers Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, argued from the House floor that the Senate should support the amendment and seek further evidence.
“Not only does Congress have a right to see them, the public does to,” Lofgren said.
4:17 p.m. Jan. 21. 2020
By Evan Ochsner
From the Senate floor, Democratic Impeachment managers made the case for the inclusion of more documents and witnesses in the Senate trial.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, said the White House has documents that related to many of the key issues related to impeachment, including the reasoning for the decision to withhold Ukraine aid.
“We know these documents exist,” she said, citing news reports and nonpartisan government watchdog reports.
She, like Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, said previous impeachment trials have included witnesses and documents, and that those documents should be subpoenaed now instead of voting on the issue later.
The Democratic managers argued for a resolution introduced by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that would subpoena additional evidence at the start of the trial.
President Trump’s lawyers said they are protecting the president’s executive privilege and due process rights by not permitting more evidence in the trial.
3:57 p.m. Jan. 21. 2020
By Angelina Campanile
Reporters filled the Capitol this morning as the 116th Congress prepared for the start of the nation’s third-ever impeachment trial.
Fifty-one majority votes of the Senate are needed to pass the rules of the trial being voted on Tuesday. Even if no Democrats vote yes, the rules will still pass if all 53 Republicans vote along party lines.
The question looming on the floor today is how the rules will consider new evidence, such as the newly released communications between indicted Rudy Guiliani associate Lev Parnas and an aide to the House Intelligence Committee, in which they discuss interviews and meetings with Ukrainian officials.