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Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

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#1117

DOJ appeals ruling allowing House Democrats access to Mueller grand jury evidence

The Justice Department on Monday appealed a federal judge’s ruling granting congressional Democrats access to grand jury evidence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and asked that judge to place a hold on the production of the material pending resolution of the appeal.

In a court filing Monday, government lawyers argued that the Justice Department would be “irreparably harmed” if the grand jury materials were to be handed over to Congress, as the judge ordered on Friday.

“Once the information is disclosed, it cannot be recalled, and the confidentiality of the grand jury information will be lost for all time,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.

On Friday, D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the Justice Department must turn certain portions of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury evidence over to the House Judiciary Committee.

Last week’s ruling followed the House Judiciary Committee’s first request in July for access to “certain” Mueller grand jury materials, marking an early step toward impeachment, and the DOJ’s resistance to the request, stating law that prohibit the disclosure of information shared with grand juries.

Judge Howell ordered the Justice Department to hand over the material by Oct. 30.

Shortly after the DOJ filed its appeal on Monday, the judge ordered the Judiciary Committee to respond to the department by noon on Tuesday.

In the ruling, Howell wrote that in light of the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, the Justice Department is “wrong” to assert all grand jury material need be kept secret, noting that several portions of the Mueller Report “are of interest” to the House Judiciary Committee, including the Trump Tower meeting, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s sharing of of internal polling data with a Russian business associate, and WikiLeaks’ dissemination in July 2016 of stolen emails from Democratic political organizations and the Clinton campaign.

Howell ruled it was appropriate for the House to consider the grand jury evidence as part of a judicial process such an an impeachment inquiry.


(David Bythewood) #1118

Predictably, here is the part where Trump accuses Bill Taylor of being crooked and claims both the Mueller Report AND the Impeachment Inquiry are unconstitutional

Oh, and according to him, Taylor set all of these “fake” texts up in a plot against him.

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#1119

Shifting Course, Democrats Plan First Floor Vote on Impeachment Inquiry

The House plans to take its first formal vote Thursday on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Democratic leaders said Monday, ushering in a new phase as they prepare to go public with their investigation into his dealings with Ukraine.

Democrats described the vote, in which they plan to “affirm” the inquiry, as a necessary next step to be able to push it forward, rather than a response to sustained criticism from Republicans and the White House, who have accused them of throwing out past impeachment precedents and denying the president due process rights.

But it will be the first time that the full House has gone on record with regard to an inquiry that has been underway since late September. And it comes after Democrats have insisted for weeks that they did not need a formal vote of the full House to authorize the proceedings.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the vote in a letter to colleagues Monday afternoon.

“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the president and his counsel,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement.

Interesting development :thinking: I don’t think the Speaker would hold this vote if it wasn’t absolutely necessary to move forward.


(David Bythewood) #1120

It will lay some big time foundations and shoot down one of the big GOP arguments. What do you suppose the GOP excuse will be after this happens?


#1121

Good question, the GOP is running out of reasons to excuse Trump’s failings, I guess we’ll find out the next talking points soon. :woman_shrugging:t2:


#1122

Cross-posting


#1123

Summary of Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

October 16th - 28th

Calendars:

General Congressional News:

News:

Documents:

Judiciary Committee Investigations into Trump 2019:

News:

Oversight And Reform Committee Investigations into Trump 2019:

News:

Intelligence Committee Investigations into Trump 2019:

News:

Forgeign Affairs Committee Investigations into Trump 2019:

News:

Other House and Senate Committees:

News:

Documents:

:newspaper: Timeline has been updated. Breaking news starts below. :point_down:


Day 1012
#1124

Army Officer Who Heard Trump’s Ukraine Call Reported Concerns

A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.

He will be the first White House official to testify who listened in on the July 25 telephone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, in which Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus farmaintained.”

Read his opening statement,

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/5197-read-vindman-s-opening-stateme/451770f94b62c504f723/optimized/full.pdf#page=1

:boom::boom::boom:


#1125

Here’s one more witness to back up the fact that our President attempted to extort a foreign leader to take actions that would benefit him personally.

But, I feel the real bombshell here is Vindman’s statement about a meeting that took place on July 10, about two weeks before the infamous call:

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D. C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate. Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel.

Sondland, via his lawyer, has now gone on record saying there was indeed a quid pro quo. And Vindman’s statement now leaves no doubt that the extortion involved, not just a general investigation into “corruption,” but a specific probe into the President’s number one political rival. Sondland not only knew about this extortion attempt, he was helping orchestrate it.

It’s definitely time to recall Sondland for more testimony at which time he better fully fess up about the extortion plan or face a criminal referral by the House for false testimony.


#1126

As much as T wants this Impeachment “witch-hunt” to go away, the testimony has definitely not made it go away. His sychophants want him to keep low key about it…(impossible for T) and the sheer number of credible sources who will be re-testifying in front of congress is ample. Recapped below.

WSJ article in full :point_down:

WASHINGTON—Top White House officials have been urging a cautious approach to the escalating impeachment proceedings in the House, operating under the belief that because President Trump withstood the Mueller investigation he can overcome the threat posed by the latest round of scrutiny.

That circumspect White House view, in the face of growing criticism from some Republican allies, has most clearly been articulated by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser and one of the few senior aides remaining in the West Wing since Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017. Mr. Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference concluded earlier this year that the Trump campaign didn’t conspire with Moscow, but it also didn’t draw a conclusion on whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice.

What lessons do you think the White House learned from the way it handled the Mueller investigation?

But there are clear differences between the two investigations. The Mueller inquiry focused on conduct during the campaign and relied on Mr. Trump’s advisers and political operatives as witnesses, who were reluctant to participate or were under criminal investigation themselves.

Some of the most impactful testimony in the impeachment probe has come from administration officials who have worked under both Democratic and Republican presidents, serving in the military or as foreign-service officers, raising warnings about Mr. Trump’s conduct as president. And the decision to impeach, and whether to convict, is up to Congress, while Mr. Mueller said one of the reasons he didn’t reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice was a Justice Department legal opinion that forbids an indictment of a sitting president.

“It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge,” Mr. Mueller said in May.

During impeachment-related meetings inside the White House, Mr. Kushner has urged officials to remain calm, homing in on one of the president’s often repeated lines: that the impeachment inquiry is the latest in a long line of partisan attacks the West Wing has had to endure. Mr. Kushner’s message has been that the facts are in the White House’s favor, and that reduces the need to be on the defensive, according to White House officials familiar with the conversations.

Mr. Trump’s Republican allies say that the president’s interactions with Ukraine don’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The Republican-controlled Senate is considered unlikely to remove Mr. Trump from office even if he is impeached by the Democratic-majority House.

Mr. Trump on Monday said he wants more pressure to come from Congress, arguing allied lawmakers should defend his July phone call with Ukraine’s president, which is at the heart of the investigation, and not just attack House Democrats over the impeachment process. The president’s allies on the Hill have largely focused on criticizing procedures like closed-door testimony, rather than mounting a substantive defense of the president’s pressure on Ukraine to undertake investigations that he sought.

I’d rather go into the details of the case rather than process,” Mr. Trump told reporters before flying to Chicago. “But process is good. But I think you ought to look at the case. And the case is very simple; it’s quick. It’s so quick.

Timeline: Interactions Between Trump’s Camp and Ukraine

President Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, have set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday lays out a timeline of interactions between the president’s inner circle and Ukrainian officials

In recent days, the White House has made moves to improve internal communications and contacts with Congress and is looking to hire an aide to help with messaging, a tacit acknowledgment that officials need to do more to deal with the rising threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency.

But they have pushed back against the notion of a formalized “war room” to anchor the response. Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, said during an Oct. 17 news conference that “you don’t have a war room when you haven’t done anything wrong.

Mr. Trump on Friday suggested he doesn’t need additional help. “I don’t have teams. Everyone is talking about teams—I am the team.”

Outside the White House, allies of the president have been agitating for more action and responded with public criticism of the administration.

Former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon said on his podcast last week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) was running a “master class in political warfare” during the impeachment investigation. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), another staunch ally of the president, urged the White House to be more aggressive.

“I do not agree with the comments of my friend Mick Mulvaney when he says that when you prepare a war room that’s some sort of indication of guilt,” Mr. Gaetz said, adding that “we are not going to win this impeachment at a K Street martini party.”

One of the key moments of the Mueller probe for the administration was the strategizing around the final report, and the decision to issue a letter from Attorney General Bill Barr that summarized the document well in advance of the report itself. Both Republicans and Democrats acknowledged that letter successfully lowered expectations for the report.

At least one of the aides key in that planning, White House attorney Emmet Flood, has since left the administration, and his position has never been filled. While Mr. Flood maintained a firm grip on White House strategy related to the investigation, the current West Wing doesn’t have clear lines of authority, officials said.

Mr. Kushner has proved most influential in recent weeks, including the decision to add a communications aide. White House officials said they are in talks with Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, to return to the administration to help with communications and strategy. Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, was also being considered for the job. Both didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Mulvaney has focused on coordinating the West Wing staff, officials said. Mr. Mulvaney and most of his senior team, who worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget for most of the Mueller investigation, have looked to Mr. Kushner to provide perspective on reacting to the news cycle and a high-level approach to problem solving.

The two men, along with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, have weighed in heavily on messaging strategy, officials said. Some officials have said the dynamic has created overlap and confusion.

It stirred some angst among officials when Mr. Cipollone took a lead role on the messaging around the decision, which he backed, to release the transcript of the president’s call with Ukraine’s president that helped spur the impeachment query. That transcript release was opposed by some in the White House at the time. He also was described by some officials as creating a logjam that delayed the release of an eight-page letter earlier this month that stipulated the administration wouldn’t engage with the probe.

The Ukraine Witnesses

Scheduled to Testify:

  • Oct. 29: Alexander Vindman, the director of European affairs at the National Security Council who attended the Ukrainian president’s inauguration in May
  • Oct. 30: Kathryn Wheelbarger, the acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs; Catherine Croft, who served at the State Department as special adviser for Ukraine; Christopher Anderson, who was a special adviser to Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy for Ukraine negotiations
  • Oct. 31: Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s Russia and Europe director

The letter was released two weeks after the House probe was announced.

Mr. Cipollone rarely pushes back on the president’s demands in person, an administration official said, in contrast with his predecessor, Don McGahn, who repeatedly tangled with the president in his 20-month tenure and wasn’t on speaking terms with him for the final months, officials said at the time. Mr. Cipollone didn’t respond to a request for comment.

One ally of the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), has said that the White House needs to improve its communications and urged them to replicate former President Clinton’s approach to impeachment.

He described Mr. Clinton has being staffed by top legal minds and described his team as on message every day.

Asked about Mr. Trump’s team, Mr. Graham said he talked to Mr. Mulvaney. “I think they’re working on getting a messaging team together,” he said.

—Siohban Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus contributed to this article.


#1127

Sondland’s statement


#1128

Whoa! That last sentence nails Pompeo. We know from Vindman’s statement that Sondland was very specific about the extortion: dirt on Bidens or no meeting with Trump. And here he is saying Pompeo was OK with that since it clearly was his “Ukraine strategy”:

…my boss Secretary Pompeo was very supportive of our Ukraine strategy.


(David Bythewood) #1129

Just for the record, a better name for “quid pro quo” is “bribery.”

‘Bribery’ is right there in the Constitution. Trump could be impeached for that.


#1130

Looks like it won’t be long until we find out if Charles Kupperman must testify – if he does, that would set a precedent for Bolton testifying.

A federal judge hearing arguments in a potentially critical impeachment inquiry case wants to hear from lawyers for the Trump White House, the House of Representatives and from impeachment witness Charles Kupperman on Thursday after Kupperman filed a lawsuit asking the federal court to decide whether he would need to testify.

Kupperman’s House testimony had been set for Monday, but Kupperman didn’t show up, citing White House and Justice Department reasoning that he was immune from testifying because of his previous work on the National Security Council.

Leon will meet the parties in court at 3 p.m. on Thursday, “due to the time-sensitive nature of the issues raised in this case,” Judge Richard Leon of the DC District Court wrote Monday night.

Kupperman’s lawsuit raises additional questions about possible testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, as Kupperman’s lawyer Charles Cooper also represents Bolton.


#1131

Congressional committees are seeking testimony from Robert Blair, Asst to Mulvaney and someone on the Ukraine call.

The House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump are seeking testimony from Robert Blair, an assistant to the President and senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, a source familiar with the request told CNN.

The committees investigating Trump have requested Blair — who was on the line during Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s President — come testify about White House policy toward Ukraine.

The committees are still in talks with Blair and it is not clear if he will agree to testify voluntarily. House committees have already issued subpoenas to current and former administration officials because of White House efforts to block their testimony.


(David Bythewood) #1132

Trumpworld’s New Impeachment Defense: Smear Iraq War Hero As a Spy

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman will testify that he was “worried about the implications” of Trump’s call with Voldymyr Zelensky. Trump allies have suggested Vindham has “an affinity for Ukraine.”


(Matt Kiser) pinned #1133

#1134

‘Extremely disturbing’: Top Dems alarmed over Vindman’s testimony on Trump-Ukraine call

Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House.

Acting House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, told NBC News she found Vindman’s remarks “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing” as she left the deposition. Maloney refused to answer any other questions about Vindman’s testimony.

Vindman, appearing voluntarily under congressional subpoena, was set to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens — and that he raised concerns about it.


#1135

And I could say the same about Trump’s presidency from Day 1.

:scream:


#1136

House Judiciary Committee says it has ‘urgent’ need for Mueller grand jury docs

The House Judiciary Committee argued to a federal judge on Tuesday it has an “urgent” need for access to grand jury secrets from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The Trump administration had appealed a decision giving the House access to the details by Thursday, and is asking the courts to step in to pause the handover of grand jury transcripts, exhibits and currently redacted details in the Mueller report.

"The public interest demands a swift but thorough impeachment investigation," the House wrote in its filing Tuesday. "Delay in this case would not only hinder the House’s ability to consider impeachment quickly, but also enhance DOJ’s ability to run out the clock on the committee’s impeachment inquiry altogether."

The House argues it wants to see the details both for its Ukraine impeachment investigation and in examining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation, which Mueller thoroughly investigated.

Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court, after rejecting the Justice Department’s arguments to keep the grand jury details from the House last Friday, hasn’t yet decided if the delivery of the information should be paused past Thursday.