Did Democrats get their smoking gun for impeachment?
October 4, 2019 2:31 PM Subscribe
In groundbreaking closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday, Trump’s former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, the recently resigned Kurt Volker, told House investigators that he warned President Trump’s personal attorney and freelance international investigator, Rudy Giuliani, that Ukrainian claims of Bidens’ misconduct were not credible (WaPo) He also said Trump described Ukraine as a corrupt country full of “terrible people" who were out to get him (Buzzfeed). In what may be the clearest evidence of quid pro quo yet, Volker texted a Zelensky aide on the morning before Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, “Heard from White House-assuming President Z. convinces Trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.” Natasha Bertrand decodes the explosive Ukraine text messages as Politico asks, “Did Democrats get their smoking gun for impeachment?”
For today’s Congressional hearings, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community who alerted Congress to an “urgent concern” raised in the whistleblower complaint, “provided documents to the House Intelligence Committee showing how he attempted to corroborate a whistleblower complaint alleging President Donald Trump solicited foreign interference to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, according to two sources familiar with the matter.” (CNN). “[…] The sources added that Atkinson's testimony mostly covered the process of corroborating the complaint.” And in an explosive development, NBC reveals, “Weeks before the whistleblower's complaint became public, the CIA's top lawyer made what she considered a criminal referral to the Justice Department about the whistleblower's allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office in pressuring the Ukrainian president, U.S. officials familiar with the matter tell NBC News. The move by the CIA's general counsel, Trump appointee Courtney Simmons Elwood, meant she and other senior officials had concluded a potential crime had been committed, raising more questions about why the Justice Department later closed the case without conducting an investigation.”
After Barr, Pompeo, and Pence were revealed to be closely involved in the Ukrainian scandal, the AP reports the Trump White House is preparing a formal objection to the impeachment inquiry. As Trump team tries to throw sand in impeachment gears, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy yesterday demanded that Pelosi suspend the impeachment inquiry—to which Pelosi responded, “I received your letter this morning shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections.”
At the root of the impeachment inquiry is a conspiracy theory that has been the subject of Trump's obsession: the "insurance policy" (NBC News), "a fanciful and unsubstantiated narrative in which the DNC framed Russia for election interference." Trump's belief in the conspiracy, which led him to press Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election, has been cheered on by Russian state media: How a Fringe Theory About Ukraine Took Root in the White House (NYT). In the meantime, the House Judiciary Committee Requests Grand Jury Materials Related to Mueller Investigation (Lawfare), and in its brief, the Committee asserts that the information might be relevant to the House’s investigation of “the President’s solicitation of Ukrainian interference in the 2020 election.”
Now, with Trump's Impeachment Polling Historically Unprecedented (CNN)—“Americans are more eager to impeach Trump now than they were at similar points in the impeachment sagas of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.”—Trump’s Impeachment Defiance Spooks Key Voting Blocs (Politico) "“I really don’t like where we are right now,” said one prominent Republican pollster."
For ongoing impeachment hearing developments, The Washington Post has an annotated calendar that will be updated: “What’s next in the Trump impeachment inquiry, and will Trump cooperate with it?”, as well as ongoing reporting and analysis.
Previously and previouslier
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