The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not plan on turning over the documents that impeachment committees subpoenaed.
The deadline for the documents was today.
When asked about this today, an OMB spokesperson pointed to the letter earlier this month from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and said that letter speaks for OMB as well. The White House letter slammed the impeachment investigation as "constitutionally illegitimate" and made clear the administration does not plan to cooperate.
At this point it does not appear that OMB has sent any official notice to the impeachment committees and it is unclear if it plans to do so.
Rudy Giuliani's attorney has sent a letter to Congress informing them that he will not be providing documents to the impeachment inquiry, attorney Jon Sale told CNN today.
Giuliani is also now parting ways with Sale who has represented him in matters related to the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani told CNN that Sale will stop representing the former New York City mayor shortly.
Sale had been working for Giuliani after the House of Representatives subpoenaed Giuliani for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
"Jon was helping me with assessing (the) congressional request. He will submit his letter and he will be finished with what I asked him to do," Giuliani said.
People close to Giuliani are advising him to hire a criminal lawyer as questions linger about his connections to two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman, who were indicted last week for campaign finance violations.
Giuliani, who is President Trump's personal attorney, has been resisting that advice, according to those people.
Giuliani did not directly answer whether he was looking to hire a new attorney for himself.
US District Judge Paul Oetken ordered two of Rudy Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and two other men — Andrey Kukushkin and David Correia — to appear for an arraignment and initial conference on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Manhattan federal court.
The four men were indicted Oct. 10 on two counts of conspiracy, one count of false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one count of falsification of records.
The four are alleged in the indictment unsealed by New York federal prosecutors to have conducted a scheme beginning in March 2018 to evade campaign finance laws.
More on Giuliani's associates: Parnas and Fruman are connected to efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. They were arrested trying to leave the country and indicted on criminal charges for allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections.
The charges against the men suggest Giuliani's push on Ukraine and President Donald Trump's receptiveness to it had ties to an illegal effort to influence US politics and policy using foreign funds.
Parnas and Fruman were detained at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Wednesday evening. They were booked on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, to connect to another flight, according to a law enforcement source. Giuliani had lunch with Fruman and Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington hours before the two were arrested, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Even as House Republicans mount a vigorous defense of President Trump amid the impeachment inquiry, some are growing uneasy about the role that Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal lawyer, played in carrying out US policy with Ukraine.
Several Republicans who sit on the key committees say more needs to be learned about Giuliani’s role, while also revealing new concerns about the continuing revelations that are emerging.
“I worry a lot about non-professionals pursuing diplomacy in the name of” American diplomacy, said Rep. Francis Rooney, a Florida Republican and former US ambassador under George W. Bush when asked about Giuliani. He noted “more things keep coming up in the investigation” and the investigation should look at who “who else was involved.”
“They called Watergate a witch-hunt,” Rooney noted.
The effort by Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainians to probe the Bidens and his effort to smear the then-US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch has become a source of concern for some Republicans. This source of concern grew after the revealing testimony from a former top Trump Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, who sources say testified that then-National Security Adviser John Bolton referred to Giuliani as a “hand grenade” who was going to “blow everyone up.”
President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is parting ways with the lawyer representing him so far in matters related to the impeachment inquiry.
Giuliani confirmed to CNN today that his current attorney, Jon Sale, is ending his representation of the former New York City mayor shortly.
Sale had been working for Giuliani after the House of Representatives subpoenaed Giuliani for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry. The deadline for his response to the congressional subpoena is today.
“Jon was helping me with assessing [the] congressional request. He will submit his letter and he will be finished with what I asked him to do,” Giuliani said.
Sale did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
People close to Giuliani are advising him to hire a criminal lawyer as questions linger about his connections to two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman, who were indicted last week for campaign-finance violations. Giuliani has been resisting that advice, according to those people.
Giuliani did not directly answer whether he was looking to hire a new attorney for himself.
“If they take me to court I would then have to get another lawyer,” he told CNN.
Taking on a criminal attorney would likely cost Giuliani something close to $1 million, according to people in New York legal circles. That could be difficult for Giuliani, who admitted earlier this year that he had to take a $100,000 loan from another of Trump’s lawyers Marc Mukasey as a result of his ongoing divorce proceedings, according to a report from Bloomberg.
A pair of Democratic Representatives claim George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, backed up the testimony of Fiona Hill during his appearance on Capitol Hill today.
These comments were made to CNN's Manu Raju by Rep. Dean Phillips, of Minnesota, and Rep.Tom Malinowski, of New Jersey.
“Every witness has provided further backup for the initial story that was provided by the whistleblower,” Malinowski added.
Phillips and Malinowski declined to comment on the specifics of Kent's testimony.
More on Hill's testimony yesterday: Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani's role in US foreign policy toward Ukraine, telling lawmakers on Monday that she saw "wrongdoing" in the American foreign policy and tried to report it to officials including the National Security Council's attorney, according to multiple sources.
"She saw wrongdoing related to the Ukraine policy and reported it," one source said.
The same source told CNN that Hill testified that former national security adviser John Bolton referred to Giuliani — Trump's personal attorney — as a "hand grenade" who was "going to blow everybody up," as first reported by The New York Times.
Hill additionally told lawmakers about what she described as a rogue operation carried out by US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, which Bolton characterized as being like a "drug deal," that source said.
CNN’s Lauren Fox asked Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was involved in President Clinton's impeachment, if he still believes that not complying with subpoenas is an impeachable offense.
"Nothing has changed," Graham said.
More on Graham: In the wake of the latest Trump controversy — charges from a whistleblower that the President tried to strong-arm the new Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, something that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-led House — Graham has gone on the offensive.
Graham has repeatedly defended Trump's actions and turned the blame to Biden for his dealings with Ukraine when he was vice president in the last administration and his son had business dealings there. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
CNN's Ted Barrett and Clare Foran contributed to this report.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent is testifying at a private deposition today with House lawmakers for the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry.
Earlier this year, Kent held several meetings with high-ranking officials in Ukraine.
Here’s a breakdown of those meetings:
- May 8: Kent met Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. The US Embassy in Kiev said in a Facebook post that Kent “congratulated President-elect Zelenskyy on his victory and emphasized that the United States stands ready to continue partnering with Ukraine to advance political and economic reforms.”
- May 8: Kent met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Kimkin. The US Embassy in Kiev said in a Facebook post that Kent “reiterated strong US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and emphasized US condemnation of Russia’s destabilizing move to provide passports to Ukrainian citizens.”
- Sept. 12: Kent was in Kiev and met with Ukraine’s new Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka at the US embassy in Kiev. Zelensky appointed Ryaboshapka to be Ukraine’s top prosecutor shortly after taking office. The US embassy in Kiev said Kent “heard about (Ryaboshapka’s) work on judicial sector reforms to support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic future.”
House Democrats continue to move forward with their investigation inquiry into President Trump today as Congress returned from a two-week recess.
If you're just tuning in, here's the latest on the inquiry:
Another witness is testifying:
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent arrived at the Capitol this morning for his behind closed-doors deposition in the impeachment inquiry.
His testimony is in front of the House Intel/Foreign Affairs/Oversight committees. Kent, who has been in the foreign service since 1992, currently oversees policy for a number of eastern European nations, including Ukraine. Before that, he was the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Kiev.
Kent was among the career officials who sought to shield former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch from the campaign of false allegations against her in March 2019, according to internal emails turned over to Congress by State Department Inspector General Steve Linick in early October. Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in May, testified to the House Committees on Friday.
Those emails show Kent, along with Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Reeker, working to provide department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl and Undersecretary for Political Affairs David Hale with facts to counter the conspiratorial narratives being pushed about the career diplomat.
Hunter Biden speaks out:
In an interview with ABC News, excerpts of which aired on Good Morning America today, Hunter Biden said he did “not necessarily” think he was a distraction to his father, Joe Biden’s, presidential campaign. Biden also denied taking $1.5 billion “payoff” from China.
Biden announced that he will resign at the end of the month from his board role in the management company of a private equity fund backed by Chinese state-owned entities, according to a statement released Sunday by his attorney.
President Trump tweeted this morning that Hunter Biden “was really bad on @GMA” adding that “Now Sleepy Joe has real problems!”
Trump compared the situation surrounding Hunter Biden to “Crooked Hillary and her 33,000 deleted Emails.”
The interview was the first time Hunter Biden had responded to questions about his foreign business ties, which President Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and his Republican allies used to characterize the former vice president's family as corrupt. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
Trump has pushed an unproven accusation that then-Vice President Biden improperly tried to help his son by pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire the country's prosecutor general. Hunter Biden served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company at the time.