The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold off on calling a full House vote for now to authorize a formal impeachment inquiry, a congressional aide confirms to CNN.
Note: She is not ruling it out, this source cautioned — leaving her with the option to do so in the future — but is not moving on it right now.
She delivered this message to her caucus in their ongoing closed door meeting this evening.
Earlier today: Multiple sources told CNN that there were disagreements among Pelosi’s team during the closed door meeting and among key committee chairs about whether to hold an impeachment inquiry vote — one reason why there will not be a vote as of now, multiple sources told CNN.
At a larger meeting of the caucus, House Intel Chair Rep. Adam Schiff said the committee has been working quickly but thoroughly and did not specify an exact time frame. He explained why they have had these in closed sessions but said there could be open sessions and may bring witnesses back.
Behind closed doors at a leadership meeting tonight, there were disagreements among House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s team and among key committee chairs about whether to hold an impeachment inquiry vote — one reason why it seems unlikely there will be a vote as of now, multiple sources told CNN.
At a larger meeting of the caucus, House Intel Chair Adam Schiff said the committee has been working quickly, but thoroughly, and did not specify an exact timeframe.
Schiff explained why they have had these in closed sessions but said there could be open sessions and may bring back witnesses.
State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent told lawmakers that he was told by a supervisor to lay low after he raised complaints about Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine undermining US foreign policy, according to Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior member of the House Oversight Committee.
According to Connolly, Kent said Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine going around the State Department “undermined 28 years of US efforts to try to promote the rule of law in Ukraine.”
Kent testified that at a May meeting at the White House organized by acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, officials were told that three people would be in charge of Ukraine policy: Kurt Volker, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Kent told lawmakers that he was responsible for six countries, including Ukraine. After he was warned to lay low, he said he took time off to attend his daughter’s wedding and go hiking in Maine, according to Connolly. When he returned he said he focused on the other countries.
Leaving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and other Democrats say they there has been no decision on holding an impeachment inquiry vote.
Hoyer also said he didn’t believe a vote is necessary.
Pelosi is expected to hold a news conference shortly.
In a letter from his counsel, Vice President Pence announced he won't comply with a request from Democrats to turn over documents related to his role in the Ukraine scandal.
This was widely expected, but is now official.
Matthew Morgan, the counsel to the vice president, said in this letter that some of what was asked for in the request are "clearly not vice-presidential records."
"As detailed in the White House Counsel Letter, the House of Representatives has not authorized any 'impeachment inquiry,'" Morgan wrote.
CNN Political Director David Chalian talks about tonight's CNN debate in Ohio in the latest episode of "The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch" podcast.
Chalian also looks at:
- Hunter Biden's interview with ABC News. The son of former Vice President Joe Biden said he used "poor judgment" in serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company because it has become a political liability for his father.
- President Trump's defiance on impeachment. Is it going to cost him with moderates?
Chalian is joined by CNN White House Correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN Political Commentator Maria Cardona.
As of this afternoon, Gordon Sondland is still expecting to show up Thursday and speak to impeachment investigators, according to a person familiar with the EU ambassador’s preparations.
Sondland's legal team has publicly pointed to the State Department regarding any document requests — saying State would be the entity to turn any discussions of official business over to the Hill.
Sondland hasn't heard from the White House or State Department with requests to block all or parts of his testimony Thursday, the person said. Last week, the State Department stopped Sondland from speaking to Hill investigators, prompting them to subpoena him.
Sondland, the source said, is pushing back on the idea that the White House's national security advisers expressed alarm about a possible quid pro quo with Ukraine — saying that Fiona Hill and John Bolton never made it known to Sondland that they were concerned.
Emails between Sondland and Fiona Hill, Trump's former Russia specialist, were "cordial" and "collegial," with the ambassador keeping her updated on his activities in Ukraine, the person said.
It was another busy day at the Capitol with the impeachment inquiry.
Let us catch you up on what you need to know.
- Another witness is testifying: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent testified behind closed-doors to the House committees running the impeachment inquiry. 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. Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in May, testified to the House Committees on Friday. Earlier this year, Kent held several meetings with high-ranking officials in Ukraine.
- Others are not complying with subpoenas: 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. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani also said he doesn't plan to comply with a subpoena issued to him for Ukraine documents. Today is also the deadline for Vice President Mike Pence to turn over documents related to Ukraine to the impeachment committees.
- Giuliani parts ways with his attorney: Giuliani said today that he is no longer working with his personal attorney Jon Sale who was representing him in the impeachment inquiry. 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.
- Pelosi to discuss House impeachment vote tonight: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked during a press conference this afternoon if she will hold a full House floor vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry, as Republicans have called on her to do. “I’ll be talking about that later today after I meet with my colleagues,” Pelosi said. House Democratic members will have a caucus meeting to discuss the impeachment inquiry at 6 p.m. ET today.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked during a press conference this afternoon if she will hold a full House floor vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry, as Republicans have called on her to do.
“I’ll be talking about that later today after I meet with my colleagues,” Pelosi said.
House Democratic members will have a caucus meeting to discuss the impeachment inquiry at 6 p.m. ET today.