The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Updated 10:20 p.m. ET, October 17, 2019
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1:17 p.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Mulvaney was asked if Giuliani's role is "problematic." He said that's up to Trump.

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said it is President Trump's decision whether he keeps Rudy Giuliani as his personal lawyer.

"In light of the depositions that we've heard, do you believe that Rudy Giuliani's role as an outside adviser to the President is problematic?" a reporter asked at a news briefing.

"That's the President's call," Mulvaney said.

Some context: US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland today testified that he was directed by Trump to work with Giuliani on Ukraine and was left with a choice: abandon efforts to bolster a key strategic alliance or work to satisfy the demands of the President's personal lawyer.

Mulvaney said Giuliani's involvement is not illegal.

"You may not like the fact that Giuliani was involved. That's great, that's fine. It's not illegal, it's not impeachable, the President gets to use who he wants to use," he said.

1:29 p.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Mulvaney says Trump withheld money to Ukraine due to "corruption related to the DNC server"

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, speaking to reporters today, said part of the reason why President Trump withheld money to Ukraine was "the corruption related to the DNC server."

"The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate," he said.

Mulvaney said the Trump administration does "that all the time with foreign policy."

He said Trump also dislikes sending money overseas.

"President Trump is not a big fan of foreign aid. Never has been, still isn't. He doesn't like spending money overseas, especially when it's poorly spent. And that is exactly what drove this decision," Mulvaney said.

12:26 p.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Trump supporters hold anti-impeachment rally at US Capitol

Supporters of President Trump hold a "Stop Impeachment" rally in front of the US Capitol on Oct. 17, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Supporters of President Trump hold a "Stop Impeachment" rally in front of the US Capitol on Oct. 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's supporters are holding an anti-impeachment rally today in front of the US Capitol.

Republican congressmen are expected to join the grassroots effort led by Trump supporters.

Here's who is expected to attend:

  • House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana
  • Rep. John Rutherford, a Republican from Florida
  • Amy Kremer, chair of Women for America First
  • Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union
  • Jack Posobiec, a notorious pro-Trump internet personality from One America News Network
  • Will Chamberlain, publisher of Human Events
  • Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy Seal
11:49 a.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Acting White House chief of staff will hold a briefing soon

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will brief reporters today at 12:30 p.m. ET.

11:37 a.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Pelosi to Trump: "We're giving you opportunity to show that you have nothing to hide"

Saul L
Saul L

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi addressed the court battle between the House and Trump to obtain records for their impeachment inquiry, suggesting that if the President has "nothing to hide" he should cooperate.

"I said this to [Trump] on the phone the other day we made our announcement about proceeding with the inquiry that we've asked for your taxes. If you have nothing to hide, show us your taxes," Pelosi said.

In reference to Trump's stonewalling, she added, "If you have nothing to hide, we're giving you opportunity to show that you have nothing to hide."

More context here: Last week, Trump lost his appeal to stop a House subpoena of his tax documents from his longtime accountant Mazars USA. In a 2-1 ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court ruling saying the firm must turn over eight years of accounting records.  

11:27 a.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Nancy Pelosi reveals what she was telling Trump in that photo

White House Photo
White House Photo

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelsoi was just asked about the White House photo that shows her standing and pointing a finger at the President during a meeting.

Trump tweeted the photo after the contentious White House meeting with the caption "Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown!" Pelosi later made the picture her Twitter cover photo.

"I think I was excusing myself from the room," Pelosi said when asked about the image.

She said most of the meeting centered on Trump's actions in Syria — which the House voted to disapprove — and the idea that "all roads lead to Putin" when it comes to President Trump.

"At that moment I was probably saying all roads lead to Putin," she said.
11:22 a.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Pelosi on how long the impeachment will take: "The timeline will depend on the truth line"

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about the timeline of the impeachment inquiry and if the process might bleed into the 2020 election.

"The timeline will depend on the truth line, and that's what we're looking for," Pelosi said.

She said she feels that entering into the inquiry is "about the truth and the constitution of the United States" and honoring the oath of office that her and her colleagues have taken.

"The voters aren't going to decide whether we honor our oath of office," Pelosi added.

In response to remarks by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that an impeachment trial in the Senate could wrap up by the end of the year, Pelosi said, "I have no idea."

11:15 a.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Pelosi: "None of us came to Congress to impeach a president"

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she's "very proud" of the work House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff has done on the impeachment inquiry, saying Congress is approaching the probe "very solemnly."

"This is so solemn. None of us came to Congress to impeach a president," she said. "That's not what we come here to do and any such actions are to be taken very solemnly, seriously and in my view prayerfully. 

She added that the inquiry is about "patriotism for our country" — not politics.

'We do have to honor our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, our democracy and our republic, as Benjamin Franklin said."
11:04 a.m. ET, October 17, 2019

Here's a list of documents relevant to Sondland that the committee WON'T see today

 From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

There are documents relevant to Gordon Sondland's testimony today, but the committee will not see them because the State Department is not handing them over.

Sondland's legal team has publicly urged the State Department to turn over documents requested by the committee and maintained he cannot turn them over himself without the Department's permission.

This is the list of documents, according to a source familiar:

  • Emails with Fiona Hill showing he was keeping her up to date on his activities in Ukraine
  • Other regular communication between Sondland and the National Security Council
  • Emails and briefing materials assigning him to Ukraine issues at the start of his ambassadorship
  • Volker writing to introduce Giuliani and Sondland
  • July 2019 email between Volker, Taylor and Sondland agreeing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should stay out of 2020 US campaign 

It's unclear how much more paper trail there is on Sondland, outside of what Volker already revealed.