The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said today during an appearance on CNN that he now believes that President Trump deserves to be impeached.
Kasich, a Republican, said that what he's learned about the withholding of military aid to Ukraine — which he called "totally inappropriate" and "an abuse of power" — does "rise to the level of impeachment."
"I now believe it does and I say it with great sadness. This is not something...I really wanted to do," Kasich said.
Watch the moment:
In case you're just tuning in, here are the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump:
- Subpoena deadlines: Today is the deadline for Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the White House to produce subpoenaed documents to the Hill.
- Mick Mulvaney's comments: President Trump was asked to clarify his acting chief of staff's remarks in the briefing room yesterday. Trump responded: “I think he clarified it.” Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Mulvaney’s comments a “confession” — and said it’s an example of the administration trying to make “lawlessness normal and even make lawlessness a virtue.”
- Testimony on Hunter Biden: Career diplomat George Kent told congressional investigators earlier this week he had voiced concerns in early 2015 about Hunter Biden working for a Ukrainian natural gas company, the Washington Post reported Friday.
- Republicans blast inquiry: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said he expects a vote to censure Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff will “come up Monday.” Republican Rep. Jim Jordan slammed the House impeachment probe as "partisan" and "unfair," saying Schiff is "the new special counsel."
- GOP lawmaker on impeachment: Rep. Francis Rooney, a Republican from Florida, would not rule out the prospects of supporting impeaching the President. He called Mulvaney's acknowledgment about withholding Ukraine aid "troubling," saying it is "not a good thing" to do that in connection "with threatening foreign leaders."
- Perry is resigning: The Energy Secretary yesterday said his resignation "has nothing to do with Ukraine" and he's "looking to get back to Texas." He said he's leaving his post later this year.
A March 2014 photograph showing Donald Trump with a recently indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani appears to have been taken at a fashion show hosted by Ivanka Trump at the Trump National Doral in Florida, a CNN KFile review reveals.
CNN's KFile identified that the photo with Trump and Lev Parnas was apparently taken at a fashion show at the Cadillac Championship, an annual professional golf tournament. Donald Trump spoke at the event, according to photos and a video posted on YouTube.
Some background: Parnas, along with his associate Igor Fruman, were arrested last week trying to leave the country and indicted on criminal charges for allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections. The two men are associates of Giuliani, an attorney for the President, and are connected to efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The photo of Trump and Parnas smiling side-by-side was posted on Facebook on March 8, 2014, by user Shawn Jaros, who indicated in subsequent posts that he was a business associate of Parnas. Jaros declined to comment on the photo, as did John Dowd, a lawyer for Parnas.
Parnas' attendance at a Trump event in 2014 raises questions about whether he had any existing relationship with the President. Trump said last week he didn't know Parnas or Fruman.
"I don't know those gentlemen. Now it's possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody, I have a picture with everybody here," Trump said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become increasingly frustrated in recent weeks by the departure of top State Department officials and claims that he failed to defend the former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, from a smear campaign against her, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Some context: As part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Yovanovitch testified to Congress this week that she was unfairly removed based on false claims pushed by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
One of the sources told CNN that Pompeo was alerted to internal and external concerns about Giuliani's effort to push out Yovanovitch, but Pompeo failed to act — he was wary of getting too deeply involved over fears of derailing US-Ukraine policy and potentially sharing the fate of his former colleague John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser who was fired for not being aligned with the President.
President Trump was asked to clarify acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s comments in the briefing room yesterday. Trump responded: “I think he clarified it.”
Trump then dodged the question from CNN's Jim Acosta, not discussing the briefing and instead saying he had a “tremendous day in Texas," where he held a rally last night.
Here's what Mulvaney said: He made a stunning admission yesterday, confirming that Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. Hours later, he denied that he admitted to the quid pro quo in a statement.
After recapping his trip, Trump stuck to his typical lines on the impeachment inquiry, calling it a “witch hunt” and saying that “Crooked Schiff is coming after the Republican party," referencing House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff.
Trump added that Career diplomat George Kent — who was brought in as a witness against him — ended up “excoriating” Joe and Hunter Biden.
Some background: Kent told congressional investigators earlier this week he had voiced concerns in early 2015 about Hunter Biden working for a Ukrainian natural gas company, the Washington Post reported Friday.
Citing three people familiar with the testimony, the newspaper reported that Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, recounted concerns during his testimony Tuesday that Hunter Biden's work could undercut American efforts to convey to Ukraine the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest.
There's no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
As they left Capitol Hill for the weekend, Democrats reacted to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's attempt to walk back his remarks on the withheld Ukrainian aide.
Mulvaney told reporters on Thursday that the Trump administration "held up the money" for Ukraine because the President wanted to investigate "corruption" in Ukraine related to a conspiracy theory involving the whereabouts of the Democratic National Committee's computer server hacked by Russians during the last presidential campaign.
Today, Congressman Mike Quigley, a Democrat on the House Intel committee, weighed in on Mulvaney.
"You always take what the person said first to be the most realistic," Quigley said. "Under the heat of action, he said the truth, which should be awfully painful to the White House but is obvious."
Congressman Dan Kildee, a Democrat on the House Ways and Means committee, slammed the administration, describing it as "off the rails." He said that Mulvaney had a "moment of truth" before realizing it was bad for the President and walked it back.
"It's pretty obvious what's going on here," he said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking member of the House Oversight committee, said this morning that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney "clarified" his remarks as he continued to staunchly defend President Trump.
Here's what Mulvaney said: He made a stunning admission yesterday, confirming that Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.
After weeks during which Trump denied the existence of any political quid pro quo in his withholding of security aid to Ukraine, Mulvaney confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo and offered this retort: "Get over it." Hours later, he denied that he admitted to the quid pro quo in a statement.
Today, Jordan slammed the House impeachment probe as "partisan" and "unfair," even taking a jab at Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, saying:
"These closed doors in the basement in the bunker depositions, this is the equivalent of the special counsel. So Adam Schiff has equated himself… he’s the new special counsel? You try running that argument by the American people."
Asked to respond to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s quid pro quo admission on Thursday, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy argued that Mulvaney has cleaned up the statement to say there was not a quid pro quo. He also said that he does not believe Mulvaney should step down.
“I think Mick was very clear in cleaning up his statement that there was no quid pro quo,” McCarthy said.
He also said, “I watched in all those transcripts of what people have been saying inside the investigation, [former US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt] Volker and others, there was no quid pro quo.”
Asked if Mulvaney should step down, McCarthy replied, “No.”
McCarthy went on to defend President Trump over Ukraine, saying, “We know more than the whistleblower knew. We have the transcripts of the phone call. The American public have seen it and no one believes there is any quid pro quo and there’s nothing impeachable in that.”
Asked if Rudy Giuliani’s role in foreign policy was appropriate, McCarthy deflected, saying, “I think every American wants to get to the bottom. Why did we put America through that two-year nightmare. No president in a future election should have to go through what we just went through in this country …. Where did it start and why did it happen?”
McCarthy criticized House Democrats over the House impeachment inquiry, accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “misrepresenting along every step of the way.” McCarthy said there has been a “blatant abuse of power,” saying, “I heard the speaker now suggest this is an investigation phase, not actually an impeachment inquiry that she stated three weeks ago. In fact, she compares the House process now to that of a special counsel, but Adam Schiff is not a prosecutor and he’s not from the executive branch. He’s a member of Congress and that is a blatant abuse of power.”
McCarthy said he expects a vote to censure Schiff will “come up Monday.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s comments yesterday a “confession” — and said it’s an example of the administration trying to make “lawlessness normal and even make lawlessness a virtue.”
Pelsoi, speaking to CNN today, added that she feels Mulvaney's comment shows "a cavalier attitude of 'get over it.'"
More context here: Mulvaney made a stunning admission Thursday by confirming that President Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.
After weeks during which Trump denied the existence of any political quid pro quo in his withholding of security aid to Ukraine, Mulvaney confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo and offered this retort: "Get over it."
Hours later, he denied that he admitted to the quid pro quo in a statement.