The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
Rep. Francis Rooney, a Republican from Florida, announced today that he will not run for re-election. Asked by Leland Vittert on Fox News if he needed or wanted to pursue a third term in office, Rooney said, “I don’t really think I do and I don’t really think I want one.”
Rooney is serving in his second term.
Rooney added that he was tired of “intense partisanship” in Congress. Rooney has represented Florida’s 19th district since 2017 and won his last election by over 20 points.
Some context: Rooney made headlines on Friday when he first told CNN’s Poppy Harlow and then other reporters he would not rule out supporting impeachment.
The decision came after acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission that there was a quid pro quo involving US aid to Ukraine in exchange for support of an investigation into an unfounded theory that Kiev had been involved in the 2016 US election interference. Mulvaney later said in a statement there had not been a quid pro quo.
Days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefed his members on the mechanics of an impeachment trial, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is taking a small group of House and Senate Republicans to Camp David, a White House official told CNN.
The official would not say what topics are expected to be discussed, but possible impeachment as well as the President's much criticized move to pull out US troops from Syria are likely to be among them.
More on Mulvaney: On Thursday, Mulvaney made a stunning admission by confirming that President Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.
Mulvaney made a stunning admission Thursday by confirming that President Donald Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.
Hours later, Mulvaney then denied ever saying those words.
The dramatic admission came during an afternoon news conference where Mulvaney insisted that he knew only of a US request to investigate the handling of a Democratic National Committee server hacked in the 2016 election, but text messages between US diplomats show efforts to get Ukraine to commit to an investigation into Burisma, the company on whose board former Vice President Joe Biden's son sat. There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by either Biden.
"That's why we held up the money," Mulvaney said after listing the 2016-related investigation and Trump's broader concerns about corruption in Ukraine.
As of Saturday, here is a list of who is expected to be deposed in the impeachment inquiry next week. This is subject to change.
- Tuesday: Top US diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor is scheduled to testify, according to a GOP source
- Wednesday: Philip Reeker, the Acting Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, and Michael Duffey, OMB Associate Director for National Security Programs, are expected to testify
- Thursday: Alexander Vindman, the director of European affairs with the National Security Council, and Alexander Vindman, director of European affairs, NSC, are expected to testify
- Next Friday: Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer stationed in Kiev, and Timothy Morrison, a top Russia adviser at the National Security Council, are expected to testify
Here are the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump:
- Mick Mulvaney's comments: He 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. On Friday, President Trump was asked to clarify his acting chief of staff's remarks in the briefing room. 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."
- Rick 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.