The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

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4:26 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Rep. Jim Jordan denies Republicans are seeking to out the whistleblower

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Rep. Jim Jordan, a ranking Republican on the House Oversight committee, attacked Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for objecting to a GOP line of questioning and preventing Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from answering questions during today's deposition.

Jordan said they were not seeking to "out" the whistleblower, but wanted to know who Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, was speaking with.

"We are just trying to get information that we are entitled to get and the witness is supposed to answer our questions," the Ohio Republican said.

Asked if he wants to know the identity of the whistleblower, Jordan said, “the American public” wants to know.

 

4:27 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Pelosi: "Outing the whistleblower is an unpatriotic action"

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Asked about claims that Republican lawmakers are trying to out the anonymous whistleblower, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "they shouldn’t even go near that."

“Outing the whistleblower is an unpatriotic action. They shouldn’t even go near that,” she said.

What we know: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff objected to a line of questioning from Republicans, which Democrats contended was an effort to out the whistleblower during today's closed deposition with White House official Alexander Vindman, according to five sources from both parties.

Republicans pushed back, arguing they were simply asking questions about who Vindman might have spoken with — and it was not an effort to out the whistleblower.

2:06 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

3 more witnesses are scheduled to testify tomorrow

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, is on Capitol Hill today, testifying before the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

It'll be another busy day tomorrow, when three more witnesses are scheduled to testify. They are...

  • Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security
  • Catherine Croft, a State Department official who worked for Ukraine diplomat Kurt Volker
  • Christopher Anderson, another State Department official who worked for Volker

On Thursday, the House is expecting to hear from Timothy Morrison, a top Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council.

Morrison's testimony is viewed as key: He was on the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky. Top US diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor — who gave explosive testimony directly tying Trump to a quid pro quo — mentioned Morrison 15 times during his opening statement to the committees.

2:01 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

GOP senators defend White House Ukraine expert against attacks about his patriotism

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a member of the National Security Council, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 29.
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a member of the National Security Council, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 29. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Two Republican senators are speaking out to defend Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, against attacks about his patriotism by fellow lawmakers.

Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, faced criticism today when he appeared today for his deposition before lawmakers conducting the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Sen. Mitt Romney called the attacks "very unfortunate."

“I think that is misplaced, very unfortunate. This man is a decorated American serviceman and I have full confidence in him as an individual and his patriotism," the Utah Republican said.

Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said "it would be mistake to attack" Vindman's patriotism.

“I don’t at all question his patriotism. I respect his service. He’s a Purple Heart and I think it would be mistake to attack his patriotism," the senator said.

Vindman served multiple overseas tours as a US infantry officer, including a deployment to Iraq where he received the Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED attack. He has served in Trump's National Security Council since 2018.

About the criticism: Speaking about Vindman, former GOP Rep. Sean Duffy said: "It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense."

Trump also joined in the criticism of Vindman, claiming without evidence on Twitter that the White House's top Ukraine expert is a "Never Trumper."

1:36 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Rep. Jerry Nadler visits secured room ahead of this week's impeachment resolution vote

 Alex Wong/Getty Images
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, entered the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, today.

The SCIF is a secured place where sensitive information can be viewed and discussed without the risk of spying. It can be any size or any place, including a closet or an entire building.

Nadler declined to comment what he was doing at the SCIF but he was with his top aides who are working on the impeachment inquiry.

The impeachment resolution to be voted on this week will formalize a process that will allow his committee to review the evidence gathered in probe.

1:56 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Democratic congresswoman says Republicans spent "most of their hour" trying to get the name of the whistleblower

 Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images
 Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat on the House Oversight committee, spoke to reporters about her perception of Republicans in today's hearing with the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

“What the Republicans are trying to do in there, very clearly in their questioning, is try to front-door or backdoor Lt. Col. Vindman into revealing who the whistleblower is, even though in his testimony, he said he didn’t know," she said. 

Wasserman Schultz said that is how Republicans spent “most of their hour”

“They are trying to through the back door and through process of elimination by their questions, they are attempting to get him to reveal that, and they have been unsuccessful.”
12:50 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to out whistleblower during today's deposition

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff objected to a line of questioning from Republicans, which Democrats contended was an effort to out the whistleblower during today's closed deposition, according to five sources from both parties.

The moment happened at today's hearing with White House official Alexander Vindman.

Republicans pushed back, arguing they were simply asking questions about who Vindman might have spoken with — and it was not an effort to out the whistleblower.

The back-and-forth led to a heated exchange between Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell and GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, according to multiple sources. Other members joined in.

12:34 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

House Judiciary argues "urgent" need for Mueller grand jury documents 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee argued to a federal judge today that it has an "urgent" need for access to grand jury secrets from the Mueller probe.

The Trump administration had appealed a decision giving the House access to the details by Thursday, and is asking the courts to step in to pause the handover of grand jury transcripts, exhibits and currently redacted details in the Mueller report.

"The public interest demands a swift but thorough impeachment investigation," the House wrote in its filing. "Delay in this case would not only hinder the House’s ability to consider impeachment quickly, but also enhance DOJ’s ability to run out the clock on the Committee’s impeachment inquiry altogether. "

The House argued it wants to see the details both for its Ukraine impeachment investigation and in examining whether the President attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation, which Mueller thoroughly investigated.

12:44 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Pence's plan to release transcripts of his own calls with Ukraine president on hold

Despite saying last month that he was preparing to release transcripts of his calls with the president of the Ukraine, Vice President Mike Pence's office still has not done so — and there are now questions being raised about whether he ever will.

Officials debated waiting before releasing them for dramatic effect, but they have since put plans to do so on hold. An administration official said that’s because it’s still being reviewed by White House lawyers, though it only took a matter of days for the White House to review and release a transcript of President Trump’s call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.

There had been questions internally about what the point of releasing the transcripts were, given the reaction to the President's own. Officials have downplayed what's in Pence's transcripts.