The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

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3:18 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Jared Kushner calls impeachment inquiry "silly games"

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner slammed Democrats' moves toward impeachment as "silly games" and insisted that President Trump "hasn't done anything wrong" in an interview with Israel's Channel 13.

Kushner also argued that "the American people are sick and tired" of the continuous stream of investigations.

"They've been trying to impeach the President for the last three years or get him out of office and they have been unsuccessful at that. The best thing going for the President is that he hasn't done anything wrong," Kushner said.

He said Democrats have "investigated him over and over and over again and I think the American people are sick and tired of it."

Kushner, who was in Israel to meet with government officials including Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, said Trump's "record of accomplishments is unimpeachable."

"He's going to continue to do things the American people care about," he said.

Kushner has not talked extensively about the impeachment matter. His wife, Ivanka Trump, told Fox News earlier this month the President would prioritize his governing agenda while the impeachment process proceeds.

Kushner struck a similar note in the interview in Israel.

"If in Congress, if they want to be part of the work we're doing to try to make the country stronger and the country more prosperous, we welcome them to join us," he said. "If they want to play silly games, we'll obviously deal with that in an appropriate manner. But we're not going to let that distract us as an administration."

3:30 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

Here's the text of the House impeachment resolution 

The House Rules Committee has released the resolution that the House will vote on Thursday to formalize the impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

The text of the resolution lays out how the House Intelligence Committee will conduct public hearings and how the Judiciary Committee " shall report to the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations as it deems proper."

For the public hearings, the resolution includes language allowing the chairman and ranking member of the Intelligence Committee to question witnesses for up to 90 minutes, and it also allows them to give that time to committee aides to conduct questioning. 

The resolution also states that the minority may request witnesses to be called and issue subpoenas — but those subpoenas can only be issued " with the concurrence of the chair," meaning that Democrats would have to sign off on any Republican-led subpoenas. 

The resolution says that the House Intelligence Committee will write a report " setting forth its findings and any recommendations" and that the report will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee and be made public.

2:53 p.m. ET, October 29, 2019

McConnell: "I’m not going to question the patriotism of any of the people coming forward"

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was just asked to comment on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony and if it concerns him.

McConnell said, “I’m not going to question the patriotism of any of the people coming forward.” 

The Kentucky Republican repeatedly declined to answer questions about what he makes of Vindman’s allegations and said, “I’m not going to comment on the merits of what’s going forward.”

Some background: Today, Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, is testifying. He plans to tell House impeachment investigators that he was so troubled by President Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's president that he reported his concerns to a superior, according to a copy of his statement obtained by CNN.

Some Republicans have criticized Vindman, who earned a Purple Heart for his military service in Iraq. 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 this morning that he is a "Never Trumper."

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.”