Impeachment inquiry testimony transcripts released

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:32 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019
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1:18 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Lindsey Graham says it's "very responsible" for Rand Paul to call for naming whistleblower

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

SLindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to the media
SLindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to the media Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sen. Rand Paul calling on the media to “do your job” and name the whistleblower was “very responsible” because the statute was never meant to provide for anonymity and that the entire impeachment process was “generated based on an anonymous source.”

Graham said:

“The whistleblower statute was never meant to give you anonymity. It was meant to allow you to come forward without being fired. You can't use anonymity in a criminal process; you can't use anonymity in a civil process and you shouldn't be able to. This is a misuse of the statute. We need to know who this person is because without the complaint, there would be no impeachment inquiry.”

Asked if Paul's comments at a Trump rally yesterday calling on the media to name the whistleblower were responsible, Graham said, "Yeah, I think it's very responsible, I think it's irresponsible to allow an impeachment process to be generated based on an anonymous source."

12:58 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019

GOP congressman says it would be "helpful" to know whistleblower's identity

From CNN's Manu Raju

GOP Rep. Mark Meadows said knowing the whistleblower’s identity would be “helpful” to understand his or her motivations and to ensure a “fair process."

He's the latest Republican to suggest identifying the whistleblower.

Last night, Sen. Rand Paul demanded members of the media print the identity of the anonymous whistleblower at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

12:54 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Impeachment investigators want Mick Mulvaney to testify

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The three Democratic House committee chairs running the impeachment inquiry have requested that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney come in for a closed door deposition.

In a letter, the chairs write to Mulvaney that, based on the public reporting, they believe he has "substantial firsthand knowledge related to the House and impeachment inquiry."

1:09 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Soon: House to release transcripts from key witnesses' testimony

Gordon Sondland arrives for a closed session before the impeachment inquiry last month
Gordon Sondland arrives for a closed session before the impeachment inquiry last month Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The transcripts from two impeachment witnesses are set to be released today by the House, an official told CNN's Manu Raju. They are:

  • European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland
  • US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker
11:56 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Democratic congressman says evidence is "overwhelming," even with lack of witnesses showing this week

From CNN's Manu Raju

US Representative Jamie Raskin from Maryland speaks with reporters after witnesses failed to arrive for testimony in the impeachment inquiry Tuesday
US Representative Jamie Raskin from Maryland speaks with reporters after witnesses failed to arrive for testimony in the impeachment inquiry Tuesday Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Leaving the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility where witness Wells Griffith did not appear for his deposition, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin weighed in on how six White House witnesses have already defied requests for subpoenas and depositions this week.

Raskin said witnesses not showing up would add more evidence to obstruction. He said it would be “better” if John Bolton and others appear — however, he said the evidence is “overwhelming” right now.

“If a bank robbery takes place, and you have eight or 10 witnesses that’s great. It’s better if you have 22. But if you have eight or 10 witnesses telling you the same thing ... that will be enough to ascertain there’s a bank robbery.”
10:29 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

2 White House officials scheduled to testify today are not expected to appear

From CNN's Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb 

Wells Griffith, special assistant to the President and senior director for international energy and environment at the National Security Council, is not expected to appear for his testimony today, per a source involved in the deliberations.

Griffith was scheduled to arrive on Capitol Hill at 9 a.m. ET for his deposition.

Michael Duffey, associate director for national security programs with the Office of Management and Budget, was also scheduled to testify today but is not expected to appear.

More on this: Griffith and Duffey's plans not to appear are in line with other witnesses scheduled to be interviewed in the impeachment inquiry this week.

Four White House officials — including John Eisenberg, deputy counsel to the President for national security affairs — were scheduled to testify yesterday, but none of them showed up.

An administration official said Eisenberg didn't appear because of executive privilege while Robert Blair, Michael Ellis and Brian McCormack aren't going to appear because they won't be able to have an administration lawyer present.

10:20 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Rick Perry does not respond to questions about his impeachment testimony

Rick Perry speaks during the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference on Tuesday
Rick Perry speaks during the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference on Tuesday Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ahead of his remarks at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference in Washington today, CNN attempted to ask outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry about his involvement in Ukraine and whether he’ll be cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.

Perry did not engage.

His spokeswoman told CNN this morning Perry would consider testifying publicly, but wouldn’t go beyond that.

9:32 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Donald Trump Jr. says he is "100% fine" with his Mueller testimony being release

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In and interview to promote his book release on Fox and Friends, Donald Trump Jr. said he is “100% fine” with his testimony being released from the Mueller investigation adding, “like my father, here’s the transcript.”

“I’m 100% fine with that… like my father, here’s the transcript," Trump said.
9:25 a.m. ET, November 5, 2019

Justice Department says White House witnesses must be allowed to bring lawyers to impeachment inquiry depositions

From CNN's David Shortell and Katelyn Polantz 


The Justice Department said attempts by impeachment investigators to compel testimony from executive branch witnesses about the President’s dealings with Ukraine are “legally invalid” — unless they allow for the witness to bring a government lawyer.  

The guidance comes from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). It amounts to a new legal reasoning that the White House and other agencies can use to prevent House depositions, after Democrats curtailed the previous legal argument that the House wasn’t in a formal impeachment inquiry with a vote last week.

Impeachment investigators had so far benefited from several depositions from current and former national security officials about the Ukraine saga, but in recent days, a number of current and former government witnesses, including former national security advisor John Bolton and a top national security aide to Vice President Pence, have all skipped out on scheduled depositions.

In the memo, OLC lawyers write that the President — who has not been asked or subpoenaed to testify — must be allowed to have a representative present in depositions to be able to protect privileged information from disclosure.

The five-page memo appears limited in scope but potentially sets up a future fight over the impeachment investigators' ability to pierce the administration’s shield of executive privilege, which could block witnesses from providing valuable information about Trump’s direct involvement in the case.

Some background on all of this: The administration’s new legal memo is untested in court. Witnesses are not permitted to bring lawyers into criminal grand juries, and federal courts have generally not allowed executive privilege to stand in the way of criminal investigators or of Congress’ needs during impeachment proceedings. As recently as last month, a federal judge told the administration it couldn’t block the House’s pursuit of confidential grand jury information sought for the impeachment proceedings, for example.

The House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the ongoing investigation, has so far only allowed witnesses to appear for depositions with personal counsel.

What this means: The memo is certain to anger Democrats as it furthers a strategy of non-cooperation from the White House in the inquiry, and once again puts the Justice Department in the position of blocking the President from further scrutiny.