The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:23 p.m. ET, November 7, 2019
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10:31 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

Republicans will ask for whistleblower to testify publicly, GOP congressman says

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Rep. Jim Jordan told reporters this morning that Republicans plan to request that the House Intelligence Committee bring in the whistleblower to testify publicly.    

Jordan said Republicans had a Saturday deadline to request witnesses, and that the whistleblower would be one of the witnesses they ask for.    

A Jordan aide said Republicans would be happy to have the whistleblower testify in any capacity — publicly or privately. But the request is being made under House rules for the public hearing phase of the impeachment proceedings.

The rules: Under the rules passed by the House, Republicans can request witnesses to testify in the public impeachment hearings. But Democrats do not have to accept any of the witnesses that are proposed.

There has been a lot of talk about the whistleblower in recent days. Senate Democrats tried — and failed — to pass a unanimous resolution yesterday to recognize the role of Congress and the executive branch in protecting whistleblowers.

Meanwhile, some Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, have called for the whistleblower to be named publicly.

10:23 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

Pence aide was subpoenaed for testimony today

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, was issued a subpoena for her deposition today, “in light of an attempt by the White House to direct” her “not to appear," an official working on the impeachment inquiry told CNN.

Here's the official's statement:

"In light of an attempt by the White House to direct Jennifer Williams not to appear for her scheduled deposition, and efforts to limit any testimony that does occur, the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel her testimony this morning. As required of her, Ms. Williams is complying with the subpoena and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican Members and staff."

John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, is also scheduled to testify today, but chances that he'll show up are slim.

10:05 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

Trump says Joe and Hunter Biden "must testify"

President Trump just tweeted that Joe and Hunter Biden “must testify."

Trump allies — including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Rand Paul — have expressed interest in bringing in the Bidens to testify.

Some context: The impeachment inquiry has centered on allegations that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

12:05 p.m. ET, November 7, 2019

House Judiciary chair: "I do have to keep an open mind" about impeachment

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, appeared on CNN this morning to give an update on the House's impeachment inquiry.

Asked if Democrats have started drafting articles of impeachment, Nadler said, "No, we have not."

Nadler continued:

"In the Judiciary Committee we'll have full due process for the President and that means that if there's any exculpatory evidence, evidence showing he's innocent, whether it's witnesses or anything else, they'll be able to bring it forward."

Asked if he's personally seen enough evidence that Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, Nadler responded, "I've seen a lot of evidence of that, but maybe there will be evidence contradicting that ... I have to have an open mind but certainly a very heavy case against him at the moment."

Nadler would not comment on his committee's plans to call or not call additional witnesses in the inquiry. He pointed out that first the House Intelligence Committee will write a report on the investigation and present it to the judiciary. Nadler said that based on that report his committee will decide "which witnesses, if any, we want to call."

On the efforts by the White House to block the testimony of witnesses — instructing officials within the administration not to comply with the subpoenas compelling them to testify — Nadler said that it's "wrong for White House to do that" and "contradicts law to defy subpoenas."

Asked in a follow up question if he felt that what the White House is doing by blocking witnesses is illegal, Nadler said, "Yeah, I do."

On whether he would you vote for impeachment today, Nadler said he wouldn't answer the question" because I do have to keep an open mind and an appearance of an open mind."

He added: "I have said that the evidence is pretty damning."

11:36 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

Trump continues attack against whistleblower's attorney on Twitter

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump lashed out on Twitter this morning at the whistleblower's attorney, Mark Zaid, tweeting, "Based on the information released last night about the Fake Whistleblowers attorney" that the impeachment inquiry should be ended.

Some background: Last night, Trump attacked Zaid and tweets he made in 2017 on impeachment. Trump mocked Zaid's tweets from 2017 in which he said that a "coup has started" and impeachment will follow while at a MAGA rally in Monroe, Louisiana. 

Trump has tried to characterize Mark Zaid as a member of the “deep state” in an effort to discredit him as a partisan actor.

Remember: Zaid has a long history of working with parties on both sides of the aisle.  

Zaid and his legal partner, Bradley Moss, have responded to these attacks by pointing this out and joked about the insinuation that they are working to orchestrate a “coup.”

Here's a look at the tweets:

9:11 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

Pence aide who was on the July 25 call arrives on Capitol Hill to testify

An aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams, has arrived on Capitol Hill ahead of her scheduled testimony before House committees.

She was on the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky. Williams was concerned about what she heard on the call but there is no indication she raised her concerns to her superiors, according to the source.

9:12 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

Trump discussed having Bill Barr hold a news conference

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Evan Perez and Betsy Klein

President Trump discussed having Attorney General Bill Barr hold a news conference to declare he didn't break any laws in his phone call with the Ukrainian President, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Trump has raised the idea in conversations surrounding the ongoing impeachment inquiry over recent weeks, and has said he thought the idea could help project the message that he hadn’t done anything wrong. 

Remember: Barr hasn’t held such a press conference, and this source could not say whether Barr and Trump had formally discussed the idea or whether Barr had ruled it out. 

Some background: In two tweets, one sent last night and another this morning, the President disputed reporting from the Washington Post that he asked Barr to publicly defend his phone call with Ukraine. However, the Post story does not say that he asked Barr directly.

And while Barr may not have held a press conference the Justice Department publicly announced that criminal division prosecutors had found no wrongdoing by the president, at least as it relates to campaign finance law. The department also released a legal memo on why the Intelligence Community inspector general was not required to turn over a whistleblower complaint to Congress.

8:14 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

The transcript from a top US diplomat's testimony was released yesterday. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

Yesterday another transcript from the House's impeachment inquiry was released. This time it was from the testimony of Bill Taylor, the top US official in Ukraine at the moment.

Here are the key things he said:

7:55 a.m. ET, November 7, 2019

An aide to Mike Pence could testify today

From CNN's Rene Marsh, Alex Marquardt and Paul LeBlanc

An aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams, will show up for testimony on today if she receives a subpoena, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

Why Williams matters: She was on the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky. Williams was concerned about what she heard on the call but there is no indication she raised her concerns to her superiors, according to the source.

Justin Shur, Williams' attorney, told CNN in a statement Wednesday night that she would answer the committee's questions "if required to appear."

"Jennifer is a longtime dedicated State Department employee," Shur said in the statement. "If required to appear, she will answer the Committees' questions. We expect her testimony will largely reflect what is already in the public record."

Generally, the House has been sending subpoenas on the morning of their scheduled testimony.

Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton is also scheduled to appear. However, chances look slim that Bolton would comply with the Democratic-led investigation's request, as his lawyer has said Bolton will not testify voluntarily, but it remained unclear if he would comply with a subpoena, should one be issued at the last moment.