The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
A White House official pushed back on the notion that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's decision to join a lawsuit seeking a federal judge's guidance in the impeachment inquiry amounts to any distance between Mulvaney and President Trump.
The official said Mulvaney is working with the White House, not against it.
"Mulvaney's counsel is working closely with [White House counsel's office], and WHCO was fully apprised of the filing before it took place," the official said. "Having the President be on the lawsuit is a technicality, given the competing instructions given to Mr. Mulvaney. The lawsuit is non-adversarial as to the President, and in no way indicates any distance between the President and the acting chief."
We know that this is a big week in the impeachment inquiry (read up on what to watch here).
But there's more to come next week: Democratic lawmakers expect at least one more week of public hearings following this week. Who could be the next public witnesses was not clear going into this weekend, so expect those hearings to be announced in the coming days.
Also, if any of the seven remaining transcripts haven't been released this week, they would likely be released at this time.
While not exactly impeachment related, Congress also faces a deadline of November 21 to pass legislation to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. CNN reported last week that bipartisan congressional spending negotiators have reached a critical stage in the closed-door talks to take a potential shutdown off the table at least later this month.
Those discussions focused on a short-term measure — typically referred to as a continuing resolution, or a resolution that continues funding at current levels — until roughly mid-December, aides say. But that would be contingent on an agreement that kicks the funding process into gear. If that doesn't happen, then lawmakers will actively look to punt things beyond a potential Senate impeachment trial. So the short answer is people working on this don't believe there's near-term risk for a shutdown. Still, it's a factor lawmakers will consider over the next several weeks.
President Trump is in New York City today. He's speaking at a ceremony before the start of the city's Veterans Day parade this morning.
Trump this morning railed against whistleblower’s lawyer, tweeting that the whistleblower, the lawyer, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “should be investigared (sic) for fraud!”
Remember: Last week, a lawyer for the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint document triggered the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, sent a letter to the White House warning the President to "cease and desist" attacking his client.
Here are the most important events of the impeachment inquiry scheduled for this week:
- Tomorrow: The White House could release the transcript of an April call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
- Wednesday: Public testimony is scheduled from Bill Taylor, still the top State Department official in Ukraine, who raised concerns about the shadow foreign policy being pursued by Rudy Giuliani and who internally called out Trump's political appointee for tying political investigations to security aid. Taylor can talk about why Ukraine needs that aid.
- Also Wednesday: There will be open testimony from George Kent, who will talk about Giuliani's efforts to get former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch removed from her post.
- One more thing on Wednesday: Trump will hold a news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House.
- Friday: former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify publicly about her recall at Trump's request.
The most important week so far of the impeachment inquiry is here.
Democrats will take their case to the American people that President Trump should be impeached, and they'll do it by introducing public testimony from career State Department employees, who will testify under oath to things they've already talked about in private.
Here's what you need to know:
- Still no word from the whistleblower: Democrats say they won't present a testimony from the whistleblower whose alarm uncovered Trump's effort to use tax dollars and foreign aid as ransom for his own political benefit.
- What the Democrats are saying: The head impeachment inquisitor, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, argued Saturday that the whistleblower's complaint has been corroborated, which makes testimony from the whistleblower "redundant."
- What the GOP is saying: Republicans are focused on arguing that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, should be called to testify — something Democrats will not allow since it would divert focus on Trump's pressure on Ukraine back on the Bidens. Republicans also argued over the weekend that without the whistleblower, the case against the President falls apart.
The clash over whether the Ukraine whistleblower should testify in the impeachment inquiry is heating up.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Sunday that the inquiry would be "invalid" unless the identity of the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats' probe is revealed.
"I consider any impeachment in the House that doesn't allow us to know who the whistleblower is to be invalid because without the whistleblower complaint, we wouldn't be talking about any of this and I also see the need for Hunter Biden to be called to adequately defend the President and if you don't do those two things it's a complete joke," Graham told Fox News on Sunday.
"It's impossible to bring this case forward in my view fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross examine them about any biases they may have," Graham continued.
However, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Saturday the individual's testimony would be "redundant and unnecessary" and made it clear the whistleblower will not testify.
House Republicans earlier Saturday had submitted a list of witnesses to Democrats that they'd like to testify as part of the chamber's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and Ukraine. The list included the whistleblower and former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.
Two days before televised impeachment hearings begin, Donald Trump's allies are peddling a smokescreen of conspiracy theories and distractions, hoping to sow confusion over the case against him.
Fierce political exchanges over the weekend offered a preview of how Republicans and Democrats will joust for advantage when the televised hearings get underway on Wednesday.
Read the full analysis here.