The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Aimee Lewis, CNN

Updated 7:33 a.m. ET, November 19, 2019
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2:07 p.m. ET, November 18, 2019

Trump says he'll consider testifying in impeachment inquiry

President Trump just tweeted he will “strongly consider” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion over the weekend that he testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Pelosi suggested Trump could do so in writing.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Trump tweeted this morning.

Pelosi said this weekend in a CBS interview that Trump has "every opportunity to present his case" before Congress, and could "take the oath of office or he could do it in writing." 

8:48 a.m. ET, November 18, 2019

GOP congressmen "reluctantly" ask Republican who attended Ukraine president's inauguration for information

From CNN's Jeremy Herb 

GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes sent Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, a letter “reluctantly” asking if he has any information relevant to the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“Because the Democrats have abandoned fundamental fairness and objectivity in their ‘impeachment inquiry,’ we reluctantly write to request any firsthand information you have about President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine between April and September 2019. We appreciate any information that you could provide,” Jordan and Nunes wrote.

Why Johnson matters: He attended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration in May as well as a meeting afterward in which Trump was briefed. He also spoke with Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland about the freeze on US security aid to Ukraine. 

Johnson appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, and said he would “supply my telling of events” and “lay out what I know,” adding that the investigative process threatens executive privilege in the future and that a public examination of the President's actions is damaging to the country.

"Having this all come out into public ... has exposed things that didn't need to be exposed," Johnson said.

8:05 a.m. ET, November 18, 2019

Trump: Impeachment inquiry is "a great fraud"

Ahead of a jam-packed week of witness testimony, President Trump began his morning tweeting about Republican unity and a high approval rating, calling the impeachment inquiry a “great fraud.” 

This comes amid a new CNN/DMR/Mediacom poll shows Iowans on both sides of the political spectrum see the inquiry as a boost to their party's chances of winning the general election next November.

3:20 p.m. ET, November 18, 2019

Here's what's coming up this week in the impeachment inquiry

Getty Images
Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee scheduled public hearings with eight more witnesses for this week in its impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

The intelligence panel announced last week it would hold five impeachment hearings over three days, all for officials who have already appeared for closed-door depositions.

Here's who we're expecting to hear from this week:

  • Tuesday morning: Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council aide
  • Tuesday afternoon: Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a National Security Council aide
  • Wednesday morning: US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland
  • Wednesday afternoon: Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense and David Hale, the under secretary of State for political affairs
  • Thursday morning: Former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill
6:38 a.m. ET, November 18, 2019

Trump attacks another witness as his impeachment defense faces new tests

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

President Donald Trump's impeachment angst led him to fire off a new attack on a key witness and threatens to deepen in the frenetic week ahead with crucial testimony scheduled from officials caught in the middle of the Ukraine storm.

But as is perpetually the case with the President, a brew of competing scandals and controversies will jostle for attention in Washington. That includes fallout from a mysterious and unscheduled trip to a hospital on Saturday, his fight against efforts to reveal his tax records and an apparent new tactic -- firing off searing attacks on witnesses who criticize him in televised hearings.

The President opened a window into the state of his mind Sunday when he lashed out against Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who described his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in her deposition as "inappropriate."

"An appearance on Wednesday from Gordon Sondland, the US envoy to the European Union, could prove to be the most pivotal moment so far of the inquiry into whether Trump abused his power."

Read more of Collinson's analysis here.

6:35 a.m. ET, November 18, 2019

Republican congressman calls new details about Trump revealed in impeachment testimony "alarming"

From CNN's Devan Cole

Al Drago/Reuters
Al Drago/Reuters

A Republican member of one of the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump said that information provided about Trump during a closed-door deposition of a former National Security Council official "is alarming" and "not okay."

"Well, of course, all of that is alarming. As I've said from the beginning, I think this is not okay. The President of the United States shouldn't even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent," Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

"So, no, this is not okay," he added.

In his CNN interview, Turner also addressed tweets Trump posted last week during former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's public testimony before the panel. Responding in real-time to the President's tweets, which claimed that "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," the former official said they were "very intimidating."

"It's certainly not impeachable, and it's certainly not criminal and it's certainly not witness intimidation. It certainly wasn't trying to prevent her or wouldn't have prevented her from testifying, she was actually in the process of testifying. But nonetheless, I find the President's tweets unfortunate," the congressman said.

"I think along with most people, I find the President's tweets, generally, unfortunate," Turner said.

6:29 a.m. ET, November 18, 2019

6 key developments in the impeachment inquiry you need to know

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were busy over the weekend with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Here what's happened recently:

  • Pence's call with Ukraine's president: Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, told lawmakers that she was on a call between Pence and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that it was "similar" to the April 21 call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart. According to the newly released testimony Saturday, Williams also provided details on Pence's September 1 meeting with Zelensky and highlighted how concerned Zelensky was about US military aid being withheld, saying it was the first question he asked Pence when the press left their bilateral meeting in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Dealings with Ukraine corroborated: Gordon Sondland, the American envoy to the European Union, was acting at Trump's instruction in his dealings with Ukraine, and Sondland said that the President told Zelensky "must announce the opening of the investigations," according to the transcript of the closed-door deposition of former National Security Council official, Tim Morrison, released Saturday.
  • Ukraine call transcript: Morrison testified he was told the moving of the transcript between the President and Ukraine’s leader to a highly classified server was a “mistake." During his deposition, Morrison relayed senior NSC lawyer John Eisenberg’s explanation that Eisenberg’s executive secretary mistakenly put it in the highly classified system. Morrison acknowledged that he and Eisenberg had previously discussed that access to the transcript should be restricted.
  • New testimony: Mark Sandy, a senior career official at the Office of Management and Budget, testified Saturday about a budget process that went off the rails when nearly $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine was withheld earlier this year, and that he did not know the reasoning behind the freeze in funds, sources familiar with his testimony told CNN. He spoke about how unusual of a process it was that a political appointee came in, took over the apportionment process and placed a hold on the military aid, a source told CNN
  • Concerns raised: In the transcript, Morrison testified that he had “concerns” about National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's judgment in regards to policy. Morrison said he was unaware that Vindman, who was on his staff, went to NSC lawyers to raise concerns about the July 25 call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. Morrison himself told the committee he was not concerned about the conversation but was worried if it leaked it would be a problem for US-Ukraine relations.
  • Ambassador said she felt threatened: Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was fired by Trump, testified publicly in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill Friday. During the hearing, Yovanovitch said she felt threatened by the President, who said on a July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president that she was "bad news" and was going to have a "tough time." She told lawmakers that she was "shocked and devastated" by the call.