Democrats release Trump impeachment report

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7:00 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

House Intelligence Committee votes to approve the impeachment report

The House Intelligence Committee has voted to approve the Democratic impeachment report on President Trump and Ukraine, according to Rep. Mike Quigley.

It was a party line vote.

Lawmakers say all of the Republican amendments were defeated on party line votes, too.

What happens next: The report will now be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which is starting its impeachment hearings tomorrow and will use the report as a guide to consider articles of impeachment.

In the report, which was released earlier today, Democrats alleged that Trump abused his office and comprised national security for his personal political gain by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and withholding US security aid.

 

6:48 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Giuliani's phone conversations with the White House are "privileged," his assistant says

Christianné Allen, Rudy Giuliani’s assistant, issued a statement today regarding a series of phone records detailed in the House Intelligence Committee's report on the impeachment inquiry.

“As the personal attorney to the President, Mr. Giuliani's conversations with the White House are privileged; he was involved in gathering evidence to defend the President against false Democrat-manufactured claims of Russian collusion. Including corruption that Democrats are covering up in Ukraine. The media has supported their propaganda, but their biased coverup will soon be exposed in light of new evidence and testimony soon to be unveiled," she said.

More on this: The phone records, which are labeled in the report's endnotes as coming from AT&T, show a web of communications between conservative journalist John Solomon, Giuliani, Ukrainian American businessman Lev Parnas, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and the White House's budget office. CNN is owned by AT&T.

Many of these calls occurred in April, according to the Democratic report, the same time Solomon pumped out columns in The Hill. The stories were filled with discredited conspiracy theories about then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son was on the board of a prominent Ukrainian energy company.

The Democratic report identifies at least four phone calls or attempted calls between Parnas and Nunes, including one call on April 12 that lasted longer than eight minutes. Within an hour of that call, Parnas also spoke with Giuliani, who later connected with Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow and a "White House phone number," according to the phone records.

The call logs show the extent the Democratic investigators went to get hands on any evidence it could get, even as the administration blocked access to records. The records were not discussed publicly before the release of the report.

6:24 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

GOP congresswoman says Democrats "fundamentally failed to prove their case"

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, speaking at a news conference today, said Democrats "fundamentally failed to prove their case."

Cheney called the impeachment inquiry "fundamentally unfair" and said the Democrats have tilted the process in their direction from the start of the inquiry.

"Democrats were able to act as judge and prosecutor. They were able to select every single witness. The Democrats were able to prevent and did prevent witnesses from answering Republican questions. They decided what the American people would see and when. They decided the timing on release of important pieces of transcripts," she said.

Cheney continued: "They still have not released the transcript of the IC inspector general. The Democrats stack staged the deck in their favor and despite the fact they did this and even with every unfair advantage and unprecedented advantage they gave themselves, including preventing the President from having any access to the proceedings, preventing his counsel from having any participation in the proceedings, they have now come out this and fundamentally failed to prove their case."

5:27 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Podcast: The impeachment report is out. Here's what we know

There’s “overwhelming” evidence of President Trump’s misconduct, according to the impeachment report released today by the House Intelligence Committee.

While the report paints a damning portrait of the President, none of the facts are new.

Are Democrats making a mistake by failing to force testimony from additional witnesses like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney? Plus, are Democrats pursuing a moral victory at the expense of their political fortunes?

In today's episode of "The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch" podcast, CNN political director David Chalian dives into the impeachment news of the day with CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd and the host of ‘SE Cupp Unfiltered,’ S.E. Cupp.

Listen to the podcast here.

6:05 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

3 key takeaways (so far) from the impeachment report

The House Intelligence Committee just released its impeachment inquiry report.

It's a roughly 300-page report, and we're still going through it, but here are some of the key takeaways so far:

  • This report is the articles of impeachment roadmap. While committee chair Adam Schiff is publicly reserving judgment on impeachment, a simple look at the table of contents makes clear that this product was intended to serve as the backbone of articles of impeachment. Section One lays out, in extensive detail, abuse of power. Section two lays out, in extensive detail, efforts to obstruct the inquiry. The 19 “Key Findings of Fact” that follow track along these lines as well, and would conceivably fold quite well, verbatim, into draft articles. 
  • There is new — and significant — information. The report is largely a detailed, narrative based product designed to lay out in a single place what the committee learned in closed-door depositions and public hearings over the course of two months. The depositions are now available to the public, as are the transcripts of the hearings, so much of the narrative was well known. What wasn’t: that the committee had subpoenaed call records, dozens of them, to lay out timelines of contacts between key players including Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Devin Nunes, Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas, conservative journalist John Solomon and various White House contacts (including a call from Giuliani to the Situation Room.) It’s also clear the committee obtained call records tied to US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, laying out his calls to the White House. While many of these contacts were alluded to, or assumed, based on the testimony of witnesses, the explicit records showing the number of calls — and who all was talking — adds heft to Democratic allegations.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes has emerged in the investigation. Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, has always been a central player in the impeachment inquiry due to his role on the committee. Now he’s a star player due to his contacts, and alleged knowledge, of what the committee was investigating from the very start. Through the call records it is abundantly clear that Nunes — along with two of his top aides — were in repeated contact with the very players at the heart of the investigation, including Parnas and Giuliani. Schiff declined to say if he discussed these contacts with Nunes in advance, only saying: “It is deeply concerning that at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity.”
4:56 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Here's how tomorrow's House Judiciary impeachment hearing will work

The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing tomorrow. The expected witnesses are four constitutional law experts.

Here's the schedule for the hearing, which starts at 10 a.m. ET:

  • Chair Jerry Nadler and Ranking Member Doug Collins will give opening statements, before the witnesses are sworn in and give their own opening statements.
  • There will be 45 minutes for Democratic counsel questions.
  • Then there will be 45 minutes for Republican counsel questions.
  • After that, each member will get 5 minutes to ask questions.
  • The hearing will end with closing statements. 

4:54 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Trump campaign has dug up information on tomorrow's witnesses to discredit them

The Trump campaign has dug up research on the academic witnesses testifying tomorrow before the House Judiciary Committee – including some of their past statements and past political contributions.

The campaign plans to blast some of this out later today, and will also have past statements, tweets and other information about the witnesses ready to weaponize during the hearing tomorrow, per two campaign aides.

It’s part of what will be an effort from Trump allies to discredit the professors testifying tomorrow.  

Here’s a taste of what the campaign will be sending out soon:

  • Pamela Karlan is a registered Democrat since1998, served in the Obama administration and has been described as a "politically liberal law professor," and an "unapologetic liberal." She has donated $1,000 to Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign this year and donated $2,000 to Hillary Clinton.
  • Noah Feldman, in 2017, wrote that a tweet from President Trump may have been an impeachable offense. The same year, he wrote that President Trump's criticism of the media is grounds for impeachment. In January 2018, Feldman wrote that President Trump should be impeached for declaring a crisis at the southern border.
  • Michael Gerhardt argued earlier this year that Trump should be impeached. He donated $1,245 to Barack Obama and has donated to other Democrat candidates. 

 

4:48 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Nunes ignores questions about being named in report 

CNN tried to ask Rep. Devin Nunes about being named in the report.

He declined to comment.

More context: Call logs in the just-released report link Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, to an effort of coordinating with a conservative journalist to peddle "false narratives" about President Trump's opponents.

The report shows Nunes exchanged multiple calls with Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani's associate, Lev Parnas, who is currently facing federal charges of campaign finance violations.

4:37 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Trump was briefed before the report's release

President Trump was briefed before the release of the Democratic House Intelligence Committee's report on what was expected, but the President has not yet received a detailed readout of the document now that it has been released, a senior administration official said.

White House aides in Washington are combing through the 300-page report and will provide feedback to the President at some point, the official said. The source added that the President's team in Washington — which includes the counsel's office, the chief of staff's office and the President's allies — are very engaged with developments the impeachment process this week and will continue to brief Trump while he's traveling in London this week for the NATO summit.

The official reiterated that it is doubtful Trump will watch the House Judiciary Committee's hearing tomorrow because it will conflict with the President’s schedule.

The official also denied there are any renewed concerns about acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in light of the Democratic report, which made reference to his quid pro quo comments at the White House podium.