The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

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

Updated 4:43 AM ET, Thu December 12, 2019
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11:44 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

Democratic Senator says he's "very much torn" on convicting Trump

From CNN's Manu Raju

Sen. Joe Manchin, the moderate West Virginia Democrat, told CNN that he's "very much torn" about whether to vote to convict President Trump on both counts.

"We have a divided country. On the other hand, we have equal branch of governments, responsibilities in the Constitution. There are a lot of things at stake here. The future of our country. And the future of how we're able to do our business depends on how we handle this."

He added: "I'm very much torn on it. I think it weighs on everybody."

He said that he thinks the Senate should hear from witnesses like Mick Mulvaney and Rudy Giuliani — and also said: "I don't have a problem with Hunter Biden" testifying. "That's all a part of this."

12:04 p.m. ET, December 11, 2019

Public opinion on impeachment is split almost 50/50, according to new poll

From CNN's Jennifer Agiesta and Grace Sparks

A new poll from Monmouth University finds 45% of Americans want to impeach President Trump, and 50% don’t.

Trump’s approval remains stable at 43% approval, 50% disapproval. 

Here are some other key findings on impeachment:

  • Only a quarter of respondents said that new information on the impeachment inquiry could come out that would change the minds of the American people, while 71% say that the public is set in their opinions. 
  • Slightly over half (53%) trust the House a lot or a little in their conducting of the inquiry, while 44% don’t trust them at all. 
  • A large majority (61%) think Trump hasn’t been cooperating with the inquiry, 31% say he has. A quarter say he has provided all or most of the information asked for and 65% say just some information or none at all.  
11:18 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

Freshman Democrat on impeachment: "There may be some blowback"

From CNN's Manu Raju

Gil Cisneros speaks at a mid-term elections rally on October 4, 2018.
Gil Cisneros speaks at a mid-term elections rally on October 4, 2018. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Freshman Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros of California, who won a tough race in 2018, said he's prepared to vote for the two articles of impeachment — but acknowledged he might get some blowback in his district.

“There may be some blow back, you know we have people that supported impeachment and we have people that said you know, say we need to move on and get past this. But as I've always said, for me this is about national security, this is about the president engaging a foreign government to get involved in our election and we can't allow that to happen,” Cisneros told CNN’s Manu Raju.
11:13 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

Rep. Maxine Waters: Trump is "compromised"

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Rep. Marcy Kaptur both highlighted that President Trump had a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister at the White House the same day articles of impeachment were introduced by the House Judiciary Committee.

“I think our democracy is really at stake. I think this President is compromised. Why would he have the foreign minister from Russia in his office in the middle of this impeachment process? Why would Giuliani be running over to the Ukraine in the middle of this impeachment process, they have something to hide, I think they’re compromised,” Waters said.

Kaptur said she thought the President was “poking fun” at the legislative branch by meeting with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov on the same day articles were introduced.

“I think he is very clever in terms of crowding the news space, particularly because of his affinity for Russia and some of the relationships he’s developed over the years, in some ways that was his way of poking fun at the legislative branch,” Kaptur said.

Rep. Tom Malinowski, a moderate Democrat from a New Jersey district that flipped from red to blue in 2018, said he has read the articles and he is “prepared to support them.”

“What the articles say very, very clearly and explicitly, was that the President traded something of tremendous value to our ally Ukraine for a personal political gain, what we have to decide each and every one of us, is if that is right or wrong. I believe it’s wrong,” he said.

“The majority of the House of Representatives will disagree with him, and he will have to bear for the rest of his presidency, how long it may be, the stain of having been impeached for the high crime and misdemeanor,” Malinowski said.
10:23 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

McConnell: Senate will hold impeachment trial next year

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor this morning that "if the House continues down this destructive road and sends us articles of impeachment," then the Senate will take them up "in the new year" and "proceed to a fair trial."

McConnell's comments echo what he said yesterday when he was asked about the timing of a potential impeachment trial in the Senate.

He told reporters that an impeachment trial would begin around the "time the bowl games end" — meaning the college football bowl games that happen on and around New Year's Day.

10:17 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

There was no talk of impeachment at today's House Democratic caucus meeting

From CNN's Manu Raju

Behind closed doors this morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her caucus discussed a wide range of legislative issues.

But impeachment did not come up, according to multiple members.

Instead, there was lot of talk on appropriations, USMCA, and the tax extender.

Members said it’s a sign that they are ready to move ahead to their agenda.

10:16 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

House Democrat says impeachment is for "future generations"

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman 

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said she’s not concerned about the House floor vote on articles being a party line vote.

“We’re taking this action for future generations. Not this Congress,” Speier said.

Speier added: “It’s a constitutional question, if they can’t read the constitution, if they can’t realize this is a high crime or misdemeanor — that’s their decision.”

Democratic Rep. David Cicilinne, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, reiterated that the articles the House have charged the President with are related to a “pattern of behavior” followed by a “pattern of covering it up and obstructing Congress’s investigation of it.”

Cicilinne called Trump’s actions a “crime in progress” and said if Congress doesn’t act, the US “will no longer have a democracy.”

“If we don’t honor our oath to protect and defend the constitution there should be no question in anyone’s mind he’s gonna go back at it. In fact it’s a crime in progress. He’s still doing it today," he said.

9:58 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

House Democrat says her "phones are ringing off the hook" about impeachment

From CNN's Manu Raju 

Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a freshman Democrat from a swing district in Michigan, said this morning her office “literally” can’t answer the phones fast enough as strong views come in on both sides about impeachment.

“My phones are ringing off the hook,” she said.

Slotkin said she’s undecided on how she’ll vote and will consider all the evidence.

She praised the “responsible” decision to just focus on Ukraine and the two articles — and not include the allegations in the Mueller report and obstruction of justice.

9:33 a.m. ET, December 11, 2019

Schiff defends not including obstruction of justice in articles of impeachment

From CNN's Manu Raju 

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff defended the decision to move forward with just two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — when he was asked this morning why there was no article on obstruction of justice.

“We moved forward with the most urgent articles — those that reflect the danger to the next election. And that is the President’s continuing effort to get Ukraine to interfere and help him cheat in the next election,” Schiff said.

This the first known time Chairman Schiff has addressed this issue.