House launches Trump impeachment inquiry

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10:40 a.m. ET, September 26, 2019

You can follow our live coverage of the whistleblower's complaint and the Acting Director of National Intelligence's testimony here.

9:45 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

What we know and don't know about the whistleblower and the complaint

A whistleblower complaint, which includes allegations about President Trump's conduct, was hand-delivered to Capitol Hill this afternoon for lawmakers to review.

Few details have been released about the complaint, which was reviewed by lawmakers in a secured room.

Here's what we know and don't so far about the complaint and the whistleblower:

  • The whistleblower: This person has tentatively agreed to meet with Congressional lawmakers. But the whistleblower is not scheduled to appear before Congress, a source said. Lawmakers have not been told the identity of the whistleblower or where the complainant works in the government
  • About the complaint: The whistleblower's complaint deals, at least in part, with a phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. A transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. Sources so far have not shared what more may be contained in the still classified report.
  • What lawmakers are saying: Rep. Eric Swalwell disclosed that the whistleblower points to witnesses and other documents in the report. Swalwell described them as new leads that need to be investigated by lawmakers. Democratic Sen. Mike Quigley called the complaint "deeply disturbing," saying it is "extraordinarily detailed" and "very, very well done." He also said the complaint is "a blueprint for what we still need to know."
  • What to expect tomorrow: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on tomorrow morning regarding the complaint. Maguire and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson are scheduled to go behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee as well, according to a source familiar with the plans.
11:07 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

Trump attorney: There was no "quid pro quo" between the President and Ukraine

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for President Trump, told CNN's Chris Cuomo that there was no quid pro quo when it came to the July call between the President and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sekulow made the comment tonight following the release of a White House transcript that shows Trump urging Zelensky to reopen an investigation into his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

"On the issue of what we have on the transcript, I think it is important to understand we do not have a quid pro quo. In other words, I will do this, you do this. That is absent," Sekulow said.

Watch for more:

8:51 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

CNN's Anderson Cooper compares Ukraine controversy to "The Godfather"

CNN's Anderson Cooper compared the ongoing controversy surrounding President Trump and the rough transcript of a call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to a famous scene from "The Godfather."

In the rough transcript from a call made in July, Trump repeatedly pushed for Zelensky to reopen an investigation of his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and asked the Ukrainian leader to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr on the issue.

Cooper compared Giuliani to Robert Duvall's character Tom Hagen, who is the godfather's lawyer and consigliere. The specific comparison was made to when the godfather, played by Marlon Brando, sends Hagen to Los Angeles to persuade the head of a film studio to give his godson a role in a movie.

"I keep coming back to when Marlon Brando in 'The Godfather' sends Tom Hagen out to Hollywood to make a deal that the guy can't refuse," Cooper said. "What is Giuliani doing running around, creeping around Ukraine, to talk to the president of Ukraine about allegedly about corruption in Ukraine, which is just a ridiculous fig leaf."

At the end of this scene from "The Godfather," the head of the film studio wakes to find the severed head of his prized stallion in his bed.

Watch the moment:

8:35 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

The whistleblower is not currently scheduled to appear before Congress, source says

The anonymous whistleblower, who filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general that includes allegations about President Trump’s conduct, will not appear before lawmakers Thursday, a source familiar with the situation told CNN. 

The whistleblower is also not scheduled to appear before Congress, the source added.

The source said that the process is underway to ensure the lawyers have access, if needed, to the relevant classified information.

What we know: The whistleblower has tentatively agreed to meet with Congressional lawmakers, according to correspondence obtained by CNN.

The whistleblower will only meet on the condition that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of the National Intelligence, approves appropriate security clearances for the individual’s legal counsel so that they can accompany their client, the correspondence added.

8:29 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

215 House Democrats support an impeachment inquiry into Trump

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

More than 200 lawmakers — almost entirely Democrats — are calling to start an impeachment inquiry, the first step in a lengthy and likely divisive process.

There are at least 215 House Democrats who've made public comments advocating at least for starting the impeachment inquiry process, according to a CNN count.

The total number of representatives who have called for an inquiry is 216. (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican who has since become an independent, has also called for proceedings.)

What you need to know: The number of House Democrats who at least support launching an impeachment inquiry is quickly approaching the 218 votes needed to impeach Trump in the House, though it is unknown if all those who are in favor of an impeachment inquiry will vote to do so.

8:18 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

Whistleblower tentatively agrees to testify, attorneys say

The anonymous whistleblower who filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general, which includes allegations about President Trump’s conduct, has tentatively agreed to meet with Congressional lawmakers, according to correspondence obtained by CNN.

The whistleblower will only meet on the condition that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of the National Intelligence, approves appropriate security clearances for the individual’s legal counsel so that they can accompany their client, the correspondence added.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff wrote a letter to Maguire making the request today after the whistleblower’s lawyers agreed to meet with lawmakers if that condition is met and requested assistance in expediting approval from the acting DNI.

CNN reported Tuesday that the whistleblower’s legal counsel “wrote to the Acting Director of National Intelligence to request specific guidance as to the appropriate security practices to permit a meeting, if needed, with the Members of the Intelligence Oversight Committees.”

“This is a reasonable request that the Committee strongly supports and expects your office to fulfill immediately,” Schiff wrote.

Schiff’s letter comes after the whistleblower’s legal counsel wrote to the committee today reiterating the conditions of a possible meeting between lawmakers and their client.

"I am sure you can understand that it is imperative that a whistleblower, especially one caught up in such a high profile matter involving the President, have experienced legal counsel by their side. Your cooperation in ensuring this occurs would help facilitate a future meeting or testimony,” the letter said
7:35 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

Reviews of the whistleblower complaint are done for the night

Senators and House members who had access to the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, to review the whistleblower complaint are finished for the night. 

The complaint has been described by Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley as "deeply disturbing." Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, on the other hand, has read it and said she did "not support impeachment of President Trump."

7:21 p.m. ET, September 25, 2019

Why some House Judiciary members want swift action on impeachment

Several Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee told CNN they want quick action on an articles of impeachment resolution, hoping a vote could happen as soon as October.

“We gotta move fast,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a committee member.

The fear, Democrats say, is that the longer the Ukraine controversy lingers, the more likely it is to die down — and the public could lose interest. Some say that’s what happened with the Mueller report.

Members of the committee are strategizing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the time frame. It’s still unclear how quickly they will move because the Ukraine probe, which is being led by the House Intelligence Committee, could take time to unearth more documents and interview witnesses.

CNN reported earlier today that Pelosi wants a narrow inquiry focused on Ukraine.