The latest on President Trump's impeachment
Indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, a central figure in the White House's alleged Ukraine pressure campaign, said President Trump "knew exactly what was going on" despite his repeated denials of wrongdoing.
"He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the President," Parnas told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow tonight. "I have no intent, I have no reason, to speak to any of these officials."
Parnas asserted he was the one "on the ground" doing Trump and Giuliani's work, "and that's the secret that they're trying to keep."
"Why would President Zelensky's inner circle, or Minister Avakov, or all these people, or President Poroshenko, meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me," he said.
Some more context: The comments, which represent Parnas' most forceful implication of Trump yet, come against the backdrop of an approaching Senate impeachment trial after the House on Wednesday formally presented two articles of impeachment to the chamber.
Democrats allege Trump abused his office by directing a pressure campaign for Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for $400 million in US security aid and a White House meeting. Trump, Democrats say, then stonewalled congressional investigators to cover up the misconduct.
The House Judiciary Committee today published more documents from indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Les Parnas ahead of the House's transmission of the impeachment articles, including many text messages Parnas exchanged with a number of officials in Ukraine and voice messages with Giuliani and attorney Victoria Toensing.
The materials, which were provided over the weekend to the House Intelligence Committee and transmitted to the House Judiciary Committee, were published as part of trial record of evidence for the House. The House Intelligence Committee posted some of the Parnas documents on Tuesday.
In addition to the voice mails, the materials include photos Parnas took with a number of US officials, as well as Parnas speaking about former national security adviser John Bolton’s departure in September 2019 and rooting for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to leave as well.
“Bolton is out” and “Pompeo is next” Parnas texts on Sept. 10, 2019. “Awesome!!!!!” responds Harry Sargeant, a Florida Billionaire who CNN has previously reported on as being involved in discussions about making changes to leadership at Ukraine’s state-run energy company.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was critical of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all the pens used to sign the articles of impeachment this afternoon.
“Nancy Pelosi’s souvenir pens served up on silver platters to sign the sham articles of impeachment...She was so somber as she gave them away to people like prizes,” Grisham wrote on Twitter in response to a tweet from CNN's Lauren Fox featuring a photo of the pens.
The pens used today were, in fact, on silver platters.
President Trump is also known to frequently use many ceremonial pens to sign bills. Many pens were also used Trump's inauguration day.
Trump also changed from using the traditional presidential Cross Townsend pen to a presidential Sharpie marker during his time in office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just outlined how the impeachment process will progress tomorrow.
The House managers just delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate, but the Senate is not yet officially receiving them. That will happen tomorrow.
Here's how McConnell laid out the schedule for tomorrow:
- Noon ET: The Senate has invited the House manager to come to the Senate and present the articles of impeachment.
- 2 p.m. ET: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive in the Senate and be sworn in. (Remember: Roberts will preside over the entire trial.)
- After that: The senators — who will serve as jurors at the trial — will be sworn in.
We're not expecting the trial itself to kick off until next Tuesday.
The House managers were met in the Senate by Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, who received the articles of impeachment.
"The Senate is ready to receive the managers of the House with the purpose of exhibiting articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump," McConnell said.
McConnell went on to say that the Senate would accept the managers from the House tomorrow.
The seven House impeachment managers are now walking the articles of impeachment over to the Senate. House clerk Cheryl Johnson and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving are with them.
Remember: We do not expect the Senate to formally accept the articles until tomorrow.
Watch the moment
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has signed the articles of impeachment against President Trump.
She's using a number of different pens. Aides say they will be given to others to signify today’s historic events. House managers may get some of them, but there are a few dozens.
What's next: The seven House Democratic managers are now expected to walk across the Capitol, with the House clerk, Cheryl Johnson, with the articles. They will be escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving.
At that point, we do not expect the formal transmission of the articles from the House to the Senate to occur until Thursday.
“Under Impeachment rules, once the House formally notifies the Senate it has appointed managers, the Senate is required to set a time for the House managers to exhibit the articles. This two-step process is specified in the rules of impeachment. When the Senate receives the initial message tonight, the body will formally invite the managers to exhibit the articles during tomorrow’s session of the Senate. Only at that time, when the House managers return at the invitation of the Senate, is it possible for the Senate to formally receive the exhibition of the Articles of Impeachment,” David Popp, Communications Director for Sen. Mitch McConnell said in a statement today.
Watch the moment:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called President Trump's behavior — which led to the impeachment process — "so sad, so tragic for our country."
"So sad and so tragic for our country that the actions taken by the President to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, the integrity of the elections, has taken us to this place," Pelosi said. "So today, we will make history when the managers walk down the hall, we will cross a threshold in history, delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House."
Watch the moment:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is now speaking at this evening's engrossment ceremony, the formal signing and delivery of the documents.
The House impeachment managers, which she named earlier today, are with her.