The latest on Trump's Ukraine drama

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 6:58 p.m. ET, September 23, 2019
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9:54 a.m. ET, September 23, 2019

Top House Democrats were in close contact this weekend, talking about Ukraine drama

From CNN's Dana Bash

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a close ally of hers, were in close contact throughout the weekend talking about the Ukraine whistleblower story and coordinating strategy, a leadership aide confirmed to CNN. This as you saw both make key moves today.

Schiff — who had not supported impeachment so far — signaled a shift in his opinion on CNN’s “State of the Union” telling Jake Tapper:

“You know I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment, for the reason that I think the founders contemplating, in a country that has elections every four years, that this would be an extraordinary remedy, a remedy of last resort, not first resort. But if the president is essentially withholding military aid, at the same time that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit, that is, providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is co-equal to the evil that that conduct represents.” 

Then, Pelosi on Sunday put out the unusual letter to all members of the House giving a Thursday deadline for the Director of National Intelligence to allow the whistleblower complaint regarding the President’s phone call with the Ukrainian President to be given to the Intelligence Committee.

She also pushed the administration to work out a way for the whistleblower to speak to both the Senate and House intelligence panels. She said “if the administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.”

9:44 a.m. ET, September 23, 2019

Here's what happened this weekend with the Ukraine scandal

Trump disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, September 22, 2019, as he arrives for the United Nations General Assembly.
Trump disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, September 22, 2019, as he arrives for the United Nations General Assembly. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Here's what you might have missed over the weekend with the Trump-Ukraine controversy:

  • Trump admitted he discussed Biden with the Ukrainian president: Trump on Sunday acknowledged that he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden in a July call with Ukraine's president. Trump, while speaking with reporters before departing the White House for events in Texas and Ohio, said the conversation was "largely congratulatory, was largely corruption," adding "we don't want our people like Vice President Biden and his son (adding to the corruption)."
  • How Democrats responded: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said that impeachment "may be the only remedy" to Trump's refusal to make public the complaint and phone call transcript. Schiff has so far resisted joining other Democrats in calling for impeachment. He told CNN he has been "very reluctant" to push for proceedings against the President because he sees it as a "remedy of last resort."
  • What Biden has said: Biden responded to questions about Ukraine and Trump on Saturday, telling reporters: "Trump is doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum and he is using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me."
  • The Thursday deadline: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a deadline for Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to turn over the full whistleblower complaint to the House Intelligence Committee.
9:26 a.m. ET, September 23, 2019

Trump will meet with Ukraine's president this week at the UN

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Devan Cole

Trump is attending the the UN General Assembly this week in New York City. But it will be shadowed by an unrelated controversy: his reported attempt to convince Ukraine's leader to investigate a political rival during a summer phone call.

What we know so far about the call: Trump on Sunday acknowledged that he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden in a July call with Ukraine's president. Now, Democrats have strengthened calls for investigation into Trump's contact with the foreign leader and party leadership warned of a new lawless chapter in the United States.

At the UN this week: The plots will converge Wednesday when Trump meets Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the summit here.

But before then, the President will dart between meetings with more than a dozen foreign leaders on Monday and Tuesday, eager to apply his distinctly personal brand of one-on-one diplomacy to the world's foremost body of multilateralism.