Whistleblower alleges White House coverup

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 7:56 p.m. ET, September 27, 2019
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11:45 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

House Intelligence Committee is preparing for hearings as soon as next week

From CNN's Manu Raju 

House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN there will be a “busy couple weeks” and said they are preparing for hearings as soon as next week.

“I expect subpoenas," he said, adding depositions are going to go out and move as “expeditiously as possible.”

He wouldn’t comment on any specifics.

And if the White House stonewalls? “It will strengthen the case on obstruction," he said.

11:28 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

These are the 13 House Democrats who haven't called for impeachment

The list of House Democrats who support opening an impeachment inquiry into President Trump climbed to 222 this week — but there are still some holdouts.

Here are the 13 House representatives who haven't made public statements in support of impeachment, or have offered only conditional support.

  1. Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia
  2. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
  3. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine
  4. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota
  5. Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey
  6. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico
  7. Rep. Max Rose of New York
  8. Rep. Anthony Brindisi of New York
  9. Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma
  10. Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina
  11. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas
  12. Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah
  13. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin

Eleven of the holdouts represent districts that Trump carried in 2016.

Some context: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initiated impeachment proceedings by instructing the six House committees already investigating Trump to continue their investigation "under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry."

For the impeachment to officially start, a simple majority of the House (or 218 members) needs to vote in favor. Then, the Senate conducts a trial. A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate is required to convict and remove the president from the office — which has never happened before.

11:11 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

GOP representative: Trump administration “needs to answer” why Ukraine call transcript was moved to highly secure system

Rep. James Comer, a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a Republican from Kentucky, told CNN this morning he believes the Trump administration "needs to answer" why they used a highly secure system for the Ukraine call record. 

"I think that is a question that the Trump administration needs to answer," Comer said about the decision to move the call record.

Comer added that he's "confident" that Democrats will be asking that question "as they press forward with their quest to try to impeach the President."

10:44 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

White House says lawyers directed moving Ukraine call transcript to highly secure system

From CNN's Pamela Brown

The White House is acknowledging for the first time that officials did direct key documents be filed in a separate classified system.

In a statement provided to CNN, a senior White House official says it was under the direction of National Security Council attorneys: “NSC lawyers directed that the classified document be handled appropriately.”

What this means: The admission lends further credibility to the whistleblower complaint description of how the transcript with the Ukrainian president, among others, were kept out of wider circulation by using a system for highly sensitive documents.

The statement does not explain whether anyone else in the White House was part of the decision to put the documents in the more restrictive system.

10:19 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

Ukrainian corruption investigators are probing gas firm — but not Hunter Biden

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina

Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) confirmed in a statement Friday it was investigating activity at gas company that previously employed Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.

It clarified that it was examining the company’s activity prior to Hunter Biden’s employment with the firm.

Here's the NABU's full statement:

In recent days, we have been receiving a lot of questions about the NABU investigations against [former President Viktor] Yanukovych's former minister of ecology [and natural resources] and his company, Burisma. We remind you:
NABU is investigating criminal proceedings for misconduct by the officials within the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources under President Yanukovych with regards to issuing special permits for hydrocarbon exploration to a number of enterprises founded by Burisma Limited and the ultimate beneficiary and owner, the minister.
The events investigated by NABU detectives in this case only cover the period of 2010-2012.
Changes in Burisma Limited's board of directors, which have now become the focus of the international community, only took place in May 2014, so they are not and have never been the subject of NABU's investigation.
Checking the activities of members of the board of private entities in periods that are not related to the period covered by a possible criminal offense is not the task of NABU.
10:24 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

Here's what Trump is tweeting about the whistleblower

President Trump is tweeting this morning about the anonymous whistleblower who filed a complaint against him.

Trump claimed the information has "proved to be so inaccurate" and suggested it may have come from a "leaker or spy" or "partisan operative."

Some context: According to the whistleblower's complaint, he or she was not a direct witness to Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, he or she cites conversations with White House officials who had direct knowledge of the phone call.

Many details of the whistleblower's complaint match up with the White House transcript released on Wednesday.

The president also tweeted "IT WAS A PERFECT CONVERSATION WITH UKRAINE PRESIDENT!"

10:12 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

Democrats hope to potentially impeach by Thanksgiving

From CNN's Manu Raju

The exact details about how House Democrats will proceed with their impeachment inquiry are still unclear, but we have a general sense of how it will work.

Democrats hope to wrap the inquiry up by years’ end, and the goal is to potentially impeach by Thanksgiving.

Here's what we know about the next steps:

  • Getting information: The House Intelligence Committee will send letters out for documents to glean more information about the handling of the whistleblower complaint and the President’s communications — and may issue subpoenas to get information, including potentially to the State Department to get info about Rudy Giuliani’s communications with Ukraine.
  • The articles of impeachment: Once they’ve exhausted their options — either by getting information or if the White House stonewalls — Democrats may move forward with articles of impeachment, potentially over obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. But the exact details and the exact calendar have yet to be sorted out.
  • The vote: At that point, the House Judiciary Committee would vote on the articles of impeachment and send it to the full House.
10:01 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

The House is set to go into recess. Some Democrats have been told to be ready to stay in DC.

From CNN's Manu Raju

Members of the House Intelligence Committee have been told to be prepared to potentially return to Washington during the upcoming two-week recess as Democrats try to wrap up the impeachment inquiry this fall, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Here's why: It’s possible the committee could hear testimony from the whistleblower and again from Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, according to lawmakers. Other witnesses are possible, but it’s unclear yet who will come.

9:45 a.m. ET, September 27, 2019

Democratic senator calls for Mike Pompeo to testify about the Trump-Zelensky call

From CNN's Nicole Gaouette

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is asking for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to immediately testify about the President's call with the Ukrainian president.

In a letter to Pompeo, Menendez wrote that it “remains unclear what, if anything, you and the State Department did in response to this unacceptable behavior.”

Menendez also demanded justification as to why Rudy Giuliani was involved and details on his engagement with  Special Envoy Kurt Volker.

“In his call with President Zelensky, the President repeatedly encouraged a foreign leader to speak with his private personal attorney. Not a government official, not a diplomat, not a representative of the State Department. His personal attorney,” Menendez wrote. “As Secretary of State, you are charged with carrying out foreign policy for the United States. Yet it appears that our policy with Ukraine was effectively outsourced to a private individual pursuing the personal vendettas of the President.”