/2020 Elections: Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates
2020 Elections: Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

2020 Elections: Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

2020 Elections:

Oct. 8, 2019, 10: 29 a.m. ET

Oct. 8, 2019, 10: 29 a.m. ET

President Trump attacked two House leaders after they threatened to subpoena the White House, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, confirmed he listened in on the call with Ukraine’s president.


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Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, held a news conference about the progress of their impeachment inquiry of President Trump.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times


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President Trump disparaged Representative Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, during a meeting with the president of Finland.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

During a meeting at the White House with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, President Trump raged at his Democratic inquisitors.

With his guest sitting a few feet away, Mr. Trump angrily called Representative Adam B. Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “a lowlife,” and said he “should resign from office in disgrace, and frankly they should look at him for treason.”

Mr. Trump repeated his complaint that Mr. Schiff had “fraudulently” distorted his words in a House hearing last week by summarizing part of the president’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine. (Mr. Schiff said at the time that his summary was meant “at least part in parody.” Mr. Trump routinely satirizes the words of others.)

But Mr. Trump, who in a morning Twitter post said that Democrats are focused on “BULLSHIT,” chose to censor himself in a critique of Mr. Schiff, who said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may try to “interfere with witnesses” ordered to testify before Congress.

“That guy couldn’t carry his blank strap,” Mr. Trump said, unfavorably comparing Mr. Schiff to Mr. Pompeo. Mr. Trump seemed to be avoiding the words “jock strap” and using a common insult about masculinity.

Of the whistle-blower who lodged a formal complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, Mr. Trump said: “I think a whistle-blower should be protected, if the whistle-blower is legitimate.”

At a second appearance with Mr. Niinisto not much later, Mr. Trump became increasingly angry while responding to questions about the impeachment investigation, complaining that it was part of a “hoax” that has been perpetrated against him since he took office, and threatening vaguely to bring “a major lawsuit” in retaliation. He went after Mr. Schiff anew, and blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi, charging that she “hands out subpoenas like they’re cookies.”

— Michael Crowley

Read on: Impeachment War Room? Trump Does It All Himself, and That Worries Republicans

And more: Fact-Checking 4 of Trump’s Claims About the Impeachment Inquiry

The C.I.A. officer who filed the whistle-blower complaint first had a colleague convey concerns about President Trump to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer. But concerned about how that avenue for airing his allegations was unfolding, the officer then approached a House Intelligence Committee aide about his allegations.

The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations against Mr. Trump. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.

The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and file a whistle-blower complaint. The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff or anyone else, an official said.

Mr. Trump wasted no time in trying to use the revelation about the whistle-blower’s attempt to alert Congress to try to denigrate his complaint. In a news conference in the East Room of the White House after this article was published, Mr. Trump called it a scandal that Mr. Schiff knew the outlines of the whistle-blower’s accusations before he filed his complaint.

“Big stuff. That’s a big story,” Mr. Trump said, waving a copy of the article in the air. “He knew long before and helped write it, too. It’s a scam,” the president added, accusing Mr. Schiff of helping the whistle-blower write his complaint. There is no evidence that Mr. Schiff did, and his spokesman said he saw no part of the complaint before it was filed.

— Julian E. Barnes

Read on: Schiff, House Intel Chairman, Got Early Warning of Whistle-Blower’s Accusations


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President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCreditIllustration by The New York Times

The State Department’s independent watchdog arrived on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon to privately deliver to lawmakers a mysterious set of documents he said related to the State Department and Ukraine. Democrats were preparing for another possible bombshell that, some whispered, might show top administration officials had tried to obstruct their work.

Instead, they got a packet of assorted news clippings and conspiratorial memos about Democratic malfeasance in Ukraine that the State Department’s inspector general, Steven A. Linick, said had been delivered to Mr. Pompeo earlier this year from someone purporting to be at the White House. A legal adviser at the department then handed it on to Mr. Linick’s office at the time.

Lawmakers and officials familiar with the briefing and material said Mr. Linick made clear he did not assign credibility to the roughly 40 pages of material and doubted its actual provenance, but he thought lawmakers should have it in light of their investigative work.

The material came in an aged manilla envelope that listed “The White House” as the return address. It contained several folders that appeared to have come from a Trump hotel.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, called the material an “irrelevant distraction from the matter at hand.”

“It is very clear what it is,” he told reporters. “It is a package of propaganda, misinformation and conspiracy theories. The real question is where did it come from and how did it end up in our laps?”

But there were also intriguing potential leads. Among the documents were what appeared to be notes of interviews involving Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Ukrainian officials about the Bidens.

— Nicholas Fandos and Catie Edmondson

Read on: Impeachment Bombshell That Wasn’t: Mysterious Packet Sends Rumor Mill Into Overdrive


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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed during a news conference in Rome that he had listened in on President Trump’s telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine.CreditCreditFabio Frustaci/EPA, via Shutterstock

“I was on the phone call,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference in Rome — the first time he has addressed the topic publicly since reports surfaced that he had heard the exchange.

He did not elaborate on the conversation and did not answer a question about whether anything in it had raised a red flag for him.

Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on Wednesday for Mr. Pompeo to recuse himself from “all Ukraine-related matters,” saying Mr. Pompeo had a conflict of interest because he was among the Trump administration officials on the call. Mr. Menendez’s request followed a letter from the three House Democrats overseeing the impeachment inquiry who on Tuesday informed the deputy secretary of state, John Sullivan, that they would deal with him because they said Mr. Pompeo had a conflict of interest and could be called as a potential witness.

An anonymous whistle-blower within the government filed a complaint in August, citing the call and other factors as information that “the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

The complaint, made public last week, says that White House officials, rather than storing a record of the conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, in the usual computer system, attempted to “lock down” information on it, placing it in a more secure system, accessible to fewer people. The whistle-blower asserted this was done because they “understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

— Jason Horowitz, Richard Pérez-Peña and Eileen Sullivan

Read on: Pompeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President

And more: Echoes of Benghazi Criticism and Anger Confront Pompeo in Ukraine Inquiry

Related: First Barr, Now Pompeo: Italy Is Hub of Impeachment Intrigue for Trump Officials

The book, which was adapted in an article in The New York Times, discusses a series of ideas that Mr. Trump raised with aides in his quest to fortify the border. Besides the moat, the article also discussed that he mused about shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down.

Mr. Trump called the report obviously “fake,” because, he erroneously said, it was the work of The Washington Post. The authors are reporters for The New York Times.

— Michael Crowley

Read on: Trump Denies Considering a Border Moat

Senator Mitch McConnell’s comment this week that the Senate would be forced to “take up” articles of impeachment from the House had the capital in a swirl, bracing for a full-blown Senate trial of President Trump. But as things now stand, any trial would probably be swift, ending in dismissal of the accusations.

While the focus was on the statement by Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, that the Senate would have “no choice” but to begin an impeachment proceeding, it was his next line that might have been more telling: “How long you are on it is a whole different matter.”

The fusty rules of the Senate make clear that Republicans could not unilaterally stonewall articles of impeachment of Mr. Trump as they did the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick B. Garland. But Mr. McConnell’s declaration suggests the Republican-controlled Senate could move expeditiously to toss them out if Republicans conclude the House impeachment is meritless, or a strictly partisan affair.

— Carl Hulse

Read more in the “On Washington” column: Impeachment Rules Say Senate Must Act, but Its Act Might Be a Swift Dismissal

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