Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., responded to President Trump's recent remark about her late husband Rep. John Dingell, citing it as an example of an increasingly toxic political culture.
Trump, who honored the late congressman when he died in February, implied that he may be in hell when he said at a Michigan campaign rally, "maybe he's looking up" — instead of down from heaven. Members of both parties criticized the president's comment, which came after Dingell voted to impeach him.
"We have to learn in our country that you can disagree agreeably," Dingell told "Fox News Sunday," recognizing where the president may have been coming from. "I understand that this impeachment was a very personal issue to him, but I think there are lines that you don't cross, and I think he crossed a line there."
Neither Trump nor any White House representatives have apologized for his comment, but Dingell said she is not interested in an apology.
"What I do want is people to take a deep breath and think, going forward, that their words have consequences, that they can hurt, and how do we bring more civility back to our political environment," she said.
Immediately prior to his crack about the late congressman, Trump said that Mrs. Dingell had called him to thank him for honoring her husband. Sunday, she noted that she was not the one who made the call but acknowledged her gratitude.
"He called me to tell me he was lowering the flags, and to this day, to this minute, I'm grateful that he did it," she said. "I was grateful for the call, he was kind and empathetic, and it meant a lot to somebody who was hurting and loved her husband."
Dingell then read words her husband wrote after the death of President George H.W. Bush, which were in line with her message.
"We both shared deep concern about the hateful taunts, the despicable actions and language that plague our political culture," she quoted.
"He was worried about this country," she said. "And he wanted us to know that we all have responsibility for it."
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, showed confidence in the face of the current impeachment strategy being employed by House Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stating that, ultimately, he believes they will be the first ones to budge and move what he called a "political exercise" closer to its conclusion.
Pelosi and most of the other Democrats in the House approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump last week for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, yet they have sat on those articles instead of delivering them to the Senate for a trial. Pelosi has claimed that she is waiting for the Republican-controlled Senate to set the process for the trial before she appoints impeachment managers. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pushes for the ability to issue subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.
Later in the program, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., addressed the delay in the delivery of the articles of impeachment, claiming that while she does not know what the House's time frame will be, the present timeline is nothing out of the ordinary.
She pointed out that President Bill Clinton was impeached on Dec. 19, and the House did not appoint their managers until Jan. 6, after Congress returned from the holiday break. She does not believe the current Senate would move any faster, regardless of how quickly the House moved.
"Did you really think the United States Senate was going to start this trial before January 6?" she asked.
Host Chris Wallace pointed out that Pelosi is hoping to use her delay to give Shumer leverage in his discussions with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has accused Pelosi of having "cold feet."
Fox News contributor Sara Carter, American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp, and conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza share their reaction.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s presiding judge has sent another directive to the Justice Department, ordering officials to identify previous surveillance requests from an FBI lawyer linked to the 2016 warrant from former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In an order unsealed Friday, Judge Rosemary Collyer asked the Justice Department to identify steps to ensure the accuracy of those filings and whether the unnamed DOJ lawyer was ever disciplined.
DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz recently identified in a scathing public report numerous mistakes and omissions in the warrant used against Page that launched the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The letter unsealed Friday was dated Dec. 5, which was four days before Horowitz’s report was released.
Collyer had earlier this week ordered DOJ to identify by January 10 what steps it was taking to correct problems with the FISA warrant process. The FBI had promised to work with DOJ to comply.
Sources have said the unidentified FBI lawyer in question has since resigned his post, and the Horowitz report said he faces possible criminal prosecution.
In a rare public order earlier this week, Collyer strongly criticized the FBI over its surveillance-application process, giving the bureau until Jan. 10 to come up with solutions, in the wake of findings from Horowitz.
Horowitz said he did not find significant evidence that FBI agents were involved in a political conspiracy to undermine Trump's candidacy in 2016. However, the report did find numerous errors and inaccuracies used by FBI agents to obtain permission to monitor Page's phone calls and emails.
While Collyer's order earlier this week did not specify exactly what reforms the FBI needed to implement to its policies for obtaining permission to wiretap people under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the order did say that the FISA court will weigh in on whether the reforms are deemed sufficient.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court deals with some of the most sensitive matters of national security: terror threats and espionage. Its work, for the most part, cannot be examined by the American public, by order of Congress and the president. Its work is mostly secret, and its structure largely one-sided.
It was also revealed Friday that Collyer, who is also a senior judge on the DC federal court, will resign her position as presiding judge on the FISA court at year’s end. Her current term was set to expire in March 2020.
Chief Justice John Roberts will replace Collyer with James Boasberg, a colleague of Collyer on the FISA court and DC federal bench. He was named to the FISA court in 2014 and is one of 11 judges on the rotating FISA court.
Sources say Collyer, 74, is leaving for unspecified personal reasons.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.
Moderator Tim Alberta asked: "Three consecutive American presidents have enjoyed stints of explosive economic growth due to a boom in oil and natural gas production. As president, would you be willing to sacrifice some of that growth, even knowing potentially that it could displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers in the interest of transitioning to that greener economy?”
The former vice president provided an example of how in moving to a green energy economy, new jobs would replace lost jobs.
“We shouldn’t build another new highway in America that doesn’t have charging stations on it. We have an opportunity to put 550,000 charging stations so that we own the electrical vehicle market, creating millions of jobs for people installing them, as well making sure that we own electric vehicle market,” Biden explained.
But he insisted that “we have to make sure we explain it to those people who are displaced that their skills are going to be needed for the new opportunities."
The pro-Republican America Rising PAC quickly picked up on Biden’s answer, comparing it to a line Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made during the 2016 debates with then GOP nominee Donald Trump.
“The Biden line sounds familiar, doesn't it?,” wrote America Rising Press Secretary Joe Gierut.
He then highlighted Clinton’s line from 2016 when she said “we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Biden — along with every other Democratic presidential contender — is calling for transforming the nation’s economy off fossil fuels and toward clean energy in order to dramatically lower carbon emissions. Their stances stand in sharp contrast with President Trump, a climate change skeptic who once called it a “hoax.” Trump emphasized earlier this year that America’s wealth is built on energy and that “I’m not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills.”
The self-help author, who's running a longshot candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, later deleted the tweet and admitted the information was erroneous in a follow-up tweet. “Glad To have been wrong," Williamson wrote in a tweet that she also subsequently deleted.
Marianne Williamson appeared to have fallen for a satirical news story Sunday night, tweeting there was "something deeply sinister" about President Trump pardoning murderer Charles Manson.
According to fact-checking website Snopes.com, the story about Trump and Manson is satirical and stems from a phony article published on Nov. 16 by MoronMajority.com. It was then picked up by political website the Daily Kos, which didn't label the article satire, and it seems Williamson picked up on it over the weekend.
Manson died in November 2017 at 83 after suffering a heart attack and respiratory failure, triggered by colon cancer that had spread to other areas of his body. He had been serving a life sentence for orchestrating the 1969 killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight other people.
US official says the Florida Naval station shooting suspect was a Saudi national and authorities are investigating if the shooting was terrorism-related; Phil Keating reports.
President Trump said Friday that King Salman of Saudi Arabia had called him to “express sincere condolences” and said Saudis are “greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter.”
A gunman from Saudi Arabia opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola in Florida, killing three people. The gunman was an aviation student there. He was then fatally shot by officers.
“King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place in Pensacola, Florida,” Trump said.
“The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people,” he added.
His remarks came after Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron Desantis said the Saudis "owe a debt" following the shooting.
“The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims," DeSantis, who said he had spoken to President Trump about the shooting, told reporters during a news conference Friday afternoon. "They are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals.”
“Anyone who serves in the Navy knows that this is a special place, Naval Air Station Pensacola," DeSantis added. "All these brave warriors who wear the wings, they come through here for flight training. And so this is a dark day for a very great place."
The Pensacola Naval station is home to Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity's International Training Center, which trains international officers and enlisted students from allied nations.
"Immersing international students in our U.S. Navy training and culture helps build partnership capacity for both the present and for the years ahead," Cmdr. Bill Gibson, the center’s officer in charge, said in 2017. "These relationships are truly a win-win for everyone involved."
The majority of the hundreds of students who have participated in the program are of Saudi origin, according to the Navy.
The Saudi shooter wielded a handgun — even though firearms are not permitted at the base — before he was taken out by a pair of officers. Two were killed at the scene and one died while being rushed to the hospital. Seven others, including the two officers, suffered injuries and are being treated at a local hospital. One of the officers was shot in the arm and the other in the knee, but both are expected to survive.
Sources told Fox News that the Saudi student was "early" in his training and in the classroom phase at the beginning of what is a three-month program.
Saudis have received training at the Pensacola site since the 1970s. There are usually around 20 at a time in any given class, often from the royal family, which has created some tension over the years, putting pressure on officials to pass pilots through the training program in an attempt to preserve diplomacy with the U.S. ally. Many US military pilots have complained that some of the Saudi pilots are not safe.
Security was tightened at the base four or five years ago: the front gate is closed to civilians; it would take them about 45 minutes to get through security. However, not every car is always checked.
Officials have not confirmed the name of the shooter.
According to Schiff, David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, shed light on Trump's selfishness when he revealed that the president told Ambassador Gordon Sondland that the president only cared about a potential investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden — not other Ukraine-related issues, like a potential war with Russia.
“That says it all,” Schiff reportedly said. “The President doesn’t give a s–t about what’s good for our country, what’s good for Ukraine. It’s all about what’s in it for him personally and for his reelection campaign.”
Schiff's comments were just the latest salvo in an ongoing feud between him and the president, as both accused the other of egregious abuses of power. Trump has even requested that Schiff himself testify in the ongoing impeachment inquiry hearings.
It's unclear whether Pelosi will have enough votes to make Trump the third president impeached in U.S. history. But if she did, Schiff indicated that obstruction of justice would easily make it into the articles of impeachment.
“You could not have a more open-and-shut case of obstruction of Congress,” he said, referring to the administration's refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
"As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. And I pray for the president all the time, so don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," she said.
Sinclair reporter James Rosen had asked Pelosi: "Do you hate the president?"
"I don't hate anybody," she initially shot back. She wagged her finger and pointed at Rosen, telling him not to accuse her of hating someone. Rosen denied doing so.
After Pelosi's presser, President Trump appeared to address the issue on Twitter.
"Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit," he tweeted. "She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more. Stock Market and employment records. She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close. Help the homeless in your district Nancy. USMCA?"
The exchange came during the Speaker's weekly press briefing and just after she publicly called for articles of impeachment against Trump — a significant development as the House Judiciary Committee holds public hearings in House Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Thursday's showdown was just the latest of stern condemnations to come from Pelosi. She previously knocked Rosen, a former Fox News reporter, in November, describing him as "Mr. Republican talking points" after he asked a question about Trump getting the right to confront his accuser in the Ukraine controversy.
“If you are annoyed with my impatience," she added, "it’s because people are dying because Senator McConnell hasn’t acted. Why don’t you go ask him if he has any regrets for all the people who died because he hasn’t acted?”
The California congresswoman has described herself as a "devout practicing Catholic," identifying with what is perhaps the largest pro-life organization in the world.
Catholic clergy have repeatedly condemned both the act itself and pro-choice political advocacy. Vatican officials have reportedly said Pelosi should be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion and the last pope — Pope Benedict XVI — personally reminded her of the Church's stance on the issue during a private meeting.
2020 hopeful Joe Biden claims 65 percent of voters in the state are still undecided.
President Trump's campaign has seized on a resurfaced clip of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden in which the former vice president described how children would rub his leg hair back when he was a lifeguard at a Delaware pool in his younger days.
"I got hairy legs that turned … blonde in the sun. And the kids used to come up and reach into the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and watch the hair come back up again," Biden recalled. He then said he "learned about kids jumping on my lap, and I loved kids jumping on my lap."
A video of the comments was shared by Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh Sunday morning with the lament, "This can't be real life."
While there was nothing nefarious about the tale, Biden's opponents are seizing on it as yet another awkward and bizarre moment from a Biden speech, which he gave in June 2017. The full version reveals that the story otherwise had little to do with what Biden had been talking about, as it was immediately preceded by praise for Herman Holloway, the first black state senator in Delaware's history who was elected in 1964. Biden addressed Holloway's son, Herman Jr., who was in attendance.
This is not the first time this particular speech, which was delivered at what is now the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Aquatic Center, was in the news. It surfaced earlier in September, with the focus on an anecdote Biden relayed of an encounter he had with a gang leader named Corn Pop when he worked at the local pool. That story drew initial skepticism over its veracity, only for other accounts to corroborate it.
Biden was also trending online over the weekend for another strange incident, this one more recent. At an Iowa campaign stop last week, Biden's wife Jill delivered a speech during which she gestured with her right hand, waving it near his face as he stood nearby. The former vice president then playfully nibbled on her finger, drawing laughter from the crowd.
President Trump was briefed about the whistleblower complaint prompted by his dealings with Kiev before the White House lifted a hold on more than $391 million in aid to Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.
The president was briefed about the complaint in August by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and John Eisenberg, an attorney with the White House National Security Council, the people said. The complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry by Democrats in the House, which Trump has dismissed as a hoax.
The inquiry alleges that Trump abused the power of his office by pressing Ukraine to open investigations that could benefit him politically at a time when he had ordered congressionally approved Ukraine aid put on hold. The White House has defended the president’s actions, in part by saying there was no link between suspending the aid and the president’s request for investigations because the hold on the money was lifted in September.
The August briefing Trump received from the White House lawyers, which was earlier reported by the New York Times, indicates Trump was aware of the whistleblower complaint before he ordered the hold on aid lifted.
Former National Security Council aide Fiona Hill lambasts what she calls the “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election during her testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry on Thursday.
Hill and David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, are set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. The inquiry has focused on how President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations related to the Bidens, as well as alleged actions taken by Ukraine in the 2016 election, as aid was withheld.
In her prepared testimony obtained by Fox News, Hill says, “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
She adds: “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.”
The transcript of Trump's July 25 call with Zelensky shows Trump asking for a “favor” in the form of Ukraine providing information about the hacking of the DNC server in 2016. He referenced CrowdStrike, a cyber firm used by the DNC to investigate the attacks.
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump said.
Hill's comments appear to reference such allegations.
“These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” Hill says.
She also plans to tell lawmakers: “The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.”
Democrats have dismissed the notion that Ukraine played a role in the 2016 race. But Republicans throughout the hearing have repeatedly asked witnesses about a separate Ukraine-related allegation involving Alexandra Chalupa—a former Democratic National Committee consultant who allegedly had meetings during the 2016 campaign with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign figures.
On Thursday, California Rep. Devin Nunes — the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee — railed into Democrats during the hearing, saying, "They got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa—a Democratic National Committee operative who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign—by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings."
Hill is also expected to testify Thursday about what she witnessed inside the White House as two men — European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — carried out foreign policy for the president.
In closed-door testimony last month, Hill testified that she spent an "inordinate amount of time" at the White House coordinating with Sondland, whose donation to Trump's inauguration preceded his appointment as ambassador to the EU. Sondland testified Wednesday that Trump and Giuliani sought a quid pro quo with Ukraine tied to a White House meeting, but stressed he never heard Trump himself tie military aid to his request for investigations, the matter at the heart of the probe.
Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Kiev who overheard that July 26 call, is also testifying Thursday as investigators wrap up two weeks of public hearings. Holmes heard Trump ask Sondland whether Zelenskiy was going to conduct the investigations he wanted and be told he would.
Opening the hearing on Thursday, Schiff said lawmakers in the coming days will “determine what response is appropriate” after the recent testimony.
“It will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency,” Schiff said.
Trump on Thursday railed against the proceedings as a "phony impeachment hoax." He denied putting pressure on Ukraine and tweeted, "I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment!"
Fox News' Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 21 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
Republican strategist and MSNBC commentator Steve Schmidt Wednesday evening warned that Democratic presidential candidates that lean to the extreme left may not be able to beat President Trump in 2020.
“I do think there is a danger when you look at some of the ideology that we’ve seen front and center in this field,” Schmidt said during the network’s coverage before the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta. “In America, a sociopath will beat a socialist seven days a week and twice on Sunday.”
Public hearings fail to increase support for impeachment.
A scathing tell-all about President Trump entitled "A Warning" — written by an anonymous administration official — hit bookstores on Tuesday and alleges that Trump has repeatedly made derisive remarks about migrants, mimicking their accents and calling them "useless," according to excerpts of the book.
The book's author, who also penned a now-infamous op-ed in the New York Times in 2018 claiming that he or she was "part of the resistance" to undermine Trump– wrote in the book of an instance where Trump mocked the flood of migrants coming across the border.
""We get these women coming in with like seven children," Trump told his listeners, briefly attempting a Hispanic accent. "They are saying, 'Oh, please help! My husband left me!' They are useless. They don't do anything for our country. At least if they came in with a husband we could put him in the fields to pick corn or something," an excerpt from the book read.
The anonymous writer also enumerated several other instances where Trump took fiery and flippant stances on major public or policy issues and called the president's outward stance on combatting corruption in Ukraine as "barely believable to anyone around him."
"The obvious corruption was in the Oval Office. The president had apparently learned nothing from the Mueller saga. Only we did. We learned that, given enouhg time and space, Donald J. Trump will seek to abuse any power he is given," the book reads.
“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Nov. 7. "Real authors reach out to their subjects to get things fact checked – but this person is in hiding, making that very basic part of being a real writer impossible. Reporters who choose to write about this farce should have the journalistic integrity to cover the book as what it is – a work of fiction."
Still, the author's book includes a number of colorful anecdotes and details about their tenure working at the White House, painting a picture of Trump as "uncomfortable" to be around.
"He stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesizing information, not occasionally but with regularity," the book said.
In one instance, the author alleges that Trump asked his legal team to draft a bill to send to Congress that would reduce the number of federal judges across the country, a request that was ultimately ignored by staff members.
""Can we just get rid of the judges,? Let's get rid of the f—–g" judges," Trump fumed one morning. "There's shouldn't be any at all,"" the author wrote.
The book also talks about Trump's alleged derogatory demeanor towards women, asserting that he "comments on makeup. He makes jokes about weight. He critiques clothing. He questions the toughness of women in and round his orbit. He uses words like "sweetie" and "honey to address accomplished professionals."
The author also declares that less than halfway through Trump’s term “top advisers and Cabinet-level officials contemplated what might be called a midnight self-massacre, resigning en masse to call attention to Trump’s misconduct and erratic leadership,” but the plan was scrapped, adding that a lot of staffers had "draft resignation letters in our desks or on our laptops."
“The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse. It got worse anyway,” the anonymous author wrote.
"I cannot overstate the consequences of reelecting Donald Trump," the author warned. "The Trump administration is an unmitigated catastrophe, and the responsibility rests entirely at his feet…I believe firmly that whatever benefits we may have gained from individual Trump policies are vastly outweighed by the incalculable damage he has done to the fabric of our republic. I cannot yet say who will turn the ship, but four more years of Trump could very well sink it."
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes makes opening statement in impeachment inquiry.
The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee continued Tuesday evening to criticize the committee’s lengthy impeachment hearings into President Trump, and committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., questioned Schiff, D-Calif., whether the chairman expected to “have any more ‘magical’ 15 minutes” after the lawyer representing the Democrats continued questioning former U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison, a former top national security adviser to Trump, following a recess in the hearing.
Schiff responded that the 15 minutes of questioning was allowed under a House resolution. Following the verbal scuffle between the chairman and ranking member, the Republicans’ lawyer, Steve Castor, was able to question Volker and Morrison.
Nunes, who has been a combative presence to Democrats throughout the impeachment hearings, questioned the length of Tuesday’s hearing as it dragged on into the evening hours. It came after a recess when Democrats and Republicans mutually agreed to take additional time before going into the individual member rounds.
During earlier testimony, Nunes made news when referring to a witness as “Mr.” instead of using his military rank. When Nunes looked down from the dais Tuesday and addressed Alexander Vindman as “Mr. Vindman,” the military man pushed back.
Ken Starr and Jordan Sekulow weigh in on former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s Capitol Hill testimony.
A State Department official told the House impeachment inquiry on Friday that he heard President Trump talking with E.U. Ambassador GOrdon Sondland about “investigations” in Ukraine.
David Holmes, the political counsel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified behind closed doors that he was at a restaurant in Kiev on July 26 when Sondland spoke to Trump over the phone, a day after Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In his opening statement, posted online by CNN and confirmed by Fox News, Holmes said that Trump was talking so loudly that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear, which allowed others to hear.
Holmes said Sondland told Trump that Zelensky “loves your ass” to which Trump responded: “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?
“He’s gonna do it,” Sondland replied.
The testimony relates to the claim by House Democrats that Trump had attempted a quid pro quo for military aid by urging Zelensky to “look into” alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct in the country — particularly the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating an energy company on which Hunter Biden sat on the board.
Trump has denied such a quid pro quo, and allies have noted that the military aid was eventually released — and that Zelensky did not know that the aid was being withheld at the time of the call.
According to Holmes, Sondland said immediately after the July 26 call that the president did not “give a sh** about Ukraine” and only cared about “big stuff” like the “Biden investigation.”
Holmes was brought to the inquiry’s attention when Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified that a staff member told him they overheard the phone call.
“Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine,” Taylor said in his opening statement on Wednesday. “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Trump’s personal attorney Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said Holmes’ testimony counters the claims by Republicans that the inquiry has been based on hearsay.
“He has firsthand knowledge of the conversation between Ambassador Sondland and the president of the United States,” Lieu told The Associated Press. “He overheard the conversation.”
"I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do," Trump told reporters at the White House later in the day.
"I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do."
— President Trump
In the middle of Yovanovitch's testimony Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
Democrats have accused Trump of “witness intimidation” with his tweet, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff read the tweet to Yovanovitch during her testimony and asked her to respond.
Lawmakers were set to question Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees U.S. policy on Ukraine; Chad Pergram reports from Capitol Hill.
The House Ethics Committee has sent a memo to members of Congress and their staffers about how to conduct themselves in secure areas, weeks after around two dozen Republican lawmakers barged into a closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The memo, signed by Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, reminds members that they are given access to classified rooms "on a 'need to know' basis" and warns that "breaches of security protocols or unauthorized disclosures could result in the decertification of these facilities[, which would] significantly impair the House's ability to conduct its business."
"Inadvertent breaches of security protocols or unauthorized disclosures may be handled as a matter of security by the committees of jurisdiction over the relevant classified information or controlled areas," the memo continued. "However, attempts to gain unauthorized access to classified areas or purposeful breaches of basic security protocols may cause classified information to be improperly disclosed, and may reflect discreditably on the House as a legislative body."
On Oct. 23, about 30 House Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., flooded the secure room where Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine policy at the Department of Defense, was set to testify. Because there was no agreement that non-members of the Intelligence, Oversight or Foreign Affairs Committees could be present, Cooper's deposition was delayed for approximately hours after Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., suspended the proceedings.
Some of the Republican members brought in phones and other electronic devices into the secure area, despite agreeing to an oath that they would not do so. Members of the House GOP had repeatedly accused Democrats of a lack of transparency in the early stages of the inquiry.
In Friday's memo, Deutch and Marchat reminded members that "portable electronic devices [PEDs] should generally not be taken into any controlled area. PEDs include, but are not limited to, cell phones, laptops, smartwatches, tablets, or any other devices capable of transmitting or receiving an electronic signal."
The Republicans eventually left the secure room and Cooper completed her deposition.
Following the incident, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sent a letter to House Sergeant at Arms Irving, raising “serious concerns” about the security of SCIF’s. He asked Irving to “take action with respect to the Members involved in the breach.”
House Intelligence Committee member Elise Stefanik on challenging Rep. Schiff over whistleblower.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., took some public swipes at Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., mocking him at Friday's impeachment hearing by reading old tweets from when the House Intelligence Committee chairman vowed to have the Ukraine whistleblower testify before his panel.
Stefanik read aloud Schiff’s tweets — as well as quotes from news reports and television appearances — where Schiff said that the whistleblower, who remains anonymous, would testify. Schiff has since denied requests for that individual to come forward, calling the potential testimony “redundant” and “unnecessary” last week.
“The chairman refused to allow us to put these into the record with unanimous consent,” Stefanik, R-N.Y., said. “As we know, it is important to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and firing…but in this case, the fact that we are getting criticized for statements he, himself, made earlier in the process shows the duplicity and abuse of power we see.”
At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House.
On the call, Trump pressed Zelensky to open an investigation into Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a "quid pro quo" arrangement.
Schiff said in September that the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks, has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.
Republicans involved in the impeachment inquiry have included the whistleblower on their list of proposed witnesses. Schiff has blasted GOP members for the request and has said that the whistleblower will not appear for testimony as part of the inquiry.
Earlier in the hearing, Schiff repeatedly shut down Stefanik, citing House procedure, as she attempted to question former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“This is the fifth time you have interrupted a duly-elected member of Congress,” Stefanik told Schiff, who repeatedly told her she was “not recognized” to speak.
The confrontation began when committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., yielded the remainder of his allotted time for questioning Yovanovich to Stefanik, who had sparred multiple times with Schiff during both hearings.
But as Stefanik spoke, Schiff slammed down the gavel: "The gentlewoman will suspend."
"What is the interruption for now?" she shot back.
What followed was a back and forth between Nunes and Schiff as to whether the Republican could offer his time to a fellow member of Congress, rather than minority counsel. Stefanik repeatedly tried to speak, only for Schiff to bang his gavel again.
"You're gagging the member from New York?" Nunes laughed at one point.
Fox News' Adam Shaw and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.
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President Trump “vented” his frustration with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson after Atkinson reported a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Congress, but no moves were made within the White House to fire Atkinson, a senior administration official told Fox News Tuesday.
The official said that while Trump was angered with Atkinson – saying something along the lines of “Can we get rid of him?” – there was never any serious consideration given to removing Atkinson from his post as the intelligence community’s top watchdog.
The comment by the White House official came shortly after a New York Times report published Tuesday said that Trump has raised the idea of firing Atkinson multiple times since the whistleblower’s complaint was made public in September. Some sources in the Times story, however, also suggested that Trump was just “venting” and that Atkinson’s job was never in jeopardy.
Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, leaves the Capitol last month. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
The president has been highly critical of Atkinson during the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump. The president has publically accused Atkinson of lacking integrity and of working with Democrats to undermine his presidency.
Trump has also criticized the handling of the complaint and asserted that Atkinson “should have never let it start.”
“Why doesn’t the ICIG do something about this Scam? He should have never let it start, a Dem Hoax!” Trump tweeted Oct. 9.
Atkinson, who previously worked at the Justice Department’s National Security Division, was nominated for his current job by Trump in late 2017, but the nomination was held up amid demands from senators for information from then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats about the removal of the leader of a whistleblower protection office.
During his confirmation hearing, Atkinson promised to work with lawmakers and keep them informed of any significant complaints. He was confirmed in May 2018 and quickly earned bipartisan praise for his work in tackling dysfunction within the intelligence community.
The Hill reported that Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, penned a letter to Coats last summer in which he praised Atkinson for taking on his job “with a degree of zeal and dedication that is welcome in an office previously rife with challenges.”
The report of Trump venting his anger at Atkinson comes less than 24 hours before the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry is set to begin.
The hearing is to feature Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who already testified behind closed doors to congressional investigators that the president pushed Ukraine to investigate election interference, former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their Ukraine dealings.
George Kent, the deputy assistant Secretary of State, is also scheduled to appear Wednesday. Kent testified behind closed doors last month and told the committees he had concerns about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Ukrainian natural-gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 but was rebuffed by the former vice president’s staff, which said the office was preoccupied with Beau Biden’s cancer battle.
It was also reported on Tuesday that a newly filed complaint to the ICIG alleges that the whistleblower whose allegations touched off House Democrats' impeachment inquiry may have violated federal law by indirectly soliciting more than a quarter-million dollars from mostly anonymous sources via a GoFundMe page.
The complaint, which was filed last week and obtained by Fox News, alleged the donations from roughly 6,000 individuals "clearly constitute" gifts to a current intelligence official that may be restricted because of the employee's official position pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.203 and other statutes. To date, the GoFundMe has raised over $227,000.
Democratic strategist Kevin Chavous and Republican strategist Lauren Claffey debate House Democrats' handling of the impeachment investigation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff set the stage for the first public hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry by vowing to keep questions at Wednesday's lead-off session focused on the Ukraine controversy — in an implicit shot at Republican members who have signaled an interest in turning the tables on Democrats as they defend President Trump.
"It is important to underscore that the House’s impeachment inquiry, and the Committee, will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to undertake for his personal political benefit," Schiff, D-Calif., wrote as part of a memo and letter to colleagues on procedures for the open hearings.
Notably, he cited rules for the investigation that would keep it focused on alleged attempts by the president to seek politically advantageous investigations from a foreign government, and whether he sought to cover it up.
The first hearings in the public phase of the impeachment inquiry will feature testimony from State Department official George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor on Wednesday. Later this week, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich will appear.
“The House’s inquiry into whether grounds exist for President Trump’s impeachment has been, and will continue to be, a sober and rigorous undertaking,” Schiff wrote to both Democrat and Republican members of the committee, vowing that the public hearings will adhere to House rules governing the impeachment process and that participants will be “treated fairly and with respect, mindful of the solemn and historic task before us.”
Schiff outlined some of the rules, including that members not assigned to the Intelligence Committee are not permitted to make statements or question witnesses, but are allowed to sit in the audience; there will be “equal time” for himself and Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to make opening statements; and there will be five-minute questioning segments for both parties.
The formal rules approved by the House last month also gave Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses — they sent over an extensive list of requested witnesses over the weekend.
But the Democratic majority has the final say. And while Schiff said they are reviewing the Republicans' list, his statements Tuesday signaled he would not be inclined to entertain witnesses or questioning that would shift focus to anything other than the allegations against Trump.
Republicans, though, have shown an interest in digging deeper into allegations against the Bidens, which is what prompted Trump's request to Ukraine in the first place — eventually triggering the impeachment probe.
In Trump's now-famous July phone call, he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations concerning Hunter Biden's role on a Ukrainian natural gas firm's board and Joe Biden's role ousting a prosecutor looking into that firm. This prompted a whistleblower complaint and, in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and some witnesses have cited as a quid pro quo arrangement.
Over the weekend, Nunes, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, listed Hunter Biden as one of numerous witnesses they'd like to call for hearings. They also sought former Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa in connection to allegations of Ukraine election meddling.
In his memo, Schiff stated that the committee is “evaluating the Minority’s requested witnesses and will give due consideration to witnesses within the scope of the impeachment inquiry.”
Schiff said that the parameters of the investigation include questions about whether Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine for “personal political interests;” whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to advance his own interests; and whether he and/or his administration sought to “obstruct, suppress or cover up information to conceal from the Congress and the American people.”
Schiff has already denied the Republicans’ proposal to have the whistleblower appear as a witness.
Meanwhile, on Monday, top Republicans on impeachment-related committees sent their own memo to fellow Republican members outlining their strategy.
Republicans said that the president had a “deep-seated, genuine and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine and U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign aid" due to the country's history of "pervasive corruption,” while claiming that Ukrainian government officials meddled in the 2016 presidential election in opposition to Trump.