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President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been hospitalized just one day before he was due for a court appearance, his defense attorney told Fox News.
Manafort, who is serving more than seven years in prison after being convicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for tax fraud and conspiracy in March, has been recovering in a Pennsylvania hospital under the watch of corrections officers.
Manafort’s defense attorney Todd Blanche told Fox News his condition is stable but Manafort will not be present at the hearing tomorrow.
“Of course, his family and friends are extremely concerned about his health and still do not have a full understanding of his medical condition or well-being,” said Blanche.
Though Blanche could not confirm, ABC News, who first reported the hospitalization, said it had received word from two sources familiar with the situation that Manafort was hospitalized due to a cardiac event.
Manafort was due in court in New York City to face charges of residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records, among others. The state charges in New York came just after his March sentencing and could put him outside the president’s power to pardon.
The New York hearing on Manafort’s case is expected to go on as scheduled, without Manafort in the courtroom, according to The Associated Press. A judge is expected to rule on a defense motion which sought to have the case dismissed on the grounds of double jeopardy.
Manafort in October 2018 appeared in court in a wheelchair for a hearing to set his sentencing date. Attorneys for Manafort argued the sentencing date should be set for as soon as possible because the terms of Manafort’s current imprisonment were negatively affecting his health.
GOP counsel Steve Castor questions the Biden family's Ukraine connection during his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee's second impeachment hearing.
The top lawyer for Judiciary and Intelligence Committee Republicans testified Monday that there was a “legitimate basis” for President Trump to ask Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to launch a public investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine.
During impeachment inquiry testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee, minority counsel Steve Castor tried to turn the tables on the Democrat-led investigation into whether President Trump tried to pressure his Ukrainian colleague into investigating a political rival by withholding aid and a White House meeting by arguing that there were real concerns about the former vice president’s son’s involvement with the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings.
The impeachment inquiry into Trump began when a whistleblower reported that the president had pushed Zelensky to launch a public investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine—specifically, why Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who at the time was investigating Burisma Holdings.
Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates in Ukraine and by a number of high-level U.S. foreign service members, there has been no evidence the former vice president or his son broke the law.
The House Judiciary Committee is holding an impeachment hearing Monday where committee lawyers are presenting evidence in the case, as Democrats begin to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump at the direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The committee is expected to receive the “presentations of evidence” from Judiciary Committee Majority Counsel Barry Berke and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman. Stephen Castor will serve as counsel for Republicans on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
The IG report on the origins of the Russia probe will reportedly hit FBI leadership for their handling of the investigation, according to The New York Times.
The Justice Department's internal watchdog is set to release a highly anticipated report Monday that is expected to document misconduct — including the deliberate falsification of at least one key document — during the investigation into President Trump's 2016 campaign.
At the same time, the report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history. It began in secret during Trump’s 2016 presidential run before then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller ultimately took it over.
The report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden — a probe the president also claimed has been politically biased. The House Judiciary Committee is expected hold a hearing Monday on the inquiry's findings.
The release of Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz's review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation for years. It's also not the last word: A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Attorney General Bill Barr and led by U.S. Attorney John Durham. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn’t examining.
Sources told Fox News in October that Durham's probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017 has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation — and Horowitz's report will shed light on why Durham has been leading a criminal inquiry.
Horowitz has forwarded to Durham evidence that an FBI lawyer manipulated a key investigative document related to the FBI's secretive surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page in 2016 and 2017 — enough to change the substantive meaning of the document, according to multiple reports last month.
"I think we'll learn part of the story tomorrow," Page told the Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on "Sunday Morning Futures." "What I've learned from some of the leakers and one of the papers of record: a top reporter there said there's a lot of exculpatory evidence that's remaining classified, and there's been internal battles."
The inspector general's investigation began in early 2018, and has focused in part on the FBI's surveillance of Page. The FBI applied in the fall of 2016 for a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page's communications, flatly telling the court that Page was an "agent" of a foreign power.
Page was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing. The ultimately successful warrant application on Page relied in part on information from British ex-spy Christopher Steele – whose anti-Trump views have been well-documented – and cited Page's suspected Russia ties.
In its warrant application, the FBI inaccurately assured the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court on numerous occasions that media sources independently corroborated Steele's claims, and did not clearly state that Steele worked for a firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Much of the Steele dossier has been proven discredited or unsubstantiated, including the dossier's claims that the Trump campaign was paying hackers in the United States out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami, and that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russians. Mueller also was unable to substantiate the dossier's claims that Page had received a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant, or that a lurid blackmail tape involving the president existed.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear testimony from Horowitz on Wednesday, said he expected the report would be "damning" about the process of obtaining the warrant.
"I'm looking for evidence of whether or not they manipulated the facts to get the warrant," Graham, R-S.C., told "Sunday Morning Futures."
Fox News' Brooke Singman, Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Trump has given her no choice but to authorize the drafting of articles of impeachment; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Washington.
During the first day of public hearings from the committee on Wednesday, Collins and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin goaded Nadler to provide details on when he planned on scheduling the requested hearing, and what his specific next steps were in the impeachment proceedings. But they were promptly shut down, as Nadler refused to recognize them during the hearings.
Collins' letter cited a rarely exercised privilege, stating that "Minority Members 'shall be entitled to … call witnesses selected by the minority to testify with respect to that measure or matter during at least one day of hearing thereon.'”
It is unclear who specifically Republicans plan on calling as a witness, although several have floated the idea of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., being called, after his committee released a report on the impeachment inquiry Tuesday that concluded Trump withheld nearly $391 million in military aid from Ukraine, conditioning its delivery — as well as a White House visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — on a public announcement that Zelensky was conducting investigations into 2020 Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter. It also accuses Trump of obstruction for instructing witnesses not to comply with congressional subpoenas, as well as witness intimidation.
"Mr. Schiff should testify. Chairman Schiff, not his staff, must appear before this committee to answer questions about the content of his report," Collins said Wednesday.
The president has ordered several key witnesses to the impeachment probe, including Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, not to testify.
"The requested minority hearing day must take place before articles of impeachment are considered by the Committee," the letter said.
Reaction and analysis from 'Exonerated' author Dan Bongino and former Sen. Schumer aide Chris Hahn.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has announced a new impeachment hearing for next week where committee lawyers will present evidence in the case, as Democrats begin to draft articles of impeachment at the direction of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Nadler, D-N.Y., scheduled the hearing for Monday at 9 a.m., where the committee will receive "presentations of evidence" from both Democratic and Republican counsels for both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
The announcement comes shortly after Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday morning that Democrats will proceed with articles of impeachment against President Trump, claiming the president’s conduct left Democrats with “no choice but to act.”
Nadler's committee held its first hearing in the process on Wednesday featuring four law professors—most of them Democrat-invited witnesses who presented arguments in favor of impeachment. They stated that the president abused his office and committed several impeachable offenses that reached the levels of high crimes and misdemeanors, as well as obstruction of justice. The sole witness called by Republicans, though, argued the contrary — he said the legal case to impeach Trump was “woefully inadequate” and even “dangerous."
Nevertheless, Pelosi said Thursday that the facts are “uncontested” that Trump “abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security,” by allegedly using military aid to Ukraine as leverage to seek an investigation of the Bidens from Kiev.
"Today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi stated during her brief address, referring to Nadler.
"The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution," she said. Claiming America's democracy is at stake, she said: "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
The Monday morning hearing presumably would involve presentations from Judiciary Committee Majority Counsel Norm Eisen and Minority Counsel Paul Taylor, as well as Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman and Minority Counsel Steve Castor.
Meanwhile, earlier Thursday morning, Trump challenged Democrats to impeach him, and to “do it now” and do it “fast” so that he can receive a “fair trial” in the Senate.
“[I]f you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and so that our Country can get back to business,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is.”
Should the House pass articles of impeachment, the inquiry would transform into a full-fledged Senate trial.
Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and Trump allies hold chairmanships on key committees, with many of them signaling their interest in exploring issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings — such as the Bidens’ business dealings in Ukraine and alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 presidential election.
But despite his threats, the president does not, alone, have the power to call witnesses to testify in those proceedings. In the Senate trial, three separate parties have input to how it will play out: Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.
At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Kiev. That call prompted the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.
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. Trump denies any wrongdoing.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
Impeachment witness Pamela Karlan answers a question from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on the differences between a president and a king.
A Stanford Law professor brought up President Trump’s youngest son during Wednesday's impeachment hearing, sparking laughs from some in the House Judiciary Committee audience — and provoking a furious response from the White House.
Lawyer Pamela Karlan invoked 13-year-old Barron Trump when trying to make a point that Trump can’t rule like a king.
"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron," Karlan said in the committee hearing room, prompting audible chuckles.
The White House blasted Karlan as “classless” and the Trump campaign called her joke “disgusting.”
"A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics," first lady Melania Trump tweeted. "Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it."
“Classless move by a Democratic ‘witness’. Prof Karlan uses a teenage boy who has nothing to do with this joke of a hearing (and deserves privacy) as a punchline,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted. “And what’s worse, it’s met by laughter in the hearing room. What is being done to this country is no laughing matter.”
Kayleigh McEnany, the Trump 2020 national press secretary, called on all Democrats to repudiate Karlan and called for the professor to apologize to the Trump family.
“Only in the minds of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old child into the impeachment nonsense,” McEnany said in a statement. “Pamela Karlan thought she was being clever and going for laughs, but she instead reinforced for all Americans that Democrats have no boundaries when it comes to their hatred of everything related to President Trump."
McEnany accused Democrats of having a double standard for former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, whom the president wanted Ukraine to investigate.
"Hunter Biden is supposedly off-limits according to liberals, but a 13-year-old boy is fair game. Disgusting,” she said.
Karlan was one of three legal scholars testifying at the request of Democrats in the first Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry hearing. Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, was the sole GOP witness.
Karlan argued that Trump committed several impeachable offenses and said the president abused his oath of office for personal reasons when asking Ukraine for a “favor” to investigate Democrats.
But the Barron punchline came during questioning by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, on how Trump’s conduct compared to that of kings.
“Contrary to what President Trump has said, Article Two does not give him the power to do anything he wants,” Karlan responded.
Then she offered the Barron quip to “show you the difference between him and a king.”
Legal scholars sparred during Wednesday's impeachment inquiry hearing about whether President Trump has committed impeachable offenses — with witnesses called by the Democrats insisting Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors and the sole Republican witness arguing the case is “woefully inadequate” and “dangerous.”
The House Judiciary Committee hearing set the stage for the next phase of the Democratic-led House impeachment inquiry, with legal professors from top law schools around the country making the case that the president did abuse the office of the presidency. But Republicans pushed back hard against those experts, accusing the three witnesses called by Democrats of espousing anti-Trump views and being biased against the president.
The allegations center around Trump's now-infamous July 25 phone call where he asked Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election.
Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, Harvard Law professor and Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman and University of North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt — all witnesses called by Democrats on the committee — did not hesitate on Wednesday to call Trump's actions impeachable.
From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley testify during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“On its own, soliciting the leader of a foreign government in order to announce investigations of political rivals and perform those investigations would constitute a high crime and misdemeanor,” Feldman said in his opening statement, adding that the president’s move to withhold critical military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with Zelensky in exchange for the announcement of those investigations are both acts that “constitute impeachable high crimes.”
“Each encapsulate the framer’s worry that the president of the United States would take any means necessary to ensure his re-election,” Feldman continued, later explaining that abuse of power is “when the president uses his office…not to serve the public interest but to serve his private interest.”
Karlan and Gerhardt echoed a similar sentiment, with Gerhardt claiming that the president has committed “several impeachable offenses,” including obstruction of justice and a “pattern of abusing” his office.
“If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning,” Gerhardt said.
But Jonathan Turley, a law professor for George Washington University Law School and the sole witness called by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee for the hearing, argued the opposite.
“One can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president,” Turley said in his opening statement.
“I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” Turley continued. “If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”
He added: “If we are to impeach a president for only the third time in our history, we will need to rise above this age of rage and genuinely engage in a civil and substantive discussion.”
The White House dismissed the testimony of the three Democratic witnesses.
"3 of 4 'experts' in this sham hearing have known biases against @realDonaldTrump," tweeted White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. "Not only is @POTUS given no rights in this process, the Dems' 'witnesses' made up their minds long before today. The people of this country are being cheated of a Congress who works for them."
In the midst of their arguments, lawmakers on the panel clashed on issues of their own, as Republicans made several unsuccessful parliamentary inquiries and motions, including an effort to call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to testify on his committee’s report containing the findings from their impeachment inquiry into the president, which ended last month.
Republicans also motioned to subpoena the whistleblower, whose complaint prompted the impeachment inquiry altogether. Both motions were tabled, meaning that neither Schiff nor the whistleblower would be required to testify or appear before the panel.
At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, in which he pushed Kiev to announce investigations into the Bidens and 2016 election interference. The whistleblower’s complaint was submitted to the intelligence community inspector general and claimed that the president was soliciting a foreign power to help in his 2020 re-election by investigating a political rival.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses who testified before the House Intelligence Committee claimed shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing, and Zelensky has said he did not feel pressured.
This week, Schiff transmitted a report with the majority’s findings from their inquiry, which concluded last week. The report concluded that Trump withheld nearly $391 million in military aid from Ukraine, conditioning its delivery as well as a White House visit for Zelensky on a public announcement that he was conducting investigations desired by Trump. The Democrats’ report also accuses Trump of committing obstruction by instructing witnesses not to comply with congressional subpoenas.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the Intelligence Committee drafted a report of their own, which rejected Democrats’ claims, stating there is no evidence for impeachment.
“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the Republican report read.
Pamela Karlan, professor of law at Stanford Law School, delivers her opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee's public impeachment hearing.
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., criticized Wednesday’s impeachment hearing during his opening statement by noting that it does not include any fact witnesses, just law professors who will likely only theorize about impeaching President Trump because they were too busy to digest all of the facts at issue.
One of the witnesses, Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan, took umbrage with Collins’ statement, stating that she is quite familiar with the facts of the case, and would not be there otherwise.
“Here Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing, because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts,” she said during her opening remarks. “So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
Collins did not claim that the scholars on the panel were totally ignorant of the facts or did not care about them, rather he recognized that professors preparing for finals likely did not have the time to follow the days’ worth of testimony, and the lengthy House Intelligence Committee report, which was released less than 24 hours before the hearing.
The law professors on the panel, three chosen by the Democratic majority and one by the Republicans, will be presenting constitutional arguments for whether or not President Trump should be impeached, based on the allegations against him. Karlan, Harvard Law Prof. Noah Feldman, and North Carolina Law Prof. Michael Gerhardt are arguing in favor of impeachment, while George Washington University Law Prof. Jonathan Turley is arguing that such an extreme measure is improper.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacts on 'Fox & Friends' to the White House saying they will not participate in the House Judiciary Committee's first public impeachment hearing amid the NATO summit in London.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday on "Fox & Friends" that it’s "very unfortunate" that House Democrats are moving ahead with impeachment hearings this week at the same time President Trump will be holding key meetings at the NATO summit in London.
"There is a long tradition that we support presidents when they travel overseas to do their work. For them to hold hearings back here in Washington to distract America's president from his important mission overseas … it's very unfortunate," said Pompeo, as the House Judiciary Committee gets ready to start its public hearings on Wednesday.
He touted Trump's work on successfully convincing NATO member nations to increase security spending.
"About $130 billion in increased spending so far, several hundred billion more in increased spending over the next three or four years. This is a direct result of President Trump making it clear our expectations that the Europeans step up to secure their own people," said Pompeo.
Trump is set to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in London with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently claimed that the U.S. appears to be "turning its back" on NATO.
Meantime, three days before the House Judiciary Committee is set to call witnesses to testify at a hearing regarding the possible impeachment of President Trump, their identities are being kept hidden not just from the White House, but even members of the committee itself.
Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gave the White House until Sunday evening to decide if they would like to participate in Wednesday’s hearing, and gave Trump until Friday regarding a defense at future hearings. But Nadler's fellow New York Democrat and committee member Rep. Hakeem Jeffries admitted Sunday that even he still does not know who will be testifying,
All that is known so far is that there will be four witnesses, they will be constitutional law experts, and that three will be chosen by the Democratic majority and one by the Republican minority.
When asked why it could not have been two witnesses for each side, Jeffries stated, “Well that’s something to be discussed,” but then shifted to discussing the Trump appointees who previously testified before the House Intelligence Committee.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
President Trump addresses the press on the impeachment inquiry and China before departing for London.
President Trump blasted Democrats on Monday for launching the next phase in their impeachment inquiry just as he was scheduled to be overseas at a NATO meeting.
The president made the remarks as he left Washington for London on the scheduled trip — one that created an obvious scheduling conflict when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., invited Trump to participate in his committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday. The president has declined the offer, and suggested Wednesday that Democrats were well aware of the timing.
"So the Democrats, the radical left Democrats, the do-nothing Democrats decided when I’m going to NATO, which was set up a year ago, that when I’m going to NATO that was the exact time," Trump said, noting that his NATO trip is "one of the most important journeys" of his.
Trump said that the impeachment efforts are "a hoax to start off with," and pointed to a new interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he claims supports his case. Trump is accused of pressuring Zelensky into investigating Democratic activities during the 2016 election as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, allegedly withholding military aid to Ukraine as leverage.
Trump and Zelensky have both insisted that no pressure was applied. In the recent interview, Zelensky criticized Trump's decision to delay the aid but again stated that no quid pro quo was discussed between them.
"The Ukrainian president came out and said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. That should be case over," Trump said, before adding, "But it will never end it because they want to do what they want to do."
Trump noted that Republicans have united behind him during the impeachment inquiry, and predicted that ultimately "it's going to be a tremendous boon" for the GOP, despite saying that "in other ways, it's a disgrace."
Nadler did give Trump the option of sending counsel to represent him at Wednesday's hearing, but Trump told reporters he would not do so "because the whole thing is a hoax, everybody knows it."
In a Sunday letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone also accused Nadler of strategically timing Wednesday's hearing for when Trump is away.
"You scheduled this hearing—no doubt purposely—during the time that you know the President will be out of the country attending the NATO Leaders Meeting in London," Cipollone wrote.
"As for the hearing scheduled for December 4, we cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings," Cipollone continued. "More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing."
Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., is gearing up for his committee’s role in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, and the first witness he plans on calling is the man who led the first phase in the process, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Schiff is in the middle of preparing a report on his committee’s findings after conducting closed-door interviews and public hearings featuring a number of current and former Trump administration officials connected to the administration’s policies and relationship with Ukraine. Republicans have questioned Schiff's credibility due to contact that an anonymous whistleblower had with his staff before filing a complaint which led to the impeachment inquiry, and now they want to question him before the Judiciary Committee.
“My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff,” Collins told “Fox News Sunday.” He claimed that if Schiff does not make himself available for questioning, it will reflect poorly on his credibility and the work he has done so far.
“If he chooses not to, then I really question his veracity and what he’s putting in his report. I question the motive of why he’s doing it,” Collins said. Collins specifically said he wants Schiff to discuss what he and his staff knew about the whistleblower’s complaint, and Schiff’s own interactions with Ukraine.
He also claimed that Schiff has withheld documents relevant to the inquiry.
“If they think they have such a case, give us all the materials,” he said.
Collins also called out Democrats for the time crunch they have imposed on Republicans and the White House, along with a lack of information regarding the next stage in the impeachment process, which will begin with House Judiciary Committee hearing featuring constitutional scholars on December 4. Collins claimed that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., did not give Trump or Republicans enough time to determine how to move forward.
“Chairman Nadler sent a letter asking us by Friday to present this list and present all the things that we would like to do. However, we’re not going to see the Schiff report, as it is going to be known, out of committee until Tuesday night, possibly Wednesday morning before we get to see it.”
In a letter to the president sent Friday, Nadler gave Trump until December 6 to decide whether to have counsel present at hearings and to state which privileges he will invoke. Collins claimed that this does not give Trump time to prepare, as Schiff’s report will not be released until soon beforehand.
“As an attorney, if you have a case going forward you want to know exactly what you’re facing,” Collins said.
The Republican also addressed what he believes to be an unfair process when it comes to Wednesday’s hearing featuring constitutional law experts who will be weighing in on possible impeachment. Three of the witnesses will be called by the Democratic majority, with one called by the GOP.
“Why don’t we at least have more witnesses?” Collins asked. Last week he sent Nadler a letter calling for additional witnesses besides the four academics, citing precedent for a “robust slate” of witnesses.
“For example, during the impeachment inquiry of President William J. Clinton, the Committee assembled two panels of ten and nine academics, respectively, to help the Committee grapple with impeachment,” the letter said. Collins did not specify who should be added to the list, but suggested that both parties be able to choose.
The 'Outnumbered' panel debates the optics of the impeachment inquiry heading into the 2020 election.
The House Judiciary Committee is taking over the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump as Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced plans for a hearing next week to weigh whether the president's actions reach a level of “high crimes and misdemeanors" and warrant articles of impeachment.
Nadler, D-N.Y., penned a letter to the president on Tuesday announcing a hearing for Dec. 4 at 10:00 a.m., and notifying him of the committee’s intentions to provide him with “certain privileges” while they consider "whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House.”
Nadler also extended an invitation to the president, asking whether “you and your counsel plan to attend the hearing or make a request to question the witness panel.”
“If you would like to participate in the hearing, please provide the Committee with notice as soon as possible, but no later than by 6:00 p.m. December 1, 2019,” Nadler wrote. “By that time, I ask that you also indicate who will act as your counsel for these proceedings.”
Nadler added: “I remain committed to ensuring a fair and informative process. To that end, I remind you that participation by the President or his counsel has been described by the Committee in past inquiries as ‘not a right but a privilege or a courtesy which is being extended to the President’s counsel.’”
“I am hopeful that you and your counsel will opt to participate in the Committee’s hearing, consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature of the work before us,” he continued.
Nadler did warn, however, that if the president and the White House “continue to refuse to make witnesses and documents available to the committees of jurisdiction,” he will “have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies.”
Nadler’s letter and invitation to the president comes just one day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he and other committee chairs involved in the impeachment inquiry—Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.,—were “preparing a report summarizing the evidence we have found thus far, which will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess.”
It is unclear at this point whether the president will appear or have his counsel participate in the hearing before the Judiciary Committee next week.
Last week, the president blasted the impeachment inquiry altogether, and said: “Frankly, I want a trial.”
At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.
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. Trump denies any wrongdoing.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff delivers closing statement at public hearing of House impeachment inquiry.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff closed the fifth day of public hearings in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry with a fiery speech, saying among other things that President Trump considers himself "above the law” and “beyond accountability.”
“In my view there is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes they are above the law,” Schiff, D-Calif., said, referring to the claim that Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and withheld military aid as an incentive.
“We are better than that,” Schiff concluded as he struck a gavel in dramatic fashion.
Schiff also slammed Republican arguments, saying it was "clear to everyone" that aid was withheld from Ukraine on the condition of opening investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Furthermore, he said Republicans' chracterization of testimony in the impeachment hearings as "hearsay" is "absurd."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., with committee staffer Daniel Noble. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
"That would be like saying you can't rely on the testimony of the burglars during Watergate because it's only hearsay,” he said. “Or you can’t consider the fact that they tried to break in because they got caught. They actually didn’t get what they came for so no harm no foul. That’s absurd.”
Schiff’s remarks came as Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee made their closing arguments to wrap up the final impeachment hearing of the week. It may, in fact, have been the final hearing in the Houe impeachment inquiry before the matter is turned over to the chamber's Judiciary Committee.
In his 20-minute speech, Schiff laid out what the committee has learned over the course of seven hearings on President Trump’s conduct with Ukraine, including details about the smear campaign against a “dedicated public servant,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Trump's desire to have Ukraine investigate Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings and the Bidens.(Hunter had a seat on the company's board.)
“He [Trump] has to smear and destroy those who get in his way and someone fighting corruption in Ukraine was getting in his way so she’s [Yovanovitch is] gone,” Schiff said Thursday.
He said Democrats will have to examine “what is our duty” as they decide on next steps.
California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, called the hearings “a show trial” and said they had a pre-determined verdict.
Trump, who calls Schiff “the most dishonest man in politics,” has repeatedly blasted the lawmaker.
On Wednesday, Trump called Schiff as a "corrupt politician," telling reporters the congressman "stands up and he tells lies all day long. .. We have no due process."
On Thursday, the president directly attacked the congressman on Twitter. "No pressure on Ukraine," he said, referring to allegations of a quid pro quo. "Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff on the other side!"
Schiff has accused Trump of engaging in a quid pro quo in pushing for Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the Bidens, and allegations that Ukraine, and not Russia, had attempted to meddle in American elections in 2016.
Schiff said Trump's actions were a "conditioning of official acts for something of great value to the president. These political investigations — it goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors."
A statement from Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director, released Thursday said, “Adam Schiff has turned the House Intelligence Committee into an arm of the Democratic National Committee, and despite that has managed to produce no evidence at all that President Trump did anything wrong.”
Rep. Mike Turner presses Amb. Gordon Sondland on quid pro quo claims during public impeachment hearing.
GOP Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, hammered America's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, during Wednesday's testimony, seizing on Sondland's admission that he never heard the president or anyone else in the White House explicitly link Ukrainian aid with the opening of an investigation into 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., applauded his colleague on producing "the real bombshell" of Sondland's long-anticipated testimony and marked the moment as "game over," for the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry. That inquiry is focusing on an alleged quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukraine linking military aid and White House access to Ukraine probes beneficial to Trump.
During a fiery exchange, Turner focused on the Republican Party's main defense of Trump, asking Sondland: "Is that your testimony today, Mr. Sondland? That you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigation to the aid? Because I don't think you're saying that."
Sondland admitted that he was "presuming" the stalled military aid was linked to Trump allegedly asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens' financial interests in Ukraine.
"So no one told you," Turner pressed on. "Not just the president. Giuliani didn't tell you, Mulvaney didn't tell you. Nobody. Pompeo didn't tell you. Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations. Is that correct?"
The congressman cut Sondland off, restating his point: "No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigations, because if your answer is yes, then the chairman is wrong and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations. Yes or no?"
"Yes," Sondland replied.
"So, you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?" Turner asked.
Turner dismissed Sondland's "presumption" as "nothing" and called his testimony "made up."
"You know what hearsay evidence is, ambassador?" Turner said. "Hearsay is when I testify what someone else told me. Do you know what made-up testimony is? Made-up testimony is when I just presume it. I mean you're just assuming all of these things and then you're giving them the evidence that they're running out and doing press conferences and CNN's headline is saying that you're saying the president of the United States should be impeached because he tied aid to investigations — and you don't know that. Correct?"
"I never said the president of the United States should be impeached," Sondland responded.
Still, Sondland's earlier testimony to the committee linked the potential Ukraine investigations and a White House meeting and call between Trump and Zelensky. He said Giuliani played an integral, if not unconventional, role in those arrangements — and he said he explicitly expressed his fears about an inappropriate quid pro quo.
“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?" Sondland said. "As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
Rep. Devin Nunes details how Democrats exploited the intel committee for political purposes in the
Partisan HouseDemocrats have "hijacked" the Intelligence Committee and are attempting to concoct "ludicrous" theories about President Trump to aid their impeachment efforts, said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., during his opening statement on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
"The Democrats on this committee spent three years accusing President Trump of being a Russian agent," he began. "The Democrats vowed… to present a further 'comprehensive report' after they finished their investigation into Trump’s treasonous collusion with Russia. For some completely inexplicable reason, after the implosion of their Russia hoax, the Democrats failed to issue that comprehensive report."
"This episode shows how the Democrats have exploited the Intelligence Committee for political purposes for three years, culminating in these impeaching hearings," Nunes added. "No conspiracy theory is too outlandish for the Democrats… Clearly, these ludicrous accusations don’t reflect committee members who are honestly searching for the truth. They are the actions of partisan extremists who hijacked the Intelligence Committee… and turned it into a beachhead for ousting an elected President from office."
Nunes began listing theories long held by Democrats about Trump's nefarious actions, including the claim that he himself is a Russian agent. He also highlighted claims that the Trump campaign thrived on stolen documents, was assisted by Russia, was blackmailed by Russia, and that Trump was laundering Russian cash through his real estate ventures.
"It’s a long list of charges, all false," Nunes said. "You have to keep that history in mind as you consider the Democrats’ latest catalog of supposed Trump outrages."
Nunes also called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., for proceeding with impeachment without bipartisan support, despite making promises to seek the cooperation of both parties.
"The key figures behind this impeachment crusade — all proclaimed that impeachment is so damaging to the country that it can only proceed with bipartisan support," he said. "Are those declarations suddenly no longer true? Did impeachment become less divisive?
"Of course not," Nunes continued. "They know exactly what kind of damage they’re inflicting on this nation. But they’ve passed the point of no return."
Nunes' comments came as European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland acknowledged a "potential quid pro quo" situation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson,” Sondland said Wednesday. “And I also shared my concerns with the Ukrainians.” He stressed he never got a clear answer on why the aid was held up, saying in the absence of an explanation he came to believe that the aid and the investigations were linked.
Conaway made a "personal request" that Schiff clearly state the legal reasoning for keeping the Ukraine phone call whistleblower "immune" from testifying, even in a secure, closed-door environment that would protect his identity.
"[I want] you and/or one of the members of the committee that are lawyers to put into the record the federal statute that provides for the absolute immunity or right to immunity that you've exerted over and over and over," Conaway told Schiff. "I don't think its there," he said.
"And before you get mad and accuse me of wanting to out the whistleblower, you get upset every time somebody accuses you personally of knowing who the whistleblower is," Conaway, who is also the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, continued.
As Conaway spoke, Schiff sat largely emotionless in his chair, with his arms crossed and staring straight ahead.
"I get upset every time you… accuse me of — simply because I want to know the whistleblower or we want to know what's going on — that [Republicans] want to 'out' that individual," the Republican added.
Conaway told Schiff that he should either prove the whistleblower has the so-called "immunity" the Texas Republican characterized or "level the playing field."
"I know that you've overruled my request for a closed-door subpoena [of the whistleblower]," he said. "I do think it's important you put in to record the basis on which you continue to assert this absolute right to anonymity of the whistleblower."
The Republican went on to claim House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had penned a Sept. 23 "Dear Colleague" letter to all 435 elected representatives that asserted whistleblowers are "required by law to testify to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees."
Therefore, Conaway claimed, Schiff is either "defying" Pelosi, and thereby federal law, or Pelosi has the legal standard incorrect.
"At least set the record straight," he added. "Is the whistleblower required by law, as the speaker said, to testify to us or not, and what is this absolute right to anonymity?"
After Conaway yielded back to Schiff, the chairman referenced the federal whistleblower statute, and then asked Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., to begin her questioning.
On today's episode of ‘Media Buzz’, Howard Kurtz discusses the testimony that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gives before the House Intelligence Committee and how President Trump reacts via Twitter.
President Trump tweeted about Yovanovitch's testimony on Friday and said her dismissal was justified due to her poor track record and a lack of results.
"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," Trump tweeted. "It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors."
He also compared his foreign policy agenda to former President Obama and claimed he's done more to put America first.
"They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President," Trump continued. "The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O."
Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., accused Trump of trying to obstruct justice with his tweet and claimed the president was attempting to intimidate a witness.
"Trump himself is clearly not satisfied with only one article of impeachment," she tweeted Friday. "His choice to publicly broadcast his own, personally authored witness intimidation means he’s wants to sign up for another article on obstruction of justice, too."
House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff shuts down ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes' attempt to yield time to Rep. Elise Stefanik to question former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during the public impeachment hearing.
President Trump praised Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., for her performance Friday at an impeachment hearing, where she asked effective questions of former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and battled with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Stefanik took some public swipes at Schiff 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. The two also clashed over House procedures.
“A new Republican Star is born. Great going @EliseStefanik!” Trump tweeted, retweeting a video clip of the 35-year-old congresswoman questioning Yovanovitch.
Before the testimony began Friday, Schiff shut down Stefanik after she asked if Schiff would “continue to prohibit witnesses from answering Republican questions.” Schiff said it wasn’t a “proper” point of order, and then declined to recognize her colleague, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who also tried to raise a parliamentary question.
“We know clearly you're going to interrupt us throughout this hearing,” Stefanik complained within minutes of the gavel.
Later in the hearing, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., attempted to give up the remainder of his time to Stefanik, but as Stefanik spoke, Schiff slammed down the gavel, arguing that it was not allowed under committee rules: "The gentlewoman will suspend."
"What is the interruption for now?" she shot back.
What followed was a debate 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 young lady from New York?" Nunes laughed at one point.
"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.
At one point, Stefanik asked the ex-ambassador whether it was accurate that “defensive lethal aid” that she had pushed for was provided to Ukraine not by the Obama administration, but by the Trump administration.
“That’s correct,” Yovanovitch responded.
Stefanik also asked Yovanovitch about how the State Department under the Obama administration prepped her for her confirmation hearing by coaching her on how to handle questions about Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that had been the subject of an investigation.