Ambassador Bill Taylor, who testified in impeachment inquiry, leaving Ukraine post

closeTrump will be impeached in House, not convicted in Senate: Bill McGurnVideo

Trump will be impeached in House, not convicted in Senate: Bill McGurn

Fox News contributor and WSJ editorial board member Bill McGurn discusses impeachment and a Washington Post report saying an average of national polls shows 41 percent of voters oppose impeachment.

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat for Ukraine who testified before the House in the impeachment inquiry, plans to leave his post by the end of the year, a person familiar with his plans told Fox News on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the Vacancies Act, Taylor could have remained in his position until Jan. 8 — and even longer under his current State Department contract — but will hand over his responsibilities to the Deputy Chief of Mission on Jan. 1 and leave Kiev the following day.

Ambassador Bill Taylor and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. 

Ambassador Bill Taylor and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. (Reuters)

Taylor’s future plans with the State Department were not immediately clear, nor was it clear who Taylor’s permanent replacement would be.

Taylor was serving as the acting ambassador, having never been formally confirmed by the Senate. Ukraine has been without a permanent ambassador since Marie Yovanovitch was fired from the position in May.

DEM REP. MCGOVERN SAYS IMPEACHMENT INTENDED TO STOP ‘CRIME IN PROGRESS,’ PREVENT ‘RIGGING’ OF 2020 VOTE

Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran who previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine under President George Bush, was tapped by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to replace Yovanovitch in June.

Taylor made headlines last month while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee regarding his knowledge of President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that have set in motion an impeachment investigation.

In September, Taylor texted U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland saying it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Hours later, Sondland replied: “The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

Original Article

Trump tears into impeachment inquiry, Democrats at Florida ‘homecoming rally’

closePresident Trump speaks at Keep America Great rally in Sunrise, FloridaVideo

President Trump speaks at Keep America Great rally in Sunrise, Florida

President Trump took the stage in Sunrise, Fla. Tuesday night to address supporters at what his reelection campaign rally had dubbed a “homecoming rally” before the start of his Thanksgiving break at Mar-a-Lago, his new primary residence.

TRUMP USES TURKEY PARDON TO MOCK SCHIFF, SAYS BIRDS ALREADY RECEIVED SUBPOENAS

Tuesday's rally marked his first official campaign visit to the Sunshine State since he changed his state of residence from New York.

Trump claimed the move was motivated by the poor treatment he was receiving from New York politicians investigating him. However, Florida's far more attractive tax rates could have played some part in the decision as well.

Winning Florida will be crucial for the president’s reelection. Trump won the state over Hillary Clinton by 110,000 votes, but Tuesday's rally took place in one of the most Democratic areas of the state. Clinton overwhelmingly won Broward County, where Sunrise is located, in 2016.

About 200 anti-Trump protesters rallied on a street outside the BB&T Center before the president arrived. They raised a helium-filled “Baby Trump” balloon, and some chanted, “Lock him up.”

However thousands inside the arena broke out in chants of "four more years," and "USA, USA." During Vice President Mike Pence's introductory remarks, a chant of "Conan, Conan" broke out when Pence mentioned the Belgian Malinois that played a starring role in the raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

"Our troops are coming home and Conan the hero dog is just fine," Pence told the crowd.

Trump told Florida voters he would head to the ballot box right alongside them in less than a year, promising to keep control of the House, win back the Senate, and "keep that beautiful White House."

The president touted his administration's record on the economy, noting that the stock market just reached another all-time high: "Everybody's getting rich and I'm working my a– off." He noted the 6.7 million new jobs created under his administration and the almost 600,000 jobs created in Florida since 2016.

Trump also defended his decision earlier this month to pardon two soldiers accused or convicted of war crimes, including Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance who was six years into a 19-year sentence for second-degree murder after he ordered his soldiers to open fire and kill three men in Afghanistan.

"We're going to take care of our warriors," the president said. "I will always stick up for our fighters, people can sit in their air-conditioned offices and complain."

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

He then pivoted to impeachment, accusing what he called "the radical left Democrats" of "trying to rip our nation apart."

"First it was the Russia hoax, total hoax, a failed overthrow attempt and the biggest fraud in the history of our country," Trump said. "Now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged impeachment, a witch hunt the same as before."

However, the president pointed to polls that show the public to be ambivalent about impeachment.

"A lot of bad things are happening to them," he said. "You see what's happening in the polls? Everybody said, 'You know what? That's real bulls—."

This is a developing story, check back for more updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

As impeachment inquiry breaks for Thanksgiving, conversations over turkey could dictate next steps

closeDo Democrats have any actual articles of impeachment?Video

Do Democrats have any actual articles of impeachment?

Reaction and analysis with former Whitewater independent counsel Robert Ray and Trump 2020 campaign adviser Harmeet Dhillon.

“Ambassador Sondland,” warned Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., from the dais on day four of the open impeachment hearings. “You are here to be smeared.”

Nunes is the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee. But it wasn’t clear at that moment to U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, that Republicans may be doing the smearing.

IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, SENATE REPUBLICANS COULD TURN TABLES ON DEMS

Sondland told lawmakers that there was indeed a quid pro quo. He testified that Rudolph Giuliani said requests for a quid pro quo were linked to possible White House meetings for Ukrainian leaders and to prompt investigations of the Bidens. Sondland announced that U.S. aid would not flow to Kiev unless there were probes. Sondland even testified he told Vice President Mike Pence in early September of harboring concerns about connecting the aid to investigations.

But then Mark Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, unloaded on Sondland.

“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” said Short. “Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland. This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Sondland testified that he pieced together what was going on: a linkage between aid to Ukraine and an investigation of the Bidens.

“It was a presumption,” said Sondland. “Two plus two equals four in my mind.”

Nunes seized on Sondland, divining President Trump’s approach toward Ukraine – without really grasping the policy.

Nunes said it would be “great” if Sondland actually knew the status of the foreign aid “rather than doing funny little math problems here. Two plus two equals four.”

The Republican attorney for the impeachment inquest, counsel Steve Castor, called into question the veracity of Sondland’s interpretations – since the ambassador conceded he rarely took notes.

“You don’t have records. You don’t have your notes because you didn’t take notes. You don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability. Isn’t that true?” hectored Castor. “It’s a lot of speculation. A lot of it is your guessing. And we’re talking about impeachment of the President of the United States. So the evidence should be pretty darn good.”

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, challenged precisely what Sondland thought he may have known about the status of military assistance to Ukraine – and what factors were in play about its release.

Trump says 'it's all over' for impeachment inquiry after Sondland testimonyVideo

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations. Yes or no?” asked Turner.

WHITE HOUSE WANTS ITS LAWYERS TO CROSS-EXAMINE, CALL WITNESES IF IMPEACHMENT GOES TO HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

“Yes,” replied Sondland.

“So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?” continued Turner.

“Other than my own presumptions,” answered Sondland.

It wasn’t long after Sondland concluded that more Republicans off Capitol Hill began to muddy the ambassador’s testimony.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the President was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry emerged in the Ukraine affair as one of the “three amigos” who were crafting U.S. policy with Ukraine – potentially beyond the bounds of regular diplomatic channels. The other two “amigos” were Sondland and former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. But Perry’s team pushed back on Sondland as well.

“Ambassador Sondland’s testimony today misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the Secretary received from President Trump,” said Perry spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes. “As previously stated, Secretary Perry spoke to Rudy Giuliani only once at the President’s request. No one else was on that call. At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry.”

Secretary Rick Perry on Gordon Sondland's impeachment testimony: He's surmisingVideo

There are problems with Sondland’s testimony. Much of it is predicated on interpretations and perceptions. And, to be fair, Republicans may not really be “smearing” Sondland here. Both sides are fighting to frame their arguments. Like in a court case, GOPers are naturally trying to undercut the credibility of witnesses. Any good counsel would poke holes in testimony, question credibility of the witness and cast doubt.

Before Messrs. Sondland, Perry and Volker rode as the “three amigos,” children of the ‘80s recall a critically-panned, but now cult classic comedy movie titled the “Three Amigos.” The film starred comedy legends Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase. Martin, balladeer Randy Newman and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels wrote the script. But the passing reference to the ‘80s comedy was far from the only pop cultural reference in the impeachment hearings.

Sondland may have lacked concrete information about U.S. Ukraine policy. But what Sondland seemed to remember most from his phone call with President Trump on July 26 from a Kiev restaurant, was discussion of rapper A$AP Rocky. Sondland testified he didn’t initially mention the phone call when House investigators first deposed him in October. But discussion by others about A$AP Rocky jogged his memory.

“That’s the way memory works,” observed Intelligence Committee Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman.

In fact, Sondland testified that much of his conversation with President Trump centered on the legal status of A$AP Rocky, held by Swedish authorities after an alleged assault.

A$AP Rocky emerged as a fringe figure in the impeachment inquiry after U.S. diplomat to Ukraine David Holmes, lunching that day with Sondland in Kiev, testified that A$AP Rocky’s detention appeared prominently in President Trump’s phone call with the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.

Holmes told the Intelligence Committee that Sondland said to Mr. Trump “the President of Sweden ‘should have released (A$AP Rocky) on your word,’ but that ‘you can tell the Kardashians you tried.’”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

And you thought all President Trump cared about was an investigation of the Bidens.

But, these discussions may have created a special moment in American history. Neither the Kardashians nor A$AP Rocky came up during the impeachment investigations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. However, the historical record is a little unclear as to whether the Kardashians played a side role in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868.

Congress is out until early December for the Thanksgiving recess. Perhaps the biggest thing to watch now is where public opinion goes over the Thanksgiving recess. Expect lots of debate – and maybe actual arguments about impeachment – at dinner tables over turkey, gravy, stuffing, cornbread and pumpkin pie.

Those Thanksgiving conversations could dictate where impeachment is headed.

And there may even be chatter about A$AP Rocky, too.

Original Article

Independents souring on impeachment as inquiry heats up, polls indicate

closeVideo

<br>

Discussing how impeachment is impacting his polling, President Trump says this is a continuation of the Russia hoax and his polls are going

Recent polling on impeachment indicates that independent voters are far from sold on ousting the GOP incumbent from the White House. In fact, the national surveys suggest support for impeaching and removing the president has deteriorated over the past month, even as the House inquiry has ramped up.

Fifty percent of independents questioned in an NPR/PBS/Marist poll conducted Nov. 11-15 did not support impeaching and removing Trump from office, with just 42 percent backing such a move. That’s a slight dip in support compared with the previous NPR/PBS/Marist poll – conducted the first week in October – when support stood at 45 percent.

TRUMP CALLS FOR SENATE TRIAL DURING 'FOX AND FRIENDS' INTERVIEW

The new survey was conducted before this week’s high-profile testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, where a parade of witnesses testified about top-level involvement in efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats while aid was withheld to the eastern European country involved in a war with Russia. Trump, calling into ‘Fox and Friends’ Friday morning, blasted the hearings as “a continuation of the witch hunt” and downplayed the impact of the testimony.

While impeachment still enjoys support from a slight plurality overall in an average of polls by RealClearPolitics, the RCP average points to a dimming view from crucial independents — indicating more independents are now opposed, in a reversal from mid-October.

A Gallup poll conducted the first two weeks of November – also before this week’s testimony – indicated that 45 percent of independent voters supported impeaching and removing the president – with 53 percent opposing the move. That’s a switch from October, when the previous Gallup survey put the split at 53-44 percent.

And just 42 percent of independents questioned in a Monmouth University poll conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 3 supported impeaching and removing Trump from the White House, with 51 percent saying no.

The president’s facing impeachment over his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in the eastern European country. Biden is one of the top Democratic 2020 presidential contenders hoping to challenge Trump in next year’s election. Fueled by whistleblower complaints, a transcript of the call released by the White House, and testimony by witnesses in the inquiry, Democrats say that the president was asking a foreign country to potentially interfere in a U.S. election.

Adding to the controversy was the fact that before that phone call, millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine was put on hold. Despite allegations that the president was using that money as leverage, Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong. He says there was no "quid pro quo" and has on numerous occasions described his conversation with the Ukrainian leader as “perfect.”

The president argued in his Fox News interview Friday morning that he’s rising in the polls “because of the impeachment thing.”

“You’ve seen the polls over the last week. I’m going through the roof. In Wisconsin I’m way up over every Democrat,” he emphasized.

Trump was likely referring to a Marquette University Law School poll released on Wednesday that indicated the president with a single-digit edge over Biden (47-44 percent), Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (48-45 percent), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (48-43 percent) in hypothetical general election matchups in the crucial battleground state of Wisconsin. Trump enjoyed a 47-39 percent lead over South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the survey.

Trump was up just 2 percentage points over Buttigieg in the previous Marquette University Law School poll, which was conducted a month ago. Biden, Warren and Sanders had single-digit advantages over Trump in the earlier survey.

Fifty-three percent of registered voters in Wisconsin opposed impeachment, according to the survey, a slight 2-point bump from their earlier poll.

Original Article

Trump says ‘it’s all over’ for impeachment inquiry after Sondland testimony

closeVideo

<br>

President Trump addresses the testimony of Ambassador Sondland.

President Trump on Wednesday said that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee should exonerate him of any claims of wrongdoing in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into him.

Speaking to reporters before departing on a scheduled trip to Texas, Trump claimed that Sondland’s testimony means “it’s all over” for the proceedings and that the House inquiry into Trump should come to a halt.

“I just noticed one thing and that would mean it’s all over,” Trump said on the White House lawn before reading from handwritten notes taken during Sondland’s testimony.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: LIVE UPDATES FROM DAY FOUR

Sondland testified about a conversation with Trump where he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine.

“And it was a very short, abrupt conversation,” the ambassador said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’ Something to that effect.”

Ambassador Sondland: 'Trump never told me aid was conditioned,' it was my 'personal guess'Video

While Trump argued that Sondland’s statement proves there was no quid pro quo between his administration and Ukraine — the matter at the heart of the impeachment probe — Sondland gave a more nuanced account.

He confirmed he never heard directly from Trump on a quid pro quo linking military aid for Ukraine to politically advantageous investigations.

But Sondland said “we all understood” that a meeting at the White House for Ukraine’s president and a phone call with Trump would happen only if President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to an investigation into the 2016 U.S. election and the Bidens. And he said he came to presume aid was linked to investigations too.

He said he sent an email on July 19, just days before the July 25 call at the center of the impeachment inquiry, where he laid out the issue in detail to members of the State and Energy departments and White House staff.

Sondland added: "It was no secret."

Sondland testified later that he worked with Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine at Trump’s “express direction” and pushed a “quid pro quo” with Kiev because it was what Trump wanted.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Amb. Sondland: Ukraine quid pro quo based on 'my own personal guess'Video

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called Sondland’s testimony “a very important moment in the history of this investigation'' and said it showed “for the first time that knowledge of this scheme was pervasive.’’

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

‘The Gordon Problem’ set to testify in impeachment inquiry’s main event

closeWhat does Ambassador Sondland know?Video

What does Ambassador Sondland know?

Bret Baier and Harris Faulkner discuss Ambassador Sondland's upcoming testimony this Wednesday and the politics of the impeachment inquiry

Former National Security Council (NSC) aide Tim Morrison testified on Tuesday that one of his colleagues warned him about President Trump’s European Union ambassador, Gordon Sondland, and even coined a name for her concerns: “the Gordon problem.”

Sondland will testify Wednesday morning as the impeachment inquiry's most anticipated witness, less than 24 hours after Republicans declared total victory in Tuesday's afternoon hearings. But it remained unclear whether the wealthy hotelier-turned-diplomat will pose a problem for Democrats, Republicans, or all of the above.

VINDMAN WAS ASKED THREE TIMES TO BE UKRAINE DEFENSE MINISTER

Sondland is more directly entangled than any witness yet in the president’s alleged efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and Democrats in the 2016 election. Yet Sondland has already amended his testimony once– “I now do recall,” he said, talking to Ukraine about anti-corruption investigations — and has frustrated Democrats' efforts to build a consistent narrative of misconduct by the president.

Most notably, Sondland previously testified behind closed doors that Trump directly told him there were to be "no quid pro quos of any kind" with Ukraine, and that he didn’t recall any conversations with the White House about withholding military assistance in return for Ukraine helping with the president’s political campaign.

MORRISON, VOLKER UNDERCUT DEMS' CLAIMS OF BRIBERY, AS GOP DECLARES VICTORY: 'A GREAT DAY FOR THE PRESIDENT'

Ambassador Kurt Volker, left, former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former official at the National Security Council are sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Ambassador Kurt Volker, left, former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former official at the National Security Council are sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Then, William Taylor, the U.S. chargé d'affaires for Ukraine, told lawmakers that Sondland himself said "everything" — a White House visit for Ukraine's new leader and the release of military aid to the former Soviet republic — was contingent on a public announcement of investigations into the 2016 election and into Ukraine gas company Burisma Holdings. (Hunter Biden held a highly lucrative role on the board of Burisma, despite having little relevant experience, while his father oversaw Ukraine policy as vice president.)

Weeks later, after testimony from Taylor and Morrison placed him at the center of key discussions, Sondland amended his testimony and claimed his recollection had been "refreshed." Sondland said he now could recall a September conversation in which he told an aide to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that military aid likely would not occur until Ukraine made public announcements about corruption investigations. Sondland said he came to "understand" that arrangement from other sources.

Additionally, Sondland has insisted he knew acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney only well enough to wave and say hello. He said he may have spoken to him once or twice on the phone, but not about Ukraine. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an NSC official, has testified Sondland cited a discussion with Mulvaney when pushing Ukrainian officials to open the investigations that Trump wanted into alleged 2016 U.S. presidential election interference and the Bidens.

Separately, Fiona Hill, another White House national security official, said Sondland often talked of meetings with Mulvaney. In a further link between the two men, she quoted the-then National Security Adviser John Bolton as telling her he didn’t want to be part of “whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney were cooking up.” Hill is to testify Thursday.

Trump, meanwhile, has recently tried to suggest that he barely knows his hand-picked ambassador, but Sondland has said he has spoken several times with the president and was acting on his direction.

Sondland routinely bragged about his proximity to Trump and drew alarm from the foreign service and national security apparatus as part of an irregular channel of diplomacy led by the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Last week, State Department official David Holmes revealed one of those interactions to impeachment investigators, saying he recalled it “vividly.”

The political counselor was having lunch with Sondland in Kiev when the ambassador dialed up the president on his cell phone and Holmes could hear Trump’s voice.

“I then heard President Trump ask, quote, ‘So he’s going to do the investigation?’” Holmes testified. “Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘He’s going to do it,’ adding that President Zelensky will, quote, ‘do anything you ask him to.’”

Holmes testified that he told "a number of friends of mine" about the call because it was "like, a really extraordinary thing" to be "part of" a lunch in which "someone called the president." He insisted he didn't go into detail about the call while he boasted about it, but estimated that he may have told as many as six friends.

Sondland was known for telling others "he was in charge of Ukraine" despite being the U.S. envoy in Brussels, Hill testified.

"And I asked, well, on whose authority?” said Hill. "And he said, the president."

Also testifying on Wednesday are Pentagon official Laura Cooper and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Hale.

Their appearances will follow the testimony Tuesday of four national security and diplomatic officials, including two GOP witnesses — Morrison and former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker — who largely undercut Democrats' primary arguments for impeachment.

Both Volker and Morrison repeatedly denied that there was any bribery or extortion by the president in his call with Zelensky. Their answers underscored a problem facing House Democrats as their impeachment inquiry continued into its second week of public hearings: With more witnesses testifying, more soundbites have emerged that may help Republicans and the Trump campaign argue that the proceedings were politically motivated theater, long in the works and foreshadowed openly by Democrats for months, if not years.

"Ambassador Volker, I presume you got a readout of the call," Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y, asked at one point. "Was there any reference to withholding aid? Any reference to bribery? Any reference to quid pro quo? Any reference to extortion?"

"No, there was not," Volker replied, again and again.

Shortly after that moment, President Trump tweeted, "A great day for Republicans, a great day for our Country!"

"Kind of hard to prove a corrupt quid pro quo theory when the key U.S. policy people, plus the Ukrainians, were never aware of such an arrangement," Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw added late Tuesday, noting that Ukraine's president has said he felt no pressure from Trump to open any probes. "Can we go back to governing now, that’d be great thanks."

However, Volker did provide some good moments for Democrats. He shifted his own account of a July 10 White House meeting to say Sondland did, in fact, discuss investigations with the visiting Ukrainians. “I think all of us thought it was inappropriate; the conversation did not continue and the meeting concluded,” Volker said.

Volker said Sondland had raised the idea of investigations “in a generic way," and that Bolton immediately ended the meeting.

A series of text messages Volker provided to lawmakers showed conversations between him, Sondland and other leaders in which they discussed a need for Ukraine to launch investigations, including into Burisma Holdings. Volker also said he didn't initially realize the connection between a Trump-sought investigation of Burisma and the Bidens,

Volker went on to testify that during a September dinner with top Ukrainian official Andriy Yermak, he’d discouraged Ukraine from trying to prosecute the country’s previous president. Volker says he warned it would sow deep societal divisions.

Volker said Yermak quipped in response, “You mean like asking us to investigate Clinton and Biden?” Volker claimed he didn’t “quite understand” the head-turning remark and was “kind of puzzled” by it.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., center, flanked by House Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman, left, and ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., uses his gavel as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., center, flanked by House Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman, left, and ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., uses his gavel as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Burisma had been under investigation before then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor in charge. In his call with Zelensky, Trump suggested the Ukrainians look into the circumstances of the prosecutor's termination, including Joe Biden's boast that he had the prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold $1 billion in critical aid.

Another witness who testified earlier Tuesday was a career Army officer who described Trump’s call with Zelensky as “improper.”

"Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing," he testified. "In certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out."

Vindman told lawmakers it was his “duty” to report his concerns about the call, as he deflected Republican attacks, including from the White House on his loyalty and career in public service.

It wasn’t the first time Vindland had registered his concerns over Ukraine policy. He testified about the July 10 meeting at the White House when Sondland told visiting Ukraine officials they would need to “deliver” before the administration would agree to a meeting Zelenskiy wanted with Trump.

OPINION: VINDMAN NEEDS TO BE FIRED, AFTER TESTIMONY REVEALS HIS INSUBORDINATION AND ALLEGED PROPENSITY FOR LEAKS

“Ambassador Sondland referred to investigations into the Bidens and Burisma in 2016,” Vindman testified.

However, Vindman was caught in an apparent contradiction late in the day by Republican Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup. Vindman testified earlier in the day that he did not discuss his concerns about Trump's July phone call with Morrison, his superior, because he was unavailable.

Under questioning from Wenstrup, Morrison confirmed that Vindman had given him edits of the transcript of the call, on the same day that Vindman testified Morrison was unreachable.

Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar offered a blunt assessment of Vindman's testimony, tweeting: "I think people need a reminder: the democrats said they would impeach starting in December 2016–before @realDonaldTrump was even sworn in. This is a hearing looking for a reason. It’s corrupt and immoral. The dude in the uniform is a seditionist."

Morrison, meanwhile, also said he had heard others express concern that Vindman was a leaker, and could not be trusted with key information. Asked about that allegation, Vindman read from a glowing performance review that described him as an exemplary officer.

In a particularly remarkable moment, Vindman testified that he was asked to serve as Ukraine’s defense minister three times — but repeatedly denied the offers — when he traveled to Kiev for the inauguration of Ukraine's president. Oleksander Danylyuk, the former Chairman of the National Security and Defence Council in Ukraine, reportedly said on Tuesday the offer was "clearly a joke."

EXPLOSIVE DOJ FILING OUTLINES STRZOK'S 'SECURITY VIOLATIONS' AMID AFFAIR — AND HOW COMEY CAME TO DISCLOSE THE WEINER EMAILS

At the White House, Trump said he had watched part of the day’s testimony and slammed the ongoing impeachment hearings as a “disgrace.” Over the weekend, Trump assailed Vice President Pence aide Jennifer Williams as part of the “Never Trumpers” who oppose his presidency, though there is no indication she has shown any partisanship. Williams was critical of Trump's call with Zelensky.

However, in his testimony, Morrison suggested the impeachment brouhaha was predictable partisan politics as usual.

"I feared at the time of the call on July 25th how its disclosure would play in Washington's political climate," Morrison said in his opening statement on Tuesday. "My fears have been realized."

Fox News' Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump brands impeachment inquiry a ‘coup’ as House holds third day of public hearings

closeVindman: Was offered Ukrainian Defense Minister job three timesVideo

Vindman: Was offered Ukrainian Defense Minister job three times

Lt. Col. Alexanders Vindman says he was offered the job of Ukrainian Defense Minister three times by Oleksandr Danyliuk

President Trump branded House Democrats' impeachment inquiry a "coup" and "charade" in an apparent rebuke of the way they were handling a public hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

His attack came hours into a contentious House Intelligence Committee hearing where administration officials testified about Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukraine in July.

In a video posted to Twitter, the Trump campaign indicated the committee's chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., led a coup that Democrats plotted after his election in 2016.

"This impeachment is a charade," a narrator said alongside a video of Schiff. It pointed to a tweet from Mark Zaid — the lawyer for the whistleblower who reported that call — in which he claimed that a "coup has started."

"That's right. The whistleblower's own lawyer wrote that the coup has started and that impeachment will follow," the narrator said. "They promised a coup and now they're trying to carry it out. The Democrats are trying to overthrow President Trump, undo the 2016 election, and silence our voices. Don't let them."

VINDMAN ACCUSES TRUMP OF MAKING IMPROPER UKRAINE 'DEMAND,' SAYS HE ALERTED INTEL OFFICIAL

The video echoed the administration's previous criticisms and touched on a concern raised about Zaid's impartiality.

The campaign video was referring to a 2017 tweet in which Zaid responded to Trump's criticism of Sally Yates, a former DOJ official whom the president accused of betraying her department after she famously told employees not to defend the president's travel ban.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Zaid also tweeted predictions that Trump would face impeachment. "Johnson (1868), Nixon (1973), Clinton (1998) impeachment hearings. Next up @realDonaldTrump (2017)," he said in a 2017 tweet.

“Those tweets were reflective and repeated the sentiments of millions of people," Zaid told Fox News in November. "I was referring to a completely lawful process of what President Trump would likely face as a result of stepping over the line, and that particularly whatever would happen would come about as a result of lawyers. The coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.“

Original Article

Impeachment inquiry hearings go public: What to expect

closeWhat to expect as impeachment inquiry moves into public phaseVideo

What to expect as impeachment inquiry moves into public phase

Washington awaits high-stakes public hearings in impeachment inquiry; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.

CAPITOL HILL – We don’t do impeachment hearings very often in Congress. In fact, this session is the first public hearing involving the potential impeachment of a president since November 19, 1998. That’s when the House Judiciary Committee prepared to impeach then-President Clinton.

But, this hearing is before the Intelligence Committee.

Expect at least one round of questions, per side, running a total of 45 minutes apiece, by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and then, 45 minutes by Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the top Republican on the panel. During these 45-minute blocks, Schiff and Nunes may defer to their counsels to pose questions.

The Democrats likely will deploy Daniel Goldman and Daniel Noble, both counsels for the Intelligence Committee, during their 45-minute window to ask questions.

Fox News is told on the GOP side, Steve Castor, whom Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, brought over from the Oversight Committee, will be the counsel to pose questions for the minority.

The witnesses tomorrow: Assistant Deputy Secretary of State George Kent and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor. They are set to appear on the same panel.

Rank and file members on the committee will pose questions later in five-minute rounds.

Trump rips Democrats as public impeachment hearings loomVideo

The Democrats tactics:

In their lines of questioning, Fox News is told the goal is to let the witnesses “tell their story.”

One Democrat involved in the questioning said, “We need to facilitate and stay out of the way.”

Democrats have told Fox News that Taylor had “the best view of the scheme. He is a habitual note-taker. He is your worst nightmare, very prepared.”

Note the use of the word “scheme” as Democrats try to curate their narrative about President Trump.

One source told Fox News the most important line in all of the transcripts so far may have come from Taylor: “Irregular policy channels were running contrary to longstanding goals of U.S. policy,” the diplomat testified.

Republicans step up criticism of Adam Schiff's handling of impeachment probeVideo

Democrats will point out that diplomats and governments “trade horses” all the time, asking for “X” in exchange for “Z.” However, the problem, as Democrats see it, was what the “Z” was. Democrats said “Z” was the request to investigate the Bidens in exchange for aid.

Democrats also have been wary of Republicans trying “stunts” and being argumentative in an effort to distract from the Democrats’ case.

“By Act II, I suspect the dancing bears will enter the room,” one Democratic source said. But, GOP sources downplayed the idea of guerilla tactics during the hearing.

What could be the weaknesses in the Democrats’ approach?

They are relying on the testimony of Taylor – who interpreted and perceived what he thought were problems with how Ukraine policy was going down and if there was a quid pro quo. Remember, Taylor wasn’t on the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Hearsay puts a lot of people in jail. Eyewitness testimony can be tough. Cops will tell you that,” said one Democratic source about the pros and cons of relying on Taylor as such a pivotal witness. “Taylor’s deducing all of this.”

That would cut both ways for the Democrats.

Republicans say cross-examination of impeachment witnesses will be criticalVideo

The Republicans’ tactics:

Republicans will cross-examine Taylor repeatedly over his lack of “first-hand knowledge” about the call and the fact that his information was “second-hand.”

They also will argue there was “no deliverable. No promise to investigate the Bidens. There were no investigations,” one GOP source said.

Republicans have pointed out that the U.S. also delayed assistance for Lebanon and Armenia. The GOP will say that the European Union was not doing its fair share to help root out corruption in Ukraine.

TRUMP 'VENTED' ANGER ABOUT INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY INSPECTOR GENERAL, SOURCE SAYS

“The Russia invasion of Crimea (in Ukraine) had more to do with Europe than with the U.S.,” one Republican source said.

Republicans will ask Taylor how and why he thought there was a “linkage” and “who told you that.”

They did say they had a problem: “How do you counteract Kent and Taylor when you don’t have a witness to counter them?” asked one Republican source.

What to expect from the public phase of the impeachment inquiryVideo

Republicans noted that the Democrats, so far, have not accepted any of their witnesses.

Expect Republicans to question the “legitimacy” of the Democrats’ investigation. They will reiterate that aid to Ukraine eventually was released and there was no probe of the Bidens.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Things to watch:

  • Protests. We’ve not had much of that so far in the impeachment process. That could begin to change tomorrow. That said, Capitol security officials told Fox News they’re not anticipating something organized, ala the confirmation hearings last fall for future Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
  • What is the role of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio? Does it help Republicans to shift him to the Intelligence Committee? Did it make a strategic difference and actually bolster the president’s defense?
  • Are there efforts to “distract” and “dilatory tactics” to gum up the process, parliamentary or otherwise?

Other things to watch for:

Why is Ukraine important?

Ukraine was strategically critical to the survival of the Soviet Union. Soviet leader Josef Stalin called it the “breadbasket of Europe.” It was annexed into the USSR before Ukraine gained independence at the end of the Cold War. But, Russian President Vladimir Putin rolled troops into Crimea after the Sochi Olympics in 2014. The U.S. has always viewed Ukraine in the post-cold War era as a bulwark against the rest of Russia and efforts influence the rest of Europe. That’s why former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke to a joint meeting of Congress later in 2014, asking for U.S. assistance. The U.S. viewed Ukraine as a proxy to stave off Russian influence in the west.

How did they do?

Evaluate what Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence Committee told us they were going to do in the hearing and see if they accomplished their goals. Did they get the answers they wanted? Was it a significant moment to sway public opinion? Or, did their maneuvers fall short?

“What did the president know and when did he know it?”

Most major hearings consume hours on end in Congress. They can be dry. But sometimes, one moment distills an entire, historic episode for the ages, via a solitary soundbite. Think of former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, R-Tenn., declaring, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” during the Watergate hearings in 1973. Do this week’s hearings produce a soundbite or moment which crystallizes the entire affair – in favor of either the Democrats or the president? That was the problem for Democrats with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hearing over the summer. Little became emblematic of the hearing or the points the Democrats were trying to make. That’s why the Mueller hearing largely fell flat. But, do these week’s hearings capture the attention of the public with a soundbite in the same fashion Baker’s line resonated in 1973?

+++++++++++++++++++++

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

What’s next?

The House Intelligence Committee announced five additional hearings for next week.

On Nov. 19, the panel will hear from Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. That same afternoon, the committee has invited former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and National Security Council (NSC) aide Tim Morrison. On Nov. 20, the panel takes testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. The matinee hearing features Pentagon official Laura Cooper and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale. And, on Nov. 21, former NSC aide and Russia expert Fiona Hill testifies.

Original Article

Trump impeachment inquiry witness list widens partisan rift, as public hearings approach

closeRep. Will Hurd previews public hearings in impeachment inquiryVideo

Rep. Will Hurd previews public hearings in impeachment inquiry

Texas Congressman Will Hurd, Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

House Intelligence Committee members demonstrated a stark difference of opinion over what testimony is relevant in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump — which will feature public hearings for the first time this week.

Republicans submitted a list of witnesses they would like to call, which is already creating controversy. Among those on the list is Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, who was one of the subjects Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help investigate, as the younger Biden was a board member of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

DEM LEADER TELLS GOP TO 'GET LOST' OVER IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY WITNESS LIST

“I would love to hear from Hunter Biden, I would love to hear from the other Americans who served on the board of Burisma,” House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, told “Fox News Sunday,” questioning how someone with no experience with Ukraine or natural gas would end up on the board of the company.

Ukrainian officials had been investigating Burisma while Joe Biden was vice president, only for the probe to end after the elder Biden pressured Ukraine into firing the prosecutor in charge. The reason for the firing has been a point of debate, and is a key part of the investigation Trump discussed with Zelensky.

Another committee member, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., appeared later in the program and dismissed the need for calling Hunter Biden to testify.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on what to expect from public hearings in impeachment inquiryVideo

“He has no knowledge of what the president did or didn’t do here,” Maloney said. Trump’s request from Ukraine for assistance in investigating political rivals is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, after a July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky inspired an anonymous whistleblower complaint.

Democrats have claimed the call was part of an attempted quid pro quo in exchange for withheld U.S. military aid and a White House meeting between Zelensky and Trump. Trump has denied the claim, saying the call was “perfect,” and Zelensky has said there was no pressure.

One thing that Hurd and Maloney agreed on was that the whistleblower should not be called to testify. Hurd spoke out against this, going against the members of his party who included the whistleblower on their list.

“I think we should be protecting the identity of the whistleblower; I’ve said that from the very beginning,” Hurd said, “because how we treat this whistleblower will impact whistleblowers in the future.”

Hurd did call for Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to answer questions about his office’s interactions with the whistleblower before Congress found out about the allegations contained in the complaint.

“He has misled the American public earlier in the year on what he knew about or the contact he had with the whistleblower, so if you want to protect the identity of the whistleblower, I think it’s important for Chairman Schiff to answer questions about his interactions.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries rejected the GOP’s witness list on Twitter, telling them to “GET LOST,” but Maloney did not dismiss it outright.

BOLTON LAWYER TEASES KNOWLEDGE ABOUT UKRAINE NOT YET MADE PUBLIC IN LETTER TO CONGRESS

“I think we will end up calling some of the witnesses on that list,” he said, although the only ones he named were individuals who have already appeared in closed-door interviews, such as former U.S. Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and National Security Council official Tim Morrison.

One witness House Democrats called to testify was former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has been quoted as referring to a U.S. agreement with Ukraine regarding investigations as a “drug deal.” Bolton failed to appear, and his attorney Charles Cooper said Bolton would only appear if ordered by a judge, which would happen if Bolton is ordered to comply with a subpoena. So far, however, Democrats have not issued a subpoena for Bolton.

Cooper said in a letter to the top lawyer for the House of Representatives on Friday that Bolton and his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, are seeking a "definitive judgment from the Judicial Branch determining their constitutional duty in the face of conflicting demands" from the White House and Congress.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Cooper’s letter said Bolton was involved in “many relevant meetings and conversations” to the impeachment inquiry.”

Maloney said “we sure do” want Bolton to appear, but would not say why Democrats would not subpoena him.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

Original Article

Dem leader tells GOP to ‘GET LOST’ over impeachment inquiry witness list

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 10Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 10

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 10 are here. Check out what's clicking on FoxNews.com

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries blasted Republicans and labeled them as a "#CoverUpCaucus" after they submitted a list of witnesses they would like to call for public testimony as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

Jeffries, D-N.Y., also questioned the validity of the witnesses in a brief but fiery tweet Sunday morning directed at his counterparts across the aisle.

TRUMP WANTS PELOSI, BIDEN TO BE CALLED AS IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY WITNESSES, SAYS HE'LL RELEASE SECOND PHONE CALL TRANSCRIPT

"House Republican #CoverUpCaucus wants sham witnesses to testify," Jeffries said. "My two cents? GET LOST."

The GOP list includes Hunter Biden and his former business partner Devon Archer, former Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa, and the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led to the impeachment inquiry.

In that call, Trump urged Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine — specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a Ukrainian energy firm where his son Hunter held a lucrative role on the board.

Democrats have claimed the call was part of an attempted quid pro quo in exchange for withheld U.S. military aid and a White House meeting between Zelensky and Trump. Trump has denied the claim, saying the call was “perfect.”

Republicans have called for the whistleblower to come forward to answer questions about their complaint, which came from second-hand knowledge of the phone call.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who runs the inquiry, was quick to reject the GOP's request to have the whistleblower come forward to testify, citing whistleblower protection laws and stating that other witnesses' testimony has already been more substantive than what was stated in the complaint.

"The committee … will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm," Schiff said in a letter to Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. " … The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm."

The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president's own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms, but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower's complaint … " Schiff concluded his letter.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

President Trump suggested Saturday that Republicans call former Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Schiff himself as witnesses.

Fox News' Brooke Singman and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Original Article

Lindsey Graham calls latest impeachment inquiry ‘a bunch of BS’ after new transcripts released

closeGraham: Impeachment inquiry is being run by 'sore losers'Video

Graham: Impeachment inquiry is being run by 'sore losers'

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on the impeachment probe and lack on due process on 'Hannity.'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took aim at the latest impeachment inquiry developments on Tuesday and called the process a "bunch of B.S."

He has "written the whole process off," Graham told reporters when asked if he would read newly released transcripts of testimony given by former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Democrats released hundreds of pages of testimony on Tuesday that reflected a mixed picture of whether or not President Trump presented a "quid pro quo" of some sort, involving either the release of U.S. military aid or a meeting at the White House.

The transcripts also revealed that Sondland revised his prior testimony to reflect that he told a top Ukrainian official U.S. aid likely wouldn't resume unless the country released a corruption statement. Many Democrats interpreted this as evidence of a quid pro quo.

Of Sondland's revised testimony, Graham said Tuesday: "That's his opinion."

House investigators release excerpts of Volker, Sondland transcripts from impeachment inquiryVideo

"This, to me, is a manufactured issue created by some unknown whistleblower who needs to be known, and the phone call is the basis for the impeachment allegation," the South Carolina senator continued. "I don’t think the president did anything wrong."

The House of Representatives last Thursday voted largely along party lines to approve a resolution that established "ground rules" for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, setting the framework for a more public investigation following weeks of closed-door depositions that drew scrutiny from Republicans who demanded more transparency and fairness in the process.

House Republicans seek to enter secure facility for closed-door impeachment interviewVideo

Democrats launched the inquiry following an intelligence community whistleblower complaint about a phone call the president had with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, over the summer. The complaint accused the president of soliciting a quid pro quo, allegedly threatening to withhold U.S. military aid unless Ukraine investigated former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their business dealings in the county.

The White House later released a memorandum of the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call, and it showed that while Trump sought an investigation into the Biden family for corruption, he did not explicitly leverage military aid in order to get Ukraine to investigate.

US ENVOY SONDLAND WORKED WITH GIULIANI ON UKRAINE CORRUPTION STATEMENT, VOLKER TESTIFIED: SOURCES

Fox News asked Graham on Tuesday if he would still say the whistleblower didn't have any credibility, to which the senator replied: "I don't know if they have… credibility or not. I don’t know who they are."

"You shouldn't have an impeachment inquiry that was started by an anonymous allegation," Graham continued. "Whistleblower statutes are designed to protect people from being fired, who report misconduct or corruption. They're not designed to shield the person from being challenged in terms of accusation. So the whistleblower statutes [are] being used unfairly."

He added: "Their biases have to be known if they have any."

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement Tuesday that the newly released transcripts showed less evidence for the "illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought."

While Sondland "presumed" there was a link to the military aid being withheld, he "cannot identify any solid source for that assumption," she added.

Fox News' Jason Donner, Brooke Singman, Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Republicans plan to call Adam Schiff to testify in impeachment inquiry, say he is ‘fact witness’

closeRep. Adam Schiff releases transcripts from impeachment inquiryVideo

Rep. Adam Schiff releases transcripts from impeachment inquiry

House Republicans plan to call Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as one of their first witnesses in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump following the adoption of formal rules for the investigation, claiming he is a “fact witness” due to his office's early involvement with the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the proceedings.

A source familiar with Republicans’ strategy moving forward in the impeachment inquiry confirmed to Fox News on Monday that GOP members plan to call Schiff, D-Calif., for questioning — even if they are unlikely to succeed.

TRUMP SAYS UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER 'MUST' TESTIFY, BLASTS OFFER OF WRITTEN ANSWERS

The source told Fox News that Republicans want answers to questions like: “How many times did he meet with the whistleblower? What did they advise the whistleblower to do? How much was Schiff involved in this? Did he recommend the whistleblower give the complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, even though there was no intel component, so that he could be involved?”

Schiff maintains that he has not personally spoken with the anonymous whistleblower. However, it was revealed several weeks ago that the whistleblower at least had early contact with his office, essentially giving them a heads-up about the complaint concerning Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's president.

Regarding that early discussion, the GOP source noted that Republicans could be interested in hearing from the “anonymous” Schiff staffer involved.

Republicans' effort to devise a strategy going forward comes after the House approved rules for the process last week. While Republicans opposed the resolution and complained the rules were unfair, they still gave minority Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, with the concurrence of Democratic committee chairs. If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee.

This process still gives Democrats final say over witnesses, however, and the GOP source acknowledged it's unlikely they would go along with the efforts to call Schiff — who is essentially leading the impeachment probe.

But GOP lawmakers for days had telegraphed that they were interested in making the attempt.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Schiff is the "first person" who should be brought in, along with his staff.

REPUBLICANS SLAM PELOSI OVER IMPEACHMENT REVERSAL AFTER FLOOR VOTE: 'WHAT HAS CHANGED?'

Last week, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., publicly challenged Schiff to come before the judiciary panel.

“Come to the Judiciary Committee," Collins said after the passage of the impeachment rules resolution. "Be the first witness and take every question asked of you. Starting with your own involvement of the whistleblower.”

Schiff’s office last month said that the whistleblower had reached out to them before filing the complaint in mid-August, giving Democrats advance warning of the accusations that would lead them to launch an impeachment inquiry days later. The complaint to the agency’s inspector general about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flagged concerns about efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as military aid to the country was being withheld.

A transcript released by the White House shows Trump making that request, but he and his congressional allies deny, and plan to continue to deny, that military aid was clearly linked to the request, or that there was any "quid pro quo." Some witnesses coming before House committees as part of the impeachment proceedings have challenged that assertion.

Meanwhile, Republicans are also hoping to call the whistleblower to testify, according to the source, who pointed to Schiff’s recent reversal on the issue.

Schiff in September had previewed testimony from the whistleblower “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.

The president, repeatedly, has called for the individual to testify.

"The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify," the president tweeted Monday morning. "Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!"

The whistleblower's central allegation that Trump in July urged Ukraine to launch politically related investigations, however, has been supported by other witnesses as well as the call transcript released by the White House.

The whistleblower's attorney, Mark Zaid, tweeted over the weekend that his client would provide sworn, written answers under penalty of perjury.

But late Sunday, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan seemingly rejected Zaid's offer, saying, "written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower."

Republicans also plan to continue to criticize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not holding a formal floor vote on the impeachment inquiry process until a month after announcing the probe, and for crafting rules they say limit their ability to subpoena witnesses.

According to another GOP source familiar with the impeachment process, Republicans plan to continue arguing that the entire impeachment inquiry against Trump is a “sham,” and push back against the substance of the inquiry itself.

Original Article

Reporter’s Notebook: The impeachment inquiry in all its complexities

closePresident Trump, Speaker Pelosi spin competing narratives over the House impeachment investigationVideo

President Trump, Speaker Pelosi spin competing narratives over the House impeachment investigation

The Democracy 2020 Sunday panel weighs in on the narratives both parties are spinning to win political favor during the House impeachment investigation.

I stood with my dad on stage at Dave Finkelman Auditorium in Middletown, Ohio, waiting to interview Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. It was March 2, 1989.

I was a college student. I worked for a radio station in Cincinnati, so my schedule was scattershot. It was impossible to maintain a regular class schedule at Miami’s main campus in Oxford, Ohio, so I also took a few classes at Miami’s Middletown and Hamilton branches. Miami brought in Cox to speak as part of its annual Casper Lecture Series. A political science professor at Miami’s Middletown campus, Mel Cohen, suggested I attend, so I brought Dad along. We sat near the back.

After Cox’s speech, I headed to the stage with my tape recorder to secure a short interview. The only reporters there were someone from the local paper and myself.

I didn’t know much about Watergate back then. I had heard of the Saturday Night Massacre. I wouldn’t read “All the President’s Men” by Woodward and Bernstein for another two years. I wasn’t familiar with the name Archibald Cox until Cohen told me about him and the lecture.

When I got to the stage, I asked Cox about the most recent scandal involving possible presidential power abuses: Iran-Contra. President Reagan had just left office weeks before. President George H.W. Bush now occupied the Oval Office. Congress held hearings probing Iran-Contra in the summer of 1987, but questions about Iran-Contra dogged Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign. What did the Republican nominee know about the “arms for hostages” deal when he served as Reagan’s vice president? Bush argued he was “out of the loop.” However, diary entries indicated otherwise.

Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh led a seven-year investigation into Iran-Contra. Wash’s investigation eventually led to multiple convictions among top defense and National Security Council officials. Note the term “independent counsel.” Policymakers changed the title and parameters of a “special counsel” after Cox and Watergate. That’s why Walsh and others were “independent counsels.”

Walsh’s inquest started during the Reagan administration, was still going at the end of the Bush administration and concluded well into the Clinton administration. And some people thought Robert Mueller’s investigation dragged on too long? In one of his final acts as president in late 1992, Bush pardoned former Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger was indicted just before the 1992 presidential election and had not yet gone to trial. Bush sought counsel from his attorney general about a possible pardon. The attorney general at the time? The same one in office now: William Barr.

It’s not hard to see how Iran-Contra puzzled the country back then. President Nixon made the order to sack Cox in the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre as the prosecutor probed Watergate. So, it seemed only appropriate to ask Cox in early 1989 about Iran-Contra and any potential parallels when it came to possible presidential corruption and power abuses.

“The public will never understand Iran-Contra,” Cox said into my microphone. “It’s too complex.”

Hannity: Spying on Trump Campaign Worse Than WatergateVideo

Cox said Watergate was easier to distill. A burglary at the Watergate building. The tapes. Missing parts of the tapes. His firing. It all added up in a fashion which made it easier for the casual American to follow and digest, he suggested. Iran-Contra? Not so much.

The Iran-Contra scandal involved a complicated weave of money, diplomacy, weapons, hostages and backdoor foreign policy.

One must first understand how the CIA was training Contra rebels in Nicaragua, duking it out with a Cuban-backed group called the Sandinistas. The fighting in Nicaragua represented a proxy war between the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War. Reagan took particular interest in the Contras. He called them “Freedom Fighters” as they fought communists. The cocaine trade also bankrolled the Contras. Liberal Democrats in Congress blasted covert efforts to assist the Contras. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Edward Boland, D-Mass., authored a series of amendments “prohibiting the use of funds” to overthrow “the government of Nicaragua.” Reagan signed into law legislation bearing these amendments.

Then, enter Iran. The U.S. was trying to secure the freedom of American hostages held by an Iranian group in Lebanon. The Reagan administration devised a plan to send arms to the Iranians to earn the freedom of the American hostages. Reagan noted publicly there was a trade embargo with Iran and that the U.S. did not negotiate with terrorists. Still, the plan was to launder the profits from the arms sent to Iran – to the Contra rebels.

Such an intricate fabric of backdoor dealings was hard for many people to trace. Keeping track of who was what, who was involved and why they were important made the tale nearly impenetrable. Sure, the scandal damaged Reagan. There was talk about impeachment back in 1986 and 1987. Various officials went to jail or were eventually pardoned by Bush. But, as Archibald Cox suggested, the story didn’t make for tidy copy in the newspaper – let alone on television. Watergate was simpler. It was more direct.

Can President Trump take a page from Bill Clinton's response to impeachment inquiry?Video

One could even argue that the impeachment of President Clinton was easier to grasp. Remember, the House of Representatives impeached President Clinton, not for having an affair with Monica Lewinsky, but for failing to tell the truth about it under oath. But, the Clinton impeachment centered around the “sex sells” script. There was an affair. A blue dress. A president and an intern. Just so much easier for people to understand and follow.

Questions have remained to this day about Iran-Contra and the roles of Reagan and Bush, but there was no impeachment.

WHISTLEBLOWER OPEN TO TAKING QUESTIONS FROM REPUBLICANS, LAWYER ANNOUNCES

The House of Representatives has been hurtling toward impeaching President Trump. There was the phone call. The unknown whistleblower. Whether the president threatened to cut off assistance for Ukraine unless Kiev moved against former Vice President Joe Biden. Was there a “quid pro quo?”

And, there’s the parade of names. Former Ukraine Envoy Kurt Volker. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Can the public keep this straight?

More revelations may come to light. But, if the House moves ahead with impeachment, top Democrats must curate a narrative to present to the public. And, to paraphrase Archibald Cox, will the public understand it? Or is it too complex?

Original Article

House approves impeachment inquiry rules after fiery floor debate

closeHouse to vote on Trump impeachment resolutionVideo

House to vote on Trump impeachment resolution

Rep. Michael Burgess weighs in on 'Fox &amp; Friends First.'

A sharply divided House voted Thursday to approve a resolution setting "ground rules" for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, putting lawmakers on record over the contentious process while setting the stage for proceedings to move into the public eye after weeks of closed-door depositions.

The measure passed largely along party lines, 232-196. Two Democrats defected on the vote.

The first formal floor vote in relation to the impeachment probe announced a month ago by Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed a fierce debate in the chamber, where Republicans accused Democrats of launching a de facto "coup" against the president in a "pre-ordained" bid to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

REPUBLICANS ON IMPEACHMENT COMMITTEES RIP 'SHAM' PROCESS AHEAD OF VOTE

"A yes vote on this resolution today gives a stamp of approval to a process that has been damaged beyond all repair and a blatant and obvious coup to unseat a sitting president of the United States," Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., said.

Democrats, though, maintained that the president's own actions — pressing Ukraine to launch politically related investigations, and allegedly using military aid as leverage — brought the country to this point.

"I do not take any pleasure in the need for this resolution," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said. "We are here because the facts compel us to be here."

Showmanship and heated rhetoric marked the lead-up to the vote. Pelosi stood beside a giant placard of an American flag while declaring Congress was "defending our democracy."

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., accused Democrats of being part of a "cult," suggesting Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is their leader.

Trump tweeted after the vote: "The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!"

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham maintained in a statement that the president has done nothing wrong.

"With today’s vote, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have done nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules," she said.

READ THE RESOLUTION

No Republicans voted for the measure on Thursday, while two Democrats voted against it: Reps. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

Republicans for weeks had challenged Pelosi to hold a floor vote, complaining the inquiry hasn’t followed past precedent and violates the president’s due process rights. While she finally gave in to those demands in a bid to mute their complaints about process, GOP lawmakers continued to call the inquiry a "sham" while complaining that the newly unveiled rules still limit their authority — including by requiring the consent of Democratic chairs to subpoena witnesses.

Rep. Jordan on impeachment push: What Schiff and Pelosi are doing is not fairVideo

McGovern introduced the resolution earlier this week, while defending the process and claiming it was not partisan.

"It's about transparency and it's about due process for the president," McGovern said. "Some on the other side will never be satisfied with any process."

The resolution directs the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committees to “continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump.”

The Democrats’ resolution specifies that Republicans in the minority on the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees will have the authority, with the concurrence of committee chairs in the majority, to subpoena witnesses and compel their testimony.

DEMS INTRODUCE RESOLUTION FORMALIZING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY PROCEDURES

If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee. It is common in other proceedings for committee chairs to essentially have veto authority over subpoenas sought by ranking minority members.

The measure also sets the stage for proceedings to move into a public setting soon.

The resolution authorizes the Intelligence Committee to conduct an "open hearing or hearings" in which minority Republicans have equal time to question witnesses.

And, after that hearing is concluded, "to allow for a full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given."

McGovern has argued, and maintained on Thursday, that the standards outlined in the resolution are the same as those under the impeachments of both Presidents of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

The resolution further directs the Intelligence Committee, in consultation with the other committees, to prepare a report on its findings to the Judiciary Committee, which would write any articles of impeachment. In response to GOP complaints about Democrats' selective leaks of opening statements and depositions, the document also authorizes the public release of testimony transcripts, with only sensitive or classified information being redacted. The resolution also allows Republican members to submit written demands for testimony and other evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, and raise objections.

Pelosi announced the Trump impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24, saying at the time that "the president must be held accountable" for his "betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and the betrayal of the integrity of our elections."

The inquiry was opened after a whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump, during a July phone call, pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as military aid to the country was being withheld.

A transcript released by the White House shows Trump making that request, but he and his allies deny that military aid was clearly linked to the request or that there was any "quid pro quo." Some witnesses coming before House committees as part of the impeachment proceedings have challenged that assertion.

Fox News' Gregg Re and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article

House to vote on resolution to formalize Trump impeachment inquiry

closeHouse to vote on Trump impeachment resolutionVideo

House to vote on Trump impeachment resolution

Rep. Michael Burgess weighs in on 'Fox &amp; Friends First.'

A sharply divided House was expected to vote Thursday to approve a resolution setting "ground rules" for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, putting lawmakers on record over the contentious process while setting the stage for proceedings to move into the public eye after weeks of closed-door depositions.

The first formal floor vote in relation to the impeachment probe announced a month ago by Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to follow a fierce debate in the chamber, where Republicans accused Democrats of launching a de facto "coup" against the president in a "pre-ordained" bid to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

REPUBLICANS ON IMPEACHMENT COMMITTEES RIP 'SHAM' PROCESS AHEAD OF VOTE

"A yes vote on this resolution today gives a stamp of approval to a process that has been damaged beyond all repair and a blatant and obvious coup to unseat a sitting president of the United States," Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., said.

Democrats, though, maintained that the president's own actions — pressing Ukraine to launch politically related investigations, and allegedly using military aid as leverage — brought the country to this point.

"I do not take any pleasure in the need for this resolution," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said. "We are here because the facts compel us to be here."

Showmanship and heated rhetoric marked the lead-up to the vote. Pelosi stood beside a giant placard of an American flag while claiming Congress was "defending our democracy."

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., accused Democrats of being part of a "cult," suggesting Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is their leader.

Republicans for weeks had challenged Pelosi to hold a floor vote. While she finally gave in to those demands in a bid to mute their complaints about process, GOP lawmakers continued to call the inquiry a "sham" while complaining that the newly unveiled rules still limit their authority — including by requiring the consent of Democratic chairs to subpoena witnesses.

Democrats need 217 votes in order to pass the rules that would formalize the process. The vote is expected to be along stark party lines, with the exception of Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., to vote with the Democrats, and Rep. Van Drew, D-N.J., to vote against the measure alongside Republican colleagues.

It is unclear at this point if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will vote, as speakers rarely vote on the floor. But Pelosi told Fox News this week that she would vote, “if the spirit moves me.”

“I don’t think I’ll need to," Pelosi told Fox News.

McGovern introduced the resolution earlier this week, following complaints from congressional Republicans and the White House that the inquiry hasn’t followed past precedent and violates the president’s due process rights. He defended the process and claimed it was not partisan.

"It's about transparency and it's about due process for the president," McGovern said. "Some on the other side will never be satisfied with any process…"

The resolution directs the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committees to “continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump.”

The Democrats’ resolution specifies that Republicans in the minority on the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees will have the authority, with the concurrence of committee chairs in the majority, to subpoena witnesses and compel their testimony.

DEMS INTRODUCE RESOLUTION FORMALIZING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY PROCEDURES

If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee. It is common in other proceedings for committee chairs to essentially have veto authority over subpoenas sought by ranking minority members.

The measure also sets the stage for proceedings to move into a public setting soon.

The resolution authorizes the Intelligence Committee to conduct an "open hearing or hearings" in which minority Republicans have equal time to question witnesses.

And, after that hearing is concluded, "to allow for a full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given."

McGovern has argued, and maintained on Thursday, that the standards outlined in the resolution are the same as those under the impeachments of both Presidents of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

The resolution further directs the Intelligence Committee, in consultation with the other committees, to prepare a report on its findings to the Judiciary Committee, which would write any articles of impeachment. In response to GOP complaints about Democrats' selective leaks of opening statements and depositions, the document also authorizes the public release of testimony transcripts, with only sensitive or classified information being redacted. The resolution also allows Republican members to submit written demands for testimony and other evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, and raise objections.

Pelosi announced the Trump impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24, saying at the time that "the president must be held accountable" for his "betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and the betrayal of the integrity of our elections."

The inquiry was opened after a whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump, during a July phone call, pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as military aid to the country was being withheld.

A transcript released by the White House shows Trump making that request, but he and his allies deny that military aid was definitively linked to the request or that there was any "quid pro quo." Some witnesses coming before House committees as part of the impeachment proceedings have challenged that assertion.

Fox News' Gregg Re and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Dem opposing impeachment inquiry slams ‘failed’ process

closeHouse Democrats prepare impeachment resolution amid GOP criticism of processVideo

House Democrats prepare impeachment resolution amid GOP criticism of process

Trump defends Ukraine call as Democrats ramp up efforts; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.

A Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey told Fox News on Wednesday that despite an impending vote on a House impeachment resolution, he doubts that formalizing the investigation into President Trump will do little more than result in a failed process.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., an outspoken critic of the impeachment probe being led by Democratic colleagues on three House committees, said he doubts he will vote in favor of the resolution introduced Tuesday. He further predicted that the attempt to remove Trump from office will be unsuccessful.

NEW JERSEY DEMOCRAT BUCKS HOUSE TREND, SAYS HE LIKELY WON'T BACK IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION

“At the end of the day we’ll have the same president and same candidate and a failed impeachment process, and the only difference would be that the president will have been exonerated of charges," Van Drew said in a statement to Fox News.

House committees have held nearly a dozen depositions of witnesses who have testified behind closed doors about their knowledge of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It's been alleged, by an anonymous whistleblower, among others, that Trump sought to persuade the foreign leader to open an investigation into former vice president and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter and Biden business dealings in Ukraine in exchange for military aid to that nation.

Van Drew said that although he "feels concerned with many of the allegations related to the president," he doesn't think it's enough to warrant Trump's removal from office.

The House resolution marks an attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to silence protests from Republicans who have criticized the impeachment inquiry, likening it to a sham because it has been conducted largely outside the view of the public.

The resolution would set parameters to formalize the impeachment proceedings and states that Democrats plan to hold public hearings in the future, will allow for staff questioning of witnesses going forward and will release transcripts of the already completed depositions that have been taken in the basement of the Capitol.

The vote will move to the House floor for consideration on Thursday and will likely pass the House on a party-line vote.

Van Drew told Fox News that he "believes as most others do as well, [Trump] will be charged but not convicted" by the Senate, and fears that the investigation will endanger vulnerable Democrats in the House come 2020.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

"The presidential primary season is amongst us and we have a general election coming up within a year. Let the people decide and let’s get issues such as lowering prescription drug prices, infrastructure, access to healthcare, veterans’ benefits, and small business accomplished. Instead, this will only split the country further apart at the seams and create an even more toxic and partisan political environment that brings any progress to a halt.”

Original Article

Dems introduce resolution formalizing impeachment inquiry procedures

closeImpeachment needs to continue because the majority of Americans support it: former DNC officialVideo

Impeachment needs to continue because the majority of Americans support it: former DNC official

Former deputy national press secretary for the DNC Jose Aristimuno defends House Democrats' impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a resolution to formalize their impeachment inquiry and adopt rules to govern the proceedings, following sustained complaints by Republicans in Congress and the White House that the secretive inquiry hasn't followed past precedent and violates the president's due process rights.

But, illustrating the tight balancing act involved as the 2020 election cycle gets started, Democrats have adamantly denied that the document is an "impeachment resolution," perhaps out of concern for how that label would play in more moderate swing districts.

The resolution directs the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees to "continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump."

READ DEMS' FULL RESOLUTION FORMALIZING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

It specifies that ranking Republicans in the minority on the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees will have the authority, with the concurrence of committee chairmen in the majority, to subpoena witnesses and compel their testimony — a major demand that the White House and top Republicans had made in recent weeks. If the chairman does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee.

The resolution also authorizes the Intelligence Committee to conduct "open hearing or hearings" in which minority Republicans have equal time to question witnesses.

And, after that hearing is concluded, "to allow for full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given."

Just before the resolution was filed, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News flatly on Tuesday that “this is not an impeachment resolution.”

He did not answer when asked if he was concerned about the public perception of that term.

'Trouble is coming': Carville says Trump impeachment train has left station

'Trouble is coming': Carville says Trump impeachment train has left station

Former Bill Clinton campaign manager James Carville says the Trump administration is not prepared for what lies ahead; reaction and analysis on 'Outnumbered.'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also insisted Monday night, “It’s not an impeachment resolution."

Four Democratic committee chairs — Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Eliot L. Engel, and Carolyn Maloney — said in a statement Tuesday that the "resolution provides rules for the format of open hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, including staff-led questioning of witnesses, and it authorizes the public release of deposition transcripts … [it] establishes procedures for the transfer of evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and it sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel in the Judiciary Committee proceedings."

They added: “The evidence we have already collected paints the picture of a President who abused his power by using multiple levers of government to press a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election. Following in the footsteps of previous impeachment inquiries, the next phase will move from closed depositions to open hearings where the American people will learn firsthand about the President’s misconduct.”

Earlier in the day, the top Republicans on the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into the president blasted the investigation as “illegitimate” and a “sham," signaling the new procedures wouldn't change their minds.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, penned a letter to Rep. James McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee who announced his panel would take up an impeachment procedure resolution on Wednesday to “ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward.”

GOP SUGGESTS RESOLUTION WON'T CHANGE THEIR MINDS

Nunes, Jordan and McCaul accused McGovern, D-Mass., of not giving enough time for Republican members to review the resolution ahead of the vote and continued to blast the inquiry as a whole.

“It’s not an impeachment resolution."

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“Under House Rules you championed at the beginning of this Congress, major legislation is required to be posted 72 hours in advance of a vote,” they wrote. “Yet, here, on the gravest and most solemn work the House can do, you are forcing the House to consider a resolution with text that is still not available two days before the vote.”

“Without text, we know nothing about the Democrats’ intended impeachment process. Your website describes the resolution as ‘directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigation,’” they continued. “Chairman Schiff does not need a resolution to continue leaking selective facts from his basement bunker.”

They added: “We can only assume, therefore, that this resolution is necessary to allow Democrats to subvert the ordinary legislative process.”

Still, the Democrats' resolution appeared to address the White House's complaints from earlier this month, when it vowed not to participate in the inquiry.

SCHIFF SAYS 'WE' DIDN'T TALK TO WHISTLEBLOWER — THEN BACKTRACKS

Democrats, the White House complained, had not permitted Republicans in the minority to issue subpoenas, contradicting the "standard, bipartisan practice in all recent resolutions authorizing presidential impeachment inquiries."

The White House also had argued: "In the history of our nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step."

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article

Adam Schiff: John Bolton is ‘key witness’ in impeachment inquiry

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 27Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 27

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 27are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said President Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton is a “very important” witness in the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry into the president.

Speaking on ABC News’ “This Week,” Schiff said Bolton has emerged as a key witness after hearing closed-door testimonies from other administration and government officials.

“Obviously he has very relevant information and we do want him to come in and testify,” Schiff said.

JOHN KELLY WARNED OF IMPEACHMENT FOR TRUMP IF HE HIRED 'YES MAN': 'I FEEL BAD THAT I LEFT'

The Democrat, however, noted that the White House probably will put up obstacles to getting Bolton in front of the committee.

“My guess is, they're going to fight us having John Bolton in,” Schiff added.

Witness testimony puts new focus on John Bolton in impeachment probeVideo

Closed-door interviews tentatively have been scheduled with Charles Kupperman, a Bolton deputy, and Tim Morrison, National Security Council's senior director for Russia and Europe. Kupperman and Bolton have both left the White House.

The Democrats have been investigating Trump's requests that Ukraine conduct certain investigations and whether the requests were in exchange for military aid. Trump requested the probes on a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Kupperman's interview is scheduled for Monday; Morrison's is set for Thursday. If Morrison appears for the interview, he will be the first White House aide to testify even as Trump has said his administration would not cooperate.

Impeachment inquiry at one month: By the numbersVideo

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump and other White House officials have insisted the president did nothing wrong.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article