Welcome to Spectrum Daily Impeachment Updates! We will be posting daily updates about impeachment, so you can easily keep track of impeachment news. So much has happened so far. Here’s the TLDR: Democrats in the House of Representatives have started impeachment proceedings because Trump allegedly pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a political opponent of Trump in the upcoming 2020 election. Democrats claimed that Trump tried to use military aid as leverage to incentivize the investigation. Democrats control the House, which means that impeachment is feasible. However, there are concerns that the Republican-controlled senate might not convict him if he was impeached, which could harm Democrats in the 2020 election. Here’s a helpful article from NPR that explains what’s happening:
Today, the House Intelligence Committee released its 300-page report. Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Democrats explained why they thought Trump should be impeached, arguing that he abused his power, obstructed Congress, and compromised national security.
- They argued that Trump needs to be impeached soon, stating, “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts. The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.”
- Democrats focused on actions taken by Trump’s administration towards Ukraine, including the president’s July 25 call. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and many White House aides were implicated in the report.
- The report also connected Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee. They connected him to Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and tied him to the effort to investigate the Bidens.
If you somehow have time to go through the day in the House and more details from the report, the Washington Post covered everything that happened today. Congrats on your free time if you can read it.
Impeachment hearings have been paused until Wednesday.
Today, four current and former national security officials testified at the impeachment hearing. The hearing featured :
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the lead Ukraine expert on the national security council
- Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine
- Jenniferr Williams, an employee of the State Department
- Tim Morrison, former National Security Council (NSC) aid
Three out of the four said they thought Trump mentioning Ukraine in a phone call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelynsky was inappropriate.
Other key takeaways:
- Vindman and Williamson both agreed that the U.S. withholding military aid from Ukraine reduced Ukraine’s ability to fight aggression from Russia.
- Vindman and Morrison agreed and disagreed about the transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelynsky. They both thought that the creation of such a rough transcript wasn’t meant to harm a potential investigation, but rather a matter of security. However, Morrison described the transfer as a “mistake,” while Vindman argued that keeping the transcript vague was needed for security.
- Republicans questioned Vindman’s credibility, stating that he leaked information to the press. (This was denied by Vindman.) Trump tweeted his concerns about Vindman.
This morning, Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine, publicly testified as a witness about the alleged “smear” campaign against her lead by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Here are some highlights:
- At 10 a.m., Trump, who previously stated that he would not be watching the testimony, tweeted about Yovanovich. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff read the tweet out loud, giving Yovanovich a change to respond. She stated that she found Trump’s tweet to be “very intimidating.” Two high profile Republicans from New York and Wyoming stated that they disagreed with Trump’s tweet.
- Throughout her testimony, Yovanovich criticized President Trump, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Yesterday, American diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, and George Kent, a senior US State Department official, gave their public testimony for the House’s impeachment investigation. Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Taylor said that one of his staff members was with Gordon Sondland (the US Ambassador to the European Union), while he was on a call with Trump. According to Taylor, the staff member overheard parts of the call, in which Trump asked about “the investigations”. The staff member, according to Taylor, was told by Sondland that Trump cared more about the investigation of Biden than Ukraine. Speaking about the investigations, Taylor said that Sondland told trump that Ukraine was “ready to move forward.”
- Taylor emphasized his neutral position on impeachment, stating that, “while I am aware that the Committee has requested my testimony as part of impeachment proceedings, I am not here to take one side or the other or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings. My sole purpose is to provide facts as I know them about the incidents in question as well as my views about the strategic importance of Ukraine to the United States.”
- Kent stated that “it became clear to me that Giuliani’s efforts to gin up politically motivated investigations were now infecting U.S. engagement with Ukraine, leveraging President Zelinsky’s desire for a White House meeting.”
- Kent emphasized Ukraine’s strategic importance to the United States, and the necessity for aid