It was a day in which the White House declared it outright won’t cooperate in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and the efforts by White House staff to contain the fallout around the July 25 call between the American and Ukrainian Presidents became clearer.
Read about all the latest happenings in the impeachment inquiry here:
New: How White House staff tried to contain fallout from July 25 call
CNN’s White House team reports that almost as soon as President Donald Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ended July 25, officials worried about the pressure Trump exerted on Zelensky began trying to contain the fallout. It’s a very different reality than the one Trump has pushed, that his call was “perfect.”
Also: CNN’s Jim Acosta and Maegan Vazquez report that a White House official who listened in on the call characterized the conversation as “crazy,” “frightening” and was described as “shaken” by the call, according to a memo written by the whistleblower behind the recent intelligence community report about the conversation flagged to Congress. The memo was first reported by The New York Times.
14 corroborated whistleblower claims
This saga began because of Trump’s recent dealings with Ukraine as detailed in the whistleblower complaint that serves as the foundation of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump has defended himself by repeatedly by saying the whistleblower complaint was “almost completely wrong” and contained “totally inaccurate and fraudulent” information.
But according to a new analysis from CNN’s Marshall Cohen, the overwhelming majority of allegations in the complaint have been corroborated by official government documents, Trump’s public statements and news reporting.
He dissects 14 corroborated claims in great detail:
Democrats subpoenaed Sondland and threatened subpoenas for any other State Department officials blocked from testifying, along with messages or documents they might have. Recall the release of text messages between State Department officials last week.
The big question is whether Democrats can pin down when and why and how Trump held back funding for Ukraine over the summer and into September. Relevant documents live all over, including at the Pentagon, where House Democrats delivered subpoenas Monday.
What are Democrats looking for? CNN’s Barbara Starr reports from a senior defense official with direct knowledge of the subpoena that some of the requested documents are essentially White House materials that Hill investigators could access by way of the Pentagon.
Will they get it? Starr adds the DoD response to the entire request will be coordinated with the White House.
Democrats are moving quickly. The official noted that typically the Pentagon receives an initial request for documentation when there is a congressional review, but this time the first word of a request came in the form of subpoenas.
This search for documents will become a theme and the production of previously requested documents is coming in a trickle. CNN’S Lauren Fox reports from Capitol Hill that an aide says the Office of Management and Budget “did not turn over all the documents and information the Committees requested” after they were requested.
Subpoenaed so far:
‘Mortal threat to the presidency’
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Newsmax CEO and Trump confidant Chris Ruddy said three notable things.
1. He understands why Trump feels persecuted by Congress.
2. He thinks the White House is overreacting by not letting officials testify before the impeachment inquiry.
3. The impeachment inquiry is a “mortal threat” to the presidency and that Democrats are using the Ukraine issue as a means to an end.
AMANPOUR: Do you think — I mean, it is this a threat to the President?
RUDDY: I believe it’s a mortal threat to the presidency. He should treat it that way. Because it’s not this issue about the Ukraine. You know, I think, you know, basketball they have the term head faked. What I think we’re seeing from the Democrats in Congress is a head fake. They’re saying this is only about Ukraine. We’re going to do it in 90 days. Why, then, do you open up six different congressional committees involved in the impeachment inquiry?
Support for impeachment inquiry doesn’t equal support for impeachment
In total, 58% of respondents in a Washington Post-Schar School Poll said Congress should have begun the inquiry. That includes almost 3 in 10 Republicans. A Quinnipiac University poll out today puts support for the inquiry slightly lower, but still in majority territory at 53%.
For comparison, in July of this year, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that only 37% of Americans said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings.
Impeachment vs. beginning an inquiry — There is an important distinction between support for beginning an inquiry and current support for actual impeachment.
An NBC News/WSJ poll out Tuesday has support for impeachment at 43%, before an investigation has been conducted, an indication of how Trump splits the country. The Quinnipiac poll found support for impeachment and removal at 45%, while the Washington Post-Schar School poll landed at 49% support for removing Trump from office.
A narrow majority in the NBC / WSJ poll — 51% — say the allegations against Trump are serious and should be fully investigated, while 44% consider them more of the same politically motivated attacks.
What are we doing here?
The President has invited foreign powers to interfere in the US presidential election.
Democrats want to impeach him for it.
It is a crossroads for the American system of government as the President tries to change what’s acceptable for US politicians. This newsletter will focus on this consequential moment in US history. Have thoughts? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.