Thursday, November 7, 2019

Donald Trump Impeachment Timeline -- The Definitive Chronology

Having trouble keeping up with the avalanche of revelations in the impeachment inquiries into ex-president Donald Trump? 

Stay up to date with my definitive Trump impeachment timeline. I don't necessarily endorse the articles linked below. See all publicly available documents related to the inquiry here.

Click here to see my timeline of Trump's links with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of those ties.

Newly released emails show Trump pressured DOJ to challenge election results, House Oversight says
  • In his final days in office, former President Donald Trump pressured top Department of Justice officials to challenge his election loss to President Joe Biden, the House Oversight Committee said.
  • The oversight panel shared a cache of more than 200 pages of newly released documents.
  • The documents show, among other allegations, that Trump in December pressed the Justice Department to file a Supreme Court lawsuit to nullify the election, the committee said.
(CNBC) June 15, 2021, by Kevin BreuningerIn his final days in office, former President Donald Trump pressured top Department of Justice officials to challenge his election loss to President Joe Biden, the House Oversight Committee said Tuesday.

The oversight panel said that a cache of more than 200 pages of newly released documents sheds new light on how Trump tried to undermine the results of the 2020 election and advance unsupported voter fraud claims, with the “apparent goal” of keeping himself in power.... Read the full article here.

Exclusive: New audio of 2019 phone call reveals how Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate baseless Biden conspiracies

(CNN) June 7, 2021, by Matthew Chance and Marshall CohenNever-before-heard audio, obtained exclusively by CNN, shows how former President Donald Trump's longtime adviser Rudy Giuliani relentlessly pressured and coaxed the Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate baseless conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden.... Read the full article here.

The Chickens Come Home to Roost for ‘Traitorous Traitor’ Rudy

(The Daily Beast) April 28, 2021The man once known as “America’s mayor” now appears to be on the brink of a federal indictment for, among other things, selling out his country by actively aiding and abetting Russia’s campaign to undermine American democracy in the 2020 election.... Read the full article here.

Federal Investigators Search Rudy Giuliani’s Apartment and Office
Prosecutors obtained the search warrants as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws as President Trump’s personal lawyer.

(The New York Times) April 28, 2021, by William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Maggie HabermanFederal investigators in Manhattan executed search warrants early Wednesday at the home and office of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who became President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, stepping up a criminal investigation into Mr. Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, three people with knowledge of the investigation said.... Read the full article here.

Leahy, not Roberts, expected to preside over impeachment trial as House to send article to Senate on Monday

(CNN) January 25, 2021, by Jeremy Herb and Manu RajuThe contours of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial are starting to take shape, with the Senate's longest-serving Democrat expected to preside over the trial and Democrats still weighing whether to pursue witnesses during proceedings that could take up a chunk of February.... Read the full article here.

New: Mueller Investigated Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, And Roger Stone For DNC Hacks
Previously secret portions of the Mueller Report show the special counsel declined to prosecute due to lack of evidence.

(BuzzFeed News) November 3, 2020, by Jason Leopold and Ken BensingerProsecutors investigated Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Roger Stone for the hacking of Democratic National Committee servers as well as for possible campaign finance violations, but ultimately chose not to charge them, newly released portions of the Mueller Report reveal.... Read the full article here, and see the newly reissued version of the Mueller report here.

The Inside Story of the Mueller Probe’s Mistakes
In a new book, Andrew Weissmann, one of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top deputies, lays out the limits and letdowns of the years-long Russia investigation.

(The Atlantic) September 21, 2020, by George PackerAndrew Weissmann was one of Robert Mueller’s top deputies in the special counsel’s investigation of the 2016 election, and he’s about to publish the first insider account, called Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation. The title comes from an adapted quote by the philosopher John Locke that’s inscribed on the fa├žade of the Justice Department building in Washington, D.C.: “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.”... Read the full article here.

Exclusive: Vindman to retire from military. His lawyer blames White House 'campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation'

(CNN) July 8, 2020Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry, is retiring from the US Army after more than 21 years of military service because he determined that his future in the armed forces "will forever be limited" due to political retaliation by the President and his allies, his lawyer told CNN Wednesday.... Read the full article here.

In new book, Bolton belatedly says Trump attempted to use military aid to pressure Ukraine on political investigations

(The Washington Post) June 17, 2020, by Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh DawseyFor months, as the nation was convulsed by the impeachment of President Trump, his critics held out hope that the congressional proceedings would unearth a high-level witness with first-person testimony about Trump’s efforts to use his office to try to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that could bolster him politically.... Read the full article here and a Lawfare Blog analysis here of the Trump administration's injunction suit to stop publication of Bolton's book.

Atkinson: Trump fired me because I handled whistleblower complaint properly
“As an Inspector General, I was legally obligated to ensure that whistleblowers had an effective and authorized means to disclose urgent matter.”

(Politico) April 5, 2020 by Kyle CheneyThe intelligence community watchdog removed abruptly late Friday by President Donald Trump says he believes Trump ousted him because of his evenhanded handling of a whistleblower complaint that ultimately led to the president's impeachment.... Read the full article here.

Trump says he will fire intelligence watchdog at center of Ukraine allegations that led to impeachment

(The Washington PostApril 3, 2020, by Ellen Nakashima, Josh Dawsey and Shane HarrisPresident Trump notified Congress Friday evening that he intends in 30 days to fire the intelligence community inspector general, the official who alerted lawmakers to a whistleblower complaint last September that was at the center of allegations that led to the president’s impeachment.... Read the full article here.

Trump contradicts past denials, admits sending Giuliani to Ukraine

(CNN) February 14, 2020, by Marshall CohenEmboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now openly admits to sending his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to find damaging information about his political opponents, even though he strongly denied it during the impeachment inquiry.... Read the full article here.

Marie Yovanovitch: These are turbulent times. But we will persist and prevail.

(The Washington Post) February 6, 2020, by Marie L. YovanovitchMarie L. Yovanovitch served most recently as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

After nearly 34 years working for the State Department, I said goodbye to a career that I loved. It is a strange feeling to transition from decades of communicating in the careful words of a diplomat to a person free to speak exclusively for myself.... Read the full article here.

Impeachment vote: Sharply divided Senate acquits Trump on both articles
Mitt Romney broke ranks with Republicans, voting to convict.

(ABC News) February 5, 2020, by Trish Turner and Libby CatheyThe months-long impeachment and Senate trial of President Donald Trump came to an anticlimactic end Wednesday afternoon with acquittal on both articles.... Read the full article here.

Trump Told Bolton to Help His Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Book Says
The president asked his national security adviser last spring in front of other senior advisers to pave the way for a meeting between Rudolph Giuliani and Ukraine’s new leader.

(The New York Times) January 31, 2020, by Maggie Haberman and Michael S. SchmidtMore than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.... Read the full article here.

Executive Privilege Is No Reason for the Senate to Ignore John Bolton

(Lawfare Blog) January 27, 2020, by Jonathan ShaubFormer National Security Adviser John Bolton’s unpublished book is the hottest manuscript in Washington. According to a recent story in the New York Times, Bolton provides never-before-public details about events that are at the heart of the ongoing Senate impeachment trial of President Trump—most notably, that Trump directly told Bolton he wanted to maintain the hold on aid to Ukraine until the country announced investigations into the Bidens and supposed 2016 election interference.... Read the full article here.

Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says
Drafts of the book outline the potential testimony of the former national security adviser if he were called as a witness in the president’s impeachment trial.

(The New York Times) January 26, 2020, by Maggie Haberman and Michael S. SchmidtPresident Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.... Read the full article here and coverage of the fallout from the report here and here.

Alan Dershowitz’s Strange Constitutional Arguments on Impoundment and Foreign Policy

(Lawfare Blog) January 22, 2020, by Philip BobbittOn Jan. 17, the White House announced that Alan Dershowitz would be joining the president’s defense team in his Senate impeachment trial. That same day, Dershowitz published a statement defending President Trump’s withholding of military assistance to Ukraine and criticizing a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that concluded that the hold on aid violated the Impoundment Control Act. Dershowitz has made many controversial legal arguments recently—but given his prominent upcoming role defending the president, it is worth taking a close look at what he has to say on the question of Trump withholding aid.... Read the full article here, and follow the Lawfare Blog's impeachment podcasts and other coverage of the trial here.

How a Russian disinfo op got Trump impeached
The Kremlin may have been laying the groundwork for blaming Ukraine for 2016 as early as 2015.

(Politico) January 22, 2020, by Natasha BertrandThree weeks after Election Day 2016, the Kremlin officially floated a theory that would ultimately lead to only the third presidential impeachment in U.S. history.... Read the full article here and watch the Senate impeachment trial here.

Government watchdog concludes Trump administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid

(CNN) January 16, 2020, by Jeremy HerbThe Government Accountability Office says the Trump administration broke the law when it withheld US security aid to Ukraine last year that had been appropriated by Congress -- an issue at the center of the impeachment of President Donald Trump.... Read the full article here.

Giuliani associate implicates Trump in Ukraine scheme

(CNN) January 16, 2020, by Erica OrdenLev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman whose work in Ukraine with President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani stands at the center of the impeachment inquiry, implicated the President Wednesday in an interview with CNN in which he said that their efforts were "all about 2020" and not about working in the interest of the United States.... Read the full article and watch the interview here, and read another CNN story here on text messages and hand-written notes provided by Parnas to House investigators.

New Ukraine revelations hang over impeachment trial
The case against the president continues to evolve as new evidence comes to light.

(Politico) January 7, 2020, by Kyle Cheney and Andrew DesiderioThe House impeached President Donald Trump three weeks ago, but a gusher of evidence related to the case has continued to flow — threatening to intensify a scandal that has consumed the Trump presidency.... Read the full article here.

Behind the Ukraine Aid Freeze: 84 Days of Conflict and Confusion
The inside story of President Trump’s demand to halt military assistance to an ally shows the price he was willing to pay to carry out his agenda.

(The New York Times) December 29, 2019, by Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman and Mark Mazzetti—Deep into a long flight to Japan aboard Air Force One with President Trump, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, dashed off an email to an aide back in Washington.... Read the full article here.

How a Putin ally is aiding Giuliani in Ukraine

(The Washington Post) December 22, 2019, by Editorial Board—For more than 15 years, Dmytro Firtash has been a central player in Vladi­mir Putin’s campaign to gain control over Ukraine’s political system and economy.... Read the full article here.

Former White House officials say they feared Putin influenced the president’s views on Ukraine and 2016 campaign

(The Washington Post) December 19, 2019, by 
Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig—Almost from the moment he took office, President Trump seized on a theory that troubled his senior aides: Ukraine, he told them on many occasions, had tried to stop him from winning the White House.... Read the full article here and my chronology of Trump's close links with Putin here.

Trump impeached in historic rebuke
For only the third time ever, the House recommends a president’s removal from office.

(Politic0) December 18, 2019, by Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio—The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday on charges of abusing his power and obstructing congressional investigations, a historic rebuke in a political era that has threatened to upend the nation’s constitutional order.... Read the full article here, the House impeachment resolution here and a CNBC story here on what could happen next. Watch the articles of impeachment debate here.

Giuliani Ally Got $1 Million From Lawyer for Ukrainian Oligarch
  •  U.S. prosecutor makes disclosure at Lev Parnas’s bail hearing
  •  Funds from Russia went to account of Parnas wife in September

(Bloomberg) December 17, 2019, by Christian Berthelsen—A lawyer for for Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash was the source of $1 million that was deposited into a family account of Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the U.S. said.... Read the full article here.

Judiciary Committee impeachment report alleges Trump committed 'multiple federal crimes'
The 169-page report makes the case for Trump's removal from office.

(Politico) December 16, 2019, by Kyle and Andrew Desiderio—President Donald Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud, the House Judiciary Committee alleges in a report that will accompany articles of impeachment this week.... Read the full article here, the report here and a Just Security report here by legal scholars on federal crimes that apply to Trump's conduct, including an introduction by Andrew Weissmann, a lead prosecutor for the Mueller investigation.

Millions in military aid at center of impeachment hasn’t reached Ukraine

(The Los Angeles Times) December 12, 2019, by Molly O'Toole and Sarah D. WireMore than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn’t reached Ukraine.... Read the full article here.

Giuliani Associate Parnas Got $1 Million From Russia, U.S. Says

(Bloomberg) December 11, 2019, by Christian Berthelsen—U.S. prosecutors asked a judge to return Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani indicted on campaign finance charges, to jail for lying about his income and concealing a $1 million payment he got from Russia in September, a month before he was charged.

“Parnas poses an extreme risk of flight, and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations,” prosecutors in Manhattan wrote in a court filing on Wednesday.... Read the full article here, a New Yorker story here about the Ukrainian prosecutor who has fed information to Giuliani and a New York Times story here on Giuliani's account of providing information to Trump that set in motion the recall of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

House Judiciary Committee lays out ‘constitutional grounds’ for Trump impeachment in new report

(The Washington Post) December 7, 2019, by Colby Itkowitz—The House Judiciary Committee released a report Saturday afternoon making the legal case for why President Trump’s conduct rises to the level of impeachment as Democrats race to finish the inquiry before the end of the year.... Read the full article here, the report here and a Politico story here on the Democrats' Dec. 10 announcement of two impeachment articles against Trump. Read the articles of impeachment here.

Pressure builds for Giuliani as associate enters talks over potential plea deal
Pressure to cut deal comes after revelations that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are ‘likely’ to face more charges, attorney says

(The Guardian) December 6, 2019, by Peter Stone—Talks about a potential plea deal are under way between federal prosecutors and an attorney for Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate indicted for making illegal campaign donations who helped Trump lawyer Giuliani’s search for dirt in Ukraine on Joe Biden, says an attorney familiar with the investigation.... Read the full article here and read a Washington Post story here on Giuliani's recent trip to Ukraine.

Rudy’s New Ukraine Jaunt Is Freaking Out Trump’s Lieutenants—and He Doesn’t Care
Top administration officials have been tracking Giuliani’s venture through Europe, wondering if he’s going to cause yet another major headache for the president.

(The Daily Beast) December 6, 2019, by Asawin Suebsaeng and Erin Banco—Rudy Giuliani’s decision to travel to multiple European countries this week, during the height of an impeachment probe involving his client President Trump, was so startling to senior administration officials and national security brass that they began tracking his movements in an effort to get a read on his objectives abroad.... Read the full article here.

Impeachment witness calls Trump’s actions ‘worse than the misconduct of any prior president’
Several constitutional scholars are testifying in the Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing.

(Politico) December 4, 2019, by Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio—Three constitutional lawyers called by Democrats in their rapidly progressing impeachment inquiry plan to testify that Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine were the worst examples of misconduct in presidential history and the reason the framers included impeachment in the Constitution.... Read the full article here. Read the opening statement of University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt here, that of Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman here, that of Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan here and that of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley here.

Impeachment hearings live updates: House panel’s report says Trump ‘compromised national security to advance his personal political interests’

(The Washington Post) December 3, 2019, bJohn Wagner and Colby ItkowitzThe House Intelligence Committee released a report Tuesday that said President Trump placed his political interests above national interests in his conduct toward Ukraine.... Read the full article here, the report here, a Politico analysis of key takeaways from the report here and a Washington Post article here on how the Ukraine pressure campaign began as an effort to undercut the Mueller investigation.

Republicans Do Their Best to Distance Trump From Giuliani in Impeachment Report
Despite testimony that the president told U.S. and Ukrainian officials to “talk to Rudy,” a voluminous new Republican report insists Trump’s lawyer was not speaking on his behalf.

(The Daily Beast) December 3, 2019, by Sam BrodeyIn a lengthy report released late Monday, House Republicans threw out a range of defenses designed to poke holes in the Democrats’ case to impeach President Trump. 

One defense that pops up repeatedly in the 123-page document: Rudy Giuliani went rogue.... Read the full article here and a CNBC story here on Giuliani's multiple phone calls with the White House, budget office and others.

Top State Department official tells senators he has not seen evidence of Ukrainian interference

(The Hill) December 3, 2019, by Olivia BeaversDavid Hale, the third-ranking State Department official who testified recently as part of the House impeachment inquiry, told senators Tuesday that he has not seen any evidence to support GOP claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.... Read the full article here.

New charges likely in case against Giuliani associates

(Politico) December 2, 2019, by Erin DurkinNew charges are likely to be brought against two associates of Rudy Giuliani who were indicted for campaign finance crimes, prosecutors said Monday.... Read the full article here.

Trump Denies Giuliani Acted on His Behalf in Ukraine: ‘Rudy Has Other Clients’
“He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years,” the president told former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

(The Daily Beast) November 27, 2019, by Julia ArcigaPresident Donald Trump appeared to hang his personal lawyer out to dry in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday night, insisting that Rudy Giuliani's push for a Biden investigation in Ukraine was not done on his behalf and noting that Giuliani has “other clients.”... Read the full article here. Also, read a Washington Post story here on reports that Giuliani was in talks to be paid by Ukraine's top prosecutor while they worked to dig up dirt on the Bidens, and read a New York Times article here on reports that Giuliani pursued business in Ukraine while pushing for inquiries there.

We Wrote a Starr Report! An Account of the Record in L’Affaire Ukrainienne

(Lawfare Blog) November 26, 2019, by Scott R. Anderson, Margaret Taylor and Benjamin WittesIn the Ukraine affair, there is no Robert Mueller. There is no Kenneth Starr. If the House is going to get a detailed report on the conduct of President Trump with respect to Ukraine and the Biden family, it’s going to have to write that report itself.... Read the full article here.

White House Budget Official Said 2 Aides Resigned Amid Ukraine Aid Freeze
Mark Sandy, an official at the Office of Management and Budget, testified that two of his colleagues quit after expressing concerns about President Trump’s decision to withhold military assistance.

(The New York Times) November 26, 2019, by Michael D. Shear and Nicholas FandosTwo officials at the White House budget office resigned this year partly because of their concerns about President Trump’s decision to hold up congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine, a third aide at the office told impeachment investigators, revealing dissent within a key agency about Mr. Trump’s refusal to release the money.... Read the full article here, and read the transcript of the deposition of Mark Sandy, Deputy Associate Director for National Security Programs at the Office of Management and Budget Mark Sandy, and that of Acting Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker here.

Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine
White House lawyers briefed President Trump in late August about the complaint, people familiar with the matter said.

(The New York Times) November 26, 2019, by Michael S. Schmidt, Julian E. Barnes and Maggie HabermanPresident Trump had already been briefed on a whistle-blower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter.... Read the full article here.

Why Giuliani Singled Out 2 Ukrainian Oligarchs to Help Look for Dirt

(The New York Times) November 25, 2019, by Jo Becker, Walt Bogdanich, Maggie Haberman and Ben ProtessThey were two Ukrainian oligarchs with American legal problems. One had been indicted on federal bribery charges. The other was embroiled in a vast banking scandal and was reported to be under investigation by the F.B.I.... Read the full article here, and read a Guardian story here on reports of contacts between Giuliani indicted Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas.

Fiona Hill Ties Trump’s Ukraine Pressure Back to Russiagate
The White House’s former top Russia official called the impeachment inquiry legitimate, contradicting her former boss.

(The Daily Beast) November 21, 2019, by Spencer Ackerman and Sam BrodeyThroughout the first week of the House of Representatives’ impeachment hearings, the witnesses, most of them serving career U.S. diplomats, have attempted agnosticism on the merits of impeaching President Trump and sidestep often rancorous Republican questioning. But the White House’s former top Russia official made it clear on Thursday that she wasn’t going to follow the same script.... Read the full article here, CNN's live updates on the day's testimony here, and a Politico round table on the impeachment proceedings here. Read the opening statement of Fiona Hill, former director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, hereand that of David Holmes, a political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, here. Watch the day's testimony here.

Pentagon official reveals Ukrainians asked about stalled aid as early as July

(CNN) November 20, 2019, by Kevin LiptakTop Pentagon official Laura Cooper testified that Ukrainian officials knew as early as July 25 that there was an issue with US aid to the country.

This undercuts a key Republican rebuttal to accusations of a "quid pro quo" linking the aid to investigations into President Trump's political rivals.... Read the full article here, and read the opening statement of Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, here. Watch Cooper's testimony here.

The answer is yes': Sondland affirms 'quid pro quo' in Ukraine dealings
His credibility is likely to come under fire.

(Politico) November 20, 2019, by Kyle Cheney and Andrew DesiderioPresident Donald Trump’s handpicked Ukraine adviser Gordon Sondland said Trump conditioned a valuable White House meeting for Ukraine's new president on his willingness to launch investigations into Trump's Democratic adversaries, including former Vice President Joe Biden.... Read the full article here and Sondland's opening remarks here. Watch Sondland's testimony here.

Impeachment hearings: Vindman saw it as his ‘duty’ to report Trump's July 25 call
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that he told Ukraine's president not to meddle in U.S. politics during Day Three of impeachment hearings.

(Politico) November 19, 2019, by Natasha Bertrand, Quint Forgey and Abbey MarshallLt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified Tuesday that “it was my duty” to report Donald Trump’s July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart to a White House lawyer — a call he’s characterized as “improper.”... Read the full article here and CNN's live updates on the day's testimony here. Watch the testimony here. Read the opening statements of Vindman here and Jennifer Williams, a State Department official on loan to the Vice President’s office as a special adviser for Russia and Europe, here.

Trump's impeachment ire turns on Pompeo amid diplomats' starring roles
Impeachment hearings have created a rift between the president and one of his staunchest allies in the administration.

(NBC News) November 18, 2019, by Carol E. Lee, Courtney Kube and Andrea MitchellThe impeachment inquiry has created the first rift between President Donald Trump and the Cabinet member who has been his closest ally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to four current and former senior administration officials.... Read the full article here.

Gordon Sondland Stepped In ‘and Things Went Really Off the Rails’
“Erratic,” “very emotional,” and “lots of yelling.” Those are some of the words used to describe Sondland’s performance in a White House meeting with top Ukrainian officials.

(The Daily Beast) November 18, 2019, by Erin Banco and Lachlan MarkayUkrainian officials arrived at the White House on July 10 expecting something approaching normal. They were in Washington for a scheduled meeting with then-National Security Adviser John Bolton with a plan to propose a new path for U.S.-Ukrainian relations under the umbrella of energy and security cooperation. All seemed to go well—until U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stepped in. “That’s when things really went off the rails,” one person in the room said.... Read the full article here, and read a CNN article here about testimony that Trump administration officials knew in May that Ukraine felt pressured to investigate the Bidens.

Pence aide testified that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine were 'inappropriate'
Jennifer Williams told investigators that she took notes while she listened in on Trump’s July 25 phone call.

(Politico) November 16, 2019, by Andrew Desiderio and Melanie ZanonaA top national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence told House impeachment investigators that President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political opponents were “unusual and inappropriate,” and “shed some light on possible other motivations” for the president’s order to freeze military aid to the U.S. ally.... Read the full article here, and read this Politico story about Trump attacking Williams as a "never Trumper." Read the deposition transcripts of the testimony of Jennifer Williams, a State Department official on loan to the Vice President’s office as a special adviser for Russia and Europe, and Tim Morrison, former National Security Council senior director for countering weapons of mass destruction, here.

Exclusive: After private White House meeting, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he was on a 'secret mission' for Trump, sources say

(CNN) November 16, 2019, by Vicky WardAmong the many guests who had their pictures taken with President Donald Trump at the White House's annual Hanukkah party last year were two Soviet-born businessmen from Florida, Lev Parnas and Igor  Fruman.... Read the full article here.

What Was Truly Unprecedented in This Week’s Impeachment Hearings?
We’ve seen impeachment proceedings before—but not like this. We rounded up 5 experts on the process to tell us what we should have been paying attention to.

(Politico) November 16, 2019, by Politico MagazineIt’s easy to call an impeachment “historic,” but what kind of history did we really see this week? Most of us couldn’t answer that in real time, but POLITICO Magazine tracked down the tiny handful of Americans who can: The historians and legal analysts who specialize in the rare, high-stakes process of impeachment itself.... Read the full article here.

Diplomat: Sondland told Trump Ukraine would investigate Bidens

(Politico) November 15, 2019, by Andrew DesiderioA State Department official told House impeachment investigators on Friday that he overheard Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, telling President Donald Trump that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would do “anything you ask him to” — including publicly announcing an investigation targeting Trump’s political rivals.... Read the full article here.

Trump attacks ambassador even as she describes feeling threatened by him

(The Washington Post) November 15, 2019, by Rosalind S. Helderman and Rachael BadeThe president’s words left her “shocked” and “devastated,” the witness said.

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers Friday that when she read how President Trump had talked about her to his Ukrainian counterpart in a July phone call — saying ominously that “she’s going to go through some things” — the color drained from her face.... Read the full article here, a Washington Post story on key takeaways from the testimony here and CNN's live impeachment updates for the day here. Watch Yovanovitch's testimony here.

Giuliani Faces U.S. Probe on Campaign Finance, Lobbying Breaches

(Bloomberg) by Chris Strohm and Jordan Fabian, November 14, 2019Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, is being investigated by federal prosecutors for possible campaign finance violations and a failure to register as a foreign agent as part of an active investigation into his financial dealings, according to three U.S. officials.... Read the full article here.

AP source: 2nd US official heard Trump call with Sondland

(The Associated Press) November 14, 2019, by Desmond Butler, Michael Biesecker and Matthew LeeA second U.S. Embassy staffer in Kyiv overheard a cellphone call between President Donald Trump and his ambassador to the European Union discussing a need for Ukrainian officials to pursue “investigations,” The Associated Press has learned.... Read the full article here, and read a CNN story here quoting security experts who say the call breached counterintelligence practices and was likely intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Democrats land damning new evidence in impeachment testimony
Key figures in the Ukraine saga appeared to help Democrats make the case that Trump abused the power of the presidency.

(Politico) November 13, 2019, by Kyle Cheney and Andrew DesiderioDonald Trump called a key ally in July for an update on efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his Democratic adversaries, a witness in the House’s impeachment inquiry revealed Wednesday.... Read the full article here, watch the first day of hearings here, and read further highlights here. Read a Lawfare Blog analysis of the first day of open impeachment hearings here.

Your Trump impeachment viewing guide
What you need to know about the first public impeachment hearings on Wednesday

(CBC News) November 12, 2019, by Steven D'SouzaAfter weeks of closed-door depositions, the impeachment inquiry into allegations of abuse of power by U.S. President Donald Trump is set to take the spotlight with public hearings.... Read the full article here.

There’s a Surprisingly Plausible Path to Removing Trump From Office
It would take just three Republican senators to turn the impeachment vote into a secret ballot. It’s not hard to imagine what would happen then.

(Politico) November 12, 2019, by Juleanna GloverBy most everyone’s judgment, the Senate will not vote to remove President Donald Trump from office if the House impeaches him. But what if senators could vote on impeachment by secret ballot? If they didn’t have to face backlash from constituents or the media or the president himself, who knows how many Republican senators would vote to remove?... Read the full article here.

Mulvaney’s OMB Held Up Lethal Ukraine Aid in 2017 for Fear of Russian Reaction
“[It] was rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented,” former White House official Catherine Croft told investigators.

(The Daily Beast) November 11, 2019, by Betsy SwanUnder Mick Mulvaney’s leadership, the Office of Management and Budget temporarily put a hold on the delivery of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in 2017 because of concerns their arrival would upset Russia, according to former White House official Catherine Croft.... Read the full article here and a transcript of the testimony of Croft and Christopher Anderson, a former advisor to U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Kurt Volker, here. Read the transcript of the testimony of Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Ukraine, here, and a Politico story here on revelations in the three newly released transcripts.

State Department Freed Ukraine Money Before Trump Says He Did

(Bloomberg) November 9, 2019, by Nick Wadhams and Saleha MohsinPresident Donald Trump says he lifted his freeze on aid to Ukraine on Sept. 11, but the State Department had quietly authorized releasing $141 million of the money several days earlier, according to five people familiar with the matter.... Read the full article here.

Impeachment inquiry: Fiona Hill tells lawmakers she's received death threats
Former top Russia expert at White House says harassment reached a peak after she agreed to testify in impeachment hearings

(The Guardian) November 8, 2019, by Julian BorgerThe former top Russia expert at the White House has said she has been subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation, including death threats, which reached a new peak after she agreed to testify in congressional impeachment hearings.... Read the full article here.

Bolton Knows About ‘Many Relevant Meetings’ on Ukraine, Lawyer Says
The former national security adviser would be an important witness in the impeachment inquiry, but his lawyer wants a court to rule on whether he should testify.

(The New York Times) November 8, 2019, by Peter BakerJohn R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has knowledge of “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators do not yet know about, his lawyer told lawmakers on Friday.... Read the full article here.

Live updates: Ukraine expert who listened to Trump’s call says ‘there was no doubt’ the president was seeking investigations of political rivals

(The Washington Post) November 8, 2019, bJohn Wagner and Colby ItkowitzLt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Ukraine expert who listened to President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said “there was no doubt” that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, according to a transcript of his deposition.... Read the full article here, and read transcripts of the testimony of Vindman and Fiona Hill, former senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, here. Read a CNN article here on the White House's later effort to blame Vindman for discrepancies related to an earlier Trump phone call.

Who Will Betray Trump?
Donald Trump knows there are potential traitors in his midst. His presidency could depend on keeping them at bay.

(Politico) November 8, 2019, by Tim AlbertaFrom the moment Francis Rooney expressed alarm to his House colleagues that Donald Trump might have abused presidential power in his dealings with Ukraine—and more dramatically, that an impeachment inquiry could be warranted—the Florida Republican was a marked man.... Read the full article here.

Impeachment Inquiry Tests Ties Between Barr and Trump
The attorney general has not jumped in to publicly defend the president against the Democratic inquiry as he did with the Mueller investigation.

(The New York Times) November 7, 2019, by Peter Baker, Katie Benner and Maggie HabermanFor a while at least, he seemed to have found his Roy Cohn, a lawyer to defend him against his accusers and go after his enemies. But the relationship between President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr may be growing more complicated with the rising threat of impeachment.... Read the full article here.

'Campaign of lies': What George Kent told impeachment investigators

(Politico) November 7, 2019, by Nahal Toosi, Andrew Desiderio and Natasha BertrandHouse Democrats on Thursday released another deposition transcript ahead of public hearings scheduled for next week. This time, the deposition was that of George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department whose portfolio includes Ukraine.... Read the full article here, Kent's inquiry testimony here and a Washington Post story on Kent's revelations here.

Ambassador’s testimony offers window into impeachment inquiry’s first public hearing

(The Washington Post) November 6, 2019, bJohn Hudson, Mike DeBonis, Karoun Demirjian and Elise ViebeckThe top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine had a “clear understanding” that U.S. military aid for Kyiv would not be sent until the country pursued investigations that could benefit President Trump politically, according to a transcript of his closed-door testimony released by House impeachment investigators on Wednesday.... Read the full article here and the transcript of Taylor's testimony here. Read transcripts of the inquiry testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, the former United States Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, here.

Diplomat Points to Rudy Giuliani as Trump’s Ukraine Shakedown Man
Trump “just kept saying: ‘Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy.'”

(Mother Jones) November 5, 2019, by David Corn and Dan FriedmanHere’s the thing about Donald Trump’s scandals: they often are too obvious. While Trump and his defenders have claimed there was no shifty quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine, all the evidence indicates there was. And the just-released congressional testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the hotel magnate whose $1 million donation to Trump’s inauguration won him a job as a diplomat, shows that Trump essentially ordered a shakedown of Ukraine and placed his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in charge of this caper.... Read the full article here.

White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who heard President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president and was alarmed, testified that he tried and failed to add key details to the rough transcript.

(The New York Times) October 29, 2019, by Julian E. Barnes, Nicholas Fandos and Danny HakimLt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.... Read the full article here, Vindman's opening statement here and a Washington Post story here on crucial White House meetings in the saga.

Ukraine Knew of Aid Freeze by August, Undermining Trump Defense
Top officials were told in early August about the delay of $391 million in security assistance, undercutting a chief argument President Trump has used to deny any quid pro quo.

(The New York Times) October 23, 2019, by Andrew E. Kramer and Kenneth P. VogelTo Democrats who say that President Trump’s decision to freeze a $391 million military aid package to Ukraine was intended to bully Ukraine’s leader into carrying out investigations for Mr. Trump’s political benefit, the president and his allies have had a simple response: There could not have been any quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know the assistance had been blocked.... Read the full article here.

Prosecutors flagged possible ties between Ukrainian gas tycoon and Giuliani associates

(The Washington Post) October 22, 2019, bMatt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Josh DawseyWhen two business associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, were arrested this month on charges that they funneled foreign money into U.S. elections, federal prosecutors working on a different case in Chicago took note.... Read the full article here and a Politico story here on Congressional investigation of the same issues.

U.S. envoy says he was told release of Ukraine aid was contingent on public declaration to investigate Bidens, 2016 election

(The Washington Post) October 22, 2019, by Anne Gearan, Rachael Bade and John WagnerThe senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine said Tuesday he was told release of military aid was contingent on public declarations from Ukraine that it would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election, contradicting President Trump’s denial that he used the money as leverage for political gain.... Read the full article here, Taylor's opening statement here, an account of Taylor's testimony here and a Lawfare Blog analysis here of whether Trump's actions may have violated the federal bribery statute.

William Taylor testifies about deep-seated push for Ukraine quid pro quo
Trump's top Ukraine envoy faced questions about his concerns that Trump was withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

(Politico) October 22, 2019, by Andrew Desiderio and Kyle CheneyPresident Donald Trump’s top envoy to Ukraine told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday of intense efforts by Trump administration officials to secure politically-motivated investigations of Trump’s political rivals in exchange for a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president and critical military aid, according to sources in the room for the testimony.... Read the full article here.

Putin and Hungary’s Orban helped sour Trump on Ukraine

(The Washington Post) October 21, 2019, by 
Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, John Hudson and Ellen NakashimaPresident Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine for information he could use against political rivals came as he was being urged to adopt a hostile view of that country by its regional adversaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, current and former U.S. officials said.... Read the full article here.

Gordon Sondland says Giuliani pushed Ukraine probes at Trump’s direction
Trump’s EU ambassador told House investigators he opposed the president’s request to run Ukraine policy through Rudy Giuliani.

(Politico) October 17, 2019, by Andrew Desiderio and Kyle CheneyGordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, bolstered Democrats' impeachment inquiry Thursday as he broke sharply from President Donald Trump in testimony before House investigators.... Read the full article here.

Mulvaney says Ukraine aid was tied to Trump's desire for investigation

(CNN) October 17, 2019, by Allie MalloyActing Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters today that aid to Ukraine was in fact tied to President Trump’s wish for an investigation into the 2016 election.... Read the full article here.

2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, were also part of the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

(The New York Times) October 10, 2019, by Eileen Sullivan, Adam Goldman and William K. Rashbaum
Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws, according to court documents.... Read the full article here and this Guardian article on subsequent arrests of two other Giuliani associates.

Dems raise fresh quid-pro-quo questions about Ukraine missile sale
The sale raises the prospect that President Donald Trump may have been pressuring Ukraine in exchange for political favors far earlier than previously known.

(Politico) October 8, 2019, by Natasha Bertrand and Daniel LippmanDemocrats pursuing an impeachment inquiry of President Trump want to take a fresh look at whether the sale of anti-tank missiles to Kiev last year was in any way connected to Ukraine’s decision to halt investigations into Trump’s campaign chairman.... Read the full article here.

Inside the White House's effort to contain Ukraine call fallout

(CNN) October 8, 2019, by Pamela Brown, Jeremy Diamond, Kaitlan Collins and Kevin LiptakBy the time President Donald Trump's line with Volodymyr Zelensky went quiet, the scramble began.... Read the full article here.

Senate Intel's newest Russia report undermines pro-Trump conspiracy theories

(Politico) October 8, 2019, by Christiano LimaThe Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping new bipartisan report detailing Russian efforts to boost Donald Trump's White House bid on social media during the 2016 U.S. elections, dealing an indirect blow to a push by the president and his allies to shift focus toward claims of anti-Trump meddling by Ukraine.... Read the full article here.

US ambassadors pushed Ukraine to investigate as condition for White House visit, texts show

(NBC News) October 4, 2019, by Josh LedermanText messages given to Congress show U.S. ambassadors working to persuade Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating President Donald Trump’s political opponents and explicitly linking the inquiry to whether Ukraine’s president would be granted an official White House visit.... Read the full article here, a Daily Beast article on the texts here and a Congressional statement containing the complete text messages here.

Phone Call Showed Only a Slice of Trump’s Obsession With Ukraine
Since the 2016 campaign, the president has had an intense fixation on the country, which he believes is tied up in the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

(The New York Times) September 25, 2019, by Kenneth P. Vogel, Julian E. Barnes, Maggie Haberman and Sharon LaFraniereIt was not a country that would naturally have seemed high on the priority list of a president who came to office relishing a trade clash with China, promising to reorder the Middle East and haranguing European allies to spend more on NATO.

But for President Trump, Ukraine has been an obsession since the 2016 campaign.... Read the full article here.

Transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian president shows him offering U.S. assistance for Biden investigation

(The Washington Post) September 25, 2019, b
Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh DawseyPresident Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart to work with the U.S. attorney general to investigate the conduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and offered to meet with the foreign leader at the White House after he promised to conduct such an inquiry, according to a newly-released transcript of the call.... Read the full article here, a memorandum of the call here and the whistle-blower complaint here.

Giuliani pursued shadow Ukraine agenda as key foreign policy officials were sidelined

(The Washington Post) September 24, 2019, bGreg Miller, Josh Dawsey, Paul Sonne and Ellen NakashimaPresident Trump’s attempt to pressure the leader of Ukraine followed a months-long fight inside the administration that sidelined national security officials and empowered political loyalists — including the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani — to exploit the U.S. relationship with Kiev, current and former U.S. officials said.... Read the full article here and Lawfare Blog's timeline of the Trump-Ukraine scandal here.

Trump Suggests Link Between Ukraine Aid Review and Pressure Campaign
Ukrainian officials had expressed concern they were being penalized for resisting a Biden inquiry

(The Wall Street Journal) September 23, 2019, by Rebecca BallhausPresident Trump on Monday suggested a link between his administration’s review of military aid to Ukraine and his efforts to persuade the Ukrainian president to investigate Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, as scrutiny of his dealings with Kiev continued to reverberate.... Read the full article here.

How Trump and Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate the president’s rivals

(The Washington Post) September 20, 2019, by Josh Dawsey, Paul Sonne, Michael Kranish and David L. SternWhen President Trump spoke on the telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in late July, the Ukrainians had a lot at stake. They were waiting on millions in stalled military aid from the United States, and Zelensky was seeking a high-priority White House meeting with Trump.... See the full article here, another article on a whistleblower's allegation that Trump's pressured Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden's son here and a New York Times piece on Trump's "long-held grudge" against Ukraine here.

Click here to see my timeline of Donald Trump's links with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of those ties.

See links to my investigative journalism here, including my book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence, a finalist in the 2018 Reader's Favorite International Book Awards and winner or finalist in 12 other book prizes.