Senior members ofDonald Trump‘s administration have met withRepublicansenators at the White House to discuss how to handle the looming prospect of a Senateimpeachmenttrial, which they hope to limit to two weeks and use to call the Bidens and the CIA whistleblower who ignited theUkrainescandal to give evidence.
DrFiona Hilltold the inquiry on Thursday that Mr Trump’s allies, including personal attorneyRudy Giuliani, had pushed a “fictional narrative” in Kiev in demanding an investigation into (Joe Biden) , adding that EU ambassadorGordon Sondlandhad been dispatched on a “domestic political errand” for the president’s benefit.
Watergateprosecutor Nick Akerman has meanwhile toldNewsweekthat Ambassador Sondland’s explosive appearance on Wednesday represented a “tipping point” that will bring about the demise of the Trump presidency as the first daughter, Ivanka Trump, is ridiculed online by attempting to defend her father with a quote from 19 th century diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville.
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Trump: ‘Nancy Pelosi is crazy as a bedbug’
The president improvises this bizarre insult …
… and then denies that he is expecting a vote in favor of his impeachment from the House of the Representatives.
He insists the inquiry is only helping him at the polls in swing states and that: “The people get it … This is a continuation of the witch hunt”.
Trump wants Adam Schiff to testify on whistleblower at Senate trial
After gushing about New York Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who defended him at the inquiry this week , Trump returned to Schiff, who he says he wants to call as his first witness at a Senate impeachment trial.
Trump says he knows who the whistleblower is – “Everybody does!” – and wants them to appear before Congress too. He insists the person in question is a “political operative”.
“Why did Shifty Schiff make up my statement?” he howls.
President pushes lie about ousted Ukraine prosector
Trump spreads this untruth about Viktor Shokin, Ukraine prosecutor general between 2015 and 2016, widely considered to be corrupt.
president is now defending Rudy Giuliani, calling him “a great crimefighter” and “a legend of our country” after distancing himself from Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland.
Trump saysThe Washington Postis ‘a phony paper’
The attacks on the press are in.
He also misspoke embarrassingly here.
We’re now on to Democratic corruption, the failings of the impeachment witnesses and Gordon Sondland having “Clinton lawyers”.
Hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade all look visibly tense.
Trump spins Ukraine conspiracy theories
The president is now accusing the Democratic National Committee of passing on their own hacked server to “a company co-founded by an American immigrant in Ukraine “.
This is bewildering stuff already. EvenFox and Friendsare asking for his sources.
Here’s the inevitable fact check.
Trump: ‘Adam Schiff is a sick puppy’
The three stooges start by asking Trump whether the FBI is “out to get him” in response to aWashington Poststory alleging that an an ex-FBI employee – thought to be Carter Page – may have altered a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) document connected to surveillance of a 2016 Trump campaign aide
“This was an overthrow attempt on the presidency … these people are sick”, he responds to the soft ball question.
He’s now on to the inquiry: “They look like fools over the last five days … Adam Schiff is a sick puppy.”
President to be interviewed on Fox
Trump will be calling in toFox and Friendsthis morning to rant incoherently about how corrupt the Democrats are, how unfair the impeachment inquiry has been to him and how all of its witnesses are “Never Trumpers”.
We will of course be covering it right here.
Spare a thought for this man at this difficult time.
Trump condemns Iranian regime after seven days of deadly protests
Trump has condemned the “death and tragedy that the Iranian Regime is causing” – finally addressing the violence after a seventh day of deadly protests came to an end in Iran.
His remarks were all very commendable but his call for transparency might have carried more weight if he’d released his tax returns or notstopped witnesses co-operatingwith the Mueller investigation or the House impeachment inquiry.
Here’s Negar Mortazavi’s report.
President hands out National Medals of the Arts, honors return of US soldiers killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash
Trump actually had a very busy day yesterday.
He handed out National Medals of the Arts to right-wing actor Jon Voight and acclaimed bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, among others …
… before heading to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to receive the remains of two American soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan this week.
Trump – who met with families of the late chief warrant officers David Knadle of Texas and Kirk Fuchigami Jr of Hawaii – was accompanied at the base by first lady Melania Trump, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley and national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
The US military said the cause of the Wednesday crash in Logar province south of the capital, Kabul, was under investigatio n but preliminary reports did not indicate it was caused by enemy fire. The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter. The crash came after the Taliban swapped two Western hostages for three of its commanders held by the Afghan government, raising hopes of a thaw in relations between the militant group and coalition forces.
(Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty)
In September, Trump canceled peace talks with Taliban leaders aimed at ending their 18 – year war after the group claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier and 11 other people. The surprise move left in doubt the future of a draft accord that offered a drawdown of thousands of US troops in exchange for guarantees Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the United States and its allies.
Voight accompanied Trump on the visit to the Dover base and called the experience “very powerful. “
” Who can speak for these families and what they’re going through? ” he told reporters after the transfer. “So respectful and so dignified. It must be some comfort that their children were cherished by their country.”
Trump signs short-term funding bill to avert government shutdown as deadline looms
The president yesterday signed legislation that will extend funding for a wide range of federal agencies through to 20 December and avoid a partial government shutdown that otherwise would
An administration official said Trump signed the bill that was approved by the Republican-led Senate earlier on Thursday by a vote of 74 – 20. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the measure on Tuesday by a vote of 231 – 192, with all but a **********
Between now and 20 December, House and Senate negotiators will seek agreement on how to divvy up money across all of the federal bureaucracy. They are hoping to come up with legislation to keep the government operating through to (September) , the end of this fiscal year.
But their work, already arduous, could be further complicated by the highly charged impeachment investigation against Trump that Democrats are running in the House. By December, the House could be in a full-blown debate over whether the Republican president should be removed from office, setting up a complicated battle for federal funding as Congress and Trump strain to reach a deal at a time when emotions will surely be running high.
Much of the hang-up over the spending bills for the current fiscal year, which began on 1 October, is over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump made his pledge to build the wall a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign for president, although he assured voters at the time that Mexico would pay for the construction – an idea Mexico has roundly rejected. Having failed to persuade Congress to grant him the money for his border wall, Trump has used his “emergency” authority to shift funding to the wall from various projects, raising the ire of Democrats.
Ivanka Trump ridiculed for Twitter defense of father
The first daughter, Ivanka Trump, is being ridiculed online for attempting to defend her father with a quote from 19 th century French diplomat and wit Alexis de Tocqueville.
As Twitter’s “well, actually” crowd will tell you, the remark is a paraphrasing of De Tocqueville by judge John Innes Clark Hare from 1889 and his bookAmerican Constitutional Law, in which he critques the impeachment of president Andrew Johnson two decades earlier.
Rather than hit ting the law library, Ivanka appears to have picked up her misrepresentation of the Frenchman’s words fromaWall Street Journalop-edby David Rivkin and Elizabeth Price Foley published
This is a fairly typical example of the response she’s had.
Watergate prosecutor says Sondland testimony was ‘tipping point’ for Trump
“Yesterday was the tipping point completely,” said Akerman, a lawyer who served as an assistant special prosecutor during the scandal that brought down former president Richard Nixon.
“There’s no defense to any of it now, there’s nothing. What’s he going to say, the Devil made me do it? That’s what they’re left with. There’s no good defense. There’s no good reason why he did this. It’s purely for personal campaign purposes. “
” What we’re really talking about here is two things: bribery and extortion. That’s what the facts amount to, “he continued.” Bribery is important because bribery is listed in the US Constitution as an impeachable offense in addition to high crimes and misdemeanors. “
Chairman Schiff drew a parallel between Trump and Nixon yesterday …
… but Akerman says there are key differences: “None of these Republicans are wedded to Donald Trump. This is not like Richard Nixon who had been around from 1948 to (in politics. “)
“There were people who were willing to take a bullet for him, would stand in front of a truck and be run over. You could see from Sondland, he’s not going to give up his life for Donald Trump. There were people that would do that for Richard Nixon.
“This is pretty concrete,” Akerman continued. “Republicans are going to be really put in a box here … Anybody looking at the objective evidence is going to have to say this guy’s guilty of bribery and extortion, there’s no question about it that what he did was off the rails and if you’re ever going to impeach a president on anything, this is about as bad as it gets. “
CNN anchor calls his own mum live on air to troll Trump
Before yesterday’s hearings got underway, the president attempted to debunk Holmes’s claim to have overheard his call with Sondland, arguing it can’t be done unless a mobile is on speakerphone.
In a bid to disprove this, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo called his own mother live on air for his colleagues to listen in. It wasn’t entirely successful.
‘One by one, the officials calmly dismantled Republican conspiracy theories’
Here’s our man in the room, Andrew Feinberg, on the cool debunking of desperate GOP nonsense by Dr Hill and David Holmes.
Six key moments from the Hill and Holmes testimony
Here’s Clark Mindock with the most important takeaways from yesterday’s final public hearing, from the Kiev restaurant call to ex-national security adviser John Bolton’s indignant reaction to the plot.
Witnesses tell impeachment inquiry Trump pushed ‘fictional narrative’
In its final day of dramatic public testimony on Thursday, the House impeachment inquiry into Trump’s alleged attempt to extort Ukraine heard from ex-National Security Council expert Dr Fiona Hill and State Department official David Holmes.
Dr Hill told the inquiry that Trump’s allies, including personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, had pushed a “fictional narrative” in Kiev in demanding an investigation into Joe Biden, adding that EU ambassador Gordon Sondland had been dispatched on a “domestic political errand” for the president’s benefit.
A coal miner’s daughter originally from Bishop Auckland in County Durham, Dr Hill made for a particularly impressive witness, using her opening statement to warn of the ongoing threat of election hacking from Russia with some passion, recounting the moment she warned So ndland “It’s going to blow up” and reminding the United States of its proud tradition of welcoming immigrants in the face of Republican attacks on the credibility of Soviet Union-born witness Lt Col Alexander Vindman.
Holmes too gave a very good account of himself, especially when making mincement out of GOP conspiracy peddlars like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan.
Here’s Clark Mindock and Andrew Feinberg to tell the story.
White House, Republicans plot Senate impeachment trial, want two week limit and testimony from Bidens, whistleblower
Senior members of Donald Trump’s administration have met with Republican senators at the White House to discuss how to handle the looming prospect of a Senate impeachment trial, which they hope to limit to two weeks and use to call the Bidens and the CIA whistleblower who ignited the Ukraine scandal to give evidence .
Mike Lee of Utah, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas gathered in the West Wing on Thursday to meet with White House counsel Pat Cipollone to talk tactics any forthcoming trial should the House of Representatives vote to impeach,according to CNN.
The group wants to limit the tri al’s duration to two weeks,The Washington Postreports. It would take place in January at the earliest at this point.
Trump wants an impeachment trial to go forward in the Senate because he would receive due process there, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Thursday.
“President Trump wants to have a trial in the Senate because it’s clearly the only chamber where he can expect fairness and receive due process under the Constitution, “Gidley said in a statement.
“We would expect to finally hear from witnesses who actually witnessed, and possibly participated in corruption – like Adam Schiff, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and the so-called Whistleblower, to name a few, “Gidley said, referring to House Intelligence Committee chairman Schiff, who is leading the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
For his part, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Graham has leapt into action and written to ask Mike Pompeo’s State Department to hand over all documents tied to the Bidens or the Ukraine affair from 2016.
Graham askes Pompeo to turn over any documents “to assist in answering questions regarding allegations that Vice President [Joe] Biden played a role in the termination of Prosecutor General [Viktor] Shokin in an effort to end the investigation of the company employing his son “.
Graham wants any documents tied to calls between the ex-US vice president and former Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko and any that relate to a meeting between Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner, and then-secretary of state John Kerry .