The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
Our rolling coverage of the latest developments on the impeachment inquiry has moved.
George Conway, husband to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, slammed the White House's letter refusing to cooperate in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry as "trash."
The letter was "an excuse to prevent evidence, damning evidence, from reaching the public," he said on CNN political analyst Preet Bharara's podcast, which airs Thursday and was shared in advance with CNN.
"This was trash," Conway said. "The thrust of (the letter) is that there are some kind of constitutional obligations that the House has failed to meet that therefore render its impeachment inquiry illegitimate and unconstitutional, which is complete nonsense, because all the Constitution says is that the House has the sole power over impeachment."
He added that the letter "virtually guarantees" that Trump will be impeached, calling it "a disgrace to the country, a disgrace to the presidency, and a disgrace to the legal profession."
A vocal conservative lawyer, Conway is often at odds with Trump -- his wife's boss. He previously called Trump "a racist president" in a Washington Post op-ed; Kellyanne Conway told Fox News shortly afterward, "I totally disagree. I work with this President. I know him."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested on Wednesday that the State Department would take its cues from the White House in regards to the impeachment probe.
"The White House made a decision yesterday: They issued an extended letter talking about this process that the House is engaged in, making clear that the White House's view is that this is not a legitimate impeachment proceeding," Pompeo said on the show "America This Week with Eric Bolling."
“We’ll take our guidance from them in terms of how we respond, but I’ve also make clear to my team here at the State Department: We have a mission. We still have a mission in Ukraine. We still have objectives.”
In a letter to New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, the Biden campaign excoriated The New York Times for its recent coverage of Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and Ukraine.
The letter, released Wednesday night, was written by deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield. In the letter, she blasted The Times' coverage of the debunked notion Biden abused his office to benefit his son when he was serving as vice president under the Obama administration.
Bedingfield wrote that The Times, which published a widely criticized story in May, "had an outsized hand in the spread" of the "baseless conspiracy theory."
"What was especially troubling about the Times's active participation in this smear campaign is that prior to its reporting on the subject by (New York Times reporter) Ken Vogel, this conspiracy had been relegated to the likes of Breitbart, Russian propaganda, and another conspiracy theorist, regular Hannity guest John Solomon," wrote Bedingfield.
The Times has pushed back strongly against the letter. "Our coverage of the Biden campaign and Hunter Biden has been fair and accurate," said a spokesperson in a statement, noting that the Biden campaign "obviously disagrees."
The spokesperson said The Times "will continue to cover Joe Biden with the same tough and fair standards we apply to every candidate in the race and we're happy to sit down with Biden advisers anytime to discuss news coverage."
Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top Russia adviser, is expected to be interviewed behind closed doors Monday as part of the impeachment probe, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Democrats have had trouble scheduling witness interviews with current administration officials and State Department employees, and are preparing to move forward with new subpoenas to compel their testimony.
But Hill left the administration in August -- so she presumably would be freer to speak to the committees, much the way former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker was when he testified last week.
Hill will be interviewed by thee House panels, the source said. Axios first reported that the House committees have requested Hill appear for a deposition.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called President Trump's conduct "over the top" on Wednesday when asked why he was calling for impeachment.
"Well, what's changed is his conduct," he said, speaking to CNN affiliate WBZ. "It's just over the top. I mean, there's no way to deny when a guy says, 'I've asked China, I've asked Russia, I've asked, you know, to get engaged.' You're not allowed to do that. Presidents don't do that."
Biden called for Trump's impeachment for the first time earlier on Wednesday at a town hall in New Hampshire.
Speaking to WBZ, he also denied Trump's allegations of corruption, and said multiple times that he didn't discuss business with his son or his family.
"And so the fact is, though, everybody's looked at that. He (Biden's son) did nothing wrong. Zero, period. And so the focus is, what did Trump do?" he said.
Some context: Trump has repeatedly claimed that Biden had called for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was "investigating his son."
There is no evidence Hunter Biden was ever under investigation. The investigation was into the business dealings of the owner of a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden sat on the board of directors.
More than half of US voters want President Trump impeached and removed from office, according to a Fox News Poll released today.
The poll marks the fourth in two days that showed public opinion is shifting on the impeachment inquiry.
A formal impeachment inquiry, launched by the House last month, centers on Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, after a whistleblower filed a complaint about the call.
A transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden in Ukraine.
The Fox News poll found 51% of registered voters want Trump impeached and removed from office and another 4% want the President impeached but not removed from office. Forty percent of respondents were opposed to impeachment altogether.
President Trump has been lighting up the phone lines of his allies on Capitol Hill—including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to whom he's stressed the importance of Republican unity.
In a return to the President's panicked behavior during the height of the Mueller investigation, Trump is calling McConnell as often as three times a day, according to a person familiar with the conversations.
McConnell has told a small number of Republicans about the President's calls.
"This story, based on a single anonymous source, is categorically false. Leader McConnell never said anything like this," Doug Andres, a McConnell spokesman, said.
Trump has been lashing out at GOP senators he sees as disloyal, according to this person, telling McConnell he will amplify attacks on those Republicans who criticize him.
Trump's focus on the impeachment issue is plain, even as his allies encourage him to train his attention on other issues. As former Vice President Joe Biden came out in favor of impeachment for the first time today, Trump had responded on Twitter before Biden's speech had even concluded. While speaking in the Roosevelt Room, Trump went off-script to link a regulatory announcement to his ongoing predicament.
"No American should ever face such persecution from their own government," Trump said, reading from a script, before looking up from his paper: "Except, perhaps, your President."
Joe Biden's campaign has sent a letter to Twitter in regard to a video ad by President Trump's reelection campaign that falsely accuses the former vice president of corruption for his role in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.
In the letter, obtained first by CNN, the Biden campaign asks Twitter to reject the ad should the campaign place it again.
While the letter, written by Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz, acknowledges that the social media company has said the ad complies with its policies, he asks that Twitter “promptly reassess” that position.
Specifically, the letter calls on Twitter to make a distinction between the personal account of a politician and paid advertising content—"just as Twitter does in every other context," the letter states.
Some background: This letter follows another Biden's campaign sent to Facebook asking them to take down the ad. Facebook denied the campaign's request. Twitter has not yet responded to CNN's request for comment.
Biden’s team appears to be launching a broad campaign to respond to Trump’s attacks on social media as the former vice president has stepped up his rhetoric against the president in speeches across the country.
Biden called for Trump's impeachment for the first time on Wednesday.