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The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
President Donald Trump delivered a blistering monologue to the journalists he allowed into his Cabinet meeting on Monday -- making many inaccurate or misleading claims. Here's a fact check on his statements on the Ukraine scandal:
The whistleblower's account
- Trump said: "The whistleblower gave a false account." He also said the whistleblower's account was "totally false."
- Fact check: The whistleblower's account of Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was largely accurate. In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower's three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct.
The whistleblower's knowledge
- Trump said: "The whistleblower had second- and third-hand information. You remember that, it was a big problem."
- Fact check: Some of the whistleblower's information came from others, but some did not. Michael Atkinson, the Trump-appointed inspector general for the intelligence community, noted that the whistleblower had "direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct," and that the whistleblower was "credible" even about events on which the whistleblower did not have firsthand knowledge.
The call document
- Trump said: "I released a transcription then by stenographers of the exact conversation I had."
- Fact check: The document released by the White House explicitly says, on the first page, that it is not an exact transcript of the call. The document notes that "a number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation."
The whistleblower being 'gone'
- Trump said: "You never hear, what happened to the whistleblower? They're gone, because they've been discredited."
- Fact check: There is no evidence that either of the two whistleblowers are now somehow "gone." The whistleblowers have not vanished," Bradley Moss, a colleague of Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the two whistleblowers, said on Twitter.
The whistleblower and Adam Schiff
- Trump said: "So was there actually an informant? Maybe the informant was Schiff. It could be shifty Schiff. In my opinion it's possibly Schiff."
- Facts check: Schiff, a Democratic congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not have access to the internal White House information the whistleblower revealed. He could not have told the whistleblower about the contents of Trump's phone call with Zelensky or other information the whistleblower reported.
Read more here.
In a one-on-one interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News on Monday night, President Donald Trump lambasted the media, the Democrats, the impeachment probe, and the Bidens, to name a few.
Here's what he said:
- The call with Zelensky: Trump defended his phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- which is at the center of this impeachment inquiry. "That wasn't a bad call at all," Trump said. "The president of Ukraine said that was a perfectly fine call, there was no pressure, there was no anything."
- The Democrats: Trump accused the Democrats, who are leading the impeachment probe, of being "vicious," and said Republicans "would never do a thing like this." He also said they were pushing for impeachment because they were afraid he would win the 2020 presidency. "They see the level of popularity ... They see what is going on. That is why they are doing it," he said. He added that Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "should be impeached."
- The impeachment probe: Trump said that "the word impeachment is a dirty, disgusting word," and that former President Barack Obama could have been impeached. "I've gone through the impeachment now since the beginning," Trump said. "On Russia, on Mueller, on all this stuff, okay? And then they come up with this crazy concept of a perfect conversation."
- On Hunter Biden: In the Hannity interview, Trump said, "If that were my son that took this $168,000 from this very questionable energy company, and he knew nothing about energy, and has a bad track record including getting thrown out of the Navy, and even the way he got into the Navy is interesting in his position -- if that were Don Jr. or Eric Trump, who are very outstanding young men, it would be the biggest story of the century."
Fact check: A rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower's primary allegations about the call with Zelensky were correct or very close to correct.
There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter or Joe Biden despite Trump's repeated statements.
Here are the latest developments in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump:
- Impeachment timeline grows: The impeachment proceedings may take longer than some initially expected. That's because each witness has so far provided more leads for investigators to chase down, including new names to potentially interview or seek documents from. Democrats have also had to reschedule several witnesses.
- Censure vote: House Democrats stopped a Republican-led effort to force a floor vote on a resolution to censure Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats leading the impeachment investigation, "for certain misleading conduct" in his characterization of a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
- The deposition schedule: While the list of depositions started this week at seven, it was down to just two by this afternoon. Only US embassy in Ukraine's charge d'affaires William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper remain on the schedule provided by an official working on the impeachment inquiry.
- Trump calls for party unity: In a Cabinet meeting today, Trump said Republicans need to get tougher amid efforts to impeach him, and added that they need to remain unified. Trump said Democrats were "vicious" in their attempts to impeach him but they stuck together — which he contrasted negatively to Republicans.
House Democrats stopped a Republican-led effort to force a floor vote Monday on a resolution to censure Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats leading the impeachment investigation, "for certain misleading conduct" in his characterization of a phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president.
The vote was 218-185.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer moved to table, or kill, the resolution offered by Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona.
Schiff took to Twitter after the vote. Here's what he said:
Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, told CNN that he doesn’t think acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney changed anything with his comments over the last week, but added that he wished "the chief of staff wasn’t holding press conferences.”
“Maybe have like your communications person, your press secretary do that? Have you heard of that before?" Cornyn said.
He also said that he is preparing for impeachment by doing some reading. Cornyn has been reading a new book about Andrew Johnson’s impeachment.
Cornyn wasn’t alone. Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana facing re-election, said he’s been reviewing the impeachment report by the Congressional Research Service.
Republican senators are reacting today to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's attempt to walk back last week's stunning admission to a quid pro quo involving security aid to Ukraine.
Here's what they said about Mulvaney:
- South Dakota Sen. John Thune: Asked about the problems at the White House the last several weeks, Thune said, “It’s been a rough patch for Mulvaney.”
- Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt: "I assume his view would be that his two appearances were not helpful.”
- Utah Sen. Mitt Romney: "Obviously what he said in the presser was of real concern, because he said in effect that they were holding up Ukraine funding in part based on desire to have Ukraine carry out an investigation, and holding up funds to a foreign nation, particularly one under military threat, to fulfill a political purpose, is a real problem."
- Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley: "I think he was somebody who didn’t know what he was talking about."
CNN's Phil Mattingly and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said he thinks there was a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukraine.
Asked if Trump should be removed from office, O'Rourke told CNN, "It is pretty clear to me and as it should be to anyone who has seen the reconstructed transcript, read the Mueller report, listen to the President in his own words, and now heard his chief of staff admit in front of television cameras there was a quid pro quo, and then to add, this happens all of the time in the Trump White House."
The former Texas congressman said Trump is "a danger to this country and must be removed from office."
O'Rourke went on to say that he wants Republicans to get tough on "upholding the rule of law in America."
"My hope is that Republicans in Congress can see above their own party, their own re-election and look to the future of this country. That is what we need," he said.
Watch the moment:
At least two US officials are expected to testify this week on Capitol Hill as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
Today, CNN Political Director David Chalian looks at the scheduled depositions in the latest episode of "The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch" podcast.
He is also covering:
- Rudy Giuliani's role in the impeachment saga
- The impeachment inquiry’s timeline grows
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's balancing act. Pompeo tries to balance his credibility at the State Department with the expectations of Trump.
Chalian is joined by CNN senior writer Zach Wolf and Shane Harris, a CNN contributor and Washington Post staff writer.