The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:29 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019
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7:17 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

The bias complaint is that the whistleblower is a registered Democrat, source says

From CNN's Jake Tapper

The political bias referenced in the intelligence community inspector general report is that the whistleblower is a registered Democrat, a source familiar with the investigation said.

Inspector general Michael Atkinson acknowledged the bias in his report, though said it doesn't change the facts of the complaint.

Here's what he wrote:

"Further although the ICIG's preliminary reviewed identified some indication of bias of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate, such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern 'appears credible' particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review." 

Mark S. Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower, took to Twitter to respond to the bias complaint, saying, “We won't comment on identifying info but if true, give me a break! Bias? Seriously? Most ppl are.”

He went on to say, “Partisanship not involved. Don't let anyone argue differently.”

4:00 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

Pelosi responds to McCarthy's request to suspend the impeachment inquiry

 Tom Brenner/Getty Images
 Tom Brenner/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter today to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responding to his request to suspend the impeachment inquiry.

In the letter to McCarthy, Pelosi said there is no requirement for a floor vote while an impeachment inquiry is ongoing.

"The existing rules of the House provide House Committees with full authority to conduct investigations for all matters under their jurisdiction, including impeachment investigations," she wrote. "There is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry."

Earlier today, McCarthy called on Pelosi to suspend the inquiry until “rules and procedures are established.” McCarthy, who also sent a letter to Pelosi, asked 10 questions including, among those: Do you intend to hold a vote of the full House authorizing your impeachment inquiry?

She also acknowledged receipt of McCarthy's letter.

"As you know, our Founders were specifically intent on ensuring that foreign entities did not undermine the integrity of our elections. I received your letter this morning shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections. We hope you and other Republicans share our commitment to following the facts, upholding the Constitution, protecting our national security, and defending the integrity of our elections at such a serious moment in our nation’s history," Pelosi wrote.
3:15 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

The impeachment process could take months

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

An official ticket to watch the impeachment trial of US President Bill Clinton
An official ticket to watch the impeachment trial of US President Bill Clinton WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP/Getty Images

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has not given a timeframe for the impeachment inquiry but she told her colleagues it would be done "expeditiously."

This process can take months. Take the three presidents who have faced impeachment as examples:

  • For Andrew Johnson, the entire process lasted 94 days. From first congressional action to Senate acquittal, it lasted from Feb. 22, 1868 to May 26, 1868.
  • For Richard Nixon, it lasted 184 days. The House approved the impeachment inquiry on Feb. 6, 1974, and Nixon announced he's resign, effective the next day, on Aug. 8, 1974.
  • For Bill Clinton, it lasted 127 days. The House approved the impeachment inquiry on October 8, 1998, and the Senate acquitted him on February 12, 1999.
2:54 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

Trump: Democrats "do the impeachment crap" because they know they can't win

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump, speaking at a Medicare event in Florida, claimed the Democrats are focusing on impeachment because "they know they can't beat" Republicans in elections.

"That's why they do the impeachment crap, because they know they can't beat us fairly," Trump said.

He added that Democratic victories would be bad for the country.

"It'd be a sad, sad day for our country if they ever won," he said.

1:56 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

House Intel chair says Trump's remarks on China are "repugnant"

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill this afternoon, House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff declined to answer questions regarding former US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker’s deposition, but did offer reaction to President Trump’s call for both Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

While Trump has repeatedly accused Biden and his son of corruption, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

"Once again you have the President of the United States suggesting, urging, a foreign country to interfere in our presidential elections is an illustration that if this President has learned anything from the two years of the Mueller investigation, it is that he feels he can do anything with impunity," the Schiff said.

“It ought to be condemned by every member of this body,” Schiff said to reporters, adding “it endangers our elections, and it endangers our national security.”

CNN asked Schiff about the GOP contention that Volker’s testimony today undercut Schiff’s probe.

He declined to comment but called Trump’s comments “repugnant.”

Inviting “foreign interference in our election is repugnant in a violation of his oval opposite and dangerous our elections and dangerous our security, and after all we've been through for president continue along this path shows that he fundamentally doesn't understand his role as president,” Schiff said. 

1:54 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

Mike Pence defends Trump's phone call with Ukraine president

Matt York/AP
Matt York/AP

Vice President Mike Pence defended President Trump's July phone call with the Ukrainian president.

"As more facts come out of this, as people take time to read the transcript of the President’s call and reflect on these facts, they’ll come to realize this is more of the same of what we’ve seen from Democrats in the last two and a half years," Pence said.

He urged Democratic lawmakers to focus on "issues" not impeachment.

“Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats ought to be focusing on issues of security, of prosperity, infrastructure, the USMCA, lowering drug prices," Pence said.

Note: Yesterday Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stressed that lawmakers can both work on legislation and the impeachment inquiry at the same time.

1:49 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

NOW: President Trump is speaking

Pool
Pool

President Trump is delivering remarks on Medicare for senior citizens at the Villages, a retirement community near Ocala, Florida.

The President will also sign an executive order that emphasizes the benefits of preserving the status quo for Medicare, in particular Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers.

Before he left the White House this morning, Trump spoke to reporters about the ongoing impeachment inquiry. He publicly called for China to look into former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.

It is not clear if Trump will comment on the impeachment process at the event this afternoon.

1:16 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

The Constitution gives Congress the power to impeach — but doesn't say how to proceed

From CNN legal analyst Elie Honig

Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images
Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Your impeachment questions, answered

Today, ex-diplomat Kurt Volker is testifying before three Congressional committees — making him the first official to testify about the whistleblower complaint in the scandal that has led to an impeachment inquiry.

Can Congress impeach Trump based solely on written documents like the whistleblower's complaint or special counsel Robert Mueller's report?

Yes. Article I of the Constitution broadly grants the House the "sole power of impeachment," but says nothing whatsoever about how an impeachment proceeding must be conducted, or what type and quantum of evidence is necessary to impeach.

This is different from federal criminal trials, which are governed by specific rules of procedure, rules of evidence and the requirement that the prosecutor prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In fact, when the House impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998, it did so solely on the basis of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's written report and supporting evidence. The House called no live fact witnesses and introduced no additional evidence.

That said, the House will conduct its own investigation into the Ukraine scandal in the coming weeks and months. Pelosi has announced that the six major House committees — Judiciary, Intelligence, Ways and Means, Oversight, Financial Services and Foreign Affairs — will each investigate and then forward recommendations to the Judiciary Committee, which in turn will decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment (and if so, which ones) for a vote by the full House.

Such investigation seems necessary here because many of the key questions around the Ukraine scandal remain unanswered. So, the House's investigation will be crucial to determining whether an adequate basis exists for impeachment.

Read more impeachment questions and get your own answered here.

8:21 p.m. ET, October 3, 2019

GOP congressman: Volker's statements don't line up with "Democratic impeachment narrative"

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Manu Raju 

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Jim Jordan, a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said “not one thing” ex-diplomat to Ukraine Kurt Volker told lawmakers this morning “aligns with the “Democratic impeachment narrative.”

Volker spent the morning testifying behind closed-doors before members from multiple House committees. Jordan said House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff limited members from asking questions.

“We have never seen a chairman suggest that members aren’t allowed to ask questions. So, if this is how Mr. Schiff is going to conduct these kinds of interviews ... that’s a concern as well,” Jordan said.

The Ohio Republican said Volker has been “very impressive,” but would not elaborate on the specifics, just saying nothing Volker said supports the narrative Democrats have been pushing.