Posts tagged with "The Hill"

Pelosi names impeachment managers before House votes to send articles to Senate

January 16, 2020

Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House voted across party lines on January 15 to send two articles of impeachment to the Senate—and tapped seven managers for the trial in the upper house, ending weeks of speculation over just who would lead the effort to remove President Donald Trump from office, The Hill reported.

named to prosecute the case. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California), will take the helm. He commented in a formal statement, “I am humbled by the responsibility of serving as the lead House Manager in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, and thank Speaker Pelosi for the trust she has placed in me and our team. It is a solemn responsibility and one that I will undertake with the seriousness that the task requires.

Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee also was selected for a high-profile role. He, too commented-directly, addressing the management of the trial: “Our Speaker has led our fight for a fair trial in the Senate. Above all, a fair trial must include additional documents and relevant witnesses. The American people have common sense. They know that any trial that does not allow witnesses is not a trial. It is a cover-up.”

Among the other Democratic House members chosen were Hakeem Jeffries (New York.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Val Demings (Florida), a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels; and Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), a senior member of the Judiciary panel and the only member of Congress to have participated in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.

More unexpected were the final two picks —Representatives. Sylvia Garcia (Texas), and Jason Crow (Colorado), The Hill said. Both are freshmen, and Crow—a former Army Ranger—does not sit on any of the six committees with jurisdiction over impeachment.

In making the announcement, Pelosi touted the legal bona fides of her picks, saying their experience before entering Congress was an outsize factor in her decision-making.

The announcement came comes just hours before the House voted to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. Passed by the House on December 18, the articles accuse Trump of abusing his power in his dealings with Ukraine; then, obstructing Congress as Democrats sought to investigate the episode.

Aside from transmitting the articles and naming the impeachment managers, the resolution provides funding for the impeachment process.

Research contact: @thehill

If subpoenaed, Bolton says he would be willing to testify in Senate impeachment trial

January 7, 2020

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday that he would testify in a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, if subpoenaed, The Hill reported.

Bolton, who had resisted the the Trump Administration’s effort to squeeze Ukraine for political help—calling the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everyone up”—had hinted since October that he might cooperate, if prevailed upon to do so through legal channels.

“The House has concluded its Constitutional responsibility by adopting Articles of Impeachment related to the Ukraine matter. It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered Constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts,” Bolton, who was ousted by Trump in September, said in a statement.

“I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Bolton said. 

Bolton had previously said that he needed a judge to resolve whether a senior adviser to Trump could be compelled to testify, and as a result did not appear before the House as requested in connection with the impeachment inquiry, The Hill clarified.

His former deputy, Charles Kupperman, had filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to decide whether he should obey a congressional subpoena for his testimony but the case was declared moot last month. Bolton was never subpoenaed after his lawyers made clear he would not appear without one.

Bolton said that, now, because there will not be a judicial resolution to a case on the legal question brought by his former deputy before the Senate trial concludes, he is prepared to testify before the Senate if subpoenaed.

The GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely to call Bolton to testify, however, The Hill said.

Research contact: @thehill

Murkowski ‘disturbed’ by McConnell’s plan for ‘total coordination’ with White House on impeachment

December 26, 2019

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is no pushover when it comes to Republican politics. This week, she went on the record saying that she does not agree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) stated position that he will work in “total coordination” with the White House during the looming impeachment trial.

“When I heard that I was disturbed,” Murkowski told KTUU, an NBC affiliate in her home state, in an interview that aired December 24.

McConnell already has been harshly criticized for his comments by Democrats—given that senators take an oath to be impartial jurors during the trial, The Hill reported.

“To me,” Murkowski continued, speaking of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility in the process, “it means we have to take that step back from being hand-in-glove with the defense. And so I heard what Leader McConnell had said, I happen to think that that has further confused the process.”

Murkowski, a moderate Republican, is seen as one of a few GOP senators who could break from the party on a vote to remove Trump from office; although the president is anticipated to be acquitted given the Republican control of the chamber.

Unlike some of her colleagues, such as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)—a Trump crony who repeatedly has said that he is ready to vote and doesn’t need to hear any witnesses—Murkowski said she won’t “prejudge” the situation before the process continues.

“For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there, or on the other hand, ‘he should be impeached yesterday,’ that’s wrong. In my view, that’s wrong,” she said. 

“If it means that I am viewed as one who looks openly and critically at every issue in front of me rather than acting as a rubber stamp for my party or my president, I am totally good with that,” Murkowski added. “I am totally, totally good with that.”

McConnell signaled on Monday the talks about a trial are in limbo until senators return to Washington in a couple of weeks,, The Hill reported.

Research contact: @thehill

Behind closed doors, Obama talks up Warren to wealthy donors

December 24, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has friends in high places. In fact, The Hill reports, recently former President Barack Obama has gone to bat for Warren on the down-low when speaking to donors reluctant to support her given her knocks on Wall Street and the wealthy.

And if Warren becomes the nominee, Obama has said they must throw the entirety of their support behind her. The former president has stopped short of an endorsement of Warren in these conversations and has emphasized that he is not endorsing in the Democratic primary race.

But he also has vouched for her credentials, making it clear in these private sessions that he deems her a capable candidate and potential president, sources tell The Hill.

“He’s asked all of the candidates who have sought his advice three questions: Is your family behind you? Why you? And why now? She checked the box for all,” one longtime Obama ally told the political news outlet.

“I think he feels licensed to give an opinion on her because he’s ‘hired’ her,” the longtime Obama ally said.

Indeed, The Hill makes the point, while Biden is the best-known Obama figure running for president, he’s not the only one in the race to have worked for the administration. Julián Castro was the secretary for Housing and Urban Development under Obama, and Warren in 2010 became an assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury, where she helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“He obviously thinks she’s very smart,” one Democratic donor added. “He thinks her policy ideas matter. And I think he sees her running the campaign with the most depth.”

A source close to Obama said the former president would go to bat in the same way for any of the Democratic candidates running for president, pointing to comments Obama made last month.

“Look, we have a field that is very accomplished, very serious and passionate and smart people who have a history of public service, and whoever emerges from the primary process, I will work my tail off to make sure that they are the next president,” the former president said in a question-and-answer session at a Democracy Alliance event in Washington.

Obama’s praise of Warren is a contrast of sorts from his days at the White House, The Hill says, when the two were said to have disagreements on economic issues—including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The tension between the president and Massachusetts senator frequently became fodder around the administration.

Since then, the friction has continued to make headlines, including the time in 2015 when Obama was dismissive of Warren’s opposition to the TPP.

Now, as she runs for president herself, Warren has distanced herself from some Obama’s policies but has also spoken glowingly about the time in 2002 when she met Obama — who remains enormously popular among Democratic voters.

Last week, more than 200 lower- and mid-level Obama staffers who worked on his presidential campaigns and in his administration threw their support behind Warren.

To date, Warren has been unable to secure more senior-level Obama veterans. That support from the highest levels — including former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew — has gone to Biden.

According to The Hill, Obama remains “incredibly fond” of Biden and is watching his campaign with interest, said one Obama ally who has spoken to the former president. But Obama — who is currently in Hawaii for his annual Christmas vacation — has intentionally sought to remove himself from the 2020 race. He has said he would not endorse anyone during the primary, including Biden, and is not expected to be out on the campaign trail until there is a nominee.

Obama hasn’t publicly singled out any of the candidates but occasionally, behind closed doors, he’ll offer assessments when he is asked. Those who know him well say that while he is stylistically and temperamentally different from Warren, “he appreciates her intellect and is impressed by the campaign she’s run.”

“If anything, she has the most substantive achievements from his time in the White House,” one former Obama aide told The Hill. “And he’s someone who can talk at length about her accolades.”

Research contact: @thehill

George Conway and other conservative Republicans launch super PAC to block Trump’s reelection

December 18, 2019

Did he get permission from Kellyanne? We doubt it. George Conway—a lawyer, a prominent GOP donor, and the husband one of President Donald Trump’s highest-profile spokespersons—is leading a group of conservative Republicans who are launching a super PAC aimed at stopping Trump from winning reelection, The Hill reports.

The Lincoln Project represents the first formal operation for the so-called “Never Trump” movementthe Associated Press also reported on December 17.

Organizers already have gotten over $1 million in fundraising commitments and hope for more—all to be spent on anti-Trump advertising in the build-up to the 2020 election.

The group announced the launch of the super PAC in a New York Times op-ed (“We Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated”) published Tuesday, authored by Conway, former Republican operative Steve Schmidt, former  adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) John Weaver, and Republican strategist Rick Wilson.

This effort transcends partisanship and is dedicated to nothing less than preservation of the principles that so many have fought for, on battlefields far from home and within their own communities,” read the op-ed in the Times.

The authors wrote that their effort over the next 11 months will be to defeat Trump “and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line.”

“We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference,” the authors noted, adding, “We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks,” they wrote. “Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.”

The group reportedly plans to target disenfranchised Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents in an effort to hinder Trump’s reelection and to defeat Trump-aligned GOP Senate candidates in key 2020 battleground states, including Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Maine and possibly Kansas and Kentucky.

The group’s ads are expected to start airing early next year.

Research contact: @thehill

GOP state senator derides Trump’s tweet on ‘united’ party: ‘Republicans ALL OVER want you impeached’

December 16, 2019

Keeping the Republicans in line for an anti-impeachment vote may be as easy as herding cats, according to some GOP politicians. Nebraska State Senator John McCollister—a Republican— derided a tweet that President Donald Trump posted on Monday, in which Trump accused the Democratic Party and media outlets of making life “difficult” for “the United Republican Party” as he faces impeachment. The  Hill reported. 

“’United Republican Party?’ No,” McCollister tweeted. “There are Republicans ALL OVER the country who want you impeached. We don’t fall for some cult of personality.”

The Nebraska Republican also retweeted a number of posts from Twitter users who identified as Republicans in support of Trump’s impeachment — and others who said they left the party when Trump became president, The Hill said.

McCollister did get some pushback from Trump supporters over his comments criticizing the president, including one who called him a “RINO,” or “Republican In Name Only.” 

“So you only want to hear from ‘Republicans’ who want Trump impeached?” the Twitter user said. “Why not hear from ALL Republicans including those who love our @POTUS ?  Because you’re a RINO pure & simple. Go change parties; you belong with haters.”

McCollister responded shortly after, taking aim aim at another tweet , which Trump had sent earlier on Monday attacking Democrats and the “Fake News Media” after the House Judiciary Committee released a report laying out the impeachment charges against him.

“READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!,” the president urged, adding, “The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job in the history of American politics! The Fake News Media, and their partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to make life for the United Republican Party, and all it stands for, as difficult as possible!”

This is not the first time that the Nebraska state senator has caused a dither within his own party. McCollister captured widespread attention earlier this year after he accused his own party of helping to enable white supremacy in the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

At the time, the state senator, who took office in 2015, accused the party of being “COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party,” The Hill noted.

Research contact: @thehill

Democrats set to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

December 11, 2019

President Donald Trump—aka Teflon Don—has managed to sidestep every scandal in his campaign and administration over the past three years. But now it’s time for him to show his base some really fancy footwork: House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump—accusing him of abusing his office for personal political gain and all but guaranteeing that he will become just the third president in the nation’s history to be impeached, The Hill reported.

Democrats are bringing two charges against Trump, which they say rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors: that he abused the power of his office and that he obstructed Congress in its impeachment inquiry. 

Both of the charges, the news outlet noted, are related to the unfolding controversy surrounding Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s government to conduct a pair of investigations that might have helped him politically: one into Trump’s political rivals—including former Vice President Joe Biden—and another into the debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016.

The historic move, which follows weeks of closed-door and public hearings on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, carries far-reaching implications for a fiercely divided country that’s split roughly in half on whether Trump should be removed from office and ensures that the impeachment debate will carry far into an election year, The Hill noted.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California)—who had resisted moving for impeachment for most of the year—struck a somber tone when announcing the articles in the Capitol, saying Trump’s handling of foreign policy in Kyiv had left Democrats no alternative.

“On this solemn day, I recall that the first order of business for members of Congress is the solemn act to take an oath to defend the Constitution,” she said aat a press conference situated in the august, wood-paneled Rayburn Room adjacent to the House chamber. 

“It is an impeachable offense for a president to use the powers of his office to seek a personal benefit,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) said in introducing the first article. 

“And when he was caught, when the House investigated and opened an impeachment inquiry, President Trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry,” Nadler continued, pointing to the second article of obstruction of Congress.

The Judiciary chairman said his committee would vote on the articles later this week — likely Thursday, according to several sources —setting up a vote of the full House as early as next week, before Congress leaves Washington for the winter holidays.

Forecasting a nasty battle to come, Trump quickly took to Twitter to attack Democrats’ decision, complaining “To impeach a President who has proven through results, ioncluding producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies eer, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness! #2020Election.” 

However, Democrats allege, Trump withheld nearly $400 million in U.S. security aid to Ukraine and dangled a White House meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure the country’s leader to publicly announce an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, who worked on the board of the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.

This, they warned, makes clear that Trump believes he is above the law, and will continue this pattern of misconduct if he remains in office.

We stand here today because the president’s continuing abuse of his power has left us no choice,” said Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which led the weeks-long investigation into the Ukraine affair. “To do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the president’s abuse of his high office, the public trust and our national security.”

But Republicans  argue this is a “sham” impeachment inquiry designed by Democrats to remove a president they cannot defeat at the ballot box.

The articles were announced one day after a Democratic staff counsel, going over the evidence produced by Schiff’s Intelligence Committee, said Trump represented “a clear and present danger” to the nation’s national security, and to fair and free elections, The Hill reported.

Democrats described the move as a hard, but necessary—one they must make to protect the country from a lawless president. “It is rather a question of duty,” Schiff said at the conclusion of the press conference. “The president’s oath of office appears to mean very little to him but the articles put forward today will give us a chance to show that we will defend the Constitution and that our oath means something to us.”

Research contact: @thehill

Giuliani henchman is ready to testify that Nunes aides axed Ukraine trip to avoid tipping off Schiff

November 26, 2019

The dominoes are falling: Lev Parnas, who collaborated with President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in his efforts to find dirt on 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has offered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry.

Parnas says he is prepared to bear witness that aides to Representative Devin Nunes (R-California.)—who is ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting the impeachment inquiry—dropped a planned trip to Ukraine to obtain dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden in order to avoid alerting House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California).

Specifically, CNBC reported on November 24 that Lev Parnas plans to tell committee members that aides to Nunes planned to meet with two Ukrainian prosecutors in an effort to obtain evidence to aid Trump’s reelection bid, but abandoned the efforts once they realized that Schiff’s staff would be alerted to the trip.

The offices of Nunes and Schiff did not immediately return requests for comment on Sunday evening, November 24, The Hill reported—noting that Parnas’s planned testimony, if accurate, would implicate Nunes’s staff in the president and Giuliani’s efforts to push Ukrainian officials to open a politically charged investigations into Biden.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have argued that the president’s efforts presented a clear case that he was attempting to solicit foreign interference in a U.S. election, while also allegedly tying up military aid to the country over the issue.

Joseph Bondy, Parnas’s attorney, told CNBC that he hopes the committee will allow his client to testify. Parnas and a fellow Giuliani associate were recently arrested at Dulles International Airport and charged with campaign finance violations.

His client, Bondy told CNBC, wishes to provide “truthful and important information that is in furtherance of justice.”

Research contact: @thehill

Taylor: Trump cared more about politically motivated Biden ‘investigations’ than ally Ukraine

November 14, 2019

Ambassador William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, on Wednesday said that America’s Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland told a member of his staff in July that President Donald Trump cared more about a politically motivated investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden than he did about longtime ally Ukraine.

According to a report by The Hill, Taylor—who delivered public testimony under oath at the first televised impeachment inquiry—talked to Sondland on July 26.

That conversation came just one day after a now-infamous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25—during which the U.S. president allegedly tried to coerce the new leader into announcing that he would investigate the Biden family by withholding $400 million in congressionally approved military aid to the small nation.

 Taylor said his staffer, whom he did not name, overheard a phone call between Sondland and Trump during which the president asked the EU ambassador about the investigations.

“Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations,’” Taylor said, according to The Hill’s report.

“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Trump attorney Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for,” he continued.

Taylor said that Sondland made the comments following a meeting with a top Zelensky aide, Andriy Yermak, in Ukraine. Taylor said he was not aware of the details when he testified behind closed doors in connection with the impeachment inquiry last month and that he was including it for “completeness.”

“I reported this information through counsel to the State Department’s Legal Adviser, as well as to counsel for both the Majority and the Minority on the Committee. It is my understanding that the Committee is following up on this matter,” Taylor said.

Sondland, who testified privately before the committees before Taylor, has also corrected his remarks to say that he told Yermak during a meeting on September 1 that aid to Ukraine would not likely flow until Kyiv made a public statement about pursuing investigations related to 2016 election interference and Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm with ties to Hunter Biden.

Sondland has sought to distinguish the issue of Burisma from the Bidens, though other witnesses have connected the two. Trump specifically named Biden on the call with Zelensky in July.

As The Hill noted, the Trump Administration eventually released military aid to Ukraine, and Kyiv did not make a public statement about pursuing investigations sought by Giuliani and Trump.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong in his interactions with Zelensky, describing the July 25 phone call as “perfect” and accusing Democrats of a partisan effort to damage him politically. Trump has said he wanted Ukraine to investigate “corruption” and that his comments had nothing to do with politics.

Research contact: @thehill

No harm, no foul: Schumer asks Army to provide Vindman with same protections as whistleblower

October 31, 2019

Fearing that a crucial witness may now be in harm’s way, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) has asked the U.S. Army to provide Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman—who testified behind closed doors as part of the House impeachment inquiry on October 29—with the same protections against retaliation that a whistleblower would receive.

According to a report by The Hill, Schumer sent a letter on Wednesday to Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville raising concerns that Vindman could face retaliation for his testimony from President Donald Trump, his political base, and GOP supporters on Capitol Hill.

“I … ask that you provide me with a briefing on what actions the Army is taking to ensure that LTC Vindman and whistleblowers like him are afforded appropriate protections— both from retaliation and for the personal safety of him and his family,” Schumer wrote.

The Senate Minority Leader added that he also wants the Army leaders to “issue public statements indicating your support for him and others in the U.S. Armed Forces who fulfill their duty to tell the truth when asked to do so.”

Vindman told the three committees that he had raised concerns more than once about Trump and other officials pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically motivated investigations that would benefit Trump, according to a copy of his opening remarks.

Trump and some of his allies attacked Vindman, questioning his credibility and patriotism and sparking bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill.

Trump railed against Vindman on Tuesday, calling him a “Never Trumper witness.”

“Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call ‘concerned’ today’s Never Trumper witness,” Trump tweeted. “Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!”

Schumer, in his letter on Wednesday, called the criticism “outrageous.”

“These attacks are outrageous and unacceptable, but more importantly, this vitriol toward LTC Vindman may result in professional reprisals and threats to his personal safety and that of his family,” he wrote.

“It is incumbent on the Army to ensure that he is afforded the same protections as whistleblowers and protected from reprisal for testifying before Congress.” 

Research contact: @thehill