With barely three hours prior to his testimony before House Intelligence Committee, European Union (EU) Ambassador Gordon Sondland stepped down. This was a day of remarkable events that began at 5 a.m.
‘5 a.m.: Trump continues push for Schiff to be “Impeached!”‘
Trump let loose a flood of tweets that went on well past midnight. He tweeted that the House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) should be knocked out of office. One of the Republicans says he supports a resolution for censuring Schiff.
In one tweet, Trump shared a video of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) saying he supports a resolution censuring Schiff for his handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Trump and his party referred to Schiff’s opening statement, which they did not realize was partial parody. It was about the president’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
POTUS tweeted, The Washington Post reported:
‘Adam should be Impeached!’
Trump did not realize Senators could not be impeached.
‘6 a.m.: In new poll, majority of Americans say they endorse opening of House impeachment inquiry of Trump’
Most Americans agree with the House Democrats, an impeachment inquiry should start. Almost half of all adults say Trump should be taken out of office.
The Washington Post-Schar School Poll showed people’s feelings about Trump. They favored impeachment. Trump was trying to force Ukraine to investigate the man he thought was his primary 2020 presidential opponent, former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
‘7:15 a.m.: Leading Republicans resurrect May video of Rep. Al Green’
Republican leaders pulled a video clip of Representative Al Green (D-TX) worried that Trump will get a second term should he not be impeached.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) shared that video showing Green on MSNBC saying:
‘I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.’
‘Here’s what it looks like when Democrats are being honest.’
‘7:45 a.m.: Murphy seeks to simplify the case for impeachment’
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CN) made the story more concise. He sent out this tweet:
‘”Morning all.” 1. The President tried to conspire with a foreign country to destroy his political opponents. 2. He sent out a transcript verifying this. 3. His aide released text messages detailing the conspiracy. 4. This isn’t allowed in a democracy. Have a great day.’
‘8:50 a.m.: White House blocks Sondland deposition’
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union (EU) Sondland planned for depositions.
Trump’s people blocked that deposition three hours before Sondland was to testify about Biden and son Hunter. Sondland was central to the impeachment inquiry.
Text messages made public a week earlier indicated Sondland was involved in getting a Ukraine commitment to launch investigations into Biden and son. Kiev. Ukraine was eager to get the $390 million in military aid and a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Zelensky.
In another text, Sondland wrote the president “really wants the deliverable.” This could have been referring to a “clear demonstration from Ukraine” it would undertake the investigation. Sondland worked with Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.
‘[T]o shape U.S. foreign policy around Trump’s desire to investigate Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, as well as an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 presidential election to undermine Trump’s candidacy.’
‘9:10 a.m.: State Dept. order to Sondland draws condemnation from Democrats’
The State Department tried to block Sondland from testifying. The Democrats were not happy. Judiciary Committee member Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said:
‘This is part of the obstructionism of the White House that has been taking place since the beginning of the year. We have a lawless, runaway executive branch of government, and the president has ordered wholesale defiance of the lawful demands of Congress.’
Raskin said Trump’s acts can be filtered down to one article of impeachment:
‘In a certain sense they are digging their own impeachment pit if they thumb their nose at the people’s representatives.’
Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) said blocking Sondland equaled “obstruction:”
‘Sondland is a key witness to the President’s attempts to seek campaign interference from Ukraine. The President is obviously terrified of what Sondland might tell Congress.’
Representative. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted that Trump’s people showed:
‘[C]onsciiousness of guilt. An innocent president let’s his team speak. A guilty one blocks testimony.’
Schiff planned would talk to reporters about the issue at 9:30 a.m
‘9:25 a.m.: Trump says Sondland would have faced a “kangaroo court”‘
Trump justified blocking Sondland’s appearance, because he was scheduled to be deposed by “a totally compromised kangaroo court.” He tweeted:
‘I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see.’
‘Schiff says Trump blocking Sondland testimony is “evidence of obstruction”‘
Schiff talked to the press saying Trump blocked testimony in the impeachment inquiry, according to The Washington Post:
“The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a coequal branch of government. The president and secretary of state are taking actions that prevent us from getting the facts needed to protect the nation’s security.’
Schiff did not take questions.
‘9:35 a.m.: Schiff says Sondland’s failure to appear “strong evidence” of obstruction’
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA said there was “strong evidence” that blocking Sondland was obstruction of Congress, maybe a second article of impeachment against Trump.
Schiff told reporters the State Department not only blocked Sondland’s appearance but his text messages, too.
‘9:50 a.m.: Trump’s Republican allies defend administration, attack Schiff’
Five of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress justified blocking Sonland from testifying, They accused Schiff of an unfair investigation. One of the other four representatives spoke after Schiff’s press conference, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said:
‘This is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo.’
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said the House inquiry was “a political charade” and “a clown show.” While Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) said nothing else about unmasking the whistleblower except:
‘Americans have a right to know who the whistleblower is.’
‘GOP calls for unpacking of ‘Schiff lies’ after Sondland’s blocked testimony’
Several Republican congressmen told Schiff to “release transcripts of impeachment inquiry testimonies. “
’10:10 a.m.: Trump seeks to put focus on Hillary Clinton’
Trump wanted to highlight Hillary Clinton’s private email server when she was secretary of State. He thought she could win over Warren and tweeted:
‘I think that Crooked Hillary Clinton should enter the race to try and steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren. Only one condition. The Crooked one must explain all of her high crimes and misdemeanors including how & why she deleted 33,000 Emails.’
The Department of Justice (DOJ) did not prosecute Clinton after the FBI investigated her email system.
‘Rudy Giuliani can’t stop talking Ukraine on TV’
Former New York mayor and Trump’s TV attorney Rudy Giuliani went on TV to defend Trump. It was not pretty. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted:
‘Have heard on numerous occasions disturbing allegations by @RudyGiuliani about corruption in Ukraine and the many improprieties surrounding the firing of former Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin.’
Graham was down on the “behavior” of the Democratic-led House. He said:
‘it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine. Therefore I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to inform the committee of his concerns.’
’10:15 a.m.: Graham say he’ll invite Giuliani to testify on Ukraine corruption’
Graham said would like for Giuliani to testify about:
‘[C]orruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.’
Giuliani pressed Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden. The president’s only surviving son sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. The TV attorney also wanted them to look into the prosecutor who investigated it, and why he was fired.
’10:20 a.m.: Trump campaign manager welcomes Giuliani testimony’
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted shortly after:
‘Open up Pandora’s box! Let the Democrats dirty secrets out.’
’11 a.m.: Jeffries sends a pointed warning to Trump on Twitter’
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has been an important part of the House Democratic leadership team. He tweeted to Trump about the standards for impeaching a U.S. president:
‘Obstruction of a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry is a high crime and misdemeanor.’
’11:40 a.m.: House committees to issue subpoena to Gordon Sondland’
Three House committee chairmen were issuing a subpoena to force Sondland’s testimony. Their statement read:
‘We consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents.’
Three representatives chairing committees were Schiff, Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Oversight and Reform Elijah Cummings (D-MD). They released a statement after Sondland was a no-show:
‘Schiff said that the Trump administration had also directed Sondland not to share text messages relevant to the inquiry, which focuses on a July phone call in which Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.’
’12:10 p.m.: Trump takes another shot at Schiff’
Trump was angry at Schiff, and he has said Schiff should “be removed from office:”
‘Hasn’t Adam Schiff been fully discredited by now? Do we have to continue listening to his lies?’
’12:20 p.m.: Harris, Feinstein say they have questions for Giuliani’
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) pointed out a potential Giuliani problem should he testify before Graham’s Senate Judiciary Committee. She tweeted:
‘Good. I have questions who has earned a reputation for her aggressive questioning of witnesses before the committee, including now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.’
Testifying would give Giuliani a chance to further prove corruption about Biden and his son. Then, Harris and other Senate Democrats could explore Giuliani’s role in pressuring Ukrainian President.
Senate Minority Leader for the Judiciary Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released this statement:
‘I welcome the opportunity to question Rudy Giuliani under oath about his role in seeking the Ukrainian government’s assistance to investigate one of the president’s political rivals. Democratic members have plenty of questions for Mr. Giuliani and this would give us an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction for the American people.’
‘1 p.m.: Jimmy Carter says Trump is stonewalling, advises him “to tell the truth”‘
President Jimmy Carter (D-GA) responded to Trump’s people’s decision to block Sondland from testifying on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports:
‘I think that’s going to be another item of evidence used against him if he continues to stonewall and prevent evidence to be put forward to the House and Senate to consider.My advice to him would be to tell the truth and also to cut back on his Twitter feeds. And give the House of Representatives, and also the Senate and the general public, the evidence that we need to form a case either for or against him.’
‘1:30 p.m.: Giuliani says he won’t testify in House, “can’t imagine” others will’
Giuliani said he would not testify in the House Intelligence Committee. He doubted any of Trump’s people would go before Representative Schiff either:
‘The position I’m stating is now the position of the administration.’
Trump’s people wrote that a letter would be forthcoming, indicating Schiff’s committee was “illegitimate:”
‘I wouldn’t testify in front of that committee until there is a vote of Congress and he [Schiff] is removed Republican calls for a full House vote on an impeachment inquiry and the removal of Schiff as the committee’s chairman. Let them hold me in contempt. We’ll go to court. We’ll challenge the contempt.’
Giuliani claimed he was “very interested” in Graham’s offer to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, “there are a lot of legal issues to consider:”
‘Graham wants me to lay out in one place, in one time the Ukrainian collusion and the Biden corruption. I appreciate Lindsey offering the opportunity to lay the whole case out.’
If Giuliani testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he did not know if it would be open or closed and whether senators or staff would question him.
‘1:45 p.m.: Schumer says Giuliani must be under oath if he testifies’
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said should Giuliani appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his testimony must be under oath He tweeted:
‘We welcome Mr. Giuliani testifying. Given the apparent depth of his involvement in the president’s effort to convince foreign governments to investigate a political rival, he must testify under oath.’
‘2:35 p.m.: Trump “must stop stonewalling,” Biden says’
Former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden responded to Trump blocking the ambassador’s testiimony, saying he should cooperate with legislators. He tweeted:
‘President Trump must stop stonewalling Congress and fully cooperate with the investigations. The American people deserve the truth.’
‘2:45 p.m.: Career diplomats tell Pompeo to defend Yovanovitch’
Over two dozen career and political diplomats who have served presidents in both parties and worked with Yovanovitch at some point wrote to Pompeo asking him to defend attacks on Yovanovitch:
‘Yovanovitch represents the finest in the Foreign Service. [Her work is] exemplary.’
The diplomats said they were disturbed to find out in Trump’s phone call with Zelensky. In it, he criticized Ambassador Yovanovitch and said “she’s going to go through some things.”
Yovanovitch was removed from her Ukraine post. She will meet with the House investigators on Friday:
‘Ambassador Yovanovitch deserves your unstinting support, as do other career diplomats who may become ensnared in the upcoming Congressional investigation and impeachment process. All employees of the Department — Foreign Service officers, civil servants, and political appointees — need to know that you have their backs against scurrilous political attacks and smears.’
‘3 p.m.: Former State Dept. attorney says White House can’t legally block Yovanovitch from testifying.’
Former State Department legal adviser and current Yale Law School professor Harold Koh said he sees “no basis to legally block” Yovanovitch from testifying.
Pompeo relayed Trump’s message and suggested:
‘[You could say] you’ll never work for the U.S. government again.’
That way she would suffer the consequences. He threatened her by reminding her that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe had been fired hours prior to the time he could retire with full benefits.
She might get a letter asking her not to testify but if she does, she cannot answer questions violating executive privilege or involving classified material. She could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act and other laws, Koh said:
‘Classification laws could expose her to prosecution under the Espionage Act and other laws. Presumably Ambassador Yovanovitch would just say, “I don’t want to testify about privileged and classified matters” and then go on to testify truthfully and at length about other conversations.’
Koh said they could be texts.
‘3:15 p.m.: Pocan says individual who blocked Sondland testimony may have broken the law’
Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent Pompeo a letter wanting to know who told Sondland not to testify.
Pocan cited Section 713 of Division D of Public Law 116-6, which prohibits the payment of salary to any:
‘[O]fficer or employee of the Federal Government who prohibits or prevents … any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from … communication or contact with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress. I believe the person prohibiting Ambassador Sondland from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee is in violation of this statute, and that their salary should be withheld until Ambassador Sondland appears before Congress.’
‘3:30 p.m.: House panel asks court to enforce Mueller-related subpoenas, a step toward possible impeachment’
DOJ attorneys urged a federal judge to deny a House Judiciary Committee request for grand jury materials in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. They argued courts in 1974 should not have given Congress the Watergate grand jury “road map.” It led to President Richard Nixon’s impeachment.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington, D.C., was astonishment at the position and called just one of “extraordinary” stances taken by Trump administration in opposition to House subpoenas and witness testimony for the impeachment investigation:’
‘The debate centers on the 1974 decision in Haldeman v. Sirica, ultimately upheld by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which found that a congressional impeachment investigation and trial satisfy an exception to grand jury secrecy rules provided for a “judicial proceeding.”’
‘3:40 p.m.: “Don’t tempt me,” Clinton says
Trump suggested Hillary Clinton go against Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). She tweeted:
‘Don’t tempt me. Do your job.’
Clinton has been on a book promotion tour.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.