Congress

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 10

The latest on the impeachment inquiry

The Capitol dome is frame by a protest sign as a coalition of progressive activist groups rallies at the Capitol for Congress to impeach President Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Public opinion polls have shifted toward impeachment, with recent ones for the first time showing a majority favors it.

A Fox News poll released Wednesday showed 51 percent of Americans feel Trump should be impeached and removed from office. That’s up from 42 percent who felt that way in July.

The poll, conducted Sunday through Tuesday, also showed 40 percent opposed to impeachment and 4 percent wanted Trump impeached but not removed from office. Fox’s July poll showed 45 percent opposed to impeachment.

Earlier this week, a Washington Post-Schar School poll showed 58 percent favored an impeachment inquiry, up from 39 percent in a Post-ABC News poll in May.

Trump on Thursday took issue with the poll and the network in general, saying it “doesn’t deliver for US anymore.”

Here’s the latest on the impeachment inquiry:

“I don’t know them”: President Donald Trump said he didn’t know the two associates of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who were arrested on charges of campaign finance violations. The two men helped Giuliani with his Ukraine efforts on Trump’s behalf. Asked about reports of him being photographed with one of the men, Trump said over Marine One’s engines: “I have pictures with everybody.”

Not just yet: Trump said former Rep. Trey Gowdy cannot start on his counter-impeachment legal team until “after January” because the South Carolina Republican must comply with federal lobbying restrictions.

Trump also said he hoped Giuliani would not face charges similar to those of his two indicted associates. “He’s got a lot of clients. I just haven’t spoken to Rudy about it, I don’t know,” the president said. 

Pressuring Perry: The chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry for documents as part of the impeachment inquiry into the president.

The documents requested date from February 2019 to the present and include recordings, transcripts and notes from contacts between Trump, Ukrainian officials, Rudy Giuliani and other U.S. and foreign officials. The committees have given Perry until Oct. 18 to comply.

More polling: A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll is the latest to show a majority of Americans supporting the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The Oct. 3-8 poll of 1,123 respondents found 52 percent approving of the inquiry and 43 percent disapproving. Approval was up 3 points and disapproval down 3 points from the same survey conducted two weeks ago when Democrats formally launched the inquiry.

Who put Ukraine aid on hold: The White House gave a political appointee the authority to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds, according to people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Michael Duffey, who was previously a high-ranking Pentagon official and the executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, was appointed as associate director of national security programs in the Office of Management and Budget, the Journal reported.

Giuliani associates subpoenaed: House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence chairmen on Thursday issued subpoenas for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who were indicted on campaign finance charges and arrested Wednesday.

The committees first requested documents from Parnas and Fruman in letters Sept. 30 and their lawyers requested additional time. On Tuesday, counsel for Fruman and Parnas sent another letter, stating that they would not appear for depositions scheduled for this week. On Wednesday, lawyers for the pair told the House committees that they “agree with and adopt the position of the White House Counsel,” to not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, according to the House chairmen.

“Your clients are private citizens who are not employees of the Executive Branch. They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry. They are required by law to comply with the enclosed subpoenas. They are not exempted from this requirement merely because they happen to work with Mr. Giuliani, and they may not defy congressional subpoenas merely because President Trump has chosen the path of denial, defiance, and obstruction,” the chairmen wrote.

...but they might be tied up: Parnas and Fruman were arrested Wednesday for allegedly violating campaign finance rules, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The two are accused of making $325,000 illegal straw donations to a super PAC that supports Trump and an additional $15,000 donation to a PAC that supported West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Senate campaign against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Indicted businessmen tied to Sessions: Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who just last week announced a new bid for the House, appears to play a role in the Parnas and Fruman indictment. While the indictment does not mention him by name or charge him of any crime, Sessions told a Texas radio show on Sunday that he met with them and Federal Election Commission documents show he accepted campaign donations from them during his tight 2018 race.

“All bad info”: Trump on Thursday publicly pressed the intelligence community inspector general to launch a probe of the whistleblower whose concerns prompted House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“Why isn’t the IG investigating his so-called Whistleblower? All bad info!” Trump tweeted. He used similar tactics during former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia election meddling probe — mostly to no avail.

Inspector General Michael Atkinson did vet the whistleblower by doing his own investigation.

See you in court: Trump, answering questions from reporters for the first time in several days, predicted a letter the White House sent Tuesday to Democrats announcing it will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry likely will become a “Supreme Court case.”

Political motivations: Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton wrote to intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson asking about possible political motivations of the whistleblower who reported the content of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Cotton wrote that he had tried to ask similar questions during Atkinson’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, in closed session.

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