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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "impeachment" (Page 17)

Debbie Dingell Gets Support From Another Widow Whose Husband Trump Has Mocked: Cindy McCain

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-dingell-facebookJumbo Debbie Dingell Gets Support From Another Widow Whose Husband Trump Has Mocked: Cindy McCain United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Michigan McCain, Cindy impeachment House of Representatives Dingell, John D Jr Dingell, Deborah

WASHINGTON — One widow instantly knew how the other one felt.

“I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love,” one said.

“I’m terribly sorry,” the other replied. “Please know I am thinking about you.”

The Twitter exchange sounded like a salutation between two women facing the season alone, but the message of support from Cindy McCain, the widow of John McCain, the Arizona senator, to Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, was about a different shared experience.

It was a message of solidarity sent after President Trump had mocked Ms. Dingell (“You know Dingell? You ever hear of her, Michigan? Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty.”) and implied that her husband — John D. Dingell Jr., the former Michigan congressman who died in February — was “looking up” from hell. Ms. McCain’s own husband has been the object of relentless presidential attacks since he died.

In an interview on Thursday, hours after Mr. Trump became the third president in history to be impeached — an outcome she voted for — Ms. Dingell said that her husband “was never afraid to fight for what was right” but that the president’s remarks about him had cut deep.

“He hurt me,” Ms. Dingell said. “I think there’s some things that should be off limits.”

Mr. Trump has freely and frequently brought the power of his office down on a variety of journalists, lawmakers, Foreign Service officers and members of the military he has seen as standing in his way.

But Ms. Dingell is now joining the ranks of a more select group that includes the McCains and a Gold Star military family, who have suffered profound loss only to see it mocked and used as political ammunition by the president.

Ms. Dingell said on Thursday that she was still grieving the loss of her husband, who was the longest-serving congressman in American history. He retired from Congress in 2014 after serving his district, just outside Detroit, for 59 years. His wife, who now holds his seat, called for civility as she faced her first Christmas in 38 years without her husband.

“If anything good comes out of this,” Ms. Dingell said, “maybe people will take a deep breath and think about it.”

But Mr. Trump is not prone to contemplation. At his rally on Wednesday night, Mr. Trump was speaking off the cuff to supporters as he called out Democrats like Ms. Dingell, who had voted in favor of the two articles of impeachment against him. But the president singled her out because she had done so after he approved an “A-plus treatment” for her husband’s burial.

“So she calls me up: ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened; thank you so much,’” Mr. Trump said at the rally, mocking the congresswoman’s voice while recounting their call. He suggested that Ms. Dingell had begged for him to lower American flags to half-staff and, apparently impersonating her, said: “Do this, do that, do that. Rotunda.”

Mr. Dingell did not lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda — Ms. Dingell said on Thursday that that had not been one of his requests. Still, Mr. Trump said Ms. Dingell had said her husband would be thrilled as he looked down and saw how the country was honoring him.

“Maybe he’s looking up,” Mr. Trump said at one point. “I don’t know. I don’t know, maybe. Maybe. But let’s assume he’s looking down.”

Ms. Dingell said the president had ordered American flags lowered, but beyond that, Mr. Dingell’s military service in World War II made him eligible for the only request he had made, which was to be buried at Arlington National Ceremony. At the time, she said, she had welcomed the president’s call — emphasizing that he called her.

“He was very kind,” Ms. Dingell said. “He had told me that he heard he was a great man and I thought it was very thoughtful for him to call at a time when I was really grieving.”

But Mr. Trump’s public remarks about their exchange were condemned by both Republicans — including Representative Fred Upton, who faces re-election next year in Michigan — and Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 candidate whose own political life has been punctuated by loss.

“This is equally as cruel as it is pathetic,” Mr. Biden, whose son Beau died in 2015, said on Twitter, “and it is beyond unconscionable that our President would behave this way.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has also been called “crazy” and “nervous” by Mr. Trump as she steered her caucus toward impeachment, said there was nothing funny about what Mr. Trump said.

“What the president misunderstands is that cruelty is not wit,” she said. “It’s not funny at all. It’s very sad.”

Mr. Upton, a close friend of Mr. Dingell’s who delivered a eulogy for him, called on the president to apologize, and said on Twitter, “There was no need to ‘dis’ him in a crass political way.”

Representative Paul Mitchell, another Michigan Republican, also said the president’s comments warranted an apology. “To use his name in such a dishonorable manner at last night’s rally is unacceptable from anyone, let alone the president of the United States,” he said. “An apology is due, Mr. President.”

The Trump campaign had no comment about whether the president’s comments could affect his political fortunes in Michigan, a state he narrowly won in 2016. Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, also sidestepped the question.

“I have great respect for the Dingells’ decades of service to the state of Michigan and I’m very sorry for Representative Debbie Dingell’s loss,” Ms. McDaniel said in a statement. “I was glad to see the late Representative John Dingell honored so highly by the president when he passed away.”

As the criticism mounted, the White House did not apologize and instead suggested that the public consider how Mr. Trump might feel about being impeached.

“He has been under attack, and under impeachment attack, for the last few months, and then just under attack politically for the last two and a half years,” Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said in an interview with ABC on Thursday. “I think that as we all know, the president is a counterpuncher.”

She declined to explain how Mr. Dingell, who died 10 months ago, had thrown the first punch.

The president’s rough comments on his adversaries have earned him condemnation from grieving families before. In 2016, Mr. Trump criticized the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq, who had denounced the president during the Democratic National Convention. Mr. Trump said Captain Khan’s father had delivered the entire speech because his mother was not “allowed” to speak.

Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, said he felt a sense of recognition when he heard that Mr. Trump had mocked the Dingell family.

“All three of them have served this nation and they have passed,” Mr. Khan said of his son, Mr. Dingell and Mr. McCain. “They deserve to be respected.”

Mr. Trump has particularly fixated on Mr. McCain, who died in 2018 from complications from brain cancer and, as he was dying, made plans to keep the president away from his funeral.

After Mr. McCain died, Mr. Trump waited days to issue a proclamation marking the senator’s death, relenting only under enormous pressure. He has repeatedly brought up Mr. McCain’s vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act at his political rallies. And when Mr. Trump traveled to Japan in May, the White House asked the Navy to hide a destroyer named after Mr. McCain during the president’s visit to Yokosuka Naval Base.

The senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, offered her own sharp criticism on Thursday.

“The comments from Trump about Rep Dingell is utterly sick and cruel,” Ms. McCain said on Twitter. “Take heed in knowing he only attacks people for whom he is threatened by their great legacies. History will forever judge him very harshly.”

The McCain family declined to comment further. But for her part, Ms. Dingell said she did not want the president to call her again, even if he had an apology.

“No,” Ms. Dingell said. “He’s taken his shot.”

Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Debbie Dingell Calls for Civility After Trump Insults Her Late Husband

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-dingell-facebookJumbo Debbie Dingell Calls for Civility After Trump Insults Her Late Husband United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Michigan impeachment House of Representatives Dingell, John D Jr Dingell, Deborah

WASHINGTON — One day after the House impeached President Trump largely along party lines, Republicans and Democrats found themselves in agreement on something: the president’s swipe at a beloved late Democratic congressman was neither funny nor appropriate.

Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, said Thursday that Mr. Trump’s words about her late husband, former Representative John D. Dingell Jr., “hurt me.”

She called for civility as she faced her first Christmas in 38 years without her husband.

The president’s comments, suggesting that Mr. Dingell went to hell after he died, came during a rally in Western Michigan on Wednesday, as Democrats in Washington voted to impeach him.

Mr. Dingell died earlier this year. He announced his retirement from Congress in 2014 after serving his district, just outside of Detroit, for 59 years. Ms. Dingell was elected to his seat.

The president’s decision to go after the Dingells, a long-respected political family in Michigan — a key state in the upcoming presidential election — struck a familiar tone. Mr. Trump repeatedly attacked Senator John S. McCain, Republican of Arizona, for months after his death in 2018.

The president’s bit did not go over well at the rally where the crowd was heard booing after his swipe at Mr. Dingell.

After complaining about the hypocrisy he faces in Washington, Mr. Trump described the respect he displayed for Mr. Dingell after he died, offering accounts of reverent gestures he made that in some cases, according to Ms. Dingell, were inaccurate.

Mr. Trump said Ms. Dingell called him and thanked him profusely for steps he took to honor her husband and recalled that she said her husband would be thrilled as he looked down and saw how the country was honoring him.

“Maybe he’s looking up,” Mr. Trump said during the rally. “I don’t know. I don’t know, maybe. Maybe. But let’s assume he’s looking down.”

In an opinion piece published Tuesday, Ms. Dingell explained why she planned to vote to impeach Mr. Trump.

“If we don’t address this abuse of power, we abdicate our constitutional and moral responsibility,” she wrote. “Failing to address it would also condone these actions as acceptable for future administrations.”

The president’s two-hour speech began as Ms. Dingell and most other Democrats were voting to impeach Mr. Trump. Ms. Dingell’s vote appeared to surprise the president, who described how grateful she was for the tributes he had paid to Mr. Dingell.

Ms. Dingell responded on Twitter on Wednesday and asked the president to “set politics aside.”

“I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love,” she wrote. “You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that there was nothing funny about what Mr. Trump said.

“What the president misunderstands is that cruelty is not wit,” she said. “It’s not funny at all, it’s very sad.”

Two Republican representatives from Michigan called on Mr. Trump to apologize for what he said about Mr. Dingell.

“To use his name in such a dishonorable manner at last night’s rally is unacceptable from anyone, let alone the president of the United States. An apology is due, Mr. President,” Representative Paul Mitchell said on Thursday.

His colleague, Representative Fred Upton, said, “There was no need to ‘dis’ him in a crass political way.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a staunch Trump defender most of the time, said he had not seen the president’s comments but, “If he said that, I think he should apologize.”

Asked about the remarks, a White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said Thursday that Mr. Trump respected Mr. Dingell’s military service and decades in Congress, and it was because of his respect that the president lowered the flags after he died.

“He appreciates her and him,” Mr. Gidley said on Fox Business. “And you know, your heart goes out to her for her loss. There’s no question about that.”

The president is a “counterpuncher,” he added, and then conceded that Ms. Dingell had not thrown a punch his way.

On Thursday, Ms. Dingell said the country should take a lesson from the president’s comments. “We need more civility in this country,” she said on CNN. And in an interview with Fox Business, she recognized the gravity of the vote to impeach the president for just the third time in the country’s history.

“Yesterday was a very difficult day for this democracy,” she said. “And I think we know that.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Katie Rogers contributed reporting.

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Trump Impeachment Trial in Doubt as Democrats Weigh Withholding Articles

WASHINGTON — The day after the House cast historic votes to impeach President Trump, Democrats grappled on Thursday with when to send the charges to the Republican-led Senate, hoping to gain leverage in a bicameral clash over the contours of an election-year trial.

With some leading Democrats pushing to delay transmittal of the articles and others advocating that they be withheld altogether, it appeared increasingly likely that the limbo could persist until the new year. The House is poised to leave town on Friday for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, possibly without taking the votes that would be required to start the process in the Senate.

“We are ready,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Wednesday night that she was reluctant to send the charges or name the lawmakers who would prosecute the case against Mr. Trump until she was certain of a fair process for a Senate trial. “When we see what they have, we will know who and how many we will send over.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has complicated the picture for Democrats by asserting that he has no intention of acting as an impartial juror in a Senate trial of Mr. Trump, but would instead do everything in his power, working in concert with the White House, to quickly acquit the president.

But if Ms. Pelosi was angling for an upper hand in negotiations about how the trial would proceed, Mr. McConnell quickly squashed the notion on Thursday in a scathing speech in which he denounced her and Democrats for impeaching Mr. Trump.

“The vote did not reflect what had been proven; it only reflects how they feel about the president,” Mr. McConnell said from the Senate floor. “The Senate must put this right. We must rise to this occasion. There is only one outcome that is suited to the paucity of evidence, the failed inquiry, the slapdash case.”

And in comments that underscored the risks Ms. Pelosi faces in withholding the articles, Mr. McConnell effectively argued that the delay reflected a weak case against Mr. Trump, a blink by the Democrats in their standoff with the president.

“The prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial,” Mr. McConnell said. “They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process, but now they’re content to sit on their hands. This is comical.”

Mr. Trump, echoing Mr. McConnell’s remarks, took to Twitter to attack what he called a “pathetic” case.

“Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up!” Mr. Trump wrote. “The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!”

The angry tone of the comments reflected what people close to the president have said is a keen desire by Mr. Trump to be publicly vindicated in a Senate trial, a prospect that Ms. Pelosi now appears to be placing in jeopardy.

Nerves were raw on both sides of the aisle on the morning after the House voted to impeach Mr. Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his campaign to pressure Ukraine to smear Democratic rivals, making him only the third president to be impeached.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called Mr. McConnell’s speech a “30-minute partisan screed.” Later, he met with Ms. Pelosi behind closed doors to plan strategy.

In the House, Ms. Pelosi shot back at Mr. McConnell: “I don’t think anybody expected that we would have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”

And even as the next step in the process remained murky, she said Democrats had been receiving accolades from people across the country who were buoyed by the House action to charge Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors.

“Seems like people have a spring in their step because the president was held accountable for his reckless behavior,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. “No one is above the law, and the president has been held accountable.”

But the conflict in Congress over how to proceed made clear that rather than rise above the partisan vitriol that permeated the House’s impeachment inquiry and its vote on Wednesday, the Senate — traditionally the cooler-headed chamber — may replicate it. It did not bode well for negotiations between the two Senate leaders, who were expected to meet later on Thursday to discuss the parameters of a trial.

Some leading Democrats have cast doubt on whether a Senate trial will happen at all.

On Thursday morning, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, said he was willing to wait “as long as it takes” to transmit the two impeachment articles approved Wednesday night.

“Until we can get some assurances from the majority leader that he is going to allow for a fair and impartial and trial to take place, we would be crazy to walk in there knowing he has set up a kangaroo court,” Mr. Clyburn said Thursday morning on CNN.

Pressed on whether Democrats should withhold the articles permanently, pulling the plug on a Senate trial, Mr. Clyburn said his personal preference would be to do so unless Mr. McConnell relents.

“If it were me, yes, that is what I am saying — I have no idea what the speaker would do,” Mr. Clyburn said. “If you have a preordained outcome that is negative to your actions, why walk into it? I would much rather not take that chance.”

In her own news conference in the House on Thursday, Ms. Pelosi played down the delay over pressing charges in the Senate but declined repeatedly to offer a timeline for when the House might file its case. Ms. Pelosi has indicated she will work with House chairmen and Mr. Schumer to determine when the articles should be submitted and what meets her standard for fairness.

Mr. Schumer has already set forth his own detailed plan for a trial. In a letter sent Sunday night to Mr. McConnell, Mr. Schumer proposed a trial beginning Jan. 7 that would give each side a fixed amount of time to present its case, and called for four top White House officials who have not testified — including Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser — to appear as witnesses.

Mr. McConnell quickly rejected the plan.

“Is the president’s case so weak that none of the president’s men can defend him under oath?” Mr. Schumer asked in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday morning.

Mr. Schumer said that Democrats wanted a “fair and speedy trial,” and that he had proposed a “very reasonable structure.”

“I have yet to hear one good argument why less evidence is better than more evidence particularly in such a serious moment,” he added.

Westlake Legal Group trump-impeachment-process-steps-promo-1574727334381-articleLarge Trump Impeachment Trial in Doubt as Democrats Weigh Withholding Articles Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy McConnell, Mitch impeachment House of Representatives Clyburn, James E

What Is the Impeachment Process? A Step-by-Step Guide

A detailed look at each stage in a process that could lead to the removal of President Trump.

In her news conference after Wednesday night’s vote, Ms. Pelosi did not indicate that she was contemplating holding the articles forever.

And while she did not say explicitly what she believes would constitute a fair trial, she indicated she would support the plan laid out by Mr. Schumer.

“We’d like to see a trial where it’s up to the senators to make their own decisions and working together, hopefully, in recognition of witnesses that the president withheld from us, the documents that president withheld from us,” Ms. Pelosi said.

A top ally of Mr. Trump’s, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called the possibility that the House could hold back the articles a “constitutional extortion mechanism that is dangerous for the country.”

Mr. Graham, who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he spoke Thursday morning with Mr. Trump, who asked him, “What’s happening?”

“He’s puzzled,” Mr. Graham said. “I tried the best I could to explain it. I’m puzzled, too.”

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Impeachment Unites Many Americans in a Desire for ‘Anything But Politics’

Westlake Legal Group 18impeach-screens08-facebookJumbo Impeachment Unites Many Americans in a Desire for ‘Anything But Politics’ United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment Houston (Tex) Greeley (Colo) Georgia Chicago (Ill) Albuquerque (NM)

It was a momentous day in American history. But, by all indications, it was not a momentous day in the lives of most Americans.

So while the House of Representatives debated the impeachment of President Trump, one man in Houston was more focused on a $279 speeding ticket. Tourists in Chicago savored an impeachment-free shopping day. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 401 in Albuquerque followed a simple mantra: “Anything but politics, man.”

Americans may be deeply invested in the outcome of impeachment. They might adore or loathe Mr. Trump. But as history played out Wednesday amid the bombast and rancor of impeachment proceedings, many of them seemed intent on looking elsewhere.

HOUSTON

It was Judgment Day, but Ray Martin had no regrets about conduct or process.

Mr. Martin, 58, a building engineer, had decided to see what his newly purchased four-cylinder pickup truck could do on Interstate 45. It could do quite a bit, it turns out. He went to municipal court in Houston and accepted his $279 speeding ticket on Wednesday without complaint. “I didn’t even know I was doing 110,” he said.

As for the other judgment being rendered in Washington, he had not watched any of the impeachment proceedings but said he supported the president. “I hate that he’s going through it,” Mr. Martin said. “I feel like he’s good for America right now. He’s a strong leader.”

— Manny Fernandez

CHICAGO

The tourists and office workers milling around the open-air Christmas market in downtown Chicago had a few things on their minds. Snapping up porcelain ornaments and knit gloves for last-minute Christmas gifts. Staying warm in frigid 17-degree air. Deciding whether to have a second glühwein, the hot spiced drink sipped out of tiny white mugs shaped like boots.

“Impeachment? Not something we’re talking about today,” said Gary Nadeau, from Deer Park, Ill., who was on an excursion with his wife, Paula, and another couple.

The couples had stopped at the Christkindlmarket for wine and hot pretzels before heading to a matinee. “Have fun, see ‘Hamilton,’ have a little libation,” Mr. Nadeau said. “That’s it.”

They all agreed that Mr. Trump was likely to be re-elected next year, and that being impeached would not really change anyone’s minds. “It’s all just partisan,” Leah Peszek, 54, said of the impeachment proceedings. “Seems like a waste of time.”

“He’s a jerk,” she said of Mr. Trump, “But he’s doing good for the economy.”

— Julie Bosman

ATLANTA

The conversation at an Atlanta sports bar wasn’t about sports.

“Get him out of office quick,” said Tyjuana Rosenthal, who had been keeping an eye on the proceedings. “I pay attention,” she added, noting the Trump administration’s proposals for pushing people off welfare. “He’s trying to take away stuff that people need.”

Canyon Williams was mesmerized by it all, seeing what seemed like history unfolding in front of her. “I’m kind of confused by some of the answers,” she said after watching the debate.

She had come to a conclusion: “He abuses power,” Ms. Williams said after her waitressing shift had ended and she had left the bar. But she also had some hesitation about Mr. Trump being pushed from office. “I just don’t want Mike Pence to be president,” she said.

— Rick Rojas

NASHVILLE

Zakariya Sayid, 27, stood behind the bar at The Horn Coffee in Nashville and prepared one of his signature Somali chai teas. The warm smell of spices greeted the regulars walking in from the cold.

Mr. Sayid, who supports Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, worried that impeaching Mr. Trump was not a great idea.

“If he does not get impeached, you added fuel to his campaign,” he said. “If he does get impeached, you have 80 to 90 million people who are mad. Now they see the whole world was against him. You give him a higher chance of re-election.”

Normally he does not watch much news, but he had plans to check in after the vote on Wednesday. He thought of people who, until impeachment, had told him they were not going to vote for Mr. Trump next fall.

“Now, they’re thinking twice,” he said. “He’ll become more of a hero.”

— Elizabeth Dias

ALBUQUERQUE

At the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 401 in Albuquerque, members filed in on Wednesday afternoon for a $5 lunch of tacos, rice and beans. Some ordered Budweisers for $2.75. The television was tuned to ESPN, where hosts were talking football.

“Anything but politics, man,” said Miguel Perez, 36, a Marine Corps veteran from southern New Mexico who volunteers at the post when he is not working as a cook and bartender elsewhere in Albuquerque.

Mr. Perez said members of the V.F.W. Post, near Kirtland Air Force Base, learned their lesson when tempers got heated around the 2016 presidential election. “We don’t want our guys throwing beer bottles at each other,” he said.

Going further, Mr. Perez, who grew up on the border with Mexico, said that he understood the Democrats’ arguments for impeachment but was put off by the entire process. “Personally, I’d like them to leave the guy alone,” he said. “Just let the president do his job.”

— Simon Romero

VILLa RICA, GA.

More than a dozen television screens were on at the Cinema Tavern Sports Bar & Grill, and not a single one was showing the House of Representatives debate impeachment.

Jamie Willis, 37, an electrician, was drinking a beer while watching one of the screens showing the Georgia Lottery’s Keno numbers. He said he preferred to catch up on news after the dust had settled. “I think people jump to conclusions too fast,” he said.

Mr. Willis leans libertarian and originally feared that Mr. Trump might be a liberal in disguise. These days, with the economy booming, he says Mr. Trump may be the best American president of his lifetime.

Beverly Parton, 71, a retired teacher, voted for Mr. Trump but said she thought he had overstepped in his dealings with Ukraine. “If he’s using his office as a springboard to defame someone else, that’s not right,” she said.

Still, Ms. Parton did not feel that she had to watch every last impeachment hearing. She read a paperback thriller by Tami Hoag instead, waiting for her popcorn shrimp to emerge from the kitchen.

— Richard Fausset

NEW YORK

Almost a year later, Maria Charman is still bitter about the government shutdown that threatened to close the Statue of Liberty and send her home from her job. As she stood below Lady Liberty’s torch on Wednesday, she said she would take personal satisfaction in the evening, when she planned to turn on the television and watch lawmakers vote to impeach Mr. Trump.

“I’m going to watch the news because I want to see him go down,” she said. “To make a long story short, he should have been impeached long ago. He’s not for the people, he’s for himself.”

Ms. Charman immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago and said she had been most bothered by the Trump administration’s separation of children from their families at the border and what she said was his inattention to the homeless and mentally ill. But the government shutdown — during which New York State stepped in to keep the Statue of Liberty open by paying $65,000 a day — also stung personally, and displayed what she said was Mr. Trump’s lack of empathy for the working class.

“Man, to try to take away money from people’s pockets, from people trying to feed their family? It’s terrible,” she said moments after pushing a couple closer to each other and snapping a portrait.

— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

BOSTON

In Boston, the television at Darcy’s Barber Shop was tuned to a man at a desk shuffling papers, but it turned out to be “The People’s Court,” not the impeachment proceedings. Bernard McCollin, the shop’s owner, said that he was following the impeachment closely, but that his young clients had little interest in it.

Matthew Olivero walked in and handed Mr. McCollin a stack of mail. He had almost forgotten that the impeachment hearings were going on, since none of the businesses he had delivered mail to on that busy strip had it playing on television. He lingered awhile to banter about politics with the customer in Mr. McCollin’s chair, casting doubt on whether impeachment hearings were worth all the time and energy.

Farah Stockman

LOS ANGELES

At Spaces, a co-working space in downtown Los Angeles filled with designers and artists and lawyers, a television was broadcasting the impeachment proceedings but no one was sitting on the pink couch and watching.

Felicia Felix, the sales manager, blamed the lack of interest on the fact that Mr. Trump is unlikely to be removed from office. If that was truly at stake with the impeachment vote, she said, people would most likely be gathered around the TV eating popcorn and drinking beer.

“I’ve lost faith in the process and I’ve lost faith in the country,” said Ms. Felix, 28.

But in a world of the bored, pained, resigned and tuned out, there is also Taj Garmon, a 41-year-old fashion designer who has been following every twist and turn of the impeachment saga. “I wake up to it,” he said. “I go to sleep to it.”

Mr. Garmon, an ardent opponent of Mr. Trump, said he was the lone person in his office who seemed to care, but care he does: “I read about it all day at my desk,” he said. “I kind of obsess over it.”

— Tim Arango

Greeley, Colo.

In the dining room of the Red Sea restaurant in Greeley, Colo., Hienok Keflay, 35, a refugee from Eritrea, followed the congressional speeches between cooking orders of goat and berbere-spiced vegetables.

To Mr. Keflay, who fled political violence in Eritrea and recently opened a restaurant in northeast Colorado, it was simply amazing to watch politicians and journalists freely debate whether to remove a president.

“I see it as a beautiful thing — the law of the country is working,” he said. “From where I came from, you can’t say anything negative about the president.”

— Jack Healy

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How 2 Soviet Émigrés Fueled the Trump Impeachment Flames

On a warm summer evening last year, Lev Parnas stepped aboard a private cruise around New York Harbor for a gathering of some of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s closest friends.

The passengers sipped wine and cocktails while they sailed past the Statue of Liberty, singing along as another guest, the entertainer Joe Piscopo, belted out “Theme from New York, New York.” Mr. Giuliani, a personal lawyer to President Trump, relaxed on the open deck in a bright blue polo shirt as the sun set over Lower Manhattan, a video of the event shows.

The August 2018 cruise, which was won in a charity auction, came at a pivotal moment in Mr. Giuliani’s relationship with Mr. Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman, both Soviet-born businessmen from Florida who were among the newest entrants to his circle.

Mr. Parnas had recently struck up a friendship with Mr. Giuliani while recruiting him for a business deal, but now the men were on the verge of something bigger: teaming up to unearth damaging information on Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

In the coming months, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman helped Mr. Giuliani carry out a shadow diplomacy campaign, sweeping them into a chain of events that has led to the impeachment of a president for only the third time in American history. As the impeachment began moving on Wednesday from the House to the Senate, the story of their work together was a reminder that the case against Mr. Trump is more than just a political battle in Washington. It is about the allure of presidential power, and the people who drew near to it as they sought political influence or financial gain.

The goal of the campaign, according to witnesses in the impeachment hearings and a reconstructed transcript of a call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president, was for Ukraine to pursue two investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump politically. One dealt with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter; the other centered on claims that Ukrainians meddled in the 2016 election, including a debunked theory that Ukraine — and not Russia — stole Democratic emails.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had chased riches from one venture to another, with no footing in government or diplomacy. But in a trajectory emblematic of the Trump era, they emerged from obscurity to play a crucial role in the pressure campaign through a tangle of transactional relationships and overlapping interests.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00parnas-fruman1-articleLarge How 2 Soviet Émigrés Fueled the Trump Impeachment Flames Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Biden, Joseph R Jr

Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman, who helped Rudolph W. Giuliani carry out shadow diplomacy in Ukraine, were arrested in October on campaign finance charges.Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

First, the men bought or wheedled their way into private dinners with Mr. Trump and access to his inauguration celebration, where they could find a circle of Republican donors to invest in and advise their own business endeavors.

Then, after Mr. Parnas secured Mr. Giuliani’s help for one of his business ventures in a half-million-dollar deal, Mr. Giuliani saw that they had something else to offer him: the ability to make connections in Ukraine. And so, they landed at the fulcrum of an international effort that could both aid the president and anchor their future fortunes.

Mr. Parnas, now 47, was a perennial pitchman who exuded sincerity, an aspiring entrepreneur with a history of debts and aborted businesses. He tooled around in a Ferrari and wooed new sources of capital with boasts of ties to important people.

Mr. Fruman, a 53-year-old who spoke a mix of Russian and choppy English, had more direct links to Ukraine: He invested in a sprawl of businesses there that were once worth millions of dollars — nightspots, a beach club, a dealership selling Jaguars that was part-owned by a local politician — as well as a New York-based import-export company. But in a sign that his fortunes had started to change, Mr. Fruman funded the men’s entree into Republican circles by refinancing a condominium in Sunny Isles, a South Florida enclave of Russian émigrés.

Together, they became ubiquitous in the Republican donor set, known simply as “Lev and Igor,” a duo seemingly ripped from a movie script.

This account is based on interviews with more than three dozen people in the United States and Ukraine and a review of photographs, credit card transactions, internal memos, and American and Ukrainian court documents and corporate filings.

While Mr. Parnas’s Instagram posts show appearances at Republican fund-raisers and Mr. Giuliani’s birthday party at Yankee Stadium, it was in private meetings at BLT Prime, the steakhouse at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where he and Mr. Fruman became unlikely agents of the Ukrainian initiative.

Mr. Parnas did most of the talking, but Mr. Fruman’s Ukrainian ties were critical to their efforts. Two people familiar with the matter said Mr. Fruman helped arrange an initial meeting between Mr. Giuliani and a Ukrainian prosecutor who claimed to have damaging information about targets of Mr. Trump, laying part of the foundation for their mission.

“For what they did, they did a very good job,” Mr. Giuliani said in an interview this week. He recalled telling an associate: “They were perfect. They did everything I wanted, and they never got involved in asking questions.”

Ultimately, none of their connections, in either Ukraine or Washington, could save them. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested in October on campaign finance charges brought by Manhattan federal prosecutors. The prosecutors are now investigating whether Mr. Giuliani engaged in illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman have pleaded not guilty, and Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, saying he was advocating for his client, Mr. Trump. The president has disavowed knowing Mr. Fruman or Mr. Parnas, and Mr. Parnas, feeling betrayed, has broken with Mr. Giuliani and supplied information to Congress about his work for him and Mr. Trump.

Mr. Giuliani has played down the men’s role in his efforts, saying it was limited to setting up meetings.

In court this week, a federal prosecutor in the case argued that Mr. Parnas’s bail should be revoked and he should be returned to jail, saying that he had exhibited “a pattern of misleading the government.” The prosecutor cited, in part, his financial ties to Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian energy tycoon who has been charged with bribery in the United States and has been fighting extradition.

A lawyer for Mr. Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, disputed the government’s contention and cited “his vocal willingness to stand up and to tell the truth.” A judge declined to revoke Mr. Parnas’s bail.

Mr. Fruman has not spoken publicly since his arrest, and his lawyer, Todd Blanche, declined to comment. Mr. Giuliani said in the interview that his and Mr. Fruman’s legal teams entered into an agreement about two months ago allowing them to share information.

“It’s so strange how Igor became part of this scandal,” said Gennady Medvedev, who co-owned an Asian-themed restaurant in Kyiv called Buddha-Bar with Mr. Fruman and others. “If a person takes enough pictures next to famous people, he will start to believe he is an important man himself.”

The first time Mr. Parnas spoke with Mr. Trump, he wanted to make a personal connection.

It was October 2015, and Mr. Trump was clinging to first place in the Republican presidential primary campaign. Mr. Parnas and his 16-year-old son drove from their home in Boca Raton, Fla., to the Trump National Doral Miami, a resort and golf club, for a raucous campaign rally, according to Mr. Bondy, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer.

Before the rally, Mr. Parnas shook hands with the candidate and told him about a long-ago, if tenuous, connection to the Trump family. As a young man in Brooklyn, he had sold co-op apartments built by Mr. Trump’s father, prompting the men to joke that Mr. Parnas’s son might one day work for Mr. Trump, Mr. Bondy said.

It was a brief but exhilarating encounter for someone born in Ukraine who had arrived in the United States at age 4. His family started out poor in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood: Mr. Parnas’s father died when he was 11, and his mother worked long shifts at a salon. At 15, he left school. He sold real estate before working for years as a stockbroker and eventually moving to Boca Raton in 1995.

Over nearly two decades, he created or became an officer in at least 20 companies. One was a publicly traded technology penny stock called EdgeTech International Inc.

Arty Dozortsev, a liquor distributor who knew Mr. Parnas from Brooklyn and said he lost $20,000 on EdgeTech, recalled his pulling up in a Rolls-Royce wearing diamonds and an expensive watch, “looking like he’s worth a million bucks.”

“It was kind of enticing,” Mr. Dozortsev said.

After the money from his ventures dried up, Mr. Parnas would pawn his jewelry and look for a new deal.

By 2012, he had teamed up with David Correia, a former golf pro, and they created a start-up called Fraud Guarantee, intended to offer an insurance-like product to protect investors against scams. They worked on the idea, on and off, for the next seven years, but never got it off the ground.

The pair had been sued over more than $27,000 in unpaid rent on their suite in a Boca Raton office park. Not long after that, a federal judge in New York ordered Mr. Parnas to pay $510,000 to a man who had pursued him for years over a soured movie deal.

But Mr. Parnas did not behave like a man running from debts when he heard, in September 2016, of an upcoming Trump fund-raiser near his home.

One night at Lique, a Miami restaurant and lounge where Soviet émigrés liked to gather, Mr. Parnas learned that a construction magnate, Robert W. Pereira, wanted to host a fund-raising dinner for Mr. Trump. The event would be at Le Palais Royal, the gilded mansion Mr. Pereira had modeled after the Palace of Versailles.

“I know so many wealthy people,” Mr. Parnas exclaimed, offering to recruit contributors, according to a person who heard the comment.

But the dinner coincided with the close of Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, and Mr. Parnas did not bring any donors. He gave $50,000 to attend.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani were there, and Mr. Parnas met Brian Ballard, an influential Florida lobbyist who was close to Mr. Trump.

The introduction to Mr. Ballard was brief but crucial: Mr. Parnas had gained a key to Trump World.

He built a relationship with Mr. Ballard, promising to introduce him to potential international lobbying clients. Soon after the fund-raiser, Mr. Parnas flew with Mr. Pereira on his plane to watch Mr. Trump debate Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas. On Election Day, they flew together again to attend Mr. Trump’s victory celebration in Midtown Manhattan.

Mr. Ballard and Mr. Pereira have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

After Mr. Trump’s victory, Mr. Parnas advanced deeper into the president’s circle.

He spent New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago, where video footage shows him standing next to Mr. Trump. When the time came for Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Mr. Parnas secured a pricey attendee package at no cost, thanks to his connections in Florida Republican fund-raising circles. The passes gave Mr. Parnas entry to a black-tie inaugural ball and, on the eve of the swearing-in, a candlelight dinner in Union Station.

Mr. Fruman, a longtime acquaintance of Mr. Parnas, joined the entourage, two people familiar with the festivities said. Mr. Parnas brought his wife and two of his sons to Washington for the hoopla. After years of living from boom to bust, he had never had such proximity to wealth and power. The possibilities were staggering.

For the two men, the rest of 2017 did not live up to the promise that Mr. Trump’s inauguration seemed to portend.

Mr. Fruman was going through a contentious divorce. Born in Belarus before moving to Ukraine, he emigrated to the United States in his 20s and later became a citizen. But most of his financial dealings remained in Ukraine, where he was active in the business community of Odessa, a centuries-old Black Sea port.

A promotional brochure from about a decade ago identified him as the head of a residential real estate and retail company in Ukraine, Otrada Luxury Group. Real estate records suggest the business focused on residential properties and hotels. One featured a nightclub called Mafia Rave.

Mr. Medvedev, his former partner in Buddha-Bar, said Mr. Fruman also owned luxury watch and high-end fashion shops. He gave other businessmen expensive watches as presents and mingled in post-Soviet nouveau riche circles.

“He never was a big businessman, but in the early days, everybody had to impress everybody,” Mr. Medvedev said.

Successes were mixed with failures. Mr. Fruman sold his stake in the restaurant after the global financial crisis, according to his former partner. A canned milk and baby food factory that he had co-owned and that had employed about 800 people went bankrupt in 2010.

Last year, during a divorce hearing, Mr. Fruman said his business had “become worse and worse” and he had lost an important coffee distribution contract. Mr. Fruman told the judge he had earned about $336,000 in salary from his company in each of the two previous years. His wife’s lawyer questioned whether he had disclosed all his income.

In late 2017, Mr. Fruman connected with Mr. Parnas, who was struggling after a falling-out with both Mr. Ballard and prospective business partners with whom he had explored real estate deals. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman developed a plan to create a company that would ship liquefied natural gas to Ukraine.

To do so, they needed help from American energy executives, some of whom were big Trump donors. The men decided to make political contributions, giving them access to events filled with people who might invest and provide expertise.

In February 2018, Mr. Fruman gave $2,700 to the Trump Victory committee, and he and Mr. Parnas attended a fund-raiser at Mar-a-Lago for Protect the House, a committee supporting Republican candidates in the midterm elections. They ultimately committed to donating to Protect the House and giving $1 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action.

But they were short of cash. So in the spring of 2018, Mr. Fruman borrowed against one of his condos to make their biggest contribution yet: $325,000 to America First Action, in the name of their newly created energy company, Global Energy Producers.

Although they didn’t fulfill all of their promised donations, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman attended some 10 Republican events.

In late April 2018, their expedition into Republican politics brought them to Mr. Trump directly, at a private dinner in a two-level luxury suite in his Washington hotel.

Mingling with the likes of Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson of the famous golfer, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman awaited the arrival of Mr. Trump. When the president entered the room flanked by his son Donald Trump Jr., the dozen or so guests showered them with applause, a video shows.

As they ate, the conversation veered into Ukraine.

Over a dinner of the “Presidential Cheeseburger” and wedge salad, Mr. Parnas relayed a rumor that Marie L. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador to Ukraine, was bad-mouthing the president — an unsubstantiated claim that Ms. Yovanovitch has denied, according to two people with knowledge of the dinner.

The exchange foreshadowed the role that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman would come to play in Mr. Trump’s Ukrainian campaign.

Less than two weeks later, Mr. Parnas met with another critic of Ms. Yovanovitch, Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, in his Washington congressional office. Mr. Parnas, who had recently met Mr. Sessions at a fund-raiser, showed him a map of a crucial pipeline related to their gas venture, a photo shows.

By the end of the meeting, though, the topic had shifted to Ms. Yovanovitch, and Mr. Parnas reiterated what he had heard, a person briefed on the meeting said. After the meeting, Mr. Sessions sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch had spoken disdainfully of the Trump administration, and suggesting her removal. Mr. Sessions, who lost his re-election bid last year, has previously said he wrote the letter independently of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, after speaking to congressional colleagues.

Federal prosecutors contend in the indictment against Mr. Parnas that he was not just making small talk but sought to oust Ms. Yovanovitch “at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” which could be a violation of federal laws that require Americans to register with the Justice Department when lobbying for foreign political interests. The indictment did not name any Ukrainian officials.

The men have not been charged with anything related to Ms. Yovanovitch, but prosecutors have said that additional charges are likely, at least for Mr. Parnas.

When the State Department declined to act on Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Sessions provided Mr. Parnas with a copy of his letter, a person familiar with the exchange said. The congressman’s name was signed across the back of the envelope, and “Mr. President” appeared across the front, photos show. Mr. Sessions “has no memory of” the exchange, a person close to the former congressman said.

Mr. Parnas approached the president a few days later during an America First Action donor event at the Trump International Hotel. A photo of the event shows Mr. Trump, next to Mr. Parnas, tucking an envelope into his own breast pocket.

It is unclear whether it was the same envelope, and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

In mid-July, Mr. Parnas returned to the Trump Hotel to recruit a new ally: Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Parnas, who arranged for the introduction through a Miami lawyer who went to law school with Mr. Giuliani, hoped to enlist him as an endorser and adviser for his passion project, Fraud Guarantee. After Mr. Parnas made his pitch, the men agreed to a deal with an initial payment of $500,000.

Mr. Correia, Mr. Parnas’s partner in the venture, notified the company’s investors of the good news, proclaiming in a letter that Mr. Giuliani was “willing to put his name and reputation on the line” for Fraud Guarantee and that his company would help “open doors.”

Fraud Guarantee Hails a ‘Very Powerful Partnership’ With Giuliani

A September 2018 letter to investors in Fraud Guarantee told them about Rudolph W. Giuliani’s potential involvement in the company. (PDF, 5 pages, 0.17 MB)

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail How 2 Soviet Émigrés Fueled the Trump Impeachment Flames Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Biden, Joseph R Jr  5 pages, 0.17 MB

By August 2018, Mr. Parnas was cruising around Manhattan on the boat ride with Mr. Giuliani and his friends. A month later, Mr. Giuliani brought him and Mr. Fruman to his yearly dinner marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Soon after that, Mr. Parnas named Mr. Giuliani the godfather of his newborn son.

“I happen to like him,” Mr. Giuliani said in the interview this week. “I’m not walking away from the fact that I consider them friends,” he said of the two men.

By early this year, their relationship had turned to a more pressing matter for Mr. Giuliani: Ukraine.

Mr. Giuliani credited Mr. Fruman and Mr. Parnas with arranging a meeting he had with Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s former top prosecutor who had been ousted amid accusations, including from Mr. Biden, of overlooking corruption. Mr. Shokin could not get a visa to come to the United States, so he and Mr. Giuliani spoke over Skype.

In their Jan. 23 call, Mr. Shokin suggested he had been pushed out for investigating Hunter Biden and payments he had received as a board member of a Ukrainian gas company, according to a memo summarizing the conversation. Witnesses in the impeachment hearings disputed Mr. Shokin’s allegation.

Within days of the Skype call, Mr. Giuliani met in person with Mr. Shokin’s successor, Yuriy Lutsenko.

This meeting came about in part through Mr. Fruman’s connection to a regional Ukrainian prosecutor he knew from Odessa, according to two people with knowledge of the arrangements. The regional prosecutor had traveled with Mr. Lutsenko to New York, where they met with Mr. Giuliani, as well as Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. In conversations over two days, Mr. Lutsenko called Mr. Giuliani’s attention to payments from the gas company to Hunter Biden.

Mr. Lutsenko and the regional prosecutor declined to comment.

Now it was time for Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman to hit the ground in Ukraine.

In February, they set off with Mr. Giuliani for Warsaw, where they met with Mr. Lutsenko, who in turn could help arrange meetings with Ukrainian officials. Mr. Giuliani said that he had dinner with Mr. Lutsenko in Warsaw, but that it was a purely social event. Afterward, Mr. Giuliani returned home, but Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman went on to Kyiv.

At one point during their travels, Mr. Giuliani agreed to serve as a lawyer for Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. And during their trips to Ukraine, Mr. Lutsenko helped Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman make contact with powerful Ukrainians. They met with Ukraine’s president at the time, Petro O. Poroshenko. And they sipped coffee with a close aide to his successor, Volodymyr Zelensky.

But some of what happened is a matter of dispute.

Lawyers for Mr. Parnas have said their client offered a White House meeting to Mr. Poroshenko if he announced an investigation into the Bidens. A spokeswoman for Mr. Poroshenko said he “hasn’t conducted any kind of negotiations with Fruman and Parnas.”

One of Mr. Parnas’s lawyers also has said that his client told the Zelensky aide that without such an announcement, the United States would withhold financial assistance and Vice President Mike Pence would stay home from the Ukrainian inauguration. Mr. Pence ultimately did not attend, and Mr. Trump later froze nearly $400 million in military aid.

Mr. Fruman’s lawyers and Mr. Giuliani have denied that any quid pro quo was offered. Mr. Trump has denied improperly withholding aid.

After Mr. Trump’s suspension of the military aid and his July 25 call asking Mr. Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, a whistle-blower’s complaint about the president’s conduct began to shine a light on Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman.

House Democrats soon sought documents and testimony from the men. Mr. Parnas traveled to the Cape Cod home of John Dowd, a lawyer close to the president who would represent him and Mr. Fruman in the impeachment inquiry.

A few days later, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had lunch with Mr. Giuliani in Washington. They were at Dulles International Airport that night when F.B.I. agents arrested them.

Their $325,000 contribution to America First Action, federal prosecutors in Manhattan alleged, had been made illegally in the name of Global Energy Producers, a company without any income. Mr. Correia, whose lawyer Jeffrey Marcus declined to comment, was also indicted. All have pleaded not guilty.

At the White House, Mr. Trump told reporters he did not know Mr. Parnas or Mr. Fruman. Mr. Parnas, at a detention center in Virginia, soon concluded that Mr. Trump was abandoning him.

Mr. Parnas’s last moment in Mr. Trump’s world came when Mr. Dowd and another lawyer, Kevin Downing, went to see him in jail. During their visit, Mr. Parnas grew angry in part at what he perceived as the president’s betrayal, and fired the lawyers in a tirade of expletives, according to people with knowledge of the incident.

The lawyers left, and Mr. Parnas began to consider his next move.

Reporting was contributed by Sarah Maslin Nir, Maria Varenikova, Maggie Haberman, Michael Schwirtz and Chris Cameron. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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Timing of Trump Impeachment Trial in Limbo as Pelosi Holds Out for Assurances

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166160871_1a86c796-dafb-4d7c-9c6e-4b7e05f12360-facebookJumbo Timing of Trump Impeachment Trial in Limbo as Pelosi Holds Out for Assurances Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Republican Party Pelosi, Nancy impeachment House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Wednesday night that the House could indefinitely delay sending the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate, leaving ambiguous the timing of a trial to decide whether to acquit him or convict and remove him from office.

After historic nearly party-line votes to impeach Mr. Trump for two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Ms. Pelosi told reporters that she would hold the articles back until it was clearer that the upper chamber would give the case a fair hearing. The strategy suggested she was keeping the charges as leverage in a coming negotiation over the terms of a Senate trial.

But it could leave the matter in limbo until early January, delaying the start of a trial for an unknown period of time.

“We will make our decision as to when we are going to send it when we see what they are doing on the Senate side,” Ms. Pelosi said. “So far, we have not seen anything that looks fair to us.”

The decision injected a new element of uncertainty into an impeachment process that has already roiled the Capitol and promises profound political implications for Mr. Trump, his party and the Democrats.

With Mr. Trump and his allies said to be interested in a speedy trial and acquittal, Ms. Pelosi believes slowing down the proceeding could force Senate Republicans to set procedures the Democrats find more favorable to their case, according Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

But it is not at all clear that Ms. Pelosi holds much leverage over Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who as majority leader has broad power to determine the contours of the trial. An adviser to Mr. McConnell, Josh Holmes, signaled the majority leader was in no rush to try the president for impeachable offenses, writing on Twitter that the maneuver “might be the greatest compliment McConnell has ever received.”

“They are seriously entertaining holding a grenade with the pin pulled rather than facing what happens when they send it over McConnell’s wall,” Mr. Holmes said.

Democrats in the Senate had already complained that Mr. McConnell was trying to ram through the president’s acquittal by refusing to call witnesses or obtain new evidence. They also took issue with Mr. McConnell’s assertions that it was not his role to act as an “impartial juror” during a trial and that he would closely coordinate any trial with the White House Counsel’s Office.

“This is what I don’t consider a fair trial,” Ms. Pelosi said on Wednesday.

Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, said he had spoken to at least 40 Democrats who were concerned that Mr. McConnell would not conduct a fair trial, and who wanted Ms. Pelosi to delay sending the articles to the Senate until she learned more about how the proceedings would move forward.

“What is gained by accelerating this process?” he asked. He said Democrats should “let the speaker work her magic” to “ get some sort of assurance, if it’s possible, that there will be a level playing field.”

In addition, some Democrats — including some of the chamber’s most progressive lawmakers — have advocated simply never sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, to deny Mr. Trump an almost certain acquittal in the Republican-controlled chamber, where a two-thirds vote — 67 senators — are needed to convict. Ms. Pelosi has not ruled that out, but House leaders are not seriously contemplating that course, the Democratic officials said.

The Constitution does not dictate how the process of transmitting articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate should work. It says only that the House has “the sole power of impeachment” and that the Senate, “shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

But Ms. Pelosi’s hesitation departs from the precedent set by the only modern presidential impeachment.

In December 1998, a group of Republicans immediately marched the articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton across the Capitol to the Senate after the House vote almost exactly 21 years ago. Because the Senate was not in session, the trial did not begin until early January.

The speaker indicated she would also wait to appoint impeachment managers, the House members responsible for prosecuting the case in the Senate, until the matter was resolved.

“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and I would hope that would be soon” Ms. Pelosi said.

Representative David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island, said he did not expect Ms. Pelosi to hold onto the articles indefinitely. But he said Mr. McConnell’s close coordination with the White House “makes a mockery of the trial.”

“I think everyone needs to be assured that there is a process in place that will treat these very serious impeachment articles with the gravity they deserve,” he said.

Still, if there is no resolution on Thursday, a stalemate could easily drag on for weeks.

Under the rules adopted to consider the articles on Wednesday, the House must hold a separate vote allowing Ms. Pelosi to appoint the impeachment managers and transmit the articles to the Senate. The House is scheduled to leave Washington at the end of the week for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, meaning if she does not take the action by then, the fate of the articles could be left unresolved until early January, when Congress reconvenes in the capital.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

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A President Impeached, and a Nation Convulsed

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WASHINGTON — For the most unpredictable of presidents, it was the most predictable of outcomes. Is anyone really surprised that President Trump was impeached? His defiant disregard for red lines arguably made him an impeachment waiting to happen.

From the day he took office, Mr. Trump made clear that he would not abide by the conventions of the system he inherited. So perhaps it was inevitable that at some point he would go too far for the opposition party, leading to a historic day of debate on the House floor where he was alternately depicted as a constitutional villain or victim.

The proximate charge as Democrats impeached him for high crimes and misdemeanors on party-line votes Wednesday night was the president’s campaign to pressure Ukraine to help him against his domestic political rivals while withholding security aid. But long before Ukraine consumed the capital, Mr. Trump had sought to bend the instruments of government to his own purposes even if it meant pushing boundaries that had been sacrosanct for a generation.

Over nearly three years in office, he has become the most polarizing figure in a country stewing in toxic politics. He has punished enemies and, many argue, undermined democratic institutions. Disregarding advice that restrained other presidents, Mr. Trump kept his real estate business despite the Constitution’s emoluments clause, paid hush money to an alleged paramour and sought to impede investigations that threatened him.

His constant stream of falsehoods, including about his dealings with Ukraine, undermined his credibility both at home and abroad, even as his supporters saw him as a challenger to a corrupt status quo subjected to partisan persecution.

Impeachments come at times of tumult, when pent-up pressures seem to explode into conflict, when the fabric of society feels tenuous and the future uncertain. The impeachment battles over Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton came at turning points in the American story. The time that produced Mr. Trump has proved to be another one, a moment when the unthinkable has become routine and precepts that once seemed inviolable have been tested.

Mr. Trump, in his divisiveness, is the manifestation of a nation fracturing into warring camps and trying to define what America is about all over again, just as it did during Reconstruction, during the era of Vietnam and Watergate and during the rise of a new form of angry partisanship at the dawn of the information age.

“In each of these impeachments, they are not taking place during periods of quietude,” said Jay Winik, a prominent historian and author of “The Great Upheaval” and other books on pivot points in United States. “In a sense, what we’re seeing is a cap coming off a simmering volcano. We see it with each of these presidents — we see it with Johnson, we see it with Nixon, we see it with Clinton and we see it now with Trump. These impeachments are emblematic of periods of profound transition.”

As it happened, much of the debate on the House floor on Wednesday proved less dramatic than the times that prompted it. The chamber through much of the day had little of the electricity it had on the day Mr. Clinton was impeached, when the country was bombing Iraq, the incoming House speaker suddenly resigned after admitting adultery and the White House feared Mr. Clinton would be forced to follow suit.

Instead, the debate over Mr. Trump seemed more like a scripted program with everyone playing their assigned parts, each side sticking to its talking points, speaking not to the half-empty galleries but to the country at large. Words and phrases like “no one is above the law” (used in some form or another 60 times) and “sad day” and “sham” (29 times each) were among the favorites. Only when the votes neared in the evening did the chamber fill and the energy level rise.

But at points, the lawmakers touched on the larger ramifications, reflecting the broader forces at play. For the Democrats, there was a sense of mission, of reining in an outlaw president who threatened the pillars of the republic. For the Republicans, a party once wary of Mr. Trump but now in full embrace, it was about stopping what they insisted was an illegitimate, unconstitutional attempt to reverse an election victory.

“I don’t want generations to come to blame me for letting democracy die,” said Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana.

“Please stop tearing this country apart,” implored Representative Debbie Lesko, Republican of Arizona.

The country, of course, was being torn apart long before the clerk called the roll, just as it was in the Johnson, Nixon and Clinton eras, but the divisions were surely widened by the time the gavel came down.

Newspapers being sold in New York after President Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974.Credit…Neal Boenzi/The New York Times Supporters of President Bill Clinton signing petitions to stop impeachment outside the Capitol in 1998.Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

In Johnson’s case, his impeachment in 1868 was not really about his decision to fire his war secretary in violation of a later-overturned law but about what kind of country would emerge from the Civil War. A Southern white supremacist who ascended to the White House after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson wanted to ease the Confederate states back into the Union with little change while his Radical Republican opponents sought a new order guaranteeing equal rights for freed slaves.

More than a century later, Nixon’s near-impeachment in 1974 was the climax of a decade of social upheaval — the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, women’s liberation, the sexual revolution and finally the Watergate scandal. With the country roiling, Nixon resigned before the House could vote on articles of impeachment.

Mr. Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 came in a time of peace and prosperity, but it was nonetheless a moment of transition when the first baby boomer had arrived in the White House along with a history of philandering, drug use and draft avoidance that offended traditionalists. The emergence of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s take-no-prisoners Republicans coincided with the opening of the internet era that would eventually Balkanize America.

“It may be that impeachment is a fairly blunt instrument for dealing with periods of intense partisan division,” said Eric Foner, the noted Reconstruction historian whose latest book, “The Second Founding,” was published this fall. “In a way, we’re in another moment where the fundamentals of the system are being fought over, not just whether the president stays.”

Mr. Trump’s improbable rise to power reflects a transformation of American politics, with separate narratives fueled by separate news media.

For some, his election was the revolt of everyday people against coastal elites, what Mr. Winik called “the age of the forgotten man.” Empowering a rich showman to take on the system, they made him the first president in American history without a day of experience in either government or the military, gambling that he could do what most or all of his 44 predecessors had not.

“We may have been overdue for some reconsideration of the whole political system,” said John Lewis Gaddis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian at Yale. “There are times when the vision is not going to come from within the system and the vision is going to come from outside the system. And maybe this is one of those times.”

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A President Impeached, and a Nation Convulsed

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166132113_48356d46-51a5-4d2a-af9e-bce836ba7940-facebookJumbo A President Impeached, and a Nation Convulsed United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Nixon, Richard Milhous Johnson, Andrew impeachment House of Representatives Clinton, Bill

WASHINGTON — For the most unpredictable of presidents, it was the most predictable of outcomes. Is anyone really surprised that President Trump was impeached? His defiant disregard for red lines arguably made him an impeachment waiting to happen.

From the day he took office, Mr. Trump made clear that he would not abide by the conventions of the system he inherited. So perhaps it was inevitable that at some point he would go too far for the opposition party, leading to a historic day of debate on the House floor where he was alternately depicted as a constitutional villain or victim.

The proximate charge as Democrats impeached him for high crimes and misdemeanors on party-line votes Wednesday night was the president’s campaign to pressure Ukraine to help him against his domestic political rivals while withholding security aid. But long before Ukraine consumed the capital, Mr. Trump had sought to bend the instruments of government to his own purposes even if it meant pushing boundaries that had been sacrosanct for a generation.

Over nearly three years in office, he has become the most polarizing figure in a country stewing in toxic politics. He has punished enemies and, many argue, undermined democratic institutions. Disregarding advice that restrained other presidents, Mr. Trump kept his real estate business despite the Constitution’s emoluments clause, paid hush money to an alleged paramour and sought to impede investigations that threatened him.

His constant stream of falsehoods, including about his dealings with Ukraine, undermined his credibility both at home and abroad, even as his supporters saw him as a challenger to a corrupt status quo subjected to partisan persecution.

Impeachments come at times of tumult, when pent-up pressures seem to explode into conflict, when the fabric of society feels tenuous and the future uncertain. The impeachment battles over Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton came at turning points in the American story. The time that produced Mr. Trump has proved to be another one, a moment when the unthinkable has become routine and precepts that once seemed inviolable have been tested.

Mr. Trump, in his divisiveness, is the manifestation of a nation fracturing into warring camps and trying to define what America is about all over again, just as it did during Reconstruction, during the era of Vietnam and Watergate and during the rise of a new form of angry partisanship at the dawn of the information age.

“In each of these impeachments, they are not taking place during periods of quietude,” said Jay Winik, a prominent historian and author of “The Great Upheaval” and other books on pivot points in United States. “In a sense, what we’re seeing is a cap coming off a simmering volcano. We see it with each of these presidents — we see it with Johnson, we see it with Nixon, we see it with Clinton and we see it now with Trump. These impeachments are emblematic of periods of profound transition.”

As it happened, much of the debate on the House floor on Wednesday proved less dramatic than the times that prompted it. The chamber through much of the day had little of the electricity it had on the day Mr. Clinton was impeached, when the country was bombing Iraq, the incoming House speaker suddenly resigned after admitting adultery and the White House feared Mr. Clinton would be forced to follow suit.

Instead, the debate over Mr. Trump seemed more like a scripted program with everyone playing their assigned parts, each side sticking to its talking points, speaking not to the half-empty galleries but to the country at large. Words and phrases like “no one is above the law” (used in some form or another 60 times) and “sad day” and “sham” (29 times each) were among the favorites. Only when the votes neared in the evening did the chamber fill and the energy level rise.

But at points, the lawmakers touched on the larger ramifications, reflecting the broader forces at play. For the Democrats, there was a sense of mission, of reining in an outlaw president who threatened the pillars of the republic. For the Republicans, a party once wary of Mr. Trump but now in full embrace, it was about stopping what they insisted was an illegitimate, unconstitutional attempt to reverse an election victory.

“I don’t want generations to come to blame me for letting democracy die,” said Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana.

“Please stop tearing this country apart,” implored Representative Debbie Lesko, Republican of Arizona.

The country, of course, was being torn apart long before the clerk called the roll, just as it was in the Johnson, Nixon and Clinton eras, but the divisions were surely widened by the time the gavel came down.

Newspapers being sold in New York after President Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974.Credit…Neal Boenzi/The New York Times Supporters of President Bill Clinton signing petitions to stop impeachment outside the Capitol in 1998.Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

In Johnson’s case, his impeachment in 1868 was not really about his decision to fire his war secretary in violation of a later-overturned law but about what kind of country would emerge from the Civil War. A Southern white supremacist who ascended to the White House after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson wanted to ease the Confederate states back into the Union with little change while his Radical Republican opponents sought a new order guaranteeing equal rights for freed slaves.

More than a century later, Nixon’s near-impeachment in 1974 was the climax of a decade of social upheaval — the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, women’s liberation, the sexual revolution and finally the Watergate scandal. With the country roiling, Nixon resigned before the House could vote on articles of impeachment.

Mr. Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 came in a time of peace and prosperity, but it was nonetheless a moment of transition when the first baby boomer had arrived in the White House along with a history of philandering, drug use and draft avoidance that offended traditionalists. The emergence of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s take-no-prisoners Republicans coincided with the opening of the internet era that would eventually Balkanize America.

“It may be that impeachment is a fairly blunt instrument for dealing with periods of intense partisan division,” said Eric Foner, the noted Reconstruction historian whose latest book, “The Second Founding,” was published this fall. “In a way, we’re in another moment where the fundamentals of the system are being fought over, not just whether the president stays.”

Mr. Trump’s improbable rise to power reflects a transformation of American politics, with separate narratives fueled by separate news media.

For some, his election was the revolt of everyday people against coastal elites, what Mr. Winik called “the age of the forgotten man.” Empowering a rich showman to take on the system, they made him the first president in American history without a day of experience in either government or the military, gambling that he could do what most or all of his 44 predecessors had not.

“We may have been overdue for some reconsideration of the whole political system,” said John Lewis Gaddis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian at Yale. “There are times when the vision is not going to come from within the system and the vision is going to come from outside the system. And maybe this is one of those times.”

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How TV Covered the Moment of Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 18impeachtv-facebookJumbo How TV Covered the Moment of Impeachment Trump, Donald J Television Survivor (TV Program) News and News Media National Broadcasting Co impeachment House of Representatives Hannity, Sean Fox News Channel CBS Corporation Carlson, Tucker ABC Inc

The impeachment debate on the floor of the House of Representatives might have been historically significant, but it took longer than expected, which meant it got in the way of two network shows that had been promoted heavily in recent weeks.

At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, CBS cut away from the proceedings for the season finale of the long-running reality competition show “Survivor.” At the same time, ABC dropped its Washington feed to start airing back-to-back live recreations of the 1970s-vintage Norman Lear sitcoms “Good Times” and “All in the Family.”

NBC stuck with the news, rather than its scheduled programming, which was a rerun of “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways,” starring Ellen DeGeneres. As the anchor Lester Holt led political analysts and correspondents through a discussion, House members were seen milling about in the background. With the tally inching toward the key number, which the network put at 214, NBC included occasional cutaways, with no audio at first, to President Trump speaking at a rally in Battle Creek, Mich.

As the vote went through on the first article of impeachment, ABC broke into “Good Times” with a special report led by the anchor George Stephanopoulos. A banner at the top of the screen declared, “President Trump Impeached.”

When the moment approached on Fox News, Tucker Carlson, almost midway through hosting his 8 p.m. program, said the president had devoted 45 seconds of his rally speech to the topic of the day. The show then cut to a clip from Battle Creek, with the president saying, “It doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” to cheers.

When it was all but official, Mr. Carlson’s reaction was muted. “They have the votes,” he said. “There it is, there it is, right there.”

His guests included Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who called the impeachment “fully unconstitutional,” and Representative Devin Nunes of California, who compared it to “a coup attempt.”

On MSNBC at the close of the vote on the second article, the anchor Brian Williams discussed with Claire McCaskill, the former Democratic senator of Missouri, the dim likelihood that the Senate would follow the House with a conviction. As the yeas mounted, Mr. Williams said: “This moment, make no mistake, is historic. We’ve crossed the threshold, making for two articles of impeachment.”

On CNN, Rick Santorum, a former senator and onetime Republican presidential candidate who is a regular commentator on the channel, was talking about former President Bill Clinton, saying that the House Republicans of 1998 had been “pretty woke” to impeach him, when considering his actions in light of the #MeToo movement.

The CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell interrupted “Survivor” with a special report, noting that not one Republican had voted in favor of impeachment and citing the lack of across-the-aisle agreement as evidence of the “split screen” state of America.

Mr. Carlson, on Fox News, looked grim toward the end of his hour as a guest, Tom Fitton, the head of the conservative activist group Judicial Watch, was saying, “The president has been terribly abused.”

At 9 p.m., CBS returned to “Survivor.” On ABC, the actor Woody Harrelson, with an accent that sounded as if it had originated a thousand miles from Queens, N.Y., was playing Archie Bunker in the “All in the Family” reboot. And on Fox News, Sean Hannity kicked off his highly rated show by calling the impeachment a “repulsive, dangerous political stunt” and a “revolting charade.”

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Trump Impeached for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the third president in history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors and face removal by the Senate.

On a day of constitutional consequence and raging partisan tension, the votes on the two articles of impeachment fell largely along party lines, after a bitter debate that stretched all day and into the evening, reflecting the deep polarization gripping American politics in the Trump era.

All but two Democrats supported the article on abuse of power, which accused Mr. Trump of corruptly using the levers of government to solicit election assistance from Ukraine in the form of investigations to discredit his Democratic political rivals. Republicans were united in opposition. It passed 230 to 197, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveling the vote to a close from the House rostrum.

On the second charge, obstruction of Congress, a third Democrat joined Republicans in opposition. The vote was 229 to 198.

Westlake Legal Group trump-impeachment-vote-promo-1576708669492-articleLarge-v2 Trump Impeached for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy impeachment House of Representatives

How Democrats and Republicans Voted on Trump’s Impeachment

See how each House member voted on the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

The impeachment votes set the stage for a historic trial beginning early next year in the Senate, which will have final say — 10 months before Mr. Trump faces re-election — on whether to acquit the 45th president or convict and remove him from office.

Acquittal in the Republican-controlled chamber is likely, but the proceeding is certain to aggravate the political and cultural fault lines in the country that Mr. Trump’s presidency brought into dramatic relief.

On Wednesday, Democrats characterized his impeachment as an urgent action to stop a corrupt president whose misdeeds had unfolded in plain view from damaging the country any further.

“Over the course of the last three months, we have found incontrovertible evidence that President Trump abused his power by pressuring the newly elected president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into President Trump’s political rival,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the Intelligence Committee chairman, who led the impeachment inquiry.

“The president and his men plot on,” Mr. Schiff said. “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”

Video

transcript

House Votes to Impeach Trump

The Democratic-led House of Representatives charged President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“The yeas and nays are ordered. Members will record their votes by electronic device.” “On this vote, the yeas are 230, the nays are 197. Present is one. Article 1 is adopted. On this vote, the yeas are 229, the nays are 198. Present is one. Article 2 is adopted.”

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-pelosivid-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Impeached for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy impeachment House of Representatives

The Democratic-led House of Representatives charged President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Far from showing contrition or contemplating resignation, as his predecessors have done in the face of impeachment, Mr. Trump instead offered an indignant defense as the House weighed his fate, raging on Twitter from the White House.

“SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS,” the president wrote as the historic debate took place on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. “THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”

Later, as members cast their votes to impeach him in Washington, Mr. Trump took the stage to roars of adulation from his supporters at an arena-style campaign rally in Battle Creek, Mich., where he brushed aside the constitutional confrontation as a “hoax” based on unfounded charges, even as he conceded that it would be a permanent blot on his presidency.

“I’m not worried,” Mr. Trump said. “You don’t do anything wrong and you get impeached. That may be a record that will last forever.”

“But you know what they have done?” he said of Democrats. “They have cheapened the impeachment process.”

Senators, he added, “are going to do the right thing.”

Regardless of the outcome of a Senate trial, the impeachment vote in the House puts an indelible stain on Mr. Trump’s presidency that cannot be wiped from the public consciousness with a barrage of tweets or an angry tirade in front of thousands of his cheering supporters at a campaign rally.

It did not grow out of the two-year investigation into Russian election meddling by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, or the seemingly endless series of other accusations of corruption and misconduct that have plagued his White House: embracing Russian election interference, tax evasion, profiting from the presidency, payoffs to a pornographic film actress and fraudulent activities by his charitable foundation.

Instead, the existential threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency centered around a half-hour phone call in July in which he pressured Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats, at the same time he was withholding nearly $400 million in vital military assistance for the country and a White House meeting.

Congress learned about the call after an anonymous C.I.A. official lodged a whistle-blower complaint in August — pulling a string that helped unravel an effort by the president and his allies to pressure a foreign government for help in smearing a political rival. Over a period of weeks this fall, a parade of diplomats and other administration officials confirmed and expanded on those revelations.

When Congress found out about the scheme and sought to investigate, the president ordered his administration to defy its every request, leading to what the House said Tuesday was a violation of the separation of powers and a de facto assertion by Mr. Trump that he was above the law.

United in their opposition, Republicans accused the Democrats, who fought their way back from political oblivion in 2016 to win the House in 2018, of misusing the power voters had invested in them to harangue a president they never viewed as legitimate by manufacturing a case against him. Though they conceded few of them, they insisted the facts against Mr. Trump nonetheless fell woefully short of impeachment.

“When all is said and done, when the history of this impeachment is written, it will be said that my Washington Democrat friends couldn’t bring themselves to work with Donald Trump, so they consoled themselves instead by silencing the will of those who did, the American people,” said Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina.

Through the course of the inquiry, even as Republicans raged against the process and sought to offer benign explanations for Mr. Trump’s conduct, none disputed the central facts that served as its basis: that he asked Ukraine’s president to “do us a favor” and investigate Mr. Biden, a prospective rival in the 2020 campaign, and other Democrats.

Mr. Trump’s impeachment had the potential to change the trajectory of his presidency and redefine an already volatile political landscape. Democrats, including the most vulnerable moderates, embraced the articles of impeachment with the full knowledge that doing so could damage them politically, potentially even costing them control of the House.

The only Democratic dissenters from the abuse of power charge on Wednesday were Representatives Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a freshman who has announced that he will switch parties and become a Republican. Representative Jared Golden of Maine, another centrist freshman, joined them in opposition to the obstruction of Congress charge.

And Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democratic presidential contender who has built her reputation as a maverick in her party, voted “present” on both articles.

Republicans tethered themselves closely to Mr. Trump as they have since he took office, yoking their political brands and fortunes to his.

The debate proceeded in historic terms in the well of the House, even as an odd sense of inevitability hung over Washington about Mr. Trump’s fate.

“Today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Ms. Pelosi, dressed in all black, said as debate opened on the articles around noon. “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”

In the Senate, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has already made clear he views the House’s case as “weak” and would prefer a speedy trial in January that does not call any additional fact witnesses. Doing so increases the likelihood that Congress will simply never hear from several senior government officials with knowledge of the Ukraine matter who avoided House testimony.

Impeachment traces its origins to monarchical England, but the framers of the Constitution confined its use on presidents to rare occasions, when his actions corrupted the public interest for personal ones. Only twice has the House previously impeached a president, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton 1998. President Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 rather than face such a consequence.

Johnson remained in office by a single vote in 1868. Mr. Clinton more soundly beat the charges, with no more than half of the Senate voting for conviction after more than a month of deliberations. The trial of Mr. Trump is likely to reach a similar outcome, but it could do so much more quickly, with some Senate Republicans discussing the possibility that the case could be resolved in little more than a week.

As he did in the face of past accusations, Mr. Trump, 73, railed against impeachment as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” attacking his adversaries with a viciousness rarely heard from previous presidents.

“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” the president seethed in an angry impeachment eve letter to Ms. Pelosi.

In Mr. Trump’s reality, reinforced by the conservative cable news programs that swirl around him throughout the day, his three years in the White House have been more successful than any other. Wednesday’s impeachment intrudes on that, forcing the president and those around him to confront a different narrative, one in which he has — in the words of the articles of impeachment — “betrayed the nation” and acted “in a manner grossly incompatible with self governance and the rule of law.”

“Whether Donald Trump leaves in one month, one year or five years, this impeachment is permanent,” said Representative Ted Lieu, Democrat of California. “It will follow him around for the rest of his life, and history books will record it.”

The absolutist defense by many members of the Republican Party and the partisan nature of Wednesday’s vote underscored the remarkable hold that Mr. Trump, who has never commanded the support of a majority of the nation, has come to have over the party, remaking it in his image.

One Republican, Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, compared Mr. Trump on Wednesday with Jesus Christ, saying that the son of God had been “afforded more rights” by Pontius Pilate than Democrats had given the president.

Democrats’ most fervent supporters have fantasized since Inauguration Day 2017 about impeaching Mr. Trump, an extreme remedy for the ultimate insurgent they believed was shredding American institutions in his self interest. The debate reached a new pitch this year when Democrats reclaimed control of the House after nearly a decade and awaited the results of a two-year Justice Department investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s campaign had conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

But as the left pushed harder for Mr. Trump’s ouster, Democratic leaders resisted. “He’s just not worth it,” Ms. Pelosi said in March. The Russia investigation fizzled when the special counsel declined to recommend charges, even though his report detailed at least 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump when he tried to thwart the inquiry. By the time lawmakers returned to Washington this fall after a summer break, impeachment appeared all but dead.

Ms. Pelosi’s calculations — and public opinion — shifted abruptly in September, when the C.IA. whistle-blower arrived on the House’s doorstep.

The inquiry it prompted moved with alacrity, even as Democrats did not have an independent counsel or special prosecutor on whose work they could build. Instead, the House Intelligence Committee called senior American diplomats and White House officials for questioning and requested reams of documents.

In private and then in publicly televised hearings — and all in defiance of White House orders — they outlined a wide-ranging attempt by Mr. Trump and his allies to bend United States policy on Ukraine toward carrying out what one former White House official called “a domestic political errand” on the president’s own behalf.

Fueling the obstruction of Congress charge, a dozen more witnesses, some with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s actions, were blocked from speaking to investigators and the Trump administration refused to produce a single document under subpoena.

As the facts tumbled out into the open, there were moments when Republicans in the House and Senate flirted with casting their lot against the president. After the acting White House chief of staff said from the White House in October that Mr. Trump had withheld military aid in part to extract at least one politically beneficial investigation from Ukraine, Representative Francis Rooney said he was open to impeachment. But on Wednesday, he joined every Republican in voting no.

Testimony weeks later in November by Gordon D. Sondland, Mr. Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, said that there had been a quid pro quo around a White House meeting and maybe around the foreign aid money prompted momentary fears of a mass defection. It did not materialize.

If anything, the process underscored the extent to which the nation is pulling apart into two, with each side claiming its own news sources and fact sets that make meaningful debate between Democrats and Republicans over the significance of president’s conduct almost impossible. Public opinion polls show the nation is closely divided over Mr. Trump’s impeachment and removal as it was on Election Day 2016.

On Wednesday, neither lawmakers nor aides to Mr. Trump foresaw a resolution.

“We know how this partisan process will end this evening,” said Representative Will Hurd of Texas, one of a handful of Republicans willing to criticize Mr. Trump’s conduct, who is retiring from Congress. “But what happens tomorrow?”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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