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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 105)

What to Look for in the Watchdog Report on the Russia Investigation

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165584493_7aaf29c2-1475-4341-94c9-9550ce7cde35-facebookJumbo What to Look for in the Watchdog Report on the Russia Investigation Wiretapping and Other Eavesdropping Devices and Methods United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Surveillance of Citizens by Government Strzok, Peter Steele, Christopher (1964- ) Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Presidential Election of 2016 Papadopoulos, George (1987- ) Page, Carter Ohr, Bruce Mifsud, Joseph McCabe, Andrew G Justice Department Inspectors General Informers Horowitz, Michael E Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Comey, James B Clinesmith, Kevin

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is expected to release a much-anticipated report on Monday that will delve into the early stages of the F.B.I.’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 election-interference operation.

The high-stakes case has pervaded throughout official Washington for more than three years, upending Republicans’ longstanding support for federal law enforcement, overturning the bureau’s leadership and igniting scrutiny that has continued long past the exhaustive special counsel’s report released in April.

President Trump and his allies mounted a counteroffensive that was part defense, part redirection — accusing the F.B.I. of engaging in an unlawful attempted coup and raising many conspiracy theories. Their allegations fell to Mr. Horowitz to investigate, and we expect his report to address a handful of major questions.

This conspiracy theory is multifaceted and complex, but the report is expected to debunk its essential elements.

The president’s narrative, for which he has offered little evidence, is essentially that a cabal of politically biased law enforcement and intelligence officials — a “deep state” — set out to sabotage and spy on his campaign because they were opposed to his election and wanted to undermine him if he won. Under this narrative, there was a wide-reaching conspiracy to use false opposition research funded by Democrats to justify opening an investigation that would allow them to infiltrate and spy on the Trump campaign, wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser and sabotage Mr. Trump’s presidency.

According to people briefed on a draft of his report, Mr. Horowitz did not find evidence supporting the narrative that Mr. Trump and his allies have spent the better part of three years promulgating.

The report is expected to fault the F.B.I. and the Justice Department for bureaucratic shortcomings.

Mr. Horowitz closely scrutinized every aspect of the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, interviewing all of the main and secondary players and going through all of the paperwork from each stage in search of mistakes, procedural fouls or deliberate wrongdoing. While his inquiry is not expected to support Mr. Trump’s accusations, that does not mean Mr. Horowitz found no serious flaws.

He is expected to say that law enforcement officials failed to coordinate properly and made numerous errors and omissions related to the application seeking a federal court’s permission to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump foreign adviser, and three renewals of the court order.

The F.B.I.’s decision to open the investigation met the legal threshold and was not undertaken out of political bias, Mr. Horowitz is expected to conclude.

The F.B.I. opened the investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, on July 30, 2016. Mr. Trump’s allies have suggested that this action was an unjustified act undertaken for political reasons.

They have also repeatedly claimed that the F.B.I. did so on the basis of dubious information contained in a dossier of claimed links between Mr. Trump and Russia that was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who had been commissioned to conduct opposition research by a firm in a project ultimately financed by Democrats.

Mr. Horowitz is also expected to conclude that information from the Steele dossier was not used to justify opening the inquiry.

While Mr. Horowitz is expected to conclude that the F.B.I. did not attempt to place informants or undercover agents inside the Trump campaign, it is not clear what else he will say about their use.

As part of the Russia investigation, F.B.I. agents authorized the use of at least one informant to figure out whether Mr. Page and George Papadopoulos, another Trump campaign adviser, were working with the Russians. The informant met with the two men while they were still associated with the campaign. The use of the informant, Stefan A. Halper, a Cambridge professor, has led President Trump and his allies to accuse the F.B.I. of spying on his campaign. The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, has defended the bureau against accusations of spying.

Mr. Horowitz’s team scrutinized the F.B.I.’s roster of informants for any work they might have done in connection with the Russia investigation. But he found that the F.B.I. did not try to infiltrate the campaign itself, according to people briefed on a draft of his report.

The inspector general is also expected to say that Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who met with Mr. Papadopoulos and offered him dirt on Hillary Clinton, was not an F.B.I. informant, debunking a right-wing conspiracy theory. The inspector general is also said to have received no indication from the C.I.A. that the professor worked for the spy agency, either.

The report is expected to debunk or reject critiques and claims by Mr. Trump and his allies about the wiretap. But it will also unearth other issues with it.

In October 2016, the Justice Department obtained permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Mr. Page, who had recently stepped down from his role as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Mr. Page had close ties to Russia, which he had visited in the summer of 2016, and had previously interacted with Russia’s foreign spy service. The wiretap application, which portrayed Mr. Page as a suspected unregistered agent of a foreign power, was ultimately extended three times — twice by the Trump administration.

Though Mr. Horowitz is expected to undermine Mr. Trump’s claims about investigators’ pursuit of a wiretap, including how they portrayed information from the Steele dossier, he is expected to say that the paperwork was bungled in other ways no one was talking about.

Among his expected findings is that investigators should have told the court in the paperwork that Mr. Page had given information to the C.I.A. in the past about his overseas contacts. Mr. Page has described himself as an unpaid confidential intelligence source to the C.I.A. and F.B.I.

Mr. Horowitz is also expected to say that, as part of one of the renewals of the wiretap, Kevin Clinesmith, a low-level F.B.I. lawyer working on the case, altered an email from another agency that he sent to a colleague who then signed an affidavit attesting to the accuracy of a packet of information, including that email. Mr. Horowitz has made a criminal referral about Mr. Clinesmith for possibly making a false statement that misled his colleague.

The report is expected to absolve them of taking investigative action out of bias against Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump and his allies have demonized a group of top F.B.I. officials who oversaw the opening and early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, portraying them as a cabal who launched a witch hunt in a politicized coup attempt. These include the former director, James B. Comey; the former deputy and acting director, Andrew G. McCabe; Peter Strzok, a former top counterintelligence agent; Lisa Page, a former F.B.I. lawyer who worked on the case; and James A. Baker, the former general counsel.

During an earlier examination into the handling of investigations into Mrs. Clinton’s personal email server, Mr. Horowitz uncovered the fact that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page had sent text messages to each other expressing animus toward Mr. Trump while working on the Russia case. He also found messages by Mr. Clinesmith indicating that he did not like Mr. Trump or his policies. The findings led Mr. Mueller to remove Mr. Strzok and Mr. Clinesmith from the special counsel team.

But as he also did in his report on the Clinton email investigation, Mr. Horowitz is expected to say that, while these text messages demonstrated bad judgment and cast a cloud over the bureau, he found no evidence that any of the actions they took with the investigation stemmed from their personal political views, people familiar with the draft said.

Separately, Mr. Trump’s allies have vilified a senior Justice Department expert in Russian organized crime, Bruce G. Ohr, who knew and met with Mr. Steele even after the F.B.I. had officially severed its relationship with Mr. Steele for speaking to the press about his dossier. Mr. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, was a researcher at Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Mr. Steele.

The report is expected to criticize Mr. Ohr for failing to keep his supervisors in the loop about his continued meetings with Mr. Steele, but it is not expected to say that Mr. Ohr was part of any attempted coup.

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What to Watch at Monday’s Impeachment Hearing

The impeachment drive against President Trump moves into a new phase on Monday as the House Judiciary Committee begins to hear evidence from both sides while Democrats draft proposed articles of impeachment charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors for pressuring Ukraine to help him against his domestic political rivals.

Who: The House Judiciary Committee will hear presentations of the evidence by Democratic and Republican lawyers.

What: The “opening arguments” will be made by Barry H. Berke for the committee Democrats and Stephen R. Castor for the Republicans. Daniel S. Goldman, the Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, will then present the evidence for impeachment, and Mr. Castor will present the evidence against it. Judiciary Committee members will then ask questions.

When and Where: The morning proceedings start at 9 Eastern in the House Ways and Means Committee chambers. They will most likely last until late in the afternoon.

How to Watch: The New York Times will stream the testimony live, and a team of reporters in Washington will provide real-time context and analysis of the events on Capitol Hill. Follow along at nytimes.com, starting a few minutes before 9.

After hearing from constitutional scholars last week, the House Judiciary Committee turns from theory to reality as it conducts its first hearing on the evidence in the case against Mr. Trump and examines whether his actions rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

But the committee does not plan to hear directly from fact witnesses, who previously testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Instead, it will hear from lawyers for both parties who will outline and analyze the information already gathered to make the case for why it does or does not justify impeaching the president.

The White House refuses to participate in the hearing, meaning that no lawyers for the president will appear, unlike impeachment hearings involving past presidents. The White House has argued that the inquiry is illegitimate, partisan and rigged against Mr. Trump, so it will wait to mount a defense in a Senate trial, assuming the full House does vote to impeach him. For now, the president will leave his defense to committee Republicans, who have rallied behind him.

The committee is then poised to move quickly later in the week to consider articles of impeachment accusing Mr. Trump of abusing his power, obstructing Congress and obstructing justice. Assuming one or more articles are approved along party lines by the Democratic majority, as expected, it would set the stage for a vote by the full House before Christmas, making Mr. Trump only the third president in American history to be impeached.

  • Mr. Trump and his advisers repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.

Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 What to Watch at Monday’s Impeachment Hearing United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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The Indispensable Man: How Giuliani Led Trump to the Brink of Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group xxRudy-1-facebookJumbo The Indispensable Man: How Giuliani Led Trump to the Brink of Impeachment 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 Giuliani, Rudolph W Corruption (Institutional)

Not so long ago, it seemed to Rudolph W. Giuliani that he would be presiding over a hefty part of the world.

Holding court a few nights after the 2016 election in a private cigar bar on Fifth Avenue, glass of Macallan at hand, Mr. Giuliani boasted to friends that President-elect Donald J. Trump would soon nominate him to the most prestigious of cabinet posts.

“How about,” Mr. Giuliani asked, “secretary of state?”

Chief global representative of the United States in war, peace and trade.

It would be a sublime reward for having thrown in with Mr. Trump when the respectable Republican establishment was keeping its distance, a fresh burst of stardom in a public life that had been fading fast. Mr. Giuliani made himself indispensable to the Trump campaign by doing dirty work that no one else wanted and trudging ahead even after the candidate lashed him with humiliations.

Three years on, Mr. Giuliani never got the job he believed he had coming — “a bitter disappointment,” his now-estranged wife says — but in his five decades as a public figure, he has never been more prominent in national affairs.

Step by step, he has escorted President Trump to the brink of impeachment. Mr. Giuliani himself is now under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in the very office where he enjoyed his first extended draughts of fame nearly four decades ago. The separate troubles he has gotten his client and himself into are products of the uniquely powerful position he has fashioned, a hybrid of unpaid personal counsel to the president and for-profit peddler of access and advice.

Practically no name, other than Mr. Trump’s, was mentioned more than Mr. Giuliani’s at the impeachment hearings and in a subsequent Democratic report that described him as the hub of a grievous abuse of presidential power (or legitimate advocate for Mr. Trump, in the Republicans’ minority response).

A dozen witnesses testified over five days, and if Mr. Giuliani were somehow subtracted from their stories, there seems to be no one in or out of government who could take his place as the president’s man on the ground. No one to carry out a campaign to force a vulnerable ally, Ukraine, to damage a political opponent of Mr. Trump and undermine a special counsel investigation in ways that would help both Mr. Trump and an ally now in prison for laundering millions of dollars.

No impeachment train, picking up steam.

Mr. Giuliani has been the voice in Mr. Trump’s ear when others could not be heard, and served as the voice of Mr. Trump in places where presidents dare not go.

Each modern impeachment saga — of Richard M. Nixon, Bill Clinton and now Mr. Trump — has been shaped not by grievances over policy differences, but by human vanities and appetites. In this case, those include Mr. Giuliani’s, which have run in strong currents for decades, unconcealed.

The forces that have returned Mr. Giuliani to the stage at age 75 are the same ones that made him a star federal prosecutor as a young man, a memorable mayor of New York in the 1990s and a scorched-earth advocate for Mr. Trump in 2016: his relentless drive to put himself at the center of public life and his very high regard for his own virtuousness.

Patrick Oxford, a former law partner and chairman of Mr. Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign, who praises him as “a fine man,” says he has not changed.

“He’s just a whole lot more of what he was,” Mr. Oxford said. “I’ve noticed that political figures have a hard time retiring from the scene. I think my friend Rudy may be trying too hard to remain involved.”

[Watch a special episode of “The Weekly” about Rudy Giuliani’s wild, decades-long career. Available for Times subscribers in the U.S.]

His personal life has descended into the sort of well-appointed shambles that material wealth can disguise, though not necessarily make any less fraught.

A third marriage has fallen into divorce court ruins, revealing monthly expenses of $230,000 for six homes and 11 country club memberships. By taking President Trump as a client, he lost a position at a law firm in 2018 that paid him $6 million annually, according to court filings. In October, he broke with a partner in a security consultancy, a former police officer who had been at his side for three decades. He was so badly hurt in a fall two years ago that his wife put off divorce plans and looked after him for a while. She laments that before he appears in public, no one tells him that dye has given his hair an orange tinge.

He betrays no distress at any aspect of his life, only delight.

Working on a laptop at a restaurant table in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, he has bathed in the warm acclaim of friends and strangers who recognize him from his television advocacy. “I enjoyed the fact that people were coming by and tapping me on the back,” Mr. Giuliani said.

He was there so often, he said, that he set up a plaque.

Rudolph W. Giuliani

Attorney at law

“He doesn’t just like the spotlight,” his estranged wife, Judith Giuliani, said in an interview. “He craves it, for validation.”

She said she could scarcely believe he was working for Mr. Trump, given his disdain for people like Mr. Clinton, whom he saw as dishonest. But public attention, even refracted through Mr. Trump, was irresistible, she said.

Perhaps that helps explain the velvet-glove treatment he lavished on two Soviet-born American businessmen.

Mr. Giuliani brought one of them, a former penny-stock trader with a string of bad debts, to the state funeral of President George H. W. Bush last December.

And both men were Mr. Giuliani’s guests this year at an annual dinner he gives for a band of people, mostly city workers, knitted together after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Other guests were perplexed by the men’s presence.

Had they been at Ground Zero in 2001?

No, they had not.

They were part not of Mr. Giuliani’s past but of his wished-for future.

He deployed both men to find pressure points in Ukraine, and joined them in undermining an American ambassador. His intentions, he says, were pure. “As a person who finds public corruption a cancer,” Mr. Giuliani said, “I cannot ignore it.”

He may also have been trying to improve the chances for Rudolph W. Giuliani to persist into his ninth decade as an indispensable man.

Poised to take off from La Guardia Airport, the Trump campaign plane had to wait for one more passenger. It was a chilly, cloudy Sunday in New York, the 9th of October 2016. That evening, Mr. Trump would debate his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in St. Louis.

Inside the custom-fitted Boeing 757-2000, about 40 people were in their seats, including candidate Trump. They could not leave without one last person: Rudy Giuliani.

Why were they waiting for him?

That moment, as much as any, maps the ground between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani.

They had known each other for nearly 40 years. Mr. Trump was the gaudy, gold-veneered developer who somehow navigated the shoals of organized crime, labor racketeering and official corruption in the New York real estate market of the 1980s, even as Mr. Giuliani was becoming so well known as a federal prosecutor that he kept a mental scorecard of his television appearances. (“Actually, it was only two nights,” Mr. Giuliani told a man in 1985 who mentioned he had just seen him five times on television. “Last week, it was five.”)

Mr. Giuliani, then mayor of New York, with Donald J. Trump in 1999. The two have known each other for decades.Credit…Ruby Washington/The New York Times

With Mr. Trump as co-chairman of his first campaign fund-raiser, Mr. Giuliani ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1989. He won the next time, in 1993, and served until the end of 2001. For the world, he embodied resilience following Sept. 11, a stature he would parlay into wealth but not a successful presidential candidacy. After a dismal showing in the 2008 Republican primaries, in which he spent more than $60 million and won no delegates, he and Mrs. Giuliani retreated to her family’s home in Florida. There he fell into what she called a lingering “catatonic” state. He never fully returned to his law firm, Bracewell Giuliani — “his specialty was being Rudy,” his ex-partner, Mr. Oxford, said — but in time resumed giving paid speeches and running a lucrative security consultancy.

As the years of Barack Obama’s presidency passed, Mr. Giuliani’s voice seemed to carry farthest when it was keyed to harsh or apocalyptic tones. Faintly echoing Mr. Trump’s falsehood about the president’s origins, he questioned Mr. Obama’s Americanism (“He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up, and I was brought up, through love of this country,” he said). Apart from such flare-ups, he largely dropped out of public conversation.

“Before the 2016 election, Rudy was running around hawking Life Lock on commercials that ran at 2 a.m. on channel 83,” a longtime close aide said.

Mr. Giuliani had not raced to sign on with Trump 2016, waiting until the nomination was nearly inevitable, but few bigger names beat him to it.

Prominent Republicans who now style themselves devoted allies of Mr. Trump spoke of him then with acid revulsion or clenched-teeth neutrality. The campaign needed someone able to dial into a steady state of rage on a moment’s notice, even a high-mileage ex-politician scarcely known to a younger generation of voters.

Given a speaking spot of honor at the Republican convention, Mr. Giuliani roared: “There’s — there’s — there’s no next election! This is it! There’s no more time for us left to revive our great country!”

During the last three months of the campaign, he spun like a tornado from one television studio to the next or jetted around the country, at every stop hurling charges of corruption like boiling brimstone at anyone standing in Mr. Trump’s way.

“He’d do an event with then-candidate Trump, and then he’d speak at a different event with Pence and then do one on his own,” David Bossie, the deputy campaign manager, said.

None of that compared to his work on the Sunday when the Trump campaign jet waited at La Guardia.

Two days earlier, an off-camera tape from the television show “Access Hollywood” had been released of Mr. Trump speaking in crude terms about how his celebrity status gave him license to sexually assault women.

Mr. Trump’s usual surrogates — Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus, Chris Christie — had been booked to appear on the Sunday shows before the tape came out. When it did, they all bailed.

Then Mr. Giuliani stepped forward.

“Rudy was the only person willing to go on television to defend Donald Trump,” Mr. Bossie said.

Mr. Giuliani spent that morning rushing between studios — he appeared on all five major networks — pausing long enough to strike a penitential chord and write off Mr. Trump’s words as unfortunate locker-room talk.

Considering the circumstances, the campaign staff believed Mr. Giuliani had blunted the political blow Mr. Trump had inflicted on Mr. Trump. “Most people thought he did a great job,” Mr. Bossie said.

When Mr. Giuliani boarded the plane, spent from his labors, he strode down the aisle a conquering hero, swapping high-fives. Then he settled across from Mr. Trump.

Everyone could hear what the candidate said next.

“Man, Rudy,” Mr. Trump said, “you sucked. You were weak. Low-energy.”

Mr. Giuliani slumped in his seat, one witness said. The plane grew silent.

By day’s end, Mr. Giuliani was back in front of the cameras, claiming victory for Mr. Trump in the debate. And his most important work for the campaign was yet to come.

On Oct. 25, 2016, exactly two weeks until Election Day, Mr. Giuliani appeared on “Fox and Friends,” and was asked what the Trump campaign would do with the remaining time.

“We’ve got a couple of surprises left,” Mr. Giuliani said, chuckling but coyly refusing to be drawn out on specifics.

“I think he’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days,” he told another interviewer. “I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”

Unknown to the public, the F.B.I. had recently obtained a laptop used by one of Mrs. Clinton’s aides that had not been examined during the investigation of her private email server. That inquiry had concluded in July without charges, but the newly discovered laptop contained about 50,000 emails that might have been relevant. F.B.I. agents planned to go through them in due course, but several ranking officials did not see that any mad rush was called for, the Justice Department inspector general would later report. They believed — correctly, as it turned out — that the emails would be similar to the hundreds of thousands already examined.

Then Mr. Giuliani began dropping those broad hints of a “surprise,” adding that he knew F.B.I. agents were very upset. It seemed apparent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch that leaks were coming from the New York office of the F.B.I., according to the inspector general. Faced with the likelihood that word of the emails would be coming out one way or another, the F.B.I. director, James Comey, announced a review of the newly discovered cache. It played as a stunning piece of news, a fresh gust of scandal 11 days before the election.

Mr. Giuliani would later deny that he had heard about the emails from F.B.I. agents, though he had bragged about that in broadcast interviews.

Years before, he had shown that working with virtually nothing, he could cultivate the mere existence of investigations to his political benefit. Early in his first term as mayor, facing criticism over patronage hires, Mr. Giuliani and aides announced spectacular claims that a widely respected commissioner in the previous administration, Richard Murphy, had overspent his budget by millions of dollars for political reasons. Moreover, computer records seemed to have been destroyed in a suspicious burglary. The heat shifted from the reality of Mr. Giuliani’s patronage hires to the wispy vapors of the Murphy investigation. A year later, it emerged that Mr. Murphy had neither overspent nor done anything wrong, and that no records had been destroyed or stolen. Mayor Giuliani shrugged.

“This happens all the time,” he said. “And you write about those things all the time. Sometimes they turn out to be true. And sometimes they turn out to be wrong.”

So it was with the emails. With two days to go until the 2016 election, Mr. Comey said the review of the material in the laptop had not changed the bureau’s view that Mrs. Clinton had not committed a crime. The unquantifiable damage, though, had been done.

Declaring victory on election night, Mr. Trump hailed his family and his campaign staff.

One more person was singled out.

“I want to give a very special thanks to our former mayor, Rudy Giuliani,” Mr. Trump shouted, to chants of “Rudy, Rudy.” “That Rudy never changes. Where’s Rudy? Where is he?” A moment later, spotting him, Mr. Trump called again, “Oh, Rudy, get up here.”

With that, Mr. Giuliani stepped onto the stage, holding his wife’s hand, joining the Trump family.

Representing the president of the United States was, Mr. Giuliani said, “kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

He grabbed it. He strode across the public stage as a man without border or boundary, Full Throttle Giuliani — “I am a high-functioning human being, able to outwork people half my age,” he told New York magazine — blending the rare opportunity to serve the president with far more ordinary chances to profit from his closeness to power.

He became a one-stop human bazaar for the trade of money, favors and influence, certain that he was incorruptible.

“I’m probably the most ethical person you ever met,” he said.

There are conflicting accounts of why Mr. Giuliani did not get the State Department position he campaigned for in 2016, and of whether anyone other than himself even thought it was a real possibility, but his years of lucrative consulting payments from foreign governments since leaving City Hall would certainly have made for a complicated Senate confirmation.

So he returned in January 2017 to his partnership at Greenberg Traurig. He was also running a consulting company, Giuliani Security & Safety, with mostly foreign clients.

Yet for all that, he seemed to be itching to get back inside.

Out of the blue, he would call John Dowd, an old colleague from their days as young lawyers. Mr. Dowd had known Mr. Giuliani as a 30-year-old prosecutor whose withering cross-examination drove a sitting congressman to halt his own trial and plead guilty.

Now, though, Mr. Dowd was the president’s chief lawyer in the special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Giuliani would phone just to volunteer suggestions or help, Mr. Dowd said.

“When I had the lead,” Mr. Dowd said, “he always had my back.”

In year one of the investigation, President Trump went through multiple lawyers, including Mr. Dowd. By spring 2018, Mr. Trump was having a hard time getting top legal talent to work on the case.

Up stepped Mr. Giuliani, who said he would serve without pay.

The Trump administration turned out to be very good for the business of being Rudy Giuliani, though it was no simple matter to say precisely what that was.

“Probably in the last two years, people have talked to me about hundreds of deals,” Mr. Giuliani said this fall.

As an insurgent, Mr. Trump arrived in Washington without the camp followers of brand-name lobbyists and insiders who set up shop with each new administration. Their absence heightened the value of the few people known to have influence with Mr. Trump, like Mr. Giuliani. Before and after he became the president’s personal lawyer, he thrived.

He hired himself out to a Turkish money launderer, Reza Zarrab, and argued his case directly to the president and the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, in the Oval Office. Mr. Zarrab had been accused of moving $10 billion in gold and cash to Iran, evading American sanctions. He eventually pleaded guilty and became a prosecution witness.

That was not the only piece of Turkish business Mr. Giuliani brought before the president, or so aides to Mr. Trump suspected. They believed that on his regular visits to the White House, he was pushing the president to deport a Turkish Muslim cleric — a prize sought by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, who saw the man as an enemy of his regime. Mr. Giuliani called the claim that he was lobbying on that issue “stupid” and untrue. Still, for a short time, his access to the Oval Office was curbed.

He got paid to promote an ethane-methane deal in Uzbekistan. His security consultancy signed contracts with the government of Bahrain and a Ukrainian-Russian developer. Other work included engagements with governments, groups, individuals and causes in Romania, Iran, Brazil and Venezuela.

Trying to dazzle a woman on a date, he took her to a reception on the rooftop of the Hay Adams Hotel thrown by a lobbyist for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Congolese, who were hoping to get America to back off sanctions, wanted his advice on how to please the Trump administration.

He seemed taken aback when reporters questioned him about his private business clients. “I’m not going to answer any more of your goddamn questions because this is getting to be harassment,” he said in an interview last month.

One of those clients had cost him big dollars.

When he announced that he would be representing Mr. Trump, he said he would be taking a leave of absence from Greenberg Traurig. But his partners, and some of their clients, had had their fill of being associated with Mr. Trump. The firm said Mr. Giuliani was resigning. He said it was a mutual decision.

The loss of the $6 million income came with one consolation. No longer would Mr. Giuliani be subject to a moratorium on his TV appearances, imposed by the firm’s buttoned-down reticence. “The last year and a half, I haven’t been on television,” Mr. Giuliani said in May 2018. “Frankly, I’ve missed it.”

He returned to the airwaves with mesmerizing announcements and claims. Contradicting Mr. Trump, he said the president had indeed reimbursed one of his former lawyers, Michael Cohen, for the hush money paid to a pornographic film actress who said she had had a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. A typical errand for a lawyer, he averred, though many begged to differ.

Mr. Giuliani denounced F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors investigating the president and Mr. Cohen as thugs, storm troopers, bumbling. (Mr. Cohen, now in prison for his role in the hush-money scheme, said the investigators who raided his office had been polite; when he turned against Mr. Trump, he was declared a “scumbag” by Mr. Giuliani.)

Other lawyers on the Trump team were dismayed by his rhetoric, but Mr. Giuliani said it was tactical, regardless of how unhinged it seemed. Once he learned that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, had decided that Justice Department policy forbade the criminal indictment of a sitting president, he said, he viewed impeachment as Mr. Trump’s only risk. That would be a public relations war, not a legal one, he explained, with the battles fought on television — an arena that Mr. Mueller did not contest. During his barrage, public opinion shifted slightly against an impeachment based on the Mueller findings, and Congress showed little appetite for pursuing it. Mr. Giuliani took victory laps.

With scant attention at first, he shifted the theater of combat away from television screens, and into murky Ukraine politics.

Without Mr. Giuliani’s push for money and frank yearning for relevance, the Trump Ukrainian initiative might never have amounted to much more than presidential tweetstorms. Mr. Giuliani compressed the digital gases of the president’s suspicions and wishful theories into what is now the molten core of impeachment.

Nothing shows how few limits Mr. Giuliani observed as plainly as his extended bear-hugs of Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, his friends, clients and fellow emissaries for the president of the United States — the men he brought to his 9/11 dinner at the Maloney & Porcelli steakhouse in Manhattan.

In just about every snapshot from their travels, and there are many, Mr. Giuliani has a big grin on his face when he poses with Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, two Florida men who were trying to hustle up business in Ukraine for an energy company they had just created.

They are simultaneously minor characters in the impeachment saga and very telling ones.

Mr. Giuliani may have been stopped from becoming secretary of state in 2017 by his business entanglements, but as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer in 2019, he created and oversaw the dominant American foreign-policy channel with Ukraine, running the president’s affairs, his clients’ and his own through it.

That brought Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman into the president’s wake, sea gulls following an ocean liner.

When they met Mr. Giuliani last year, Mr. Parnas, born in Ukraine, and Mr. Fruman, a native of Belarus, were on the prowl for influence to help their companies, and over time would plow about $700,000 into political campaigns.

Mr. Fruman also had a business distributing luxury products in Ukraine, including yachts, jewelry, cars and electronics.

Mr. Parnas’s résumé includes work for companies that sold penny stocks in New York, a string of evictions and lawsuits in Florida and a judgment, now approaching $700,000, owed to an investor in a film project. He started a company called Fraud Guarantee, to provide due diligence services for investors. Like other business ventures of his, it was a bust. But it managed to pay $500,000 to Mr. Giuliani, who served as godfather for Mr. Parnas’s newborn son and attended the bris in Boca Raton, Fla.

The three men enjoyed private dinners in Washington, Florida, New York. Trips to Paris, Warsaw, Madrid. At a Yankee game in London, Mr. Giuliani, sporting one of the four diamond-encrusted World Series rings he’d gotten from the team, ushered them onto the field and into the dugout.

Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas, second from left, at the Yankees game in London.

Mr. Giuliani opened doors for them, and they reciprocated at an opportune moment.

Late last year, Mr. Giuliani began to pursue information in Ukraine that he believed might show that the Mueller inquiry was built on a false premise, that it was really Ukrainians who meddled in the election and then framed the Russians for it.

This had long been the claim of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, now serving seven and a half years in federal prison for laundering millions of dollars from the Russia-aligned political party in Ukraine.

Mr. Manafort maintained that he and Mr. Trump were victims of Ukrainian meddling that took two forms: the release of a mysterious slush fund ledger that detailed payments by the Russia-aligned party, including $12.7 million earmarked for Mr. Manafort; and the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers that was blamed on Russia.

“The original investigation came to me from an investigator who had a client who said that the Ukrainians were the ones who did the hacking,” Mr. Giuliani said in April. In addition, he said, he was told that the release of the ledger was a malignant act by Ukrainian forces hostile to Mr. Trump — and that it might be a forgery.

So, he said, he had a duty to Mr. Trump to run it down.

“I think if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t be a good lawyer,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Far more than a lawyer serving a client in a legal matter, though, Mr. Giuliani continued his Ukraine project long after Mr. Trump was clear of any jeopardy from the Mueller investigation, which ended in March.

Pinning the 2016 cyberattacks on Ukraine was a steep hill to climb, as the Senate Intelligence Committee had unequivocally found that they were a Russian operation. Even so, Mr. Giuliani demanded that the country’s new president announce an investigation of it, according to Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union.

Equally difficult would be showing that Mr. Manafort was a victim of a forged paper ledger: Electronic bank records were so overwhelming that he pleaded guilty.

Nevertheless, if blame were seen to have shifted to Ukraine in these episodes, Mr. Giuliani would provide balm for Mr. Trump’s lingering furies that the findings of Russian involvement had tainted his presidency. Debunking the slush-fund ledger could also help build the case for a pardon of Mr. Manafort, Mr. Giuliani said.

Enter Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, guides in Mr. Giuliani’s search for vindication of assorted conspiracy theories.

They connected Mr. Giuliani to a former prosecutor in Ukraine who added another twist to the plot. He claimed that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had forced his removal because Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had been given a lucrative, little-show position by an oligarch who wanted the prosecutor out. Proving this would be yet another steep hill to climb, as the prosecutor’s record was so dismal that his dismissal was also sought by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the G7 and Ukrainians who protested his actions.

Still, Mr. Giuliani’s project expanded from Mr. Manafort to include the vilification of Mr. Biden and yet one more person: the American ambassador in Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch.

The ambassador, an advocate for reforms in the Ukrainian energy sector, testified that she believed Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman saw her as an obstacle to their business plans. Mr. Parnas assured people — prophetically — that she would be removed in short order.

Mr. Giuliani fed claims about the ambassador and Mr. Biden to a writer at The Hill, bundled articles and memos into folders from Trump hotels and sent it all to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a big White House envelope. Though the charges against the ambassador were decried by the State Department as fabrications, they were amplified on Twitter by Donald Trump Jr. She was abruptly ordered home.

Phone records show that Mr. Giuliani was in frequent touch with the White House during this time, including with a regular caller identified only as “-1,” who Congressional investigators suspect may be the president.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman also dangled American favors in front of Petro O. Poroshenko, president of Ukraine at the time, and two exiled Ukrainian oligarchs facing legal problems in the United States. In exchange, the oligarchs and the president were asked for their help in implicating the Bidens in bribery, or Ukraine in 2016 meddling.

In August, Mr. Giuliani met in Madrid with an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian president, and also told Mr. Sondland, the ambassador, that he wanted the Ukrainians to announce investigations. As Mr. Giuliani knew from experience, such an announcement at the right moment can be as lethal as a poison arrow, needing only to break the skin to do its damage.

By fall, as a whistle-blower’s complaint brought the pressure campaign into the light, the foundations of Mr. Giuliani’s work were crumbling. An ally of Mr. Giuliani said he saw no evidence that Vice President Biden or his son had broken Ukrainian law.

Mr. Giuliani himself publicly conceded in a Sept. 29 interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that there was no evidence that Ukraine had hacked the Democratic computers, and said that he had never actively investigated it.

A few days before, he had appeared on CNN.

“Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?” asked Chris Cuomo, the host.

“No,” Mr. Giuliani replied. “I actually didn’t.”

He held that position for 27 seconds. Mr. Cuomo followed up, “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?”

“Of course I did,” Mr. Giuliani replied.

His project to deliver a crushing blow against a Trump opponent, and to establish that Mr. Trump — not the Democrats — had been the victim of foreign interference in the 2016 election, would fade into a toxic fog of impeachment charges.

At the same time, The New York Times reported that contrary to Mr. Giuliani’s claim that he had no business interests in Ukraine, he had negotiated with officials there for up to $500,000 in contracts that would involve the recovery of looted assets.

And during an August trip to Spain, Mr. Giuliani also did business unrelated to Ukraine: He met with a Venezuelan oligarch facing legal troubles from federal prosecutors in Florida, as The Washington Post reported. (One month later, as The Times reported, Mr. Giuliani held a high-level meeting on the man’s case with Justice Department officials in Washington.)

Mr. Giuliani and his two friends got together for lunch on Oct. 9, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the company cafeteria of Trump-world, where hamburgers go for $26 and the least expensive shots of Macallan are $29.

All three were heading to Vienna — Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman that very evening, Mr. Giuliani the next night. One of their sources, the unhappy ex-prosecutor, was going to be interviewed there by Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality.

They probably did not know that this would turn out to be their last get-together, at least for a while.

That evening, as they waited to board their Vienna flight, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested on charges of making illegal campaign contributions — in part, prosecutors charge, to influence the removal of the ambassador.

Few people could have been more astonished at Mr. Parnas’s access to the halls of power and prestige than those who say they were bilked or stiffed by him. A lawyer, Robert J. Hantman, represents a creditor with a judgment against Mr. Parnas.

“It’s unbelievable that these people would be in the White House, or be hanging out with Giuliani,” Mr. Hantman said. “For Giuliani, the president, or anyone who wants to work with him to not have googled him, it’s unreal.”

In a world with few boundaries or limits, it was very real.

Mr. Giuliani was far from a Lone Ranger in the Ukraine pressure campaign. Top figures in the administration knew of it or worked with him. “Everyone was in the loop,” Mr. Sondland testified.

But it was Mr. Giuliani who served as the wrangler of business hustlers, compromised ex-prosecutors, Ukrainian oligarchs and a host of bewildered American diplomats and Ukrainian elected officials who could not entirely fathom how he had come to wield such outsize influence, or to what ends he was wielding it.

And what of his relationship going forward with Mr. Trump, who effortlessly throws people under the bus? In October, the president praised Mr. Sondland on Twitter as a “really good man and great American.” When the ambassador testified last month that he had been acting on the president’s orders in pressuring Ukraine, Mr. Trump said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much.”

After signs of distance between the president and Mr. Giuliani — when the president hesitated about confirming that he was still his personal lawyer, Mr. Giuliani made a “joke” to The Guardian about having “very, very good insurance” — Mr. Trump gushed praise for him on Twitter and on “Fox and Friends.”

Mr. Giuliani said he appreciated the show of support, but added: “I’m not some little schmuck that needs Daddy to protect him.”

The Rudolph W. Giuliani business has been hurt, he said, because potential clients are afraid of being exposed to the endless scrutiny of his affairs.

His need for money shows no sign of ebbing. In addition to his domestic cash burdens, Mr. Giuliani is now said to be under investigation by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. He has hired a team of lawyers to represent him. Legal fees could approach seven figures.

Reports indicate that the prosecutors are looking at his compliance with restrictions on lobbying. “I don’t do lobbying, goddamn it,” Mr. Giuliani said, scoffing at the possibility of criminal charges. Although he negotiated with Ukrainian officials about representing them, and carried their messages to American officials and journalists, they ultimately did not come to any agreement, he said.

“I represented the president of the United States,” Mr. Giuliani said. “It is totally ridiculous to say that I was representing anyone else.”

Anthony Carbonetti, a City Hall aide to Mr. Giuliani and a longtime friend, said he worried that what he saw as Mr. Giuliani’s groundbreaking years as New York mayor would be forgotten behind the sky-filling spectacle of Mr. Trump.

“The fact that this is what he’ll be known for is painful,” Mr. Carbonetti said. “His public persona has been dominated by his representation of the president for the last two years, so that has become the public perception of him. I don’t think anyone goes back in time.”

Whatever his friends’ misgivings, Mr. Giuliani remains sure as ever that he is in the right.

His mission, he maintained, uncovered “one of our more major scandals.” Evidence against the Bidens is in his safe, he wrote on Twitter, adding, “If I disappear, it will appear immediately.”

Just last week, The Times reported, he returned to Ukraine to create television programs for a conservative network that he believes will show that he is right and House Democrats are wrong. Mr. Trump said on Saturday that Mr. Giuliani wanted to tell Congress what he had found.

So far, Mr. Giuliani has declined to testify, and described the impeachment hearings on Twitter as an “attempted coup takedown.”

The story, then, is being left to the people who survived being buried alive by Mr. Giuliani, including the cashiered Ambassador Yovanovitch.

“How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government?” she asked in her testimony.

The face Mr. Giuliani sees in the mirror, he has always said, is of a man compelled by his idealism to purify government. “I get completely disgusted when I see public corruption,” he said.

Anyone who sees something else in him is mistaken, he said.

“I really try very hard to be super-ethical and always legal,” Mr. Giuliani said. “If it seems I’m not — it’s wrong, and I can explain it.”

As for how he will be viewed in the future, he has, at times, professed indifference. But in an interview with The Atlantic, Mr. Giuliani predicted that he would emerge from all the investigations wreathed in glory, an indispensable man who served the country against the odds.

“These morons,” Mr. Giuliani said. “When this is over, I will be the hero.”

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With White House Absent, Impeachment Devolves Into Partisan Brawl

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo-v2 With White House Absent, Impeachment Devolves Into Partisan Brawl United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — Almost from the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants decided this fall to pursue the impeachment of President Trump, they made a fateful judgment: If the president intended to do nothing but stonewall and subvert their inquiry, they were not going to be the ones politely sticking to lofty traditions.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have made a similarly cold calculation. After a year of defying without consequence Congress’s attempts to investigate the president’s conduct, they have no intention of taking part in what they view as an illegitimate impeachment, initially conducted without a formal House vote in a break with recent precedent.

The clash comes to a head on Monday with a hearing in the Judiciary Committee where Democratic lawyers plan to present the case for impeaching Mr. Trump while the White House sits out the process. That will set in motion a rapid-fire set of actions likely to produce official charges against the president by week’s end and a nearly party-line vote in the full House before Christmas to impeach him.

It is an indication of how, in a deeply polarized nation where party rules above all else, a process enshrined in the Constitution as the most consequential way to address a president’s wrongdoing has devolved into another raucous partisan brawl.

“That is a tragedy,” said Philip Bobbitt, a Columbia University law professor and a leading expert on the history of impeachment. The framers of the Constitution were careful to design a process for removing a president from office that they hoped would rise above the nation’s petty political squabbles, he said.

“They did everything possible to prevent that from happening, and we are plunging headlong into it,” Mr. Bobbitt said.

Determined not to let Mr. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress derail their efforts with legal delays or time-consuming diversions, Democrats have decided it is not worth waiting for cooperation they are all but certain not to receive as they press forward to charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors.

Democrats argue that they have gone out of their way to treat Mr. Trump fairly but been refused at every turn. As recently as last week, lawyers for the Judiciary Committee privately called the White House counsel’s office, urging the president’s legal team to participate in their hearings and seeking to arrange the logistics, according to Democratic officials familiar with the calls.

Lawmakers are set to begin debating articles of impeachment this week — with House Judiciary Committee members bracing for the possibility of late-night sessions in an office building near the Capitol — as they race to complete a streamlined proceeding based on their conclusion that Mr. Trump abused his power by trying to solicit help from Ukraine in the 2020 re-election.

Upset by the rapid pace of the inquiry and frustrated by Democratic rules he says are unfair — including the lack of subpoena power for the White House — Mr. Trump is simply refusing to engage. In a significant departure from previous impeachments, Mr. Trump’s lawyer signaled in a letter on Friday that the president would not take part in the House proceedings.

While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office.

That proceeding, however, is also full of unknowns. At a meeting with senior White House officials and senators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House almost three weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, made clear that there are not enough Senate votes to approve some of the edgier witnesses that Democrats and Republicans want to call. While he mentioned no names, it was interpreted by those in the room to refer to people like Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, whom Mr. Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate.

In the House, though, the president is eager to see Republicans and his lawyers mount a robust assault on what he calls a “hoax” and a “scam” led by “crazy” and “dishonest” Democrats.

“What they are doing here is discrediting a system,” Mr. Bobbitt said of the White House impeachment strategy. “If the system is discredited, it cannot discredit me. It is brilliant in its way, but totally cynical and completely destructive of our values.”

Politics have always been a powerful factor in presidential impeachment inquiries, which have roiled the nation twice in the last 50 years.

But impeachment has occupied a special place in the American consciousness. Veterans of the process said there had been an understanding, even amid bouts of intense political combat, that both sides had an obligation to the Constitution that should be honored, regardless of partisan affiliation.

“No one was looking at the other side with the kind of contempt that both sides look at each other now,” said Julian Epstein, who served as the chief Democratic counsel to the House Judiciary Committee when Republicans tried to force Mr. Clinton from office.

Mr. Epstein fought fiercely to defend Mr. Clinton, but also worked closely on the process with his adversaries, including Paul J. McNulty, the chief counsel and spokesman for the committee Republicans. Mr. McNulty, now a college president, said the fight over impeachment had gone from “partisan but constructive” in 1998 to “partisan and destructive” now.

Both men said the biggest risk was that the process would get so damaged, and the personal attacks so severe, that impeachment would be seen in the future as just another partisan weapon to be deployed against every president.

“It becomes a quadrennial tool of political combat,” Mr. Epstein lamented, comparing the future of impeachment to the series of English civil wars for control of the throne in the 15th century. “Each side will try to find something on the other, and it will never end. It’s like a ‘War of the Roses’ that goes on forever.”

The dynamic was different in the summer of 1974, when a bipartisan majority of lawmakers in the House prepared to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for the Watergate burglary and its cover-up. Mr. Nixon resigned before the vote, but there was broad consensus in the House, and in the country, about what needed to happen. By the time Mr. Nixon left, just 24 percent of the country approved of the job he was doing.

Twenty-four years later, as lawmakers grappled with whether to impeach Mr. Clinton, the rancor in Washington had deepened. Led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republicans seized on impeachment to bludgeon the popular Democratic president. Democrats accused Ken Starr, the independent counsel, of a witch hunt and insisted that the president’s decision to lie about his affair with an intern was not impeachable.

But partisanship — however raw and ugly — had not yet entirely consumed the process. There were Democrats who parted ways with Mr. Clinton and supported that inquiry. By contrast, when the House voted this October to lay out rules for Mr. Trump’s impeachment inquiry, not a single Republican supported it.

“While we never thought that the Democrats would support impeaching Clinton, we bent over backward to be procedurally fair,” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the Judiciary Committee, who was one of the impeachment managers presenting the case against Mr. Clinton in the Senate in 1999. “That’s not happening this time.”

Democrats are unapologetic, vowing not to relent in their march toward impeachment and dismissing Republicans’ complaints about fairness as hypocritical, given that Mr. Trump has blocked witnesses and documents at every turn.

“You have to give them credit for nerve, if nothing else,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats leading the inquiry note that they have repeatedly invited Mr. Trump to produce exculpatory evidence or present a defense, and he has done neither. Republicans, they argue, are trying to pervert the concept of fairness to disrupt and delay the inquiry, not to meaningfully participate in the process.

The speaker could walk on water to be fair, and Republicans would still “criticize her for not being able to swim,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus and an ally of Ms. Pelosi.

Angry that no one is defending his actions the way he believes they should, Mr. Trump periodically asks aides whether he should send witnesses to comply with congressional subpoenas. But that impulse then fades, as the president becomes convinced that such a move would not end the inquiry.

Mr. Trump and his close circle of advisers are convinced that the Ukraine inquiry is merely an extension of the investigation into Russian election meddling and the continuation of a three-year assault on his presidency that began the day he was inaugurated with the launch of an activist’s website, ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org.

His response has been an all-out attack on the process itself. He has ordered administration officials not to testify or hand over documents. And he is urging Republicans not to cooperate with their counterparts the way they did during Mr. Clinton’s impeachment.

Mr. McNulty said that dynamic had the potential to damage the nation’s politics for years, and could permanently alter the intent of the authors of the Constitution.

“It’s going to break everything in half,” Mr. McNulty said. “My hope would be, as a citizen, that when this is over, somehow, some way, we could stop and think about what impeachment was meant to be for.”

Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Barr Dives Into the Culture Wars, and Social Conservatives Rejoice

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-barr-1-facebookJumbo Barr Dives Into the Culture Wars, and Social Conservatives Rejoice United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Republican Party Legal Profession Justice Department Freedom of Religion Conservatism (US Politics) Christians and Christianity Barr, William P Attorneys General

WASHINGTON — When President Trump nominated William P. Barr as attorney general a year ago, establishment Republicans who had chafed at Mr. Trump’s takeover of their party were relieved. Between Mr. Barr’s work in the Reagan White House and his fast-track career under George Bush, he could be a bridge to the Republican Party they knew — and preferred.

How wrong they were.

Mr. Barr has eagerly embraced the most divisive and disputed aspects of the Trump agenda, much to the delight of the party’s hard-line conservatives who see him as an indispensable ally in their fight to push the country further to the right on issues like religious liberty, immigration and policing.

Other conservative attorneys general shared Mr. Barr’s relish for political battle. But as he attacks the Democratic Party, assails liberal culture and defends the president against accusations of abusing his office, Mr. Barr has wielded a maximalist view of executive power and adopted a blithely antagonistic, no-apologies style that set him apart from his predecessors.

That makes him a natural fit in a Republican Party that Mr. Trump has remade in his mold. But it worries critics in both parties who fear that Mr. Barr is eroding the Justice Department’s traditional independence in law enforcement. They point to his handling of the Mueller report, which he summarized in a letter widely seen as more favorable to Mr. Trump, and his appointment of a prosecutor to re-examine the opening of the Russia investigation, which Mr. Trump has long impugned.

To the conservatives who make up the most solid foundation of the president’s base — a wing of the Republican Party that is generally more uncompromising on social issues and enthusiastic about political combat with the left — Mr. Barr is the template of the public servant they envisioned when Mr. Trump promised to give them greater influence in his administration.

He is a devoted Catholic who has said he believes the nation needs a “moral renaissance” to restore Judeo-Christian values in American life. He has been unafraid to use his platform as the nation’s top law enforcement officer to fight the cultural changes they believe are making the country more inhospitable and unrecognizable, like rising immigration and secularism or new legal protections for L.G.B.T. people.

“Attorney General Barr represents an important conservative point of view that is really the heart of the Trump presidency,” said Frank Cannon, the president of the American Principles Project, a social conservative organization.

A series of assertive public appearances in recent weeks, laced with biting sarcasm aimed at adversaries on the left, have brought a sharper focus on Mr. Barr’s style and worldview, both of which share aspects with the president’s.

He has painted a picture of a country divided into camps of “secularists” — those who, he said recently, “seem to take a delight in compelling people to violate their conscience” — and people of faith. The depiction echoes Mr. Trump’s worldview, with the “us versus them” divisions that the president often stokes when he tells crowds at his rallies that Democrats “don’t like you.”

His politicization of the office is unorthodox and a departure from previous attorneys general in a way that feels uncomfortably close to authoritarianism, critics said.

“Barr has believed for a long time that the country would benefit from more authoritarianism. It would inject a stronger moral note into government,” said Stuart M. Gerson, who worked in the Bush Justice Department under Mr. Barr and is a member of Checks & Balances, a legal group that is among the attorney general’s leading conservative detractors. “I disagree with his analysis of power. We would be less free in the end.”

Mr. Barr swats away those critics. “Generally, no one really cares what they think,” he said of Checks & Balances in a recent interview with New York magazine. An accompanying picture showed him grinning ear to ear with his feet propped up on his desk.

That defiance is one reason he has attained an almost heroic status among some on the right, particularly the religious conservatives.

“He’s offering a fairly unabashed, crisp and candid assessment of the nature of our culture right now,” said Leonard A. Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society and a prominent advocate for socially conservative causes. “There’s certainly a movement in our country to dial back the role that religion plays in civil society and public life. It’s been going on for some time,” Mr. Leo added. “That’s not an observation that public officials make very often, so it is refreshing.”

Mr. Barr helped make the case for conservatives to shift to war footing against the left during a speech at Notre Dame Law School in October that was strikingly partisan. He accused “the forces of secularism” of orchestrating the “organized destruction” of religion. He mocked progressives, asking sardonically, “But where is the progress?”

And while other members of the Catholic Church and Pope Francis have acknowledged that the sexual abuse crisis has devastated the moral authority of the church in the United States and is in part to blame for decreasing attendance, Mr. Barr outlined what he saw as a larger plot by the left and others. He said they “have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

At one point, he compared the denial of religious liberty protections for people of faith to Roman emperors who forced their Christian subjects to engage in pagan sacrifices. “We cannot sit back and just hope the pendulum is going to swing back toward sanity,” Mr. Barr warned.

Delivered on a Friday before a holiday weekend to a small, invitation-only crowd, the speech initially drew little attention in mainstream circles. But among politically active Christians, Mr. Barr’s remarks lit a brush fire.

At a dinner with anti-abortion activists shortly after the speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told guests how striking and clarifying he found Mr. Barr’s comments, according to two people who spoke with him.

It was “one of the best speeches any attorney general has ever given,” said Edwin Meese III, the attorney general under Ronald Reagan, who said that he not only liked Mr. Barr’s style but also agreed with his diagnosis of the problems facing the country. Today’s culture, Mr. Meese said, is more hostile than it was for conservative values when he was attorney general in the 1980s. And Mr. Barr is giving voice to those on the right who believe they cannot cede any more ground in the culture wars.

“If you look back in history, there have been various points of renewal,” Mr. Meese added. “And I think his concern, which I would share, is we’re facing a time when the pendulum is not going to swing back.”

Mr. Barr, who personally covers tuition for underprivileged New York City students who wish to attend Catholic school, has prioritized Justice Department cases involving religious institutions. In October, the department filed a brief in support of parents suing over a Maine law that bans religious schools from the state’s school tuition program. It has also argued recently that the Maryland State Education Department discriminated against a Christian academy that said same-sex marriage was wrong.

For the better part of three decades, Mr. Barr has been known in conservative legal circles as a sharp, tight-lipped lawyer who embodied the Reagan and Bush eras. “A fair number of people who were more or less conservative said publicly that it was good that he was coming in because he was a real lawyer who would bring respectability to this administration,” said Donald Ayer, who served in the Justice Department under Reagan and Mr. Bush.

But his longstanding relationships with Trump allies like Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel who is a founder of the National Prayer Breakfast and takes part in the anti-abortion March for Life, and Laura Ingraham, the Fox News host whom Mr. Cipollone introduced to Catholicism, suggest that he was always at ease in the world of social conservatives who have lined up behind Mr. Trump to take on liberals.

In a speech on executive power delivered at a Federalist Society conference last month, Mr. Barr argued that the left’s opposition to the president was a dangerous attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and weaken the power of the presidency.

Delivering such a speech amid impeachment proceedings was unusual. During the Clinton impeachment, Janet Reno, then the attorney general, did not castigate Republicans and defend the president’s behavior as Mr. Barr has with Mr. Trump.

“Barr’s language against the ‘left’ and against ‘progressives’ was not something we’d normally hear in a speech by the attorney general,” said Carrie F. Cordero, a national security expert and a co-founder of Checks & Balances who served as a top legal adviser to the director of national intelligence and in the Justice Department.

“It’s embedded in department culture to set those partisan views aside when doing your work and applying the law,” Ms. Cordero said.

Defenders say Mr. Barr feels emboldened to criticize Democrats because he believes they crossed a line during his confirmation hearings when they accused him of being blindly deferential to Mr. Trump. The same general sentiment is one shared by the president, who also believes he is the victim of unfair attacks from the left.

“Their critics went too far too fast,” said Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor who first met Mr. Barr years ago through Ms. Ingraham. “And you reap what you sow.”

Mr. Barr and Mr. Trump have both staked out far-right positions on issues like aggressive policing, with the attorney general serving as the polished ego to the president’s unbridled id.

Last week, for instance, Mr. Barr said that communities who criticized policing needed to show more respect or they “may find themselves without the police protection they need.”

Both conservative supporters and critics of Mr. Barr insist that he is not doing the president’s bidding, as many on the left suggest. Rather, they say, he is empowered by Mr. Trump, who has not interfered with an attorney general who provides him the legal justification for his instinct-driven approach to the presidency. That leaves room for Mr. Barr to carry out Mr. Trump’s agenda through the prism of his own sweeping views of executive power.

“Barr has an opportunity to test legal theories that no other president would give Barr the opportunity to test,” Mr. Ayer said.

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Trump Cripples W.T.O. as Trade War Rages

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158492361_342fe44e-b0de-4db3-b9b1-e8ff8997a154-facebookJumbo Trump Cripples W.T.O. as Trade War Rages World Trade Organization United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market

WASHINGTON — The United States has spent two years chipping away at the World Trade Organization, criticizing it as unfair, starving it of personnel and disregarding its authority, as President Trump seeks to upend the global trade system.

This week, the Trump administration is expected to go one step further and effectively destroy the organization’s system for enforcing its rules — even as Mr. Trump’s widening trade war has thrown global commerce into disarray and another tariff increase on Chinese goods set for next weekend could send markets reeling.

Over the past two years, Washington has blocked the W.T.O. from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears appeals in trade disputes. Only three members are left on the seven-member body, the minimum needed to hear a case, and two members’ terms expire on Tuesday. With the administration blocking any new replacements, there will be no official resolution for many international trade disputes.

The loss of the world’s primary trade referee could turn the typically deliberate process of resolving international disputes into a free-for-all, paving the way for an outbreak of tit-for-tat tariff wars.

It could also signal the end of the 24-year-old World Trade Organization itself, since the system for settling disputes has long been its most effective part.

“The W.T.O. is facing its deepest crisis since its creation,” Phil Hogan, the European trade commissioner, told members of the European Parliament this year. If the rules governing international trade can no longer be enforced, “we’d have the law of the jungle.”

Mr. Trump has already embraced that scenario, wielding America’s economic power to press for better trade terms. He has sidestepped W.T.O. rules by imposing metal tariffs on allies like Canada, Europe and Japan, and by adding punishing levies to Chinese goods, prompting appeals to the global body for relief.

The president and his top advisers have long viewed the W.T.O. as an impediment to Mr. Trump’s promise to put “America First.” They say the organization, which insists that all of its members receive equal treatment, has prevented the United States from protecting its workers and exerting its influence as the world’s most powerful economy. They have also criticized the W.T.O. for emboldening China — whose economy boomed after it became a member in 2001 — while doing little to curb Beijing’s unfair trade practices.

His advisers point to the W.T.O.’s inability to confront China as a reason for Mr. Trump’s trade war with Beijing.

“It’s absolutely critical that the United States has the ability to make its own trade policy,” said Stephen P. Vaughn, a partner at King & Spalding, who left a high-level post at the Office of the United States Trade Representative in May. “This ability becomes even more important given the challenges that we now face from China.”

The World Trade Organization was founded by American and European officials more than two decades ago as a way to open global markets, regulate commerce and promote peace and stability. One of its chief responsibilities was to write trade agreements among its members, and provide an orderly way to settle disputes.

But the W.T.O. almost immediately fell short when it came to writing trade pacts, as it found it nearly impossible to achieve consensus between disparate members like the United States, China, Afghanistan and India.

China’s entry into the organization — 18 years ago this week, on Dec. 11, 2001 — put further stress on the system. The addition of China’s more than one billion people to the global marketplace created a huge opportunity for companies, and a shock for workers in the United States and elsewhere who were forced to compete.

The W.T.O.’s rules were not written with an economy like China’s in mind, and critics say the organization has failed to adequately police Beijing for using a mix of private enterprise and state support to dominate global industries.

The Trump administration has criticized the body’s decision to allow China to claim a special status for developing countries given that it is now the world’s second largest economy. And it has condemned the W.T.O. for doing little to stop China from subsidizing its products — instead cracking down on American measures that are meant to block those cheap goods at the border.

While the W.T.O.’s ability to facilitate trade negotiations was largely paralyzed, its other arm, which settles trade disputes, has been much more active, reviewing dozens of cases a year.

Unlike other international organizations, whose rules have no way of being enforced, the W.T.O. may dole out punishments along with its verdicts. When one country is found to have suffered from another’s trade practices, the W.T.O. may allow the aggrieved country to recoup losses through retaliatory tariffs.

The United States has long won the majority of cases it brings to the W.T.O., though Mr. Trump incorrectly argues to the contrary. In October, the W.T.O. gave the United States permission to add tariffs on up to $7.5 billion of European products annually, after deciding that Europe had illegally subsidized its largest plane maker, Airbus.

“We never won with the W.T.O., or essentially never won,” Mr. Trump said Oct. 16 as he met with the Italian president. “And now we’re winning a lot. We’re winning a lot because they know if we’re not treated fairly, we’re leaving.”

But the United States has also lost cases, and the Trump administration is facing numerous challenges to the president’s aggressive use of tariffs to punish trading partners. Japan, Canada, China, the European Union and other governments are relying on the system to determine whether Mr. Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum violated global trade rules. However, many of those governments — including the European Union, Mexico and Canada — have not waited for a ruling before imposing retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

Supporters have credited the dispute settlement system with bringing the rule of law to an international trading system that formerly allowed strong countries to dominate weak ones.

But critics say the system exerts too much control, especially at the final stage when the seven-member appellate body makes a binding determination. American officials, including in the Obama administration, have accused the appellate body of judicial activism, saying it is overstepping its authority in creating new rules.

Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, has argued that the body’s decisions constrain America’s ability to protect its workers and has insisted it be overhauled. In March, he told lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee that the W.T.O. had migrated “from a negotiation forum to a litigation forum,” a transformation that had stifled new trade agreements and undermined some countries’ commitment to the organization.

Over the past two years, Mr. Lighthizer has overseen a targeted offensive against the appellate body, in what he says is a push for change. The United States has blocked the appointment of new appellate body members, which requires the consensus of all governments.

Officials in other countries share some of America’s concerns, particularly related to China, but they disagree with the Trump administration’s methods. They argue the United States and other countries should fix the problems and strengthen the global trading system, not abandon it.

The prospective weakening of global trade rules has worried smaller and poorer nations, who may find themselves at the mercy of the United States. It has also rankled the European Union, a strong believer in the multilateral system whose economy is heavily dependent on trade.

“They are not perfect, because they were born in a certain context, but they’ve served us well,” Cecilia Malmstrom, the former European Union trade commissioner, said of the global trading rules in an interview in September. “And if they’re not perfect, let’s work to improve them. Let’s not just abolish them.”

Trump administration officials say proposals to overhaul the W.T.O. have fallen short of what is needed. Dennis Shea, the American representative to the World Trade Organization, said last week that the United States had engaged constructively, but had “have yet to see the same level of engagement” from other countries.

W.T.O. members have been discussing ways to deal with the appellate body’s disappearance, like setting up their own informal appeal process, regardless of the verdict. Many are hopeful that the body can be restored once the Trump administration leaves office, whether that is in 2021 or 2025.

Roberto Azevêdo, the W.T.O. director-general, said last week that the suspension of appeals was a serious challenge but that it did “not mean the end of the multilateral trading system.”

But Ujal Singh Bhatia, one of the appellate body members whose term ends Tuesday, said that by making the dispute settlement system potentially non-functional, the United States’ moves had cast doubts on the effectiveness of the organization over all.

“Why would people come to the W.T.O. to negotiate rules if they are not sure the rules can be enforced?” Mr. Bhatia asked.

Jack Ewing contributed reporting from Frankfurt.

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Deepening Divide Turns Impeachment Into Another Partisan Brawl

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo-v2 Deepening Divide Turns Impeachment Into Another Partisan Brawl United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — Almost from the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants decided this fall to pursue the impeachment of President Trump, they made a fateful judgment: If the president intended to do nothing but stonewall and subvert their inquiry, they were not going to be the ones politely sticking to lofty traditions.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have made a similarly cold calculation. After a year of defying without consequence Congress’s attempts to investigate the president’s conduct, they have no intention of taking part in what they view as an illegitimate impeachment, initially conducted without a formal House vote in a break with recent precedent.

The clash comes to a head on Monday with a hearing in the Judiciary Committee where Democratic lawyers plan to present the case for impeaching Mr. Trump while the White House sits out the process. That will set in motion a rapid-fire set of actions likely to produce official charges against the president by week’s end and a nearly party-line vote in the full House before Christmas to impeach him.

It is an indication of how, in a deeply polarized nation where party rules above all else, a process enshrined in the Constitution as the most consequential way to address a president’s wrongdoing has devolved into another raucous partisan brawl.

“That is a tragedy,” said Philip Bobbitt, a Columbia University law professor and a leading expert on the history of impeachment. The framers of the Constitution were careful to design a process for removing a president from office that they hoped would rise above the nation’s petty political squabbles, he said.

“They did everything possible to prevent that from happening, and we are plunging headlong into it,” Mr. Bobbitt said.

Determined not to let Mr. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress derail their efforts with legal delays or time-consuming diversions, Democrats have abandoned all but a semblance of comity as they press forward quickly to charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors.

They are set to begin debating articles of impeachment this week — with House Judiciary Committee members bracing for the possibility of late-night sessions in an office building near the Capitol — as they race to complete a streamlined proceeding based on their conclusion that Mr. Trump abused his power by trying to solicit help from Ukraine in the 2020 re-election.

Upset by the rapid pace of the inquiry and frustrated by Democratic rules he says are unfair — including the lack of subpoena power for the White House — Mr. Trump is simply refusing to engage. In a significant departure from previous impeachments, Mr. Trump’s lawyer signaled in a letter on Friday that the president would not take part in the House proceedings.

While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office.

That proceeding, however, is also full of unknowns. At a meeting with senior White House officials and senators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House almost three weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, made clear that there are not enough Senate votes to approve some of the edgier witnesses that Democrats and Republicans want to call. While he mentioned no names, it was interpreted by those in the room to refer to people like Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, whom Mr. Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate.

In the House, though, the president is eager to see Republicans and his lawyers mount a robust assault on what he calls a “hoax” and a “scam” led by “crazy” and “dishonest” Democrats.

“What they are doing here is discrediting a system,” Mr. Bobbitt said of the White House impeachment strategy. “If the system is discredited, it cannot discredit me. It is brilliant in its way, but totally cynical and completely destructive of our values.”

Politics have always been a powerful factor in presidential impeachment inquiries, which have roiled the nation twice in the last 50 years.

But impeachment has occupied a special place in the American consciousness. Veterans of the process said there had been an understanding, even amid bouts of intense political combat, that both sides had an obligation to the Constitution that should be honored, regardless of partisan affiliation.

“No one was looking at the other side with the kind of contempt that both sides look at each other now,” said Julian Epstein, who served as the chief Democratic counsel to the House Judiciary Committee when Republicans tried to force Mr. Clinton from office.

Mr. Epstein fought fiercely to defend Mr. Clinton, but also worked closely on the process with his adversaries, including Paul J. McNulty, the chief counsel and spokesman for the committee Republicans. Mr. McNulty, now a college president, said the fight over impeachment had gone from “partisan but constructive” in 1998 to “partisan and destructive” now.

Both men said the biggest risk was that the process would get so damaged, and the personal attacks so severe, that impeachment would be seen in the future as just another partisan weapon to be deployed against every president.

“It becomes a quadrennial tool of political combat,” Mr. Epstein lamented, comparing the future of impeachment to the series of English civil wars for control of the throne in the 15th century. “Each side will try to find something on the other, and it will never end. It’s like a ‘War of the Roses’ that goes on forever.”

The dynamic was different in the summer of 1974, when a bipartisan majority of lawmakers in the House prepared to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for the Watergate burglary and its cover-up. Mr. Nixon resigned before the vote, but there was broad consensus in the House, and in the country, about what needed to happen. By the time Mr. Nixon left, just 24 percent of the country approved of the job he was doing.

Twenty-four years later, as lawmakers grappled with whether to impeach Mr. Clinton, the rancor in Washington had deepened. Led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republicans seized on impeachment to bludgeon the popular Democratic president. Democrats accused Ken Starr, the independent counsel, of a witch hunt and insisted that the president’s decision to lie about his affair with an intern was not impeachable.

But partisanship — however raw and ugly — had not yet entirely consumed the process. There were Democrats who parted ways with Mr. Clinton and supported that inquiry. By contrast, when the House voted this October to lay out rules for Mr. Trump’s impeachment inquiry, not a single Republican supported it.

“While we never thought that the Democrats would support impeaching Clinton, we bent over backward to be procedurally fair,” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the Judiciary Committee, who was one of the impeachment managers presenting the case against Mr. Clinton in the Senate in 1999. “That’s not happening this time.”

Democrats are unapologetic, vowing not to relent in their march toward impeachment and dismissing Republicans’ complaints about fairness as hypocritical, given that Mr. Trump has blocked witnesses and documents at every turn.

“You have to give them credit for nerve, if nothing else,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats leading the inquiry note that they have repeatedly invited Mr. Trump to produce exculpatory evidence or present a defense, and he has done neither. Republicans, they argue, are trying to pervert the concept of fairness to disrupt and delay the inquiry, not to meaningfully participate in the process.

The speaker could walk on water to be fair, and Republicans would still “criticize her for not being able to swim,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus and an ally of Ms. Pelosi.

Angry that no one is defending his actions the way he believes they should, Mr. Trump periodically asks aides whether he should send witnesses to comply with congressional subpoenas. But that impulse then fades, as the president becomes convinced that such a move would not end the inquiry.

Mr. Trump and his close circle of advisers are convinced that the Ukraine inquiry is merely an extension of the investigation into Russian election meddling and the continuation of a three-year assault on his presidency that began the day he was inaugurated with the launch of an activist’s website, ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org.

His response has been an all-out attack on the process itself. He has ordered administration officials not to testify or hand over documents. And he is urging Republicans not to cooperate with their counterparts the way they did during Mr. Clinton’s impeachment.

Mr. McNulty said that dynamic had the potential to damage the nation’s politics for years, and could permanently alter the intent of the authors of the Constitution.

“It’s going to break everything in half,” Mr. McNulty said. “My hope would be, as a citizen, that when this is over, somehow, some way, we could stop and think about what impeachment was meant to be for.”

Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Deepening Divide Turns Impeachment Into Another Partisan Brawl

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo-v2 Deepening Divide Turns Impeachment Into Another Partisan Brawl United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — Almost from the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants decided this fall to pursue the impeachment of President Trump, they made a fateful judgment: If the president intended to do nothing but stonewall and subvert their inquiry, they were not going to be the ones politely sticking to lofty traditions.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers have made a similarly cold calculation. After a year of defying without consequence Congress’s attempts to investigate the president’s conduct, they have no intention of taking part in what they view as an illegitimate impeachment, initially conducted without a formal House vote in a break with recent precedent.

The clash comes to a head on Monday with a hearing in the Judiciary Committee where Democratic lawyers plan to present the case for impeaching Mr. Trump while the White House sits out the process. That will set in motion a rapid-fire set of actions likely to produce official charges against the president by week’s end and a nearly party-line vote in the full House before Christmas to impeach him.

It is an indication of how, in a deeply polarized nation where party rules above all else, a process enshrined in the Constitution as the most consequential way to address a president’s wrongdoing has devolved into another raucous partisan brawl.

“That is a tragedy,” said Philip Bobbitt, a Columbia University law professor and a leading expert on the history of impeachment. The framers of the Constitution were careful to design a process for removing a president from office that they hoped would rise above the nation’s petty political squabbles, he said.

“They did everything possible to prevent that from happening, and we are plunging headlong into it,” Mr. Bobbitt said.

Determined not to let Mr. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress derail their efforts with legal delays or time-consuming diversions, Democrats have abandoned all but a semblance of comity as they press forward quickly to charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors.

They are set to begin debating articles of impeachment this week — with House Judiciary Committee members bracing for the possibility of late-night sessions in an office building near the Capitol — as they race to complete a streamlined proceeding based on their conclusion that Mr. Trump abused his power by trying to solicit help from Ukraine in the 2020 re-election.

Upset by the rapid pace of the inquiry and frustrated by Democratic rules he says are unfair — including the lack of subpoena power for the White House — Mr. Trump is simply refusing to engage. In a significant departure from previous impeachments, Mr. Trump’s lawyer signaled in a letter on Friday that the president would not take part in the House proceedings.

While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office.

That proceeding, however, is also full of unknowns. At a meeting with senior White House officials and senators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House almost three weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, made clear that there are not enough Senate votes to approve some of the edgier witnesses that Democrats and Republicans want to call. While he mentioned no names, it was interpreted by those in the room to refer to people like Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, whom Mr. Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate.

In the House, though, the president is eager to see Republicans and his lawyers mount a robust assault on what he calls a “hoax” and a “scam” led by “crazy” and “dishonest” Democrats.

“What they are doing here is discrediting a system,” Mr. Bobbitt said of the White House impeachment strategy. “If the system is discredited, it cannot discredit me. It is brilliant in its way, but totally cynical and completely destructive of our values.”

Politics have always been a powerful factor in presidential impeachment inquiries, which have roiled the nation twice in the last 50 years.

But impeachment has occupied a special place in the American consciousness. Veterans of the process said there had been an understanding, even amid bouts of intense political combat, that both sides had an obligation to the Constitution that should be honored, regardless of partisan affiliation.

“No one was looking at the other side with the kind of contempt that both sides look at each other now,” said Julian Epstein, who served as the chief Democratic counsel to the House Judiciary Committee when Republicans tried to force Mr. Clinton from office.

Mr. Epstein fought fiercely to defend Mr. Clinton, but also worked closely on the process with his adversaries, including Paul J. McNulty, the chief counsel and spokesman for the committee Republicans. Mr. McNulty, now a college president, said the fight over impeachment had gone from “partisan but constructive” in 1998 to “partisan and destructive” now.

Both men said the biggest risk was that the process would get so damaged, and the personal attacks so severe, that impeachment would be seen in the future as just another partisan weapon to be deployed against every president.

“It becomes a quadrennial tool of political combat,” Mr. Epstein lamented, comparing the future of impeachment to the series of English civil wars for control of the throne in the 15th century. “Each side will try to find something on the other, and it will never end. It’s like a ‘War of the Roses’ that goes on forever.”

The dynamic was different in the summer of 1974, when a bipartisan majority of lawmakers in the House prepared to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for the Watergate burglary and its cover-up. Mr. Nixon resigned before the vote, but there was broad consensus in the House, and in the country, about what needed to happen. By the time Mr. Nixon left, just 24 percent of the country approved of the job he was doing.

Twenty-four years later, as lawmakers grappled with whether to impeach Mr. Clinton, the rancor in Washington had deepened. Led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republicans seized on impeachment to bludgeon the popular Democratic president. Democrats accused Ken Starr, the independent counsel, of a witch hunt and insisted that the president’s decision to lie about his affair with an intern was not impeachable.

But partisanship — however raw and ugly — had not yet entirely consumed the process. There were Democrats who parted ways with Mr. Clinton and supported that inquiry. By contrast, when the House voted this October to lay out rules for Mr. Trump’s impeachment inquiry, not a single Republican supported it.

“While we never thought that the Democrats would support impeaching Clinton, we bent over backward to be procedurally fair,” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the Judiciary Committee, who was one of the impeachment managers presenting the case against Mr. Clinton in the Senate in 1999. “That’s not happening this time.”

Democrats are unapologetic, vowing not to relent in their march toward impeachment and dismissing Republicans’ complaints about fairness as hypocritical, given that Mr. Trump has blocked witnesses and documents at every turn.

“You have to give them credit for nerve, if nothing else,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats leading the inquiry note that they have repeatedly invited Mr. Trump to produce exculpatory evidence or present a defense, and he has done neither. Republicans, they argue, are trying to pervert the concept of fairness to disrupt and delay the inquiry, not to meaningfully participate in the process.

The speaker could walk on water to be fair, and Republicans would still “criticize her for not being able to swim,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus and an ally of Ms. Pelosi.

Angry that no one is defending his actions the way he believes they should, Mr. Trump periodically asks aides whether he should send witnesses to comply with congressional subpoenas. But that impulse then fades, as the president becomes convinced that such a move would not end the inquiry.

Mr. Trump and his close circle of advisers are convinced that the Ukraine inquiry is merely an extension of the investigation into Russian election meddling and the continuation of a three-year assault on his presidency that began the day he was inaugurated with the launch of an activist’s website, ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org.

His response has been an all-out attack on the process itself. He has ordered administration officials not to testify or hand over documents. And he is urging Republicans not to cooperate with their counterparts the way they did during Mr. Clinton’s impeachment.

Mr. McNulty said that dynamic had the potential to damage the nation’s politics for years, and could permanently alter the intent of the authors of the Constitution.

“It’s going to break everything in half,” Mr. McNulty said. “My hope would be, as a citizen, that when this is over, somehow, some way, we could stop and think about what impeachment was meant to be for.”

Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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For Trump, Instinct After Florida Killings Is Simple: Protect Saudis

Westlake Legal Group 07dcPrexy-facebookJumbo-v2 For Trump, Instinct After Florida Killings Is Simple: Protect Saudis Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Khashoggi, Jamal Iran Biden, Joseph R Jr Al Qaeda

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: The president’s first instinct was to tamp down any suggestion that the Saudi government needed to be held to account.

Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who clearly sought to ensure that the episode did not further fracture their relationship. On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that “they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word “terrorism.”

What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers. Or, more broadly, why the United States continues to train members of the Saudi military even as that same military faces credible accusations of repeated human rights abuses in Yemen, including the dropping of munitions that maximize civilian casualties.

“The attack is a disaster for an already deeply strained relationship,” Bruce Riedel, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and a former C.I.A. officer who has dealt with generations of Saudi leaders, said on Saturday. It “focuses attention on Americans training Saudi Air Force officers who are engaged in numerous bombings of innocents in Yemen, which is the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world,” he said, noting that the Trump administration had long been fighting Congress as it seeks to end American support for that war.

But even stranger, said Mr. Riedel, was “the president’s parroting of the Saudi line” before learning the results of an investigation into whether the gunman acted alone, or had allegiances to Al Qaeda or terrorist groups.

For the White House, the calculus is simple: Saudi Arabia is not only critical to world oil supplies — though no longer critical to the United States’ — it is the only regional power able to counter Iran. The result, former members of the Trump administration say, has been a dismissal of any critiques that could weaken that bond.

Mr. Trump was so quick and so eager to assure the Saudis that the relationship would continue before anyone knew how to categorize the shooting that it raised questions about how the administration would have responded if the suspect had been an Iranian, or an immigrant from Mexico. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump often cited the killing of a young woman in California by an undocumented immigrant as a reason to crack down on immigration and build a wall along the southern border.

“Had an attack been carried out by any country on his Muslim ban, his reaction would have been very different,” said Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East negotiator and now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“But when it comes to Saudi, the default position is to defend,” he said, “Driven by oil, money, weapons sales, a good deal of Saudi feting and flattery, Trump has created a virtually impenetrable zone of immunity for Saudi Arabia.”

It was hardly the first time Mr. Trump had shown such tendencies. After the brutal killing in Istanbul of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and a legal American resident, Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo played down American intelligence findings that closely tied Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to the matter. The findings suggested he had connections to the members of the hit team sent to Turkey — and almost certainly played a role in ordering them to bring Mr. Khashoggi back to the country by force.

Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Pompeo’s initial promises to follow the evidence wherever it led dissipated. Over the past year, Mr. Pompeo has expressed deep annoyance whenever the topic is raised. The United States was awaiting the results of a Saudi investigation, he often said, as if he expected that to offer a full accounting. And he told members of Congress that no matter the truth of what unfolded, the relationship between the kingdom and Washington was too important to be held hostage to one vicious, ill-thought-out act.

No American assessment of what the Saudi leadership knew has ever been made public.

Before the shooting on Friday, the White House was already fighting efforts in Congress to cut military aid to the Saudis, a reflection of anger over the Khashoggi murder and continuing war in Yemen. But the Pensacola attack underlined the continuing instinct to protect the relationship.

“If Trump wants to convey condolences from Saudi King Salman, fine,” Mr. Miller wrote on Twitter after the shooting. “But you don’t do it on day — Americans are killed — untethered from a message of ironclad assurances from King to provide” whatever cooperation is necessary to understand the gunman and his motives. “Otherwise Trump sounds like what he has become — a Saudi apologist.’’

After Mr. Pompeo announced that he had spoken with the Saudi foreign minister, Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, about the shooting, Martin Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and longtime Middle East negotiator, tweeted: “Isn’t it interesting how quick Trump and Pompeo are to broadcast Saudi government condolences for the murder of three Americans and how slow they were to criticize the Saudi government’s murder” of Mr. Khashoggi.

Still, the bond between the countries is weakening, as the erosion of support in Congress shows. A negotiation over providing nuclear technology to the Saudis, a huge push early in the administration, has stalled. The chances that the military support will remain at current levels appear slim.

“The U.S.-Saudi relationship is on life support,” Mr. Riedel said, noting that it would be in jeopardy if a Democrat were to win the 2020 election. “Even Joe Biden is calling the Kingdom a ‘pariah’ that needs to be punished,” he said, referring to the former vice president, who had for decades supported a strong relationship with the Saudis.

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Judiciary Committee Report Offers Legal Rationale for Impeaching Trump

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165426090_7426432b-f78c-47c7-b864-c9785d03b3c2-facebookJumbo Judiciary Committee Report Offers Legal Rationale for Impeaching Trump Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Nixon, Richard Milhous impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary

WASHINGTON — House Democrats released a report on Saturday intended to lay out the legal and historical underpinnings of their case for impeaching President Trump while also countering Republican accusations that the investigation of the president’s conduct in office has been unfair and illegitimate.

Democrats have accused the president of abusing his power by trying to pressure the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into his political rivals. They also claim that Mr. Trump obstructed the congressional inquiry by blocking witnesses from testifying and refusing to provide documents.

The 52-page report by the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee argues that the framers of the Constitution intentionally provided a way to remove the occupant of the Oval Office for just such misconduct.

“A president who perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends has unquestionably engaged in ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’— especially if he invited, rather than opposed, foreign interference in our politics,” concludes the report, titled “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.”

On Monday, the committee will formally receive the evidence against Mr. Trump in a public hearing. Democratic and Republican lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee, which spent two months investigating the president’s actions, will testify and answer questions, the committee announced on Saturday.

Lawyers for the Judiciary Committee will also testify at the hearing as the panel’s 41 members begin a weeklong debate on whether to approve articles of impeachment. An official working on the inquiry, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss it publicly, said the presentations by the lawyers on each side, Barry H. Berke for the Democrats and Steve Castor for the Republicans, will serve as the “opening arguments.”

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the committee, has made no pretense about how he expects the debate to conclude.

“The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing in this very moment,” he said on Twitter on Saturday as the report was released. “President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment.”

The report — which echoes a well-regarded 1974 document created by the same committee during the debate about whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon — is an attempt to provide Democratic lawmakers with the constitutional rationale to support impeaching a president for only the third time in American history.

Both the 1974 report and the new one trace the origins of impeachment from monarchical England, where it was developed to hold the king’s ministers to account, to colonial America, where the framers of the Constitution believed it was a necessary remedy to ensure that the leaders of the new republic did not corrupt it for their personal benefit.

Both reports primarily focus on how to define “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” the offenses enumerated by the Constitution for impeachment.

But the current document is clearly meant to be a road map for Democrats, tracking closely with the allegations they have already made about Mr. Trump’s conduct. It lays out several offenses that could form the basis for articles of impeachment, including bribery, which is specifically cited in the Constitution.

“Impeachable bribery occurs when the president offers, solicits, or accepts something of personal value to influence his own official actions,” the report states. “By rendering such bribery impeachable, the framers sought to ensure that the nation could expel a leader who would sell out the interests of ‘We the People’ for his own personal gain.”

The report also makes the case for impeaching a president who abuses the power of his office through actions that are legal but not motivated by the national interests — a not-so-subtle nod to allegations that Mr. Trump’s decision to hold up Ukraine’s military aid was intended to help him personally

“At minimum, that duty requires presidents ‘to exercise their power only when it is motivated in the public interest rather than in their private self-interest,’” the report argues. “A president can thus be removed for exercising power with a corrupt purpose, even if his action would otherwise be permissible.”

Saturday’s report is also a legal rebuttal to the repeated attacks on the impeachment inquiry by Mr. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress. They have accused Democrats of orchestrating a “sham” impeachment that ignored historical traditions and did not provide the president with the right to defend himself.

The report’s authors say the inquiry followed rules similar to previous impeachments and note that if he is impeached, Mr. Trump will face a Senate trial, “where he may be afforded an opportunity to present an evidentiary defense and test the strength of the House’s case.”

The report also rejects the Republican argument that some evidence in the case should be ignored because it came from secondhand witnesses. “At this fact-finding stage, no technical ‘rules of evidence’ apply,” the report says. And it dismisses the argument by Mr. Trump and his aides that he did nothing wrong because Ukraine never delivered the investigations he wanted.

“The nation is not required to cross its fingers and hope White House staff will persist in ignoring or sidelining a president who orders them to execute ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’” the report says. “Nor can a President escape impeachment just because his corrupt plan to abuse power or manipulate elections was discovered and abandoned.”

Ross H. Garber, a lawyer who has defended several governors facing impeachment, criticized the report, saying it presented a “highhanded, extreme view” of the power of House Democrats to push forward with impeachment against Mr. Trump.

“While it is unquestionable that the Constitution accords the House ‘sole’ power to impeach, it does not follow that this power may be exercised effectively without recognizing its practical and political limits,” Mr. Garber said.

He added that the report “does not seem intended to educate or persuade, and is virtually guaranteed to do neither.”

Saturday’s report comes three days after the committee convened a panel of four constitutional scholars to discuss how to apply the history and legal grounding of impeachment to the evidence collected by the House.

Three of the scholars, all of whom were invited by Democrats, argued that Mr. Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine as presented by the inquiry clearly rose to the level of impeachable bribery or abuse of power and that his efforts to conceal it from Congress could also be construed as an impeachable offense.

A fourth scholar, called by Republicans, said the allegations could be impeachable but argued that Democrats had not sufficiently made that case in a rush to complete the process.

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