web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 114)

Trump and Barr Criticize F.B.I. Director Over Report on Russia Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 10DC-FBI-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Trump and Barr Criticize F.B.I. Director Over Report on Russia Inquiry Wray, Christopher A Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B

WASHINGTON — President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr took aim at the F.B.I. on Tuesday, reiterating attacks on former bureau officials and contradicting the agency’s director, Christopher A. Wray, a day after an independent watchdog concluded that agents were justified in opening an investigation into Russia’s possible ties with the Trump campaign.

In an early Twitter post, Mr. Trump snapped at Mr. Wray for not agreeing with his interpretation of the watchdog report’s findings.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

Mr. Wray had said on Monday that he concurred with the Justice Department inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, who found that political bias did not influence investigative decisions, directly undercutting the president’s yearslong accusations.

Mr. Barr went a step further and called the findings about the origins of the inquiry “flimsy.” He also repeated a longtime refrain of Mr. Trump and his allies, saying the F.B.I. improperly used counterintelligence tools to spy on a presidential campaign.

In an interview with NBC News, Mr. Barr said there were “gross abuses” and “inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the F.B.I.”

In July 2016, the F.B.I. opened the investigation after it learned a Trump campaign aide had bragged that he was told that Russia had information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. At the same time, stolen Democratic emails were being released. This prompted the F.B.I. to open the inquiry, the inspector general found, not the salacious dossier of opposition research on Mr. Trump by a former British intelligence official.

Mr. Horowitz said the bureau was right to open the inquiry, but he recommended additional levels of supervision in the future.

While there was little expectation that the inspector general’s conclusions would settle the partisan debate over the legitimacy of the Russia inquiry, the president’s suggestion that he lacked confidence in Mr. Wray’s ability to “fix” the bureau raised the possibility that he was considering replacing Mr. Wray, which would give him his third F.B.I. director since he took office.

The director position has a 10-year term limit devised specifically to prevent political interference.

Mr. Trump appointed Mr. Wray after he fired the previous director, James B. Comey, in 2017. By the time Mr. Wray became director, a special counsel had been appointed to take over the Russia investigation, and Mr. Trump was regularly lashing out at the F.B.I. During his first two years in office, Mr. Trump attacked the bureau, the Justice Department and intelligence agencies 277 times.

Mr. Trump and some of his allies saw the dense report as proof that their conspiracy theories were in fact true. The president has claimed for years that the Russia investigation was a witch hunt pursued by “deep state” bureaucrats who did not support him politically. And he has been particularly critical of the F.B.I., calling former bureau leaders “losers.”

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press,” Mr. Barr said on Tuesday.

Mr. Wray has sought to avoid confrontation with Mr. Trump as he navigates the bureau through one of its most turbulent eras. He and his aides had hoped that with the release of the inspector general report, the F.B.I. could finally move past the toxic politics of the last three years.

Standing in disagreement with the president and the attorney general, Mr. Wray will now have to decide how to lead the agency while his bosses promulgate the inaccurate narrative that the F.B.I. plotted to sabotage Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Mr. Barr is overseeing a separate Justice Department criminal investigation into the basis of the Russia inquiry, with broad access from Mr. Trump to a range of sensitive materials, some of which were not part of Mr. Horowitz’s review.

A federal prosecutor, John H. Durham, is leading that investigation and supported the attorney general’s assessment of the report.

“Last month, we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the F.B.I. case was opened,” Mr. Durham said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Impeach Trump or Work With Him? Democrats Are Pushing Forward on Both

WASHINGTON — On the day that House Democrats formally accused President Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors, something unusual happened in the capital: Divided government actually started to work.

Within minutes of announcing on Tuesday that Democrats would charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was behind closed doors with her rank and file, informing them that she was ready to deliver the president his biggest economic priority: passage of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

That was not all. Democrats are also on the brink of approving a bipartisan defense bill, the largest in the nation’s history, after weeks of negotiations with Republicans, and intend to pass legislation this week on another issue that Mr. Trump has made a top priority: lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

The sudden outbreak of bipartisan cooperation, almost certain to be fleeting, was hardly an accident. Ms. Pelosi has long insisted that Democrats could “walk and chew gum at the same time” — that they were willing to work with the president on legislation even as they tried to oust him from office.

But she needed to prove it. Ms. Pelosi is well aware that if she is going to keep her majority, and her job as speaker, she cannot send her members — especially nervous moderates in Trump-friendly districts — home for the holidays empty-handed after they had voted to impeach the president.

Westlake Legal Group 10impeach-tear-articleLarge-v2 Impeach Trump or Work With Him? Democrats Are Pushing Forward on Both United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Pelosi, Nancy International Trade and World Market impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read the Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump

House Democrats released two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. See them with context and analysis by The Times’s chief White House correspondent.

So Tuesday turned into a split-screen morning in the Capitol, as Democrats and the press grappled with what amounted to a case of whiplash. Ms. Pelosi appeared before cameras at 9 a.m. with her top lieutenants to announce the impeachment articles, and again at 10 a.m. to announce a deal on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Some Democrats were blunt about the strategy.

“U.S.M.C.A. being brought up at this moment is a very strange diversion,” Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, who has expressed concerns about the trade pact, told reporters. “It’s a way of trying to get you to talk about more than one issue in the news.”

Ms. Pelosi insisted it was not politics, but the calendar itself, that dictated the one-two punch of calling for the president’s removal in one moment and handing him one of his biggest priorities in the next.

“It’s just as we get to the end of a session, there have to be some decisions made,” she said during the news conference on trade, adding, “We didn’t know what day it would be.”

But the optics were hard to miss. Wearing an American flag pin with the words “One Country, One Destiny” on her lapel, Ms. Pelosi turned the trade news conference into a show of Democratic strength. She surrounded herself with more than two dozen of her members, including relieved-looking freshmen who represent districts won by Mr. Trump and have been pining for broadly popular accomplishments to show to voters ahead of their re-election races.

The impeachment articles, narrowly focused on Mr. Trump’s effort to enlist Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, also reflected Ms. Pelosi’s worries about protecting those moderates facing political risk. Democrats opted not to charge Mr. Trump with obstruction of justice based on his attempts to thwart Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian election interference in 2016.

Congressional Democrats “are getting more done in two weeks than the U.S. Senate has done in the last year,” said one vulnerable freshman, Representative Tom Malinoswki of New Jersey, adding, “The heart of the Democratic Party right now is the Democratic Congress and the House of Representatives.”

With time running out before the end of the legislative year, Democrats will be in a rush to get everything done. There is likely to be a vote on the defense bill in the House on Wednesday, with the final passage expected next week in the Senate so that the bill can be sent to Mr. Trump. Next week in the House, there will be back-to-back votes on the trade bill and impeachment.

That creates the specter of one, or perhaps two, presidential bill-signing ceremonies at the White House on legislation that Democrats will have delivered to Mr. Trump at the precise moment that they have impeached him. While it is unclear whether Mr. Trump will need to sign the trade pact, the president will certainly sign the defense bill into law — perhaps, if tradition holds, with Ms. Pelosi at his side.

Democrats are already highlighting that as a win — the first time that “paid family medical leave for millions of federal workers, including military workers, will be the law of the land,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said in an interview.

There was so much news breaking on Tuesday that Mr. Jeffries postponed his usual Tuesday morning news conference until Wednesday; he plans to use it to promote the prescription drug bill.

When Ms. Pelosi became speaker in January, Democrats sought to pursue a triangulation strategy of circumventing the Republican-led Senate to work directly with the White House on issues like prescription drugs and infrastructure. Democrats thought they might replicate what happened in 2018, before they took the majority, when they worked with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, on an overhaul of criminal justice laws.

That strategy has yet to work, and Republicans on Tuesday accused Democrats of pushing a partisan prescription drug bill that has little chance of being signed by Mr. Trump. But nothing clarifies the congressional mind as much as the end of the year, and Democrats, who ran for office on kitchen-table economic issues like jobs and the high cost of prescription drugs, are clearly in a hurry to make good on that promise.

And as to the case of whiplash she was inflicting on the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi had a wry answer: “The day is young.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump ‘Ignored and Injured’ the National Interest, Democrats Charge in Impeachment Articles

WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders on Tuesday formally called for President Trump’s removal from office, asserting that he “ignored and injured the interests of the Nation” in two articles of impeachment that charged him with abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

In nine short pages, the draft articles accused Mr. Trump of carrying out a scheme “corruptly soliciting” election assistance from the government of Ukraine in the form of investigations that would smear his Democratic political rivals. To do so, Democrats charged, Mr. Trump used as leverage two “official acts”: the delivery of $391 million in security assistance and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president.

“In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit,” according to a draft of the first article. “He has also betrayed the nation by abusing his office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.”

A second article charges that by ordering across-the-board defiance of House subpoenas for testimony and documents related to the Ukraine matter, Mr. Trump engaged in “unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance” that harmed the House’s constitutional rights.

Westlake Legal Group 10impeach-tear-articleLarge-v2 Trump ‘Ignored and Injured’ the National Interest, Democrats Charge in Impeachment Articles Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives

Read the Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump

House Democrats released two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. See them with context and analysis by The Times’s chief White House correspondent.

Democrats unveiled them on Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee as soon as Wednesday, where the panel will debate and vote on the charges. The panel could vote by Thursday to recommend them to the full House of Representatives for final approval. If the House follows through as expected next week, days before Christmas, Mr. Trump could stand trial in the Senate early in the new year.

Less than a year before the 2020 election, the action sets up a historic and highly partisan constitutional clash between Mr. Trump and congressional Democrats — one that is likely to have broad political implications for both parties and exacerbate the divisions of an already polarized nation.

But Democrats argued that the political calendar made their endeavor even more urgent, given the nature of the charges against the president, which they called part of a pattern of behavior that began when Mr. Trump welcomed Russia’s help in the 2016 election and would continue into 2020 if they did not act to stop it.

“The argument ‘Why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: ‘Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election?’” Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee who oversaw the House’s Ukraine investigation, said at a news conference steps from the Capitol dome to announce the charges. “Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”

In announcing a pair of charges that was narrowly focused on the Ukraine matter, Democrats made a careful political calculation designed to project unity and protect moderate lawmakers who face steep re-election challenges in conservative-leaning districts. They left out an article that had been the subject of internal debate among Democrats in recent weeks that would have charged Mr. Trump with obstruction of justice based on his attempts to thwart Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russian election interference in 2016.

It had been championed by progressives including Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but moderate lawmakers, many of them freshmen, had long signaled they would not support impeaching Mr. Trump based on Mr. Mueller’s report.

Mr. Trump responded angrily to Democrats’ announcement, taking to Twitter to proclaim their charge that he pressured Ukraine “ridiculous.”

The White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, accused Democrats of “manufacturing an impeachment inquiry and forcing unfounded accusations down the throats of the American people.” Their goal, she said, was to try to use the House’s impeachment power to weaken Mr. Trump’s chances of re-election.

“The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the president, it hurts the American people, who expect their elected officials to work on their behalf to strengthen our nation,” Ms. Grisham said in a statement. “The president will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong.”

The introduction of formal charges was a major milestone in a more than two-month impeachment inquiry and the long, slow-building partisan showdown that has defined Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Speaking earlier in Tuesday morning from a wood-paneled reception room just off the floor of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leaders of six key committees said that Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, and his efforts to block Congress’s attempt to investigate, had left them no choice but to pursue one of the Constitution’s gravest remedies. The move will bring a sitting president to the brink of impeachment for only the fourth time in American history.

“Our president holds the ultimate public trust,” Mr. Nadler said. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy, and he endangers our national security.”

While individual lawmakers will be able to propose amendments to the articles during this week’s debate and potentially force a committee vote on additional charges, they are not expected to substantively change.

Though the details differ substantially, the articles of impeachment Democrats outlined on Tuesday echo those the Judiciary Committee approved in 1974 charging President Richard M. Nixon with abuse of power, obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress. Mr. Nixon resigned before the full House had a chance to vote on the articles, amid clear indications that the charges had broad support from members of both parties.

There is less overlap with the other modern presidential impeachment. In 1998, the House approved impeachment articles charging President Bill Clinton with perjury and obstruction of justice. Two other counts, of perjury and abuse of power, failed in votes on the House floor. It was that kind of split decision that Democratic leaders are determined to avoid this time around.

With all but a handful of House Republicans firmly united behind Mr. Trump, the charges Democrats have settled on are all but certain to face monolithic Republican opposition. If that does not change, and Mr. Trump continues a defiant defense, the impeachment vote against him could take place strictly along party lines, save for one independent, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who has signaled he will join Democrats.

Representative Peter T. King, a moderate New York Republican who is retiring and sometimes crosses the aisle to work with Democrats, echoed other members of his party when he decried the articles as “shameless, baseless abuse of Congressional power by House Democrats.”

The impeachment effort would also face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it would take the support of two-thirds of the chamber to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office — a highly unlikely scenario, particularly in an election year.

Democratic lawyers for the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, which carried out the Ukraine inquiry, argued for the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges during a hearing on Monday.

Citing testimony from senior diplomats and White House officials, they accused Mr. Trump and his agents of pressuring Ukraine’s president to announce investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unsupported claim that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. As part of the scheme, they asserted, Mr. Trump withheld a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance for the country as leverage.

They also said that Mr. Trump had systematically sought to halt their investigation by ordering government officials not to testify and refusing to hand over documents subpoenaed by the House related to the Ukraine matter.

Republicans pushed back against both conclusions, arguing that Democrats had manufactured a scandal to satiate their hunger to impeach Mr. Trump, a president whose policies they despise. They argued that the evidence gathered by the House had not proved Mr. Trump was acting to benefit himself politically when he pressed Ukraine to announce investigations into his political adversaries.

The decision to forgo a vote on an article of impeachment based on obstruction of justice was not entirely unexpected. Since the public release of Mr. Mueller’s report in the spring, House Democrats have debated whether the behavior detailed in it — including 10 possible instances of obstruction — warranted such action. The issue never unified their caucus in the way the Ukraine allegations have.

Progressive lawmakers including Mr. Nadler pushed repeatedly to include an article on obstruction of justice in the final impeachment case against Mr. Trump. But the resistance by moderates would have risked splitting the party in a vote on the House floor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

House Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-impeach-sub2-facebookJumbo House Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment Against Trump Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — House Democrats announced on Tuesday that they would move ahead this week with two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, as they accused him of violating the Constitution by pressuring Ukraine for help in the 2020 election.

Speaking from a wood-paneled reception room just off the floor of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leaders of six key committees said that Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, and his efforts to block Congress’s attempt to investigate, had left them no choice but to pursue one of the Constitution’s gravest remedies. The move will bring a sitting president to the brink of impeachment for only the fourth time in American history.

“Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution, and to our country, the House Committee on Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment charging the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the panel’s chairman. He stood before four American flags and a portrait of George Washington.

“Our president holds the ultimate public trust,” Mr. Nadler said. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy, and he endangers our national security.”

The announcement comes a day after Democrats summed up the central allegations in their impeachment case against Mr. Trump: that he pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals while withholding as leverage a coveted White House meeting for its president and $391 million in critical security assistance. His actions, they argued in a lengthy hearing at the Judiciary Committee, had placed the president’s personal political interests above those of the country, threatening the integrity of the election and national security in the process.

After more than two months of investigating the Ukraine matter, and a year of confrontation between the Democratic House and Mr. Trump, the impeachment process is now likely to unfold quickly. The Judiciary Committee plans to promptly begin debating the articles as soon as Wednesday, and could vote by Thursday to recommend them to the full House of Representatives for final approval. If the House follows through as expected next week, Mr. Trump could stand trial in the Senate early in the new year.

The Judiciary Committee planned to publicly release text of the articles later on Tuesday. While individual lawmakers will be able to propose amendments to the articles during this week’s debate and potentially force a committee vote on additional charges, they are not expected to substantively change.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee who oversaw the House’s Ukraine investigation, sought to forcefully dismiss complaints that the House was moving too quickly toward impeachment, a little more than two months after opening their inquiry.

“The argument ‘why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”

The Democrats indicated that they would forgo another possible article under discussion in recent weeks that would have charged Mr. Trump with obstruction of justice based on his attempts to thwart Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russian election interference in 2016. That decision reflected a calculated move by Democrats to push forward with a narrow case against Mr. Trump based on his dealings with Ukraine, after some of their moderate lawmakers in conservative-leaning districts signaled they would not support a broader set of charges.

Though the details differ substantially, the articles of impeachment Democrats outlined on Tuesday echo those the Judiciary Committee approved in 1974 charging President Richard M. Nixon with abuse of power, obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress. Mr. Nixon resigned before the full House had a chance to vote on the articles, amid clear indications that the charges had broad support from members of both parties.

There is less overlap with the other modern presidential impeachment. In 1998, the House approved impeachment articles charging President Bill Clinton with perjury and obstruction of justice. Two other counts, of perjury and abuse of power, failed in votes on the House floor. It was that kind of split decision that Democratic leaders are determined to avoid this time around.

With all but a handful of House Republicans firmly united behind Mr. Trump, the charges Democrats have settled on are all but certain to face monolithic Republican opposition. If that does not change, and Mr. Trump continues a defiant defense, the impeachment vote against him could take place strictly along party lines, save for one independent, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who has signaled he will join Democrats.

The impeachment effort would also face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it would take the support of two-thirds of the chamber to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office — a highly unlikely scenario, particularly in an election year.

A little more than an hour before Democrats’ announcement, Mr. Trump declared on Twitter that it was “sheer Political Madness” to impeach a president who has done “NOTHING wrong” and overseen “perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history.” And after it concluded, he wrote on the platform that the Democrats’ charge that he sought Ukraine’s election interference was “ridiculous” and pointed to a statement from Ukraine’s leader that he did not feel pressured to investigate the Bidens.

The manager of his re-election campaign, Brad Parscale, called the decision to move ahead deeply “divisive.”

“Americans don’t agree with this rank partisanship, but Democrats are putting on this political theater because they don’t have a viable candidate for 2020 and they know it,” he said in a statement.

Democratic lawyers for the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, which carried out the Ukraine inquiry, forcefully argued for the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges during a hearing on Monday.

Citing testimony from senior diplomats and White House officials, they accused Mr. Trump and his agents of pressuring Ukraine’s president to announce investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unsupported claim that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. As part of the scheme, they asserted, Mr. Trump withheld a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance for the country as leverage.

They also said that Mr. Trump had systematically sought to halt their investigation by ordering government officials not to testify and refusing to hand over documents subpoenaed by the House related to the Ukraine matter.

Republicans pushed back against both conclusions, arguing that Democrats had manufactured a scandal to satiate their hunger to impeach Mr. Trump, a president whose policies they despise. They argued that the evidence gathered by the House had not proved Mr. Trump was acting to benefit himself politically when he pressed Ukraine to announce investigations into his political adversaries.

The decision to forgo a vote on an article of impeachment based on obstruction of justice was not entirely unexpected. House Democrats have debated ever since Mr. Mueller’s report became public last spring whether the behavior detailed — including 10 possible instances of obstruction — warranted such action. The issue never unified their caucus in the way the Ukraine allegations have.

Progressive lawmakers including Mr. Nadler pushed repeatedly to include an article on obstruction of justice related in the final impeachment case against Mr. Trump. But the resistance by moderates would have risked splitting the party in a vote on the House floor.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Lashes Out at F.B.I. Director Over Report on Russia Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 10DC-FBI-facebookJumbo Trump Lashes Out at F.B.I. Director Over Report on Russia Inquiry Wray, Christopher A Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B

WASHINGTON — President Trump snapped at his F.B.I. director on Tuesday for not agreeing with his interpretation of a highly anticipated government watchdog report about the early stages of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general concluded that political bias had no influence in the origins of the inquiry.

The timing of Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he lacks confidence in Mr. Wray’s ability to “fix” the bureau — a day after the release of such a detailed look at some of the bureau’s most important missions — suggests the president is considering a new F.B.I. director, which would be his third since he took office. The F.B.I. director position has a 10-year term limit designed to prevent political interference.

Mr. Trump appointed Mr. Wray after he fired James B. Comey as the F.B.I. director in 2017. By the time Mr. Wray became director, a special counsel had been appointed to take over the Russia investigation.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lies, Damned Lies and Washington

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165698781_cc6562b6-531d-41ba-900d-c09999d0ac8a-facebookJumbo Lies, Damned Lies and Washington United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Federal Bureau of Investigation Bush, George W Biden, Joseph R Jr Afghanistan War (2001- ) Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — There are days in Washington lately when it feels like the truth itself is on trial. Monday was one of those days.

An impeachment hearing on Capitol Hill presented radically competing versions of reality. An F.B.I. inspector general report punctured longstanding conspiracy theories even as it provided ammunition for others. And a trove of documents exposed years of government deception about the war in Afghanistan.

While truth was deemed an endangered species in the nation’s capital long before President Trump’s arrival, it has become axiomatic in the era of “alternative facts” that each person or party entertains only their own preferred variant, resisting contrary information. Rarely has that been on display as starkly as on Monday, underscoring the deep distrust that many Americans harbor toward their leaders and institutions.

“We’re in a dangerous moment,” said Peter Wehner, a former strategic adviser to President George W. Bush and a vocal critic of Mr. Trump. “The danger is people come to believe that nobody is giving them the facts and reality, and everybody can make up their own script and their own narrative.”

In such a situation, he added, “truth as a concept gets obliterated because people’s investment in certain narratives is so deep that facts simply won’t get in the way.”

Mr. Trump, whose myriad false statements and public lies have been extensively cataloged, hardly caused this phenomenon by himself, but he exemplifies it better than anyone else. He is the Rorschach test of truth, the guidepost by which people choose their story line. Most Americans tell pollsters that they do not believe what he says, but a significant minority considers him a truth-teller in a broader sense, saying out loud what others will not about a broken system he vows to fix, even if he does not hew to particular facts.

And in some ways, his what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach makes him more transparent about his motives and feelings than any president in generations. Rather than hide his more base reactions and ambitions, however raw and unseemly, he flaunts them and invites his supporters to share them.

With the help of social media, friendly news outlets and congressional Republicans willing to follow his lead, he crafts a message that finds its audience.

He took office at a time when trust was already a dwindling commodity in American life. Much of the public may not trust Mr. Trump, according to surveys, but it likewise does not trust his opponents all that much either — or the news media that he complains is out to get him. Americans have been down on banks, big business, the criminal justice system and the health care system for years, and fewer have confidence in churches or organized religion now than at any point since Gallup started asking in 1973.

“The story of the past half-century is the steady degradation of trust in the institutions and gatekeepers of American life,” said Ben Domenech, the founder of The Federalist, a conservative news site. “Everything from politics to faith to sports has been revealed as corrupted or corruptible. And every mismanaged war, failed hurricane response, botched investigation and doping scandal furthers this view.”

While a Quinnipiac Poll last spring found that Americans believed the news media more than Mr. Trump by a margin of 52 percent to 35 percent, other surveys showed a crisis among everyday people distinguishing fact from fiction in public life. Nearly two-thirds of Americans in a poll released last month by The Associated Press, the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and USAFacts said they often came across one-sided information, and 47 percent said they had difficulty knowing if the information were true.

The documents on Afghanistan made public on Monday could easily deepen that sense of suspicion. Some 2,000 pages of secret notes and interview transcripts compiled as part of a lessons-learned project and released to The Washington Post after a court fight showed that the government had misled the public about the war since its early months.

As Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, who was an adviser on Afghanistan to Mr. Bush and President Barack Obama, admitted in a secret interview included in the documents, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing.” But neither administration admitted that to the public. John F. Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, told The Post that the documents showed “the American people have constantly been lied to.”

The F.B.I. inspector general report released on Monday typified the choose-your-own-reality nature of Washington these days. The report debunked Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories about the origins of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, finding no “political bias or improper motivation” in opening the inquiry. But the inspector general also found that the bureau made serious mistakes in seeking a surveillance warrant.

Former F.B.I. officials took the report as vindication because it dispelled the many unfounded claims Mr. Trump and his supporters advanced about the bureau even as they fretted that too many people would still believe the president’s assertions. “There is a risk we’ve become so numb to the lying that we move onto the next outrage,” the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, who was fired by Mr. Trump, said on CNN.

Likewise, the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Monday offered conflicting versions to suit either side’s predilections — either the story of an out-of-control president abusing his power to pressure a foreign government to help him take down his domestic rivals or a president who just happened to be concerned about corruption in faraway Ukraine and did not tie American aid to his political priorities even though some of his own advisers thought he did.

Mr. Trump’s insistence that he did nothing wrong has forced at least some Republicans to accept and promote his account even when it contrasts with available evidence. A Republican lawyer presenting the case to the committee on Monday went so far as to say that the evidence did not show that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a now-famous July 25 phone call even though the White House’s own reconstructed transcript quoted him asking his counterpart to “look into it.”

Mr. Trump is hardly the first dissembler in the White House. Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon were famously talented liars, and Bill Clinton was the first president ever found by a court to have testified falsely under oath. But what Mr. Trump lacks in finesse, he makes up in volume. The Post’s fact-checking unit counted more than 13,000 false or misleading statements by Mr. Trump as of October.

The trials of truth have been a consistent theme of his presidency since its first day when he overstated his inaugural crowd size and within days falsely claimed that at least three million immigrants voted illegally against him, costing him the popular vote.

The culture of dishonesty has resulted in multiple people once in his inner circle pleading guilty or being convicted of lying to the authorities, including his onetime national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn; his former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen; several campaign aides; and most recently, his longtime associate and sometime adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., who was found guilty last month in a courthouse just across from the Capitol.

Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, made clear during testimony before Congress in September that he felt perfectly free to lie on television because, in his view, the news media itself was dishonest. “I have no obligation to have a candid conversation with the media whatsoever, just like they have no obligation to cover me honestly, and they do it inaccurately all the time,” he told lawmakers.

The president and his allies have sought to turn the tables on Democrats by accusing them of being the dishonest ones. Mr. Trump’s favorite target is Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which conducted the Ukraine inquiry in response to a C.I.A. whistle-blower.

Mr. Trump, who regularly accuses critics of whatever they have accused him of, has taken to calling the congressman “Shifty Schiff” and likewise complains that the parody he gave of Mr. Trump’s July 25 call to make a point was dishonest even though Mr. Schiff made clear it was not a verbatim rendering.

Democrats dismissed the attacks on Mr. Schiff as a false-equivalence effort to distract from the president’s own conduct. But they did not have Mr. Schiff present the evidence on Monday, leaving it to a lawyer instead, avoiding the distraction.

The attacks on Mr. Schiff and other Democrats give Mr. Trump and his supporters their own counternarrative amplified on conservative television and social media. By the end of Monday, each side took what it wanted from the day’s developments and drew the conclusions that best reflected its views.

“In an atomized age,” said Mr. Domenech, “that allows individuals to retreat to their own story lines, fantasies and tales in which their tribe is always good or under attack, and the other always craven and duplicitous.”

For Mr. Trump, that is a truth he can live with.

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Democrats Signal Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress Charges against Trump

WASHINGTON — House Democrats signaled that they will unveil articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after labeling his conduct a “clear and present danger” to the 2020 election and national security.

Democratic leaders planned a news conference Tuesday morning to outline the charges against Mr. Trump, which lawmakers said senior officials would work through the night to draft. While multiple senior officials and lawmakers cautioned that their plans were not yet finalized, several indicated they had narrowed their focus to charges that Mr. Trump violated his oath of office by putting his personal political interests over the national interest, then sought to conceal his conduct by stonewalling Congress’s attempts to investigate.

They spoke on condition of anonymity without authorization to discuss a decision before it is cemented.

“What happened with Ukraine — it’s not something we can close our eyes to,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, as he emerged Monday evening from a meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and told reporters to expect the announcement on Tuesday.

He spoke hours after the conclusion of a contentious hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, where Democratic lawyers told lawmakers who will consider the impeachment articles that the evidence against Mr. Trump was overwhelming and demanded urgent action. Summarizing the findings of a two-month investigation by the Intelligence Committee, they asserted that the president had put his personal political interests above those of the nation in soliciting re-election help from Ukraine, and then tried to conceal his actions from Congress.

“President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security,” Daniel S. Goldman, the Intelligence Committee lawyer who led the Ukraine inquiry, testified as he presented the evidence gathered against the president.

The presentations by Mr. Goldman and a Democratic lawyer for the Judiciary Committee will form the basis for a debate in the committee, expected to begin as soon as Wednesday, over articles of impeachment charging a president with high crimes and misdemeanors for only the fourth time in American history.

Even as the hearing forecast the impeachment articles Democrats planned to lodge against Mr. Trump, it also offered hints about the kinds of charges that Democrats might avoid.

Democrats, for instance, did not use the term bribery, an offense explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as impeachable and one that leaders have used in the past to describe the president’s conduct. And they did not discuss instances of potential obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump when he tried to thwart the special counsel’s investigation of possible links between his campaign and Russian election interference.

Instead, they used slickly excerpted video clips of testimony from senior diplomats and White House officials to accuse Mr. Trump of pressuring President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to announce investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unsupported claim that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. At the same time, they said, the president withheld as leverage a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance the country needed to hold off Russian aggression.

“This is a big deal,” said Barry H. Berke, the counsel for Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, appealing to the deeply divided panel of lawmakers sitting before him. “President Trump did what a president of our nation is not allowed to do.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 09dc-impeach1-articleLarge Democrats Signal Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress Charges against Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Castor, Stephen R Berke, Barry H

Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Doug Collins during Monday’s hearing.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The hearing, which unfolded over nine hours in the stately House Ways and Means Committee Room near the Capitol, featured bitter rounds of partisan sparring between Democrats and Republicans and testy cross-examinations of lawyers from both parties. Republicans arrived primed to challenge the Democrats’ case and condemn the process they have used to assemble it. They repeatedly interrupted the Democrats’ public presentation, and their own counsel used two separate addresses to try to dismantle it.

“Very simply, the evidence in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry does not support the Democrats’ conclusion that President Trump abused his power for his own personal, political benefit,” said Stephen R. Castor, a lawyer representing Republicans on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

Mr. Castor said there was “simply no clear evidence” that Mr. Trump had “malicious intent in withholding a meeting or security assistance,” and ample evidence that the president had legitimate concerns about corruption in Ukraine. And he accused Democrats of having gone “searching for a set of facts on which to impeach the president,” essentially manufacturing a scandal where there was none.

The White House once again refused to participate in the day’s proceedings, despite appeals by Democrats to come to the table before it was too late. Mr. Trump and his allies, though, have now publicly turned their attention toward a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where they believe they will have an easier time mounting a defense.

But that did not stop Mr. Trump himself from participating — at least via social media.

After posting or reposting nearly 100 messages on Twitter on Sunday, most of them complaining about the impeachment effort and assailing Democrats, the president fired off more on Monday as the hearing progressed.

“The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

For now, Democrats have elected to press ahead without the White House’s cooperation. The Judiciary Committee is likely to debate and vote on articles of impeachment by week’s end, likely along party lines, recommending their adoption by the full House. That would set up a vote before Christmas to impeach Mr. Trump, and a Senate trial early in the new year.

As the impeachment inquiry marched forward, another investigation consumed Washington on Monday. The Justice Department’s internal watchdog released a long-awaited report sharply criticizing the F.B.I. for its handling of a wiretap application in the early stages of its Russia investigation. But the report also undercut Mr. Trump’s claims that former F.B.I. leaders tried to sabotage him for political reasons. Both Mr. Trump and his critics claimed vindication.

But it was competing written reports on the Ukraine matter submitted last week by Democrats and Republicans that preoccupied the House. Though the facts recited on Capitol Hill on Monday have become well known over the past two months, including through public testimony from a dozen witnesses, the hearing provided the clearest account yet of the respective cases.

During his 45-minute presentation, Mr. Goldman described “a monthslong scheme” by the president “to solicit foreign help in his 2020 re-election campaign, withholding official acts from the government of Ukraine in order to coerce and secure political interference in our domestic affairs.”

Mr. Goldman said that Mr. Trump was continuing to this day to try to distort next year’s election with false allegations, pointing to his statements to reporters over the weekend claiming that Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, would make a report to the Justice Department about Democrats.

“The scheme by President Trump was so brazen, so clear — supported by documents, actions, sworn testimony, uncontradicted contemporaneous records — that it’s hard to imagine that anybody could dispute those acts, let alone argue that that conduct does not constitute an impeachable offense or offenses,” said Mr. Berke, the Judiciary Committee lawyer.

Both lawyers also noted that the White House had systematically tried to obstruct their inquiry. A dozen witnesses, including senior White House officials who could shed light on key events, were blocked from testifying, and the Trump administration did not provide a single document to investigators despite several subpoenas.

Republicans lamented again and again that the Democrat who led the inquiry, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, did not testify himself about the report. They propped up a large poster on the dais that pictured a milk carton missing-person alert: “Missing: Adam Schiff.”

Even after two and a half months of sparring, the complaints by Republicans reached new levels of vitriol. Democrats showed little patience for hearing out their criticisms, and Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, made liberal use of his gavel as he tried to maintain order in the face of Republican efforts to interrupt the hearing with parliamentary tactics.

“Bang the gavel harder — still doesn’t make it right,” said Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

“They have talked about everything else, but they have offered not one substantive word in the president’s defense,” Mr. Nadler said of the Republicans in his closing remarks. In a letter sent during the hearing, he rejected Republicans’ requests to call witnesses including Mr. Schiff, Mr. Biden’s son Hunter and the anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower whose complaint helped start the inquiry. Republicans could demand a vote on the matter at a later date.

Republican lawmakers fumed when Mr. Berke, who appeared at a witness table at the start of the hearing to deliver his argument against Mr. Trump, later climbed onto the dais and led the cross-examination of Mr. Castor, who was also representing the Intelligence Committee lawyer. It is highly unusual for House lawyers to testify in hearings, for Mr. Castor to be testifying on behalf of two committees and for one lawyer to question another in that way, but all were allowed under the rules.

“He’s badgering the witness,” Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, shot out as Mr. Berke pressed Mr. Castor.

“He is not,” Mr. Nadler fired back.

Republicans seized on a small subset of evidence in the report to accuse Democrats of what Mr. Collins called “a gratuitous drive-by” targeting a conservative journalist and a Republican lawmaker.

At issue were a half-dozen subpoenas issued by Democrats that turned up call records between the journalist, John Solomon of The Hill; Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee; and subjects of the investigation, including Mr. Giuliani. Mr. Collins said he had no problem with the subpoenas, but demanded to know who decided to name Mr. Nunes and Mr. Solomon in the report.

“Folks, you have made Joe McCarthy look like a piker,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said.

Mr. Goldman declined to discuss investigative decisions, but said such identifications were typical when examining phone records in an inquiry like this. The calls noted in the report all took place around key events under scrutiny.

“We did not seek to do any investigation on a member of Congress or a staff member,” Mr. Goldman said. “It just happened to be they were in communication with a member of the president’s scheme.”

Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Another Inquiry Doesn’t Back Up Trump’s Charges. So, on to the Next.

WASHINGTON — President Trump and his allies spent months promising that a report on the origins of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation would be a kind of Rosetta Stone for Trump-era conspiracy enthusiasts — the key to unlocking the secrets of a government plot to keep Mr. Trump from being elected in 2016.

On that point, the report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, did not deliver, even as it found serious problems with how F.B.I. officials justified the surveillance of a Trump campaign aide to a federal court.

But by the time it was released, the president, his attorney general, his supporters in Congress and the conservative news media had already declared victory and decamped for the next battle in the wider war to convince Americans of the enemies at home and abroad arrayed against the Trump presidency.

They followed a script they have used for nearly three years: Engage in a choreographed campaign of presidential tweets, Fox News appearances and fiery congressional testimony to create expectations about finding proof of a “deep state” campaign against Mr. Trump. And then, when the proof does not emerge, skew the results and prepare for the next opportunity to execute the playbook.

That opportunity has arrived in the form of an investigation by a Connecticut prosecutor ordered this year by Attorney General William P. Barr — and the president and his allies are now predicting it will be the one to deliver damning evidence that the F.B.I., C.I.A. and even close American allies conspired against Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.

Westlake Legal Group fbi-ig-report-document-1575915185139-articleLarge Another Inquiry Doesn’t Back Up Trump’s Charges. So, on to the Next. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Presidential Election of 2016 Inspectors General Horowitz, Michael E Federal Bureau of Investigation Durham, John H Barr, William P

Read the Inspector General’s Report on the Russia Investigation

The Justice Department’s inspector general released this report into the early stages of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

Mr. Barr made clear his thoughts on the inspector general’s report on Monday in a blistering public statement in which he described how the F.B.I. in 2016 “launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions” and carried out surveillance “deep into President Trump’s administration.”

He chose to leave out the fact that the inspector general had found that the F.B.I. had solid reason to open its investigation, choosing instead to say that in his view there was insufficient reason “to justify the steps taken.”

The attorney general’s comments echoed his statements after the conclusion of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. In a significant political victory for Mr. Trump, the special counsel found that there was no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, and did not make a judgment about whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice.

But Mr. Barr went further, suggesting that the president had been a victim of America’s law enforcement machinery and pledging to investigate the origins of the inquiry.

The man he has asked to lead that investigation, John H. Durham, the United States attorney in Hartford, Conn., chummed the waters on Monday by releasing a highly unusual statement saying he disagreed with some of the findings of the inspector general’s report and had a mandate to conduct a broader, more thorough investigation.

Mr. Durham is carrying out his inquiry in the heat of a presidential campaign, raising the prospect that Mr. Trump could seize on his findings should they come out in the months or weeks before the 2020 election.

The strategy on display Monday was first used by the president and his allies in March 2017, when Mr. Trump tweeted that the Obama administration had used the F.B.I. to wiretap Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

The tweet caused a sensation among the president’s supporters, and Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican who was then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, pledged to investigate. Months later, the Justice Department told a federal court that the claim was unsubstantiated, but the damage was done.

Mr. Trump eventually told Sean Hannity of Fox News that the claim in the tweet was based on “a little bit of a hunch and a little bit of wisdom.” The fact that it became such a controversy, the president brazenly asserted, was actually evidence of F.B.I. misdeeds.

“If they weren’t doing anything wrong, it would’ve just gotten by,” he said. “Nobody would have cared about it.”

In early 2018, Republicans fueled speculation that the release of a document written by Mr. Nunes would prove widespread F.B.I. surveillance abuses during the 2016 campaign and show how the bureau opened its Russia investigation based on a dossier of uncorroborated information provided by a former British spy, Christopher Steele.

Mr. Trump’s allies used the F.B.I.’s objections to the release of the Nunes memo to promote a Twitter campaign —#releasethememo — and in February of last year Mr. Trump ordered it declassified.

It landed mostly with a thud, and it even ended up debunking the claim that the dossier was the origin of the F.B.I..’s Russia investigation. The Nunes memo confirmed press reporting — that the investigation began after a Trump campaign aide told an Australian diplomat that the Russian government had obtained thousands of emails from Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

But the president’s allies soon found another opportunity: the Justice Department’s announcement of an investigation into the origins of the Russia inquiry led by Mr. Horowitz. It would be this investigation, they predicted, that would reveal the depths of the F.B.I.’s perfidy.

During a congressional hearing in September, one Republican lawmaker asked Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, where he thought the “whole lie of Russian collusion started.”

Mr. Lewandowski replied that he expected Mr. Horowitz would get the answer — that it “began at the highest levels of the government and was perpetrated through the intelligence community to come up with a narrative of why Hillary Clinton lost the campaign as opposed to the real narrative, why Donald Trump won the campaign.”

Mr. Horowitz’s report made no such conclusions, even if it did criticize F.B.I. officials for serial mistakes in their applications to carry out surveillance of a Trump campaign aide.

“That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, handpicked teams on one of the most sensitive F.B.I. investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the F.B.I., and that F.B.I. officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the F.B.I. chain of command’s management,” the report said.

But the report did not find a widespread, anti-Trump conspiracy inside the F.B.I., and it even contained damning information about how some agents working on the case hoped that Mr. Trump would win a surprise victory over Mrs. Clinton.

Polls show that the relentless, White House-led assault on America’s law enforcement machinery has had an impact — especially among Republicans — but the returns might be diminishing.

In polling by the Pew Research Center last year, less than half of Republicans had a favorable view of the F.B.I., a sharp decline from previous years. In a September poll, however, two-thirds of Republicans again said they have a favorable view of the F.B.I.

It is uncertain when Mr. Durham will conclude his investigation, but Mr. Barr has given him a wide aperture to examine the work of the law enforcement and intelligence officials in 2016, and even to examine whether close American allies collaborated in an effort to elect Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham traveled to Italy to examine whether the Italian government played a role in setting up a meeting between a Russia-linked professor and a Trump campaign aide, and Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president and Australia’s prime minister to help Mr. Durham.

There is no indication that Mr. Durham will exhume any information that will fundamentally change the understanding of what happened in 2016. But for Mr. Trump and his allies, the final conclusions might ultimately be less important than the months spent speculating about what those conclusions might be.

Speaking to reporters in London last week, Mr. Trump played down expectations about the Horowitz inquiry — indicating it was only an appetizer for what’s to come.

“I do think the big report to wait for is going to be the Durham report,” he said.

“That’s the one that people are really waiting for.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process

Video

transcript

Impeachment Hearing Highlights

The House Judiciary Committee heard evidence presented by Democratic and Republican lawyers as it considers articles of impeachment against President Trump.

“No public official, including and especially the president of the United States, should use his public office for private gain. And we agree that no president may put himself before the country.” “It’s amazing that they start with impeachment, and then they spent two years trying to figure out what do we impeach him on?” “Mr. Chairman, if this were a court of law you’d be facing sanctions right now by the Bar Association —” “The gentleman will state his point of order and not make a speech —” “Mr. Chairman, how are we supposed to process over 8,000 pages of documents that came from various committees?” “The gentlemen — that is not a point of order. That is not a point of order.” “Where’s Adam? Where’s Adam? It’s his report. His name. Mr. Goldman, you’re a great attorney but you’re not Adam Schiff and you don’t wear a pin.” “The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power by pressure — by pressuring Ukraine and its new president to investigate a political opponent. The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power by ramping up that pressure, by conditioning a wanted White House meeting and a needed military aid that had been approved in order to get that president to investigate a political rival.” “Much has also been made about President Trump’s reference on the July 25 call to Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma, a corrupt Ukrainian energy company, and the actions of certain Ukrainian officials in the run-up to the 2016 election. Democrats dismiss these conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason other than his own political interests to raise these issues with President Zelensky. The evidence, however, shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues.” “My question is, why did you misquote Ms. Williams in terms of —” “I didn’t misquote her.” “Why did you do it?” “We certainly misquote her.” “So you stand — so from the standard that you apply to your fact-finding in your report, you believe that it was entirely proper to say that Ms. Williams found the call to be unusual when in fact, she found the call to be unusual, and inappropriate and of a political nature given that the former vice president is a political opponent of the president. Is that your testimony sir?” “I mean, we described what Ms. Williams said.” “Sir, is that your — no you didn’t.” Rep. Collins: “Mr. Chairman, if either, you can ask —” Rep. Nadler: “The gentleman —” Rep. Collins: “Mr. Chairman, I’m not — he can either ask or answer, he can’t do both.” Rep. Nadler: “The gentleman —” Rep. Collins: “You can ask or answer, you can’t do both.” Rep. Nadler: “The gentleman is not recognized.” “Point of order that he’s badgering the witness.” “He is not — the gentleman will continue.”

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-impeach1-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

The House Judiciary Committee heard evidence presented by Democratic and Republican lawyers as it considers articles of impeachment against President Trump.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Democrats and Republicans who squared off at Monday’s impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee had one remarkable point of agreement: Both said that there are four key facts at the heart of the debate about whether President Trump should be impeached by the House and removed from office.

They just offered two completely different sets of facts.

Daniel S. Goldman, the chief investigator for the House Intelligence Committee, said during his presentation to the Judiciary Committee members that the Democratic case against the president can be “boiled down to four key takeaways.”

He said that Mr. Trump “directed a scheme to pressure Ukraine into opening two investigations”; that he used his office to withhold “an Oval Office meeting and $391 million in security assistance to pressure Ukraine”; that “everyone was in the loop”; and that “despite the public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the president to release the aid, he has not given up.”

When Republicans had the microphone, several offered their own four-part assessment of how best to understand what they viewed as the failure of Democrats to make the case.

Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, offered them in his usual, rapid-fire fashion: He asserted that Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine did not show evidence of pressure or a quid pro quo; that Mr. Zelensky has repeatedly denied feeling pressured; that Ukraine did not know the security aid was held up; and that the aid was eventually released without any announcement of an investigation that Mr. Trump wanted.

Democrats take issue with those four points, asserting that they are factually wrong or a questionable interpretation, just as Republicans challenge the four Democratic points. Together, they underscore how far apart both sides are in terms of agreeing on a common set of facts in the impeachment inquiry.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165692631_d26fde44-a3d4-4788-b9de-3fc8ae8f562a-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, during the hearing on Monday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, denied requests for Republican witnesses, including the appearance of Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, or the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint focused on the president’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

“The committee has previously tabled motions with regard to these matters at its December 4, 2019, hearing, and I see no reason to reconsider those requests,” Mr. Nadler wrote in a letter to Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Republicans have repeatedly demanded a hearing to feature their own witnesses, including the whistle-blower, Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; and Mr. Schiff, who they accuse of running an unfair impeachment investigation. Mr. Nadler has said for days that he would respond to their request.

In the letter, Mr. Nadler noted that Republicans had previously asked for the same witnesses to appear during hearings of the Intelligence Committee. “I concur in Chairman Schiff’s assessment and also find that these requests outside of the parameters of the impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Nadler wrote.

Under the rules of the impeachment inquiry, Republicans have the right to request a meeting of the Judiciary Committee to consider an appeal of Mr. Nadler’s decision, though because Democrats control the committee, it’s all but certain that the committee would support the chairman’s decision. In the letter, Mr. Nadler said he was willing to call such a meeting if the Republicans request it.

House Democrats are likely to use the testimony in Monday’s hearing as they begin drafting later this week the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump amid an intense debate about how expansive the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors should be.

Democrats appear poised to accuse Mr. Trump of abuse of power for pressuring Ukraine to help him incriminate Democratic rivals while withholding American security aid. They are also expect to charge him with obstructing the congressional investigation by defying subpoenas, blocking witnesses from testifying and denying documents.

It is less clear whether Democrats will include charges of obstruction of justice for trying to impede the Russia investigation by Mr. Mueller, whose report last spring included evidence of 10 instances of possible obstruction.

Republicans seized on a new talking point on Monday, accusing Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee of improperly revealing phone records.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia angrily demanded that Mr. Goldman tell lawmakers who made the decision to reveal the names of journalists and lawmakers in the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report after their numbers were identified as part of subpoenas of phone company records.

“Who ordered it? You or Mr. Schiff?” Mr. Collins asked Mr. Goldman, referring to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Mr. Goldman declined answer but tried to explain that such identifications occur in the normal course of the examination of phone records.

The telephone numbers of the journalists and lawmakers — including Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee — were included because they had been talking to the people being investigated as part of the impeachment inquiry.

But Republicans said the decision amounted to an “abuse of power” by the Democrats.

“Folks, you have made Joe McCarthy look like a piker,” said Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a Republican and former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “This is a major step in the surveillance state getting out of control.”

Monday’s hearing began with both sides presenting their cases largely undisturbed. But once questioning began, Barry H. Berke, the Democratic lawyer, took aim at Stephen Castor, the Republican lawyer from the committee, grilling him aggressively.

In one testy exchange, Mr. Berke accused Mr. Castor of mischaracterizing the testimony of Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, by writing in a report that she found a July 25 call between Mr. Trump and the president of Ukraine merely “unusual.” Mr. Berke noted that she actually called it “unusual and inappropriate.” Mr. Castor denied misquoting her, saying it “wasn’t a block quote.”

The back-and-forth between the two lawyers caused Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a former Republican chairman of the committee to accuse Mr. Berke of “badgering the witness.” Mr. Nadler slammed his gavel. “He’s not,” Mr. Nadler said.

The headline from Democrats at Monday’s hearing was from the opening statement by Barry H. Berke, the top lawyer for Judiciary Democrats, who told the committee that Mr. Trump’s actions were “so brazen” that there was no question that he had abused his power to advance his own political interests.

“The evidence is overwhelming,” Mr. Berke said, repeating the phrase to counter Republican arguments that the impeachment inquiry had been rushed and inadequate. He said the facts were “uncontradicted” and “cannot be disputed.”

Mr. Goldman later said that the president had tried to distort next year’s election with false allegations, pointing to his weekend statements to reporters that Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, would make a report to the Justice Department about Democrats.

“President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security,” Mr. Goldman said.

Mr. Berke placed the president’s actions with Ukraine in the context of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election as investigated by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Berke played a video clip of Mr. Trump that year publicly calling on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, and another of him as president telling reporters he wanted Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Rather than leave the matter to voters next fall, as some Republicans have argued, Mr. Berke said the House had to act now because Mr. Trump was trying to corrupt the 2020 election.

During Monday’s hearing, Republicans focused more on the actions of the Democrats than Mr. Trump’s, arguing that the president has been the target of an illegitimate, partisan witch hunt.

Mr. Castor devoted the majority of his prepared testimony to how the Democrats have conducted their inquiry and, in his view, distorted the facts.

“The Democrats went searching for a set of facts on which to impeach the president — the emoluments clause, the president’s business and financial records, the Mueller report and allegations of obstruction there — before settling on Ukraine,” he said.

Mr. Castor maintained that Mr. Trump was not pursuing his own interests, but was only concerned about corruption in Ukraine. And he noted that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said he did not feel pressured, saying that “if President Trump was truly orchestrating a pressure campaign to force Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden, one would think that Ukraine would have felt some pressure.”

A central theme pushed by Republicans during Monday’s hearing was the blame-Ukraine defense, in which they contended that Mr. Trump was justified in asking Ukraine for investigations because had genuine concerns about corruption there.

“Democrats dismiss these as conspiracy theories to suggest that President Trump has no legitimate reason — other than his own political interests — to raise these issues with President Zelensky,” Mr. Castor said. “The evidence, however, shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues.”

Mr. Castor did not explain, however, why Mr. Trump never mentioned the word “corruption” in either of his phone calls with Mr. Zelensky if that was his concern. Intelligence agencies and former advisers to Mr. Trump have warned against advancing such claims, attributing them to an effort by Russia to shift responsibility after its operation to tilt the 2016 election.

“I am not saying that it was Ukraine and not Russia,” Mr. Castor said. “I am saying that both countries can work to influence an election.”

Monday’s hearing provided another venue for Republicans to lodge repeated complaints about the way Mr. Nadler is running the impeachment process, raising parliamentary points and forcing party-line votes.

Republicans pressed Mr. Nadler to schedule a hearing day that they would be allowed to organize, including calling witnesses of their choice. Later in the day, Mr. Nadler denied the request.

They objected to the content of Mr. Berke’s presentation, arguing that it violated the committee’s rules of decorum against making disparaging remarks about the president. Mr. Nadler shut down the criticisms.

Republicans also complained that the lawyers making the opening presentations had not been sworn in under oath and that committee Republicans had not received until last weekend 8,000 pages of information from the House investigation.

They also used the moment to jab at Mr. Schiff, for not presenting the evidence his panel gathered himself, prompting Mr. Collins to say: “Instead he is sending his staff to do his job for him. I guess that’s what you get when you’re making up impeachment as you go.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process

Video

transcript

Impeachment Hearing Highlights

The House Judiciary Committee heard evidence presented by Democratic and Republican lawyers as it considers articles of impeachment against President Trump.

“No public official, including and especially the president of the United States, should use his public office for private gain. And we agree that no president may put himself before the country.” “It’s amazing that they start with impeachment, and then they spent two years trying to figure out what do we impeach him on?” “Mr. Chairman, if this were a court of law you’d be facing sanctions right now by the Bar Association —” “The gentleman will state his point of order and not make a speech —” “Mr. Chairman, how are we supposed to process over 8,000 pages of documents that came from various committees?” “The gentlemen — that is not a point of order. That is not a point of order.” “Where’s Adam? Where’s Adam? It’s his report. His name. Mr. Goldman, you’re a great attorney but you’re not Adam Schiff and you don’t wear a pin.” “The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power by pressure — by pressuring Ukraine and its new president to investigate a political opponent. The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power by ramping up that pressure, by conditioning a wanted White House meeting and a needed military aid that had been approved in order to get that president to investigate a political rival.” “Much has also been made about President Trump’s reference on the July 25 call to Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma, a corrupt Ukrainian energy company, and the actions of certain Ukrainian officials in the run-up to the 2016 election. Democrats dismiss these conspiracy theories to suggest that the president has no legitimate reason other than his own political interests to raise these issues with President Zelensky. The evidence, however, shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues.” “My question is, why did you misquote Ms. Williams in terms of —” “I didn’t misquote her.” “Why did you do it?” “We certainly misquote her.” “So you stand — so from the standard that you apply to your fact-finding in your report, you believe that it was entirely proper to say that Ms. Williams found the call to be unusual when in fact, she found the call to be unusual, and inappropriate and of a political nature given that the former vice president is a political opponent of the president. Is that your testimony sir?” “I mean, we described what Ms. Williams said.” “Sir, is that your — no you didn’t.” Rep. Collins: “Mr. Chairman, if either, you can ask —” Rep. Nadler: “The gentleman —” Rep. Collins: “Mr. Chairman, I’m not — he can either ask or answer, he can’t do both.” Rep. Nadler: “The gentleman —” Rep. Collins: “You can ask or answer, you can’t do both.” Rep. Nadler: “The gentleman is not recognized.” “Point of order that he’s badgering the witness.” “He is not — the gentleman will continue.”

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-impeach1-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

The House Judiciary Committee heard evidence presented by Democratic and Republican lawyers as it considers articles of impeachment against President Trump.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Democrats and Republicans who squared off at Monday’s impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee had one remarkable point of agreement: Both said that there are four key facts at the heart of the debate about whether President Trump should be impeached by the House and removed from office.

They just offered two completely different sets of facts.

Daniel S. Goldman, the chief investigator for the House Intelligence Committee, said during his presentation to the Judiciary Committee members that the Democratic case against the president can be “boiled down to four key takeaways.”

He said that Mr. Trump “directed a scheme to pressure Ukraine into opening two investigations”; that he used his office to withhold “an Oval Office meeting and $391 million in security assistance to pressure Ukraine”; that “everyone was in the loop”; and that “despite the public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the president to release the aid, he has not given up.”

When Republicans had the microphone, several offered their own four-part assessment of how best to understand what they viewed as the failure of Democrats to make the case.

Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, offered them in his usual, rapid-fire fashion: He asserted that Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine did not show evidence of pressure or a quid pro quo; that Mr. Zelensky has repeatedly denied feeling pressured; that Ukraine did not know the security aid was held up; and that the aid was eventually released without any announcement of an investigation that Mr. Trump wanted.

Democrats take issue with those four points, asserting that they are factually wrong or a questionable interpretation, just as Republicans challenge the four Democratic points. Together, they underscore how far apart both sides are in terms of agreeing on a common set of facts in the impeachment inquiry.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165692631_d26fde44-a3d4-4788-b9de-3fc8ae8f562a-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Takeaways: Democrats Allege ‘Brazen’ Trump Scheme While Republicans Lament ‘Unfair’ Process United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, during the hearing on Monday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, denied requests for Republican witnesses, including the appearance of Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, or the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint focused on the president’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

“The committee has previously tabled motions with regard to these matters at its December 4, 2019, hearing, and I see no reason to reconsider those requests,” Mr. Nadler wrote in a letter to Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Republicans have repeatedly demanded a hearing to feature their own witnesses, including the whistle-blower, Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; and Mr. Schiff, who they accuse of running an unfair impeachment investigation. Mr. Nadler has said for days that he would respond to their request.

In the letter, Mr. Nadler noted that Republicans had previously asked for the same witnesses to appear during hearings of the Intelligence Committee. “I concur in Chairman Schiff’s assessment and also find that these requests outside of the parameters of the impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Nadler wrote.

Under the rules of the impeachment inquiry, Republicans have the right to request a meeting of the Judiciary Committee to consider an appeal of Mr. Nadler’s decision, though because Democrats control the committee, it’s all but certain that the committee would support the chairman’s decision. In the letter, Mr. Nadler said he was willing to call such a meeting if the Republicans request it.

House Democrats are likely to use the testimony in Monday’s hearing as they begin drafting later this week the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump amid an intense debate about how expansive the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors should be.

Democrats appear poised to accuse Mr. Trump of abuse of power for pressuring Ukraine to help him incriminate Democratic rivals while withholding American security aid. They are also expect to charge him with obstructing the congressional investigation by defying subpoenas, blocking witnesses from testifying and denying documents.

It is less clear whether Democrats will include charges of obstruction of justice for trying to impede the Russia investigation by Mr. Mueller, whose report last spring included evidence of 10 instances of possible obstruction.

Republicans seized on a new talking point on Monday, accusing Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee of improperly revealing phone records.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia angrily demanded that Mr. Goldman tell lawmakers who made the decision to reveal the names of journalists and lawmakers in the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report after their numbers were identified as part of subpoenas of phone company records.

“Who ordered it? You or Mr. Schiff?” Mr. Collins asked Mr. Goldman, referring to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Mr. Goldman declined answer but tried to explain that such identifications occur in the normal course of the examination of phone records.

The telephone numbers of the journalists and lawmakers — including Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee — were included because they had been talking to the people being investigated as part of the impeachment inquiry.

But Republicans said the decision amounted to an “abuse of power” by the Democrats.

“Folks, you have made Joe McCarthy look like a piker,” said Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a Republican and former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “This is a major step in the surveillance state getting out of control.”

Monday’s hearing began with both sides presenting their cases largely undisturbed. But once questioning began, Barry H. Berke, the Democratic lawyer, took aim at Stephen Castor, the Republican lawyer from the committee, grilling him aggressively.

In one testy exchange, Mr. Berke accused Mr. Castor of mischaracterizing the testimony of Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, by writing in a report that she found a July 25 call between Mr. Trump and the president of Ukraine merely “unusual.” Mr. Berke noted that she actually called it “unusual and inappropriate.” Mr. Castor denied misquoting her, saying it “wasn’t a block quote.”

The back-and-forth between the two lawyers caused Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a former Republican chairman of the committee to accuse Mr. Berke of “badgering the witness.” Mr. Nadler slammed his gavel. “He’s not,” Mr. Nadler said.

The headline from Democrats at Monday’s hearing was from the opening statement by Barry H. Berke, the top lawyer for Judiciary Democrats, who told the committee that Mr. Trump’s actions were “so brazen” that there was no question that he had abused his power to advance his own political interests.

“The evidence is overwhelming,” Mr. Berke said, repeating the phrase to counter Republican arguments that the impeachment inquiry had been rushed and inadequate. He said the facts were “uncontradicted” and “cannot be disputed.”

Mr. Goldman later said that the president had tried to distort next year’s election with false allegations, pointing to his weekend statements to reporters that Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, would make a report to the Justice Department about Democrats.

“President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security,” Mr. Goldman said.

Mr. Berke placed the president’s actions with Ukraine in the context of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election as investigated by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Berke played a video clip of Mr. Trump that year publicly calling on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, and another of him as president telling reporters he wanted Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Rather than leave the matter to voters next fall, as some Republicans have argued, Mr. Berke said the House had to act now because Mr. Trump was trying to corrupt the 2020 election.

During Monday’s hearing, Republicans focused more on the actions of the Democrats than Mr. Trump’s, arguing that the president has been the target of an illegitimate, partisan witch hunt.

Mr. Castor devoted the majority of his prepared testimony to how the Democrats have conducted their inquiry and, in his view, distorted the facts.

“The Democrats went searching for a set of facts on which to impeach the president — the emoluments clause, the president’s business and financial records, the Mueller report and allegations of obstruction there — before settling on Ukraine,” he said.

Mr. Castor maintained that Mr. Trump was not pursuing his own interests, but was only concerned about corruption in Ukraine. And he noted that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said he did not feel pressured, saying that “if President Trump was truly orchestrating a pressure campaign to force Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden, one would think that Ukraine would have felt some pressure.”

A central theme pushed by Republicans during Monday’s hearing was the blame-Ukraine defense, in which they contended that Mr. Trump was justified in asking Ukraine for investigations because had genuine concerns about corruption there.

“Democrats dismiss these as conspiracy theories to suggest that President Trump has no legitimate reason — other than his own political interests — to raise these issues with President Zelensky,” Mr. Castor said. “The evidence, however, shows that there are legitimate questions about both issues.”

Mr. Castor did not explain, however, why Mr. Trump never mentioned the word “corruption” in either of his phone calls with Mr. Zelensky if that was his concern. Intelligence agencies and former advisers to Mr. Trump have warned against advancing such claims, attributing them to an effort by Russia to shift responsibility after its operation to tilt the 2016 election.

“I am not saying that it was Ukraine and not Russia,” Mr. Castor said. “I am saying that both countries can work to influence an election.”

Monday’s hearing provided another venue for Republicans to lodge repeated complaints about the way Mr. Nadler is running the impeachment process, raising parliamentary points and forcing party-line votes.

Republicans pressed Mr. Nadler to schedule a hearing day that they would be allowed to organize, including calling witnesses of their choice. Later in the day, Mr. Nadler denied the request.

They objected to the content of Mr. Berke’s presentation, arguing that it violated the committee’s rules of decorum against making disparaging remarks about the president. Mr. Nadler shut down the criticisms.

Republicans also complained that the lawyers making the opening presentations had not been sworn in under oath and that committee Republicans had not received until last weekend 8,000 pages of information from the House investigation.

They also used the moment to jab at Mr. Schiff, for not presenting the evidence his panel gathered himself, prompting Mr. Collins to say: “Instead he is sending his staff to do his job for him. I guess that’s what you get when you’re making up impeachment as you go.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com