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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 143)

Trump Family Considers Selling Hotel in D.C.

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-hotel-facebookJumbo Trump Family Considers Selling Hotel in D.C. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Trump Hotels Hotels and Travel Lodgings Conflicts of Interest

WASHINGTON — The Trump family, after nearly three years of controversy and legal fights, is considering selling its landmark Washington hotel a few blocks from the White House.

The 263-room Trump International Washington has become perhaps the most potent symbol of the appearance of conflict of interest during the Trump era, often hosting foreign diplomats, corporate executives and lobbyists and political groups, many of which are pushing the White House for policy actions or other favors.

In moving to offer the hotel for sale, the Trump family acknowledged this tension, even as it argued that the millions of dollars of business it has done at the hotel have not been a legitimate ethical issue for the White House.

“Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options,” Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, said in a statement on Friday. “People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell.”

The hotel opened in late 2016, just before Mr. Trump was elected president, and quickly became one of the single biggest sources of revenue for the Trump family, according to financial disclosures, collecting $40.8 million last year.

The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, even while working in the White House, also retained a stake in the property, earning nearly $4 million from it last year.

The hotel in Washington is one of the few parts of the company that has seen major revenue growth since Mr. Trump took office.

It operates from a federal building known as the Old Post Office, and the space is leased by the Trump Organization from the government for 60 years. The Trump family spent $200 million renovating the huge Romanesque Revival structure, with its distinctive clock tower, which is still open to the public. Built from 1892 to 1899 to house the United States Post Office department headquarters and the city’s post office, it is the second-tallest building in Washington after the Washington Monument.

Any transfer of the lease would have to be approved by the federal General Services Administration, which awarded the deal to the Trump Organization after a competition among various bidders.

The hotel is central to lawsuits pending against the Trump Organization by at least three groups that argue Mr. Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments.

The Trump family has tried to address the emoluments issue by sending an annual payment to the Treasury Department for what it says are the profits from these payments by foreign governments, which it said totaled about $191,538 last year at the Washington hotel and other properties it owns, up from $151,470 the year before.

Eric Trump, in a statement about the potential sale, which was first reported on Friday by The Wall Street Journal, said the family had already done its part to address the questions about conflicts.

“Unlike every other hotel company, while our father is president of the United States, we have imposed voluntary restrictions and have chosen not to market, nor solicit, foreign government business during his time in office,” he said.

He added that the hotel had also at times turned away business from foreign governments, which he called “a major sacrifice, especially in a market dominated by foreign embassies, government patronage and international delegations.”

But the operations at the hotel have continued to draw criticism, as have the visits by foreign government officials, even if they are just buying drinks or dinner in the hotel’s atrium, which is filled on many nights with supporters of Mr. Trump, among other guests.

“The Trump D.C. hotel has embodied the conflicts of interest and self-enrichment schemes that pervade the Trump administration, easily the most corrupt in modern American history,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a group that has tracked millions of dollars in spending by political candidates, foreign governments and other politically connected groups at the hotel in Washington.

One nonprofit group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has tracked at least 694 visits to the hotel by executive branch officials, members of Congress and foreign government officials since Mr. Trump took office.

Democrats in Congress have also continued to question if it is even legal for Mr. Trump to serve simultaneously as both the owner of the hotel, through a family trust, and essentially as the landlord, through the General Services Administration.

A provision in the lease says that “no member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease,” which may prohibit the ownership arrangement. The lease was granted to Mr. Trump before he was elected president.

House Democrats this week sent a subpoena to the General Services Administration demanding that it provide documents addressing this question, which was first raised shortly after Mr. Trump was elected.

“Removing the Trump Organization from the lease of a taxpayer-owned building is a good place to start to ensure President Trump isn’t making a profit as both landlord and tenant of the Old Post Office Building,” Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, who is chairman of the House committee that oversees the General Services Administration, said in a statement Friday.

“But given everything I’ve seen from dealing with this administration and the G.S.A. over the past two years,” Mr. DeFazio added. “I’m skeptical that this latest development isn’t an attempt to make a massive profit that directly benefits the Trump family so I will be following this marketing attempt closely.”

The Trump family has hired the real estate company JLL Hotels & Hospitality to help look for potential buyers of the hotel. But it did not address questions on Friday about why the family choose now to try to sell the hotel, or if it reflected any financial pressure on the Trump Organization, whose many other business operations have declined during Mr. Trump’s tenure in the White House.

Before the Trump Organization can sell, the deal will need to pass muster with the company’s outside ethics adviser, Bobby Burchfield, who is a lawyer in Washington.

Under an ethics plan adopted when Mr. Trump became president, Mr. Burchfield must verify that the deal is not unusually favorable to the Trumps — the price must reflect a “fair market value”— and that the buyer is not seeking to gain favor with the Trump administration, among other tests. The buyer cannot be a foreign official or sovereign wealth fund, but foreign citizens are not automatically prohibited from buying the hotel.

On Monday, the president addressed the loss of business at some of his family resorts, such as the Trump National Doral near Miami, which he had proposed, and then backed away from offering, as a site for the 2020 gathering of the Group of 7 world leaders.

“All of a sudden, people — some people — didn’t like it,” Mr. Trump said as he pointed to declines in sales at the Doral. “They thought the rhetoric was too tough, and it went from doing great to doing fine. It does very nicely now.“

Speaking more broadly about the effect of the presidency on his family businesses, he said: “Now instead of getting 100 percent of the market that loves you, and they love your brand, and it’s luxury and it’s great, now you have 50 percent of the market. That’s called politics. I fully understood that.”

The White House declined to comment on Friday on the announcement.

Even a possible sale of the hotel is likely to create questions for Mr. Trump and his family, ethics lawyers said, as any buyer could pay perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars.

Lawyers involved in the emoluments suits said the cases would continue, even if the sale goes through, since foreign government officials are spending money at other Trump hotels and resorts.

“To people who think Donald Trump is frightened by the emoluments clause cases, they are reading way too much into this,” said Laurence H. Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor who has participated in one of the lawsuits and been a critic of Mr. Trump. “What this shows is that Donald Trump remains a master of distraction.”

Sharon LaFraniere and Ben Protess contributed reporting.

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Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-impeach-sub-facebookJumbo-v6 Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory Zelensky, Volodymyr Vought, Russell T United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Michael Duffey House of Representatives Brechbuhl, T Ulrich

Breaking News Update: The House is legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a federal judge ruled on Friday, delivering a major victory to House Democrats and undercutting arguments by President Trump and Republicans that the investigation is a sham.

The House Judiciary Committee is entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in a 75-page opinion. Attorney General William P. Barr had withheld the material from lawmakers.

Typically, Congress has no right to view secret evidence gathered by a grand jury. But in 1974, the courts permitted the committee weighing whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon to see such materials — and, Judge Howell ruled, the House is now engaged in the same process focused on Mr. Trump.

Judge Howell, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote that law enforcement officials’ need to keep the information secret from Congress was “minimal” and easily outweighed by lawmakers’ need for it.

“Tipping the scale even further toward disclosure is the public’s interest in a diligent and thorough investigation into, and in a final determination about, potentially impeachable conduct by the president described in the Mueller report,” she wrote.

In reaching her decision, Judge Howell rejected the contention by Mr. Trump and his allies that the investigation Democrats are pursuing, which has since expanded to encompass the Ukraine scandal, is not a legitimate impeachment inquiry.

The Justice Department is reviewing the decision, a spokeswoman said.

In arguing that the impeachment inquiry is a sham, Republicans have noted that the full House has not voted for a resolution to authorize one, as it did in 1974 and 1998 at the start of impeachment proceedings targeting Nixon and Bill Clinton. Democrats have countered that no resolution is required under the Constitution or House rules, noting that impeachment efforts to remove other officials, like judges, started without one.

Judge Howell agreed, calling the Republican arguments to the contrary “cherry-picked and incomplete” and without support in the text of the Constitution, House rules, or court precedents. She also noted that the House Judiciary Committee began considering whether to impeach President Andrew Johnson, after the Civil War, well before the full House approved a resolution blessing it.

“Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry,” she wrote.

An earlier version of the article is below.

WASHINGTON — The triad of House committees leading the impeachment inquiry unleashed another round of subpoenas on Friday, demanding that three more administration officials — including the acting head of the White House budget office — testify as part of their investigation into President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

With the White House ordering all staff to stonewall the inquiry, the committees directed the three officials to submit to depositions early next month: Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget; Michael Duffey, another top Trump appointee there; and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a counselor at the State Department.

Their accounts could be crucial to investigators’ understanding of the Trump administration’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine earlier this year, a move that administration officials and at least one witness in the inquiry have said resulted from a directive from the president.

Mr. Vought and Mr. Duffey both played roles in freezing the aid, and investigators are eager to question them on how Mr. Trump asked for the freeze and why.

The issue is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, which is investigating whether Mr. Trump abused his power to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to incriminate Mr. Trump’s political rivals. The $391 million security assistance package for Ukraine was delayed for months, as was a White House meeting between the two presidents, as Mr. Trump sought assurances that Mr. Zelensky would announce investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, and other Democrats.

All three of the officials were asked to appear in early November, suggesting that Democrats intend to continue the private phase of their investigation for several more weeks before convening public hearings.

The latest bevy of subpoenas — issued jointly by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees, which are leading the investigation — will further challenge the administration’s reluctance to cooperate with the inquiry. Mr. Brechbuhl is a close ally of Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and it is unclear if he will join other State Department officials in defying White House orders to ignore subpoenas and appear before the committee.

“We will not be participating in a sham process designed to re-litigate the last election,” Mr. Vought said on Fox News earlier this month.

Mr. Vought announced this week that neither he nor Mr. Duffey, who was involved in the approval of the orders freezing the money, would appear as requested.

The budget office, under Mr. Vought’s leadership, has also refused to provide communications and other records that could potentially reveal more about the handling of the aid package for Ukraine.

Mr. Duffey, who moved to the budget office from the Department of Defense earlier this year, began overseeing the approval and distribution of the foreign aid in part because he wanted to become more involved in the process, known as apportionment, according to a senior administration official. Career officials remain involved in the process, while Mr. Duffey now reviews and signs off on it.

Administration officials have said that Mr. Trump personally asked for the aid to be frozen ahead of a phone call with the new Ukrainian president where he asked for an investigation into Mr. Biden. And William B. Taylor Jr., the United States ambassador to Ukraine, testified this week that he heard a White House budget official say that the president had ordered the staff there not to approve the money.

But Mr. Trump has doubled down on his assertion that there was nothing wrong with his discussion with Mr. Zelensky, again telling reporters on Friday that “this was a perfect conversation.”

“This is a hoax — just like there was no collusion,” Mr. Trump said repeatedly of the allegations, charging that Democrats are “trying to make us look as bad as possible.”

The committees are also scheduled to hear in closed session on Saturday from Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department.

Nicholas Fandos and Edward Wong contributed reporting.

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

Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-impeach-sub-facebookJumbo-v6 Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory Zelensky, Volodymyr Vought, Russell T United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Michael Duffey House of Representatives Brechbuhl, T Ulrich

Breaking News Update: The House is legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a federal judge ruled on Friday, delivering a major victory to House Democrats and undercutting arguments by President Trump and Republicans that the investigation is a sham.

The House Judiciary Committee is entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in a 75-page opinion. Attorney General William P. Barr had withheld the material from lawmakers.

Typically, Congress has no right to view secret evidence gathered by a grand jury. But in 1974, the courts permitted the committee weighing whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon to see such materials — and, Judge Howell ruled, the House is now engaged in the same process focused on Mr. Trump.

Judge Howell, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote that law enforcement officials’ need to keep the information secret from Congress was “minimal” and easily outweighed by lawmakers’ need for it.

“Tipping the scale even further toward disclosure is the public’s interest in a diligent and thorough investigation into, and in a final determination about, potentially impeachable conduct by the president described in the Mueller report,” she wrote.

In reaching her decision, Judge Howell rejected the contention by Mr. Trump and his allies that the investigation Democrats are pursuing, which has since expanded to encompass the Ukraine scandal, is not a legitimate impeachment inquiry.

The Justice Department is reviewing the decision, a spokeswoman said.

In arguing that the impeachment inquiry is a sham, Republicans have noted that the full House has not voted for a resolution to authorize one, as it did in 1974 and 1998 at the start of impeachment proceedings targeting Nixon and Bill Clinton. Democrats have countered that no resolution is required under the Constitution or House rules, noting that impeachment efforts to remove other officials, like judges, started without one.

Judge Howell agreed, calling the Republican arguments to the contrary “cherry-picked and incomplete” and without support in the text of the Constitution, House rules, or court precedents. She also noted that the House Judiciary Committee began considering whether to impeach President Andrew Johnson, after the Civil War, well before the full House approved a resolution blessing it.

“Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry,” she wrote.

An earlier version of the article is below.

WASHINGTON — The triad of House committees leading the impeachment inquiry unleashed another round of subpoenas on Friday, demanding that three more administration officials — including the acting head of the White House budget office — testify as part of their investigation into President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

With the White House ordering all staff to stonewall the inquiry, the committees directed the three officials to submit to depositions early next month: Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget; Michael Duffey, another top Trump appointee there; and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a counselor at the State Department.

Their accounts could be crucial to investigators’ understanding of the Trump administration’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine earlier this year, a move that administration officials and at least one witness in the inquiry have said resulted from a directive from the president.

Mr. Vought and Mr. Duffey both played roles in freezing the aid, and investigators are eager to question them on how Mr. Trump asked for the freeze and why.

The issue is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, which is investigating whether Mr. Trump abused his power to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to incriminate Mr. Trump’s political rivals. The $391 million security assistance package for Ukraine was delayed for months, as was a White House meeting between the two presidents, as Mr. Trump sought assurances that Mr. Zelensky would announce investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, and other Democrats.

All three of the officials were asked to appear in early November, suggesting that Democrats intend to continue the private phase of their investigation for several more weeks before convening public hearings.

The latest bevy of subpoenas — issued jointly by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees, which are leading the investigation — will further challenge the administration’s reluctance to cooperate with the inquiry. Mr. Brechbuhl is a close ally of Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and it is unclear if he will join other State Department officials in defying White House orders to ignore subpoenas and appear before the committee.

“We will not be participating in a sham process designed to re-litigate the last election,” Mr. Vought said on Fox News earlier this month.

Mr. Vought announced this week that neither he nor Mr. Duffey, who was involved in the approval of the orders freezing the money, would appear as requested.

The budget office, under Mr. Vought’s leadership, has also refused to provide communications and other records that could potentially reveal more about the handling of the aid package for Ukraine.

Mr. Duffey, who moved to the budget office from the Department of Defense earlier this year, began overseeing the approval and distribution of the foreign aid in part because he wanted to become more involved in the process, known as apportionment, according to a senior administration official. Career officials remain involved in the process, while Mr. Duffey now reviews and signs off on it.

Administration officials have said that Mr. Trump personally asked for the aid to be frozen ahead of a phone call with the new Ukrainian president where he asked for an investigation into Mr. Biden. And William B. Taylor Jr., the United States ambassador to Ukraine, testified this week that he heard a White House budget official say that the president had ordered the staff there not to approve the money.

But Mr. Trump has doubled down on his assertion that there was nothing wrong with his discussion with Mr. Zelensky, again telling reporters on Friday that “this was a perfect conversation.”

“This is a hoax — just like there was no collusion,” Mr. Trump said repeatedly of the allegations, charging that Democrats are “trying to make us look as bad as possible.”

The committees are also scheduled to hear in closed session on Saturday from Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department.

Nicholas Fandos and Edward Wong contributed reporting.

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

Trump Family Considers Selling Hotel in Washington

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-hotel-facebookJumbo Trump Family Considers Selling Hotel in Washington United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Trump Hotels Hotels and Travel Lodgings Conflicts of Interest

WASHINGTON — The Trump family, after nearly three years of controversy and legal fights, is considering selling its Washington hotel that is a few blocks from the White House, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The hotel has become a frequent target of criticism for Mr. Trump and his family because it frequently hosts foreign diplomats as well as corporate executives seeking approvals from the Trump administration and political groups that are pushing the White House for policy actions, creating questions about conflicts of interest.

“Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options,” Eric Trump said Friday in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the proposal. “People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell.”

The hotel opened in late 2016, just before Mr. Trump was elected president, and quickly became one of the single biggest sources of revenue for the Trump family, according to financial disclosures. It also is one of the few parts of the company that has seen major revenue growth since Mr. Trump took office.

The hotel operates out of a federal building known as the Old Post Office, and the space is leased by the Trump Organization for 60 years. Any transfer of that lease would have to be approved by the federal General Services Administration, which awarded the deal to the Trump Organization after a competition among various bidders.

The hotel is a key part of lawsuits pending against the Trump Organization by at least three groups that argue Mr. Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments.

The Trump family has attempted to address this by sending an annual payment to the Treasury of what it says are any profits from these payments by foreign governments, which it said totaled about $191,538 last year at the Washington hotel and other properties it owns, up from $151,470 the year before.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Trump Is Speaking at a Historically Black College. His Allies Will Outnumber Students.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163194225_b67f47f6-4ace-4d46-98c4-219861f6ca1b-facebookJumbo Trump Is Speaking at a Historically Black College. His Allies Will Outnumber Students. Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Historically Black Colleges and Universities criminal justice Benedict College

COLUMBIA, S.C. — President Trump and his allies have billed his speech at a historically black college here on Friday afternoon as a chance to step outside the friendly confines of his supporter base and pitch his administration’s actions on criminal justice reform and black employment directly to a black audience.

But in the invitation-only room of about 300 people, only about 10 students will be admitted from Benedict College, which is hosting the event, said Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia. More than half of the seats were reserved for guests and allies of the administration, organizers said.

The ticket distribution was first reported by McClatchy DC.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to open a three-day event at the college, billed as the “Second Step Presidential Justice Forum.” Leading Democratic presidential candidates will attend the forum on Saturday and Sunday to pitch their criminal justice plans, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Mr. Trump signed the bipartisan First Step Act in December, which has helped thousands of federal inmates secure early release under new sentencing guidelines and has been a key part of the White House’s pitch for black support. The Trump administration has hailed the act as one of its signature legislative accomplishments.

In the Democratic primary, black voters play a critical role in selecting the party’s nominee, and they are one of the party’s most surefire bases of support in the general election. But even the slightest downturn in black turnout can be fatal for a Democratic presidential candidate, and Mr. Trump and his allies have expressed some hope that they can peel off enough black voters — or keep them home altogether — to make an impact in battleground states in 2020.

In 2016, a decrease in black turnout in cities such as Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia helped Mr. Trump win key swing states by razor-thin margins, propelling him to an Electoral College victory.

With that political backdrop in mind, overhauling the criminal justice system has, in recent years, been one of the rare areas of some bipartisan agreement in an increasingly polarized Congress, and that partial consensus has spilled into the presidential race. Democrats making the progressive argument for reform have cited the system’s disproportionate impact on black, Latino and Native American communities.

Conservatives, while avoiding portraying the system as inherently prejudiced, have often focused on the financial burden mass incarceration places on governments.

The Trump administration has sought to support historically black colleges and universities, increasing federal support by 14.3 percent. And Mr. Trump spoke to black educators last month at the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week conference.

But Mr. Trump has also made attacks on lawmakers of color central to his re-election strategy. This summer, for example, he lashed out at Representative Elijah E. Cummings on Twitter, referring to Mr. Cummings’s majority-black district in Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

Mr. Cummings, who died last week, on Thursday became the first African-American elected official to lie in state in the United States Capitol.

Leaders of historically black colleges and universities have long enjoyed close relationships with both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, even as their institutions face increasingly dire financial straits. Born of a time of segregation when black Americans were forced to educate themselves, the schools have produced black leaders for more than a century, including politicians such as Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mr. Cummings, who both attended Howard University.

In 2017, when several presidents of black colleges met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, many faced backlash from their student bodies. At Howard, founded 150 years ago in Washington, campus buildings were tagged with graffiti that denounced the school’s president and said “Make Howard black again.”

Campus leaders defended themselves by pointing to their pocketbooks, and the need to secure federal funds to maintain viability.

“You need to get to the president to impact his budget if you hope to get your financial support from Congress,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and chief executive of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which represents 47 black colleges and universities that receive public funding.

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For Impeachment Witnesses, Testifying Can Cost $15,000 or More

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162851514_4137510f-3c8a-4bfb-a10d-bc472af735a8-facebookJumbo For Impeachment Witnesses, Testifying Can Cost $15,000 or More Yovanovitch, Marie L Volker, Kurt D United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Taylor, William B Jr State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Legal Profession House Committee on Intelligence Ethics and Official Misconduct American Foreign Service Assn

WASHINGTON — As a parade of State Department officials began trooping to Capitol Hill this month to testify in the impeachment inquiry imperiling President Trump, officials from the department’s employee association dispatched an appeal to its nearly 17,000 members.

Send money, they pleaded.

For the second time since Mr. Trump took office, an investigation into his conduct has set off a scramble across Washington for lawyers to represent witnesses — and for the money to pay them. This time, instead of high-rolling players in Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, many of the witnesses are career government workers who helped shape or carry out policy toward Ukraine.

On civil-servant salaries, they have racked up bills of $15,000 or more for lawyers who can guide them through the morning-to-dusk sessions before congressional inquisitors. Already caught in a struggle between two branches of government, many are now worried about how to pay for legal advice that can cost $750 to $1,500 an hour.

“We have never faced a comparable situation,” said Eric Rubin, a senior American diplomat who runs the organization, the American Foreign Service Association. “Our colleagues are facing unprecedented legal bills.”

He said his association has received a steady stream of donations, mostly in small amounts, since asking for them on Oct. 8.

The impeachment inquiry has some pluses for lawyers: opportunities to wrestle with high-profile legal issues like the limits of executive privilege and to reap free publicity escorting clients through a gantlet of cameras to the Capitol chambers where depositions are being conducted. At the least, they get a front-row seat in an inquiry that has gripped the nation.

But a moneymaker it is not. Even if a client pays in full, representing a single congressional witness is far less profitable than the corporate work that is the lifeblood of many Washington law firms.

“I don’t think anybody takes these cases because they are lucrative. They are not,” said Robert Luskin, who represents Gordon D. Sondland, a wealthy Republican donor-turned-ambassador and one of the inquiry’s few deep-pocketed witnesses.

“You do these cases because you believe in the client or you believe in the cause or you believe in the process, not because they are financially rewarding.”

Over the years, he said, he has asked so many friends to represent civil servants in politically charged inquiries that “when these are going on, they don’t want to take my call.”

So far, nearly a dozen witnesses have cooperated with the inquiry, most of whom are still in the government.

Their pool of potential lawyers is restricted because ethics rules bar federal officials from accepting free or discounted legal services from lawyers that have business before their agencies, according to Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit watchdog group. Exceptions are made if the lawyer is a friend.

And while senior government officials are sometimes encouraged to buy inexpensive legal liability insurance, the policies typically cover only the cost of a bargain-basement lawyer skilled in handling routine employment battles over issues like dismissals and discipline, according to one senior diplomat who is knowledgeable about such policies.

The witnesses in the impeachment inquiry need a higher caliber of legal advice because testifying is fraught with pitfalls. Witnesses still in government service could be risking their jobs by cooperating in defiance of a White House directive declaring the inquiry illegitimate.

None of them can fact-check their testimony against official records of meetings and phone calls because the administration is withholding such documents. But they must be mindful of what they say, because lying to Congress is a crime that carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Typically, Mr. Luskin said, he would have spent days going through officials records to prepare a witness like Mr. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union who testified for nearly nine hours this month. But the State Department has refused to turn over those documents, so Mr. Sondland testified based largely on memory.

Members of Congress publicly criticized him for all the times he said he could not remember. “It is much more difficult in these circumstances,” Mr. Luskin said.

The witnesses have relied on a small and disparate group of lawyers, ranging from senior litigators like Lawrence S. Robbins, who has argued 18 cases before the Supreme Court, to Margaret E. Daum, who joined the firm of Squire Patton Boggs just seven months ago after more than a decade leading investigations in Congress.

Mr. Robbins represents Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump forced out as ambassador to Ukraine in May. Ms. Daum represents Kurt D. Volker, who resigned last month as the special envoy to Ukraine, and Philip T. Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia.

Other lawyers have deep backgrounds in intelligence or foreign policy, including John Bellinger, a legal adviser to the National Security Council and the State Department under President George W. Bush, and Lee S. Wolosky, a national security official under both Mr. Bush and President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Bellinger represents William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine who on Tuesday provided the most damning testimony to date against the president. He also represents Michael McKinley, who quit his senior State Department post after the White House forced out Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Wolosky, who represents Fiona Hill, a former Russia expert on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, wound up in a standoff with the White House Counsel’s Office over his client’s testimony.

Three days before Ms. Hill was to testify, two lawyers from the counsel’s office argued to him in a telephone conversation that the discussions she was privy to were protected by executive privilege.

Mr. Wolosky replied in a letter that not only had those topics already been aired publicly, but that government misconduct wipes away privilege claims. Ms. Hill’s testimony on Oct. 14 illuminated the divisions within the White House over the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader for political gain.

Andrew Bakaj and Mark S. Zaid, who represent the C.I.A. officer whose whistle-blower complaint touched off the impeachment investigation, are fighting a different battle. Republicans are trying to force their client to testify, hoping it would reveal a bias against Mr. Trump. But his lawyers are trying to keep his identity confidential for his protection. They also say investigators no longer need him because a stream of other witnesses, many with firsthand information, have given accounts.

Neither that whistle-blower nor a second one is paying them, but a charitable organization established to aid whistle-blowers has raised about $220,000 to cover their firm’s work.

As investigators assemble facts and work their way through witnesses, the legal bills are certain to mount. The House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the investigation, has yet to summon a parade of high-profile witnesses, including John R. Bolton, who left last month as national security adviser.

Mr. Bolton has already secured a high-powered lawyer: Charles J. Cooper, who represented Jeff Sessions when he was attorney general during the Russia investigation.

Mr. Cooper also represents Charles M. Kupperman, the former acting national security adviser, who is expected to testify next week.

Julian E. Barnes and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

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For Impeachment Witnesses, Testifying Can Cost $15,000

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162851514_4137510f-3c8a-4bfb-a10d-bc472af735a8-facebookJumbo For Impeachment Witnesses, Testifying Can Cost $15,000 Yovanovitch, Marie L Volker, Kurt D United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Taylor, William B Jr State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Legal Profession House Committee on Intelligence Ethics and Official Misconduct American Foreign Service Assn

WASHINGTON — As a parade of State Department officials began trooping to Capitol Hill this month to testify in the impeachment inquiry imperiling President Trump, officials from the department’s employee association dispatched an appeal to its nearly 17,000 members.

Send money, they pleaded.

For the second time since Mr. Trump took office, an investigation into his conduct has set off a scramble across Washington for lawyers to represent witnesses — and for the money to pay them. This time, instead of high-rolling players in Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, many of the witnesses are career government workers who helped shape or carry out policy toward Ukraine.

On civil-servant salaries, they have racked up bills of $15,000 or more for lawyers who can guide them through the morning-to-dusk sessions before congressional inquisitors. Already caught in a struggle between two branches of government, many are now worried about how to pay for legal advice that can cost $750 to $1,500 an hour.

“We have never faced a comparable situation,” said Eric Rubin, a senior American diplomat who runs the organization, the American Foreign Service Association. “Our colleagues are facing unprecedented legal bills.”

He said his association has received a steady stream of donations, mostly in small amounts, since asking for them on Oct. 8.

The impeachment inquiry has some pluses for lawyers: opportunities to wrestle with high-profile legal issues like the limits of executive privilege and to reap free publicity escorting clients through a gantlet of cameras to the Capitol chambers where depositions are being conducted. At the least, they get a front-row seat in an inquiry that has gripped the nation.

But a moneymaker it is not. Even if a client pays in full, representing a single congressional witness is far less profitable than the corporate work that is the lifeblood of many Washington law firms.

“I don’t think anybody takes these cases because they are lucrative. They are not,” said Robert Luskin, who represents Gordon D. Sondland, a wealthy Republican donor-turned-ambassador and one of the inquiry’s few deep-pocketed witnesses.

“You do these cases because you believe in the client or you believe in the cause or you believe in the process, not because they are financially rewarding.”

Over the years, he said, he has asked so many friends to represent civil servants in politically charged inquiries that “when these are going on, they don’t want to take my call.”

So far, nearly a dozen witnesses have cooperated with the inquiry, most of whom are still in the government.

Their pool of potential lawyers is restricted because ethics rules bar federal officials from accepting free or discounted legal services from lawyers that have business before their agencies, according to Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit watchdog group. Exceptions are made if the lawyer is a friend.

And while senior government officials are sometimes encouraged to buy inexpensive legal liability insurance, the policies typically cover only the cost of a bargain-basement lawyer skilled in handling routine employment battles over issues like dismissals and discipline, according to one senior diplomat who is knowledgeable about such policies.

The witnesses in the impeachment inquiry need a higher caliber of legal advice because testifying is fraught with pitfalls. Witnesses still in government service could be risking their jobs by cooperating in defiance of a White House directive declaring the inquiry illegitimate.

None of them can fact-check their testimony against official records of meetings and phone calls because the administration is withholding such documents. But they must be mindful of what they say, because lying to Congress is a crime that carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Typically, Mr. Luskin said, he would have spent days going through officials records to prepare a witness like Mr. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union who testified for nearly nine hours this month. But the State Department has refused to turn over those documents, so Mr. Sondland testified based largely on memory.

Members of Congress publicly criticized him for all the times he said he could not remember. “It is much more difficult in these circumstances,” Mr. Luskin said.

The witnesses have relied on a small and disparate group of lawyers, ranging from senior litigators like Lawrence S. Robbins, who has argued 18 cases before the Supreme Court, to Margaret E. Daum, who joined the firm of Squire Patton Boggs just seven months ago after more than a decade leading investigations in Congress.

Mr. Robbins represents Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump forced out as ambassador to Ukraine in May. Ms. Daum represents Kurt D. Volker, who resigned last month as the special envoy to Ukraine, and Philip T. Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia.

Other lawyers have deep backgrounds in intelligence or foreign policy, including John Bellinger, a legal adviser to the National Security Council and the State Department under President George W. Bush, and Lee S. Wolosky, a national security official under both Mr. Bush and President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Bellinger represents William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine who on Tuesday provided the most damning testimony to date against the president. He also represents Michael McKinley, who quit his senior State Department post after the White House forced out Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Wolosky, who represents Fiona Hill, a former Russia expert on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, wound up in a standoff with the White House Counsel’s Office over his client’s testimony.

Three days before Ms. Hill was to testify, two lawyers from the counsel’s office argued to him in a telephone conversation that the discussions she was privy to were protected by executive privilege.

Mr. Wolosky replied in a letter that not only had those topics already been aired publicly, but that government misconduct wipes away privilege claims. Ms. Hill’s testimony on Oct. 14 illuminated the divisions within the White House over the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader for political gain.

Andrew Bakaj and Mark S. Zaid, who represent the C.I.A. officer whose whistle-blower complaint touched off the impeachment investigation, are fighting a different battle. Republicans are trying to force their client to testify, hoping it would reveal a bias against Mr. Trump. But his lawyers are trying to keep his identity confidential for his protection. They also say investigators no longer need him because a stream of other witnesses, many with firsthand information, have given accounts.

Neither that whistle-blower nor a second one is paying them, but a charitable organization established to aid whistle-blowers has raised about $220,000 to cover their firm’s work.

As investigators assemble facts and work their way through witnesses, the legal bills are certain to mount. The House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the investigation, has yet to summon a parade of high-profile witnesses, including John R. Bolton, who left last month as national security adviser.

Mr. Bolton has already secured a high-powered lawyer: Charles J. Cooper, who represented Jeff Sessions when he was attorney general during the Russia investigation.

Mr. Cooper also represents Charles M. Kupperman, the former acting national security adviser, who is expected to testify next week.

Julian E. Barnes and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

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Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163189776_f0d3f5f1-028a-43de-8ad8-7cf2d23dace7-facebookJumbo Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Surveillance of Citizens by Government Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Presidential Election of 2016 Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Durham, John H Comey, James B Clapper, James R Jr central intelligence agency Brennan, John O Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.

Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.

The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.

Mr. Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry. House Democrats are examining in part whether his pressure on Ukraine to open investigations into theories about the 2016 election constituted an abuse of power.

The move also creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into itself.

Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice.

It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Mr. Trump is certain to see the criminal investigation as a vindication of the years he and his allies have spent trying to discredit the Russia investigation. In May, Mr. Trump told the Fox News host Sean Hannity that the F.B.I. officials who opened the case — a counterintelligence investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Moscow’s election sabotage — had committed treason.

“We can never allow these treasonous acts happen to another president,” Mr. Trump said. He has called the F.B.I. investigation one of the biggest political scandals in United States history.

Federal investigators need only a “reasonable indication” that a crime has been committed to open an investigation, a much lower standard than the probable cause required to obtain search warrants. However, “there must be an objective, factual basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient,” according to Justice Department guidelines.

When Mr. Barr appointed Mr. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, to lead the review, he had only the power to voluntarily question people and examine government files.

Mr. Barr expressed skepticism of the Russia investigation even before joining the Trump administration. Weeks after being was sworn in this year, he said he intended to scrutinize how it started and used the term “spying” to describe investigators’ surveillance of Trump campaign advisers. But he has been careful to say he wants to determine whether investigators acted lawfully.

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” he told lawmakers in April. “And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”

Mr. Barr began the administrative review of the Russia investigation in May, saying that he had conversations with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to believe that the F.B.I. acted improperly, if not unlawfully.

The F.B.I. opened the investigation in late July 2016, code-named Crossfire Hurricane, after receiving information from the Australian government that a Trump campaign adviser had been approached with an offer of stolen emails that could damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

F.B.I. agents discovered the offer shortly after stolen Democratic emails were released, and the events, along with ties between other Trump advisers and Russia, set off fears that the Trump campaign was conspiring with Russia’s interference.

The F.B.I. did not use information from the C.I.A. in opening the Russia investigation, former American officials said. But agents’ views on Russia’s election interference operation crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey about it.

The C.I.A. did contribute heavily to the intelligence community’s assessment in early 2017 that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and tried to tip it in Mr. Trump’s favor, and law enforcement officials later used those findings to bolster their application for a wiretap on a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.

The special counsel who took over the Russia investigation in 2017, Robert S. Mueller III, secured convictions or guilty pleas from a handful of Trump associates and indictments of more than two dozen Russians on charges related to their wide-ranging interference scheme.

In his report, Mr. Mueller said that he had “insufficient evidence” to determine whether Mr. Trump or his aides engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians but that the campaign welcomed the sabotage and expected to benefit from it.

Mr. Barr is closely managing the Durham investigation, even traveling to Italy to seek help from officials there to run down an unfounded conspiracy that is at the heart of conservatives’ attacks on the Russia investigation — that the Italian government helped set up the Trump campaign adviser who was told in 2016 that the Russians had damaging information that could hurt Clinton’s campaign.

But Italy’s intelligence services told Mr. Barr that they played no such role in the events leading to the Russia investigation, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy said in a news conference on Wednesday. Mr. Barr has also contacted government officials in Britain and Australia about their roles in the early stages of the Russia investigation.

Revelations so far about Mr. Durham’s investigation have shown that he has focused in his first months on the accusations that Mr. Trump’s conservative allies have made about the origins of the Russia inquiry in their efforts to undermine it. Mr. Durham’s efforts have prompted criticism that he and Mr. Barr are trying to deliver the president a political victory, though investigators would typically run down all aspects of a case to complete a review of it.

Mr. Durham is running the investigation with a trusted aide, Nora R. Dannehy, and a pair of retired F.B.I. agents. Other prosecutors are also assisting, people familiar with the investigation said.

In interviewing more than two dozen former and current F.B.I. and intelligence officials, Mr. Durham’s investigators have asked about any anti-Trump bias among officials who worked on the Russia investigation and about one aspect of the investigation that was at the heart of highly contentious allegations that they abused their powers: the secret application seeking a court order for a wiretap on Mr. Page.

Law enforcement officials suspected Mr. Page was the target of recruitment by the Russian government, which he has denied.

Mr. Durham has also asked whether C.I.A. officials might have somehow tricked the F.B.I. into opening the Russia investigation.

Mr. Durham has indicated he wants to interview former officials who ran the C.I.A. in 2016 but has yet to question either Mr. Brennan or James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence. Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked them as part of a vast conspiracy by the so-called deep state to stop him from winning the presidency.

Some C.I.A. officials have retained criminal lawyers in anticipation of being interviewed. It was not clear whether Mr. Durham was scrutinizing other former top intelligence officials. Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the former director of the National Security Agency, declined to say whether he had spoken with Mr. Durham’s investigators.

Mr. Durham also has yet to question many of the former F.B.I. officials involved in opening the Russia investigation.

As Mr. Durham’s investigation moves forward, the Justice Department inspector general is wrapping up his own inquiry into aspects of the F.B.I.’s conduct in the early days of the Russia investigation. Among other things, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is scrutinizing the application for a warrant to wiretap Mr. Page.

Mr. Barr has not said whether Mr. Durham’s investigation grew out of the inspector general’s findings or something that prosecutors unearthed while doing interviews or reviewing documents. But the inspector general’s findings, which are expected to be made public in coming weeks, could contribute to the public’s understanding of why Mr. Durham might want to investigate national security officials’ activities in 2016.

Though the inspector general’s report deals with sensitive information, Mr. Horowitz anticipates that little of it will be blacked out when he releases the document publicly, he wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers on Thursday and obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Durham has delved before into the secret world of intelligence gathering during the Bush and Obama administrations. He was asked in 2008 to investigate why the C.I.A. destroyed tapes depicting detainees being tortured. The next year, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. appointed Mr. Durham to spearhead an investigation into the C.IA. abuses.

Career prosecutors had already examined many of the same cases and declined to bring charges, and in an echo of the Russia investigation, they fumed that Mr. Holder was revisiting the issue. Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, then the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the abuses had been “exhaustively reviewed” and that a new inquiry could put national security at risk.

After nearly four years, Mr. Durham’s investigation ended with no charges against C.I.A. officers, including two directly involved in the deaths of two detainees, angering human rights activists.

Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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Trump Cancels Subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post

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President Trump has called members of the press “enemies of the people,” deemed critical coverage “fake,” accused news organizations of treason and threatened to make it easier to sue journalists for libel.

But not until this week had Mr. Trump turned to the ultimate recourse of the unhappy reader: He canceled his subscription.

Officials in the West Wing on Thursday announced that copies of The Washington Post and The New York Times would no longer be delivered to the White House. The administration is moving to force other federal agencies to end their subscriptions to the papers, as well.

“Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving — hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,” the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement.

Representatives for The Post and The Times declined to comment.

The White House remains a significant customer of print journalism: Copies of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times and other publications are delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every morning, along with Mr. Trump’s preferred first read, The New York Post.

And the president remains a rabid absorber of the wider media landscape, frequently commenting on what he sees on cable news and sending handwritten notes to journalists, often scrawled on printouts of their articles.

Mr. Trump previewed his cancellation plans during an interview on Monday on Fox News, during which he called The Times “a fake newspaper” and told Sean Hannity that “we don’t even want it in the White House anymore.”

“We’re going to probably terminate that and The Washington Post,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “They’re fake.”

Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said on Thursday, “I have no doubt the hardworking reporters of The New York Times and Washington Post will continue to do quality journalism, regardless of whether the president acknowledges he reads them. Pretending to ignore the work of a free press won’t make the news go away or stop reporters from informing the public and holding those in power accountable.”

There is some precedent for a presidential cancellation.

In 1962, John F. Kennedy, apparently fed up with the coverage of The New York Herald Tribune, decreed that copies of that newspaper would no longer be delivered to the White House. His press secretary, Pierre Salinger, after initially ignoring the president’s repeated requests to cancel the paper, eventually acquiesced and announced that Kennedy would instead read The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The move was met with mockery. A New Jersey lawmaker ordered a year’s gift subscription to The Herald Tribune sent to Kennedy. On the floor of Congress, Representative Steven Derounian, Republican of New York, called the decision “childlike.”

“If all members of Congress followed the president’s lead, we would find that we were reading no newspapers at all,” Mr. Derounian said, according to an account in The Congressional Record. “It might be well to remind President Kennedy that on Jan. 20, 1961, he was inaugurated as president, not coronated as king.”

Kennedy, it turned out, could not get along without his daily copy of The Herald Tribune. In his memoir, Mr. Salinger wrote that the staff was forced to “bootleg” copies of the paper to the president until it was formally allowed back in the White House.

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Republicans Fight Trump’s Impeachment by Attacking the Process

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WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans plan on Thursday to introduce a resolution condemning the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, offering a symbolic objection to the investigation a day after Republicans in the House stormed a secure room in the Capitol to disrupt it.

Under pressure to defend Mr. Trump amid damaging revelations about his conduct, senators appear to have settled instead on denouncing the impeachment inquiry that has uncovered them, giving anxious Republicans a chance to air their complaints about the process.

Led by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who has fiercely defended the president, the Senate resolution will accuse Democrats in the House of conducting an unfair, secret inquiry designed to embarrass Mr. Trump without giving him the ability to defend himself.

“This is un-American at its core,” Mr. Graham said on “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox News earlier this week. “What the House of Representatives is doing is a process of political revenge. It is alien to American due process.”

Mr. Graham, who was scheduled to formally introduce the resolution Thursday afternoon, added: “All I’m asking is give Donald Trump the same rights as Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had when it comes to impeachment.”

The back-to-back efforts to attack the impeachment process in the House and Senate are an attempt to undermine public support for the inquiry as a stream of witnesses from inside Mr. Trump’s own government have delivered day after day of damning testimony about the president’s campaign to pressure Ukraine for his own political gain.

On Thursday, there was a pause in the back-to-back depositions as the House honored Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who died last week. But behind-the-scenes work continued to push the inquiry forward. Impeachment investigators have negotiated in recent days with a lawyer for the former National Security Adviser, John R. Bolton, about a date for him to be deposed behind closed doors, according to two people briefed on the matter. The lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, declined to comment.

The revelations from the investigation so far have been increasingly difficult for some Republicans to defend, but opposition to the way the inquiry has been conducted has more or less unified the party.

The approach also reflects a recognition among Republicans that polls show that a majority of the public now supports the impeachment inquiry — if not Mr. Trump’s removal — putting additional pressure on some of their members to either support it or explain why they do not.

Frustration among Republicans about impeachment — and their need to find ways to deflect attention from it — intensified after Tuesday’s explosive testimony from Willian B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, who offered excruciating detail of a Ukraine quid-pro-quo by Mr. Trump and what he described as an “irregular” diplomatic channel overseen by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.

House Republicans on Wednesday sowed chaos on Capitol Hill with a protest in the secure rooms of the House Intelligence Committee that delayed testimony by Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, for more than five hours.

If the intention of House members was to please Mr. Trump, it worked. On Thursday, the president heaped praise on the Republican lawmakers on Twitter.

Now, it’s the Senate’s turn.

The resolution condemning the House investigation will be co-sponsored by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who on Tuesday called the impeachment process “unprecedented” and “grossly unfair.” He added that the “president has a legitimate complaint about the process.”

Senior Republican aides said the resolution was not expected to come to the Senate floor for a vote until next week at the earliest.

In the meantime, Democrats are shrugging off the Republican complaints about the process as they march forward with at least another week of closed-door depositions aimed at adding to the evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Trump and the people around him.

An official working on the investigation said that one former and one current National Security Council official would sit for questioning next week.

Charles M. Kupperman, who served until last month as deputy national security adviser at the White House, was scheduled to sit for questioning on Monday. Mr. Kupperman’s name has appeared only rarely in accounts of the Ukraine scandal, but he worked closely with John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, who has been described in testimony as alarmed by what appeared to be pressure on the Ukrainians by Mr. Trump and his allies.

Timothy Morrison, the senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, is scheduled to appear next Thursday, and would be the first current White House official to speak with investigators. Mr. Morrison this summer succeeded Fiona Hill, who has already told lawmakers about the alarm she and Mr. Bolton registered over the events.

Mr. Taylor testified that Mr. Morrison had intimate knowledge of the pressure campaign, including conversations involving American and Ukrainian officials in which it was made clear that Mr. Trump had frozen $391 million in security assistance meant for Ukraine until its leaders committed to investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family, as well as unfounded allegations about the 2016 American election.

The committees were already scheduled to hear in closed session on Saturday from Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department.

Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

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