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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 21)

What Happened Today in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

ImageWestlake Legal Group 11us-pm-briefing-ss-slide-72KU-articleLarge What Happened Today in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, center, arriving to testify in a closed hearing Friday on Capitol Hill.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

  • Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, told impeachment investigators in a closed-door interview that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

  • Ms. Yovanovitch said people associated with Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

  • Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, like Ms. Yovanovitch, agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify, defying a State Department order not to appear.


Ms. Yovanovitch delivered her searing account before Congress at the risk of losing her job, since the White House has ordered officials not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. This afternoon I stopped by the desk of Sharon LaFraniere, who has written about Ms. Yovanovitch, to discuss why the former ambassador to Ukraine was so intent on speaking out.

Sharon, how unusual was her participation? And how unusual was her testimony?

She testified despite a White House declaration that there would be no more cooperation with Congress. She’s acting in defiance of the White House. Her testimony today was a really damning indictment of how the Trump administration is conducting foreign policy. She warned against people who in search of personal gain or private influence undermined the work of American government officials and threatened the policy goals of the United States. And on top of all that, she said the State Department is being hollowed out from within, because diplomats don’t feel the government has their back.

What does she know that House Democrats want to know?

She seemed to suggest that businesspeople who are allies of Rudy Giuliani may have orchestrated this campaign to get her out for their own private gain. Was she removed because she was standing in the way of some sort of quid pro quo deal that the White House was planning to execute? Did they see her as unwilling to play ball in what might have been a corrupt game? Those are the questions impeachment investigators want to answer.


“Smart, charismatic, ruthless, a little megalomaniacal.” “Ambitious, righteous, then self-righteous.” “Personable … for a little while.” “Decisive, combative, conspiratorial.” “Pugilistic, erratic, extremely smart, reckless.” “Forceful, combative, energetic, vindictive, tireless, annoying.”

That’s Rudy Giuliani, as described by our reporters who have covered him over the past 35 years. A forthcoming episode of The Weekly traces his path from crime-busting prosecutor to Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, now at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

The episode focuses in part on a brutal zinger — that Mr. Giuliani needed only “a noun and a verb and 9/11” to construct a sentence — that was delivered by none other than Joe Biden, which helped sink the former New York City mayor’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“Giuliani did not like that line. I don’t think he ever forgot that Biden said it,” my colleague Maggie Haberman says on the show.

To better understand how we got to this point, I called Dan Barry, who appears in The Weekly episode and has chronicled Mr. Giuliani for decades.

What do you see in Rudy today that reminds you of the guy you’ve covered for so many years?

There’s this combativeness, that need to be at the center of attention — the willingness to go almost anywhere to champion whatever the cause of the moment is for him. All those character traits on display now are quite familiar to anyone who followed him closely 20 or 30 years ago. But the Rudy we see now is also at odds with the Rudy of the ’80s and ’90s, with his moral rectitude then. He was Mr. Law and Order.

Why, after so many years in the public eye, did he want to work for Mr. Trump?

He was leading in the polls in the 2007 to be the Republican nominee for president. He was spending oodles of money. He was getting a lot of ink. And then it all evaporated. He spent millions and ended up with one delegate. That stung. He was an international hero, and then was roundly rejected. He always wanted to be relevant. He needed to be relevant. What happened in 2016? He becomes relevant. Now, he’s effectively the shadow secretary of state. I think he revels in that.

Watch “The Weekly,” our new TV show, on FX Sunday at 10/9c.


  • Mr. Trump’s accounting firm must comply with a House committee’s demands for eight years of his financial records, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday.

  • The Justice Department asked another federal appeals court to stop the release of Mr. Trump’s tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, arguing that local prosecutors should have to meet a very high legal bar before investigating a sitting president.

  • “I think we do need an inquiry because we have to get to the bottom of it,” Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a moderate Republican, said when asked whether he supported the impeachment investigation. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry.”

  • Trying to keep track of all the Ukraine-related characters from this week’s impeachment news? We wrote up a helpful guide.

The Impeachment Briefing is also available as a newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weeknight.

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

Trump Taxes: Justice Dept. Asks Judges to Block Subpoena

Westlake Legal Group 11nytrump-facebookJumbo Trump Taxes: Justice Dept. Asks Judges to Block Subpoena Vance, Cyrus R Jr Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Mazars USA Manhattan (NYC) Justice Department Barr, William P

The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Friday to stop the release of President Trump’s tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, arguing that local prosecutors should have to meet a very high legal bar before investigating a sitting president.

The filing meant Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department was lending support to his attempt to block a subpoena issued to his accounting firm for eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. The district attorney’s office issued the subpoena in late August as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

But in its filing, the Justice Department, which is led by Attorney General William P. Barr, stopped short of endorsing Mr. Trump’s most sweeping argument: that sitting presidents are totally immune from all criminal investigations.

On Monday, Judge Victor Marrero of United States District Court in Manhattan rejected Mr. Trump’s effort to shield his tax returns from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. Mr. Trump had argued that the Constitution prevented sitting presidents from being subject to criminal investigations, especially from a local prosecutor, such as Mr. Vance.

Judge Marrero called the position “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”

Before filing the brief on Friday, the Justice Department had not weighed in with its view about the merits of Mr. Trump’s lawsuit, which makes an argument that is not addressed in the Constitution and has not been tested in the courts.

But after Mr. Trump appealed Judge Marrero’s ruling, the department wrote to the appeals court, saying the president’s lawsuit raised “a number of significant constitutional issues that potentially implicate the interests of the United States.”

The dispute arose after Mr. Vance’s office subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, in late August, seeking his personal and corporate tax returns dating to 2011.

Mr. Vance’s office has been examining whether any New York State laws were broken when Mr. Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, reimbursed the president’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, for payments he made to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who had said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. He has denied the relationship.

Mr. Trump filed suit in Federal District Court in Manhattan, seeking to block the subpoena. His lawyers argued that enforcement of the subpoena was a politically motivated action by Mr. Vance’s office and that its enforcement would cause the president irreparable harm.

“Criminal investigations impose severe burdens on the president and distract him from his constitutional duties,” the president’s lawyers wrote.

Mr. Vance’s office, rejecting the president’s arguments, had claimed that Mr. Trump was trying to “invent and enforce a new presidential ‘tax return privilege.’”

Mr. Vance’s office is scheduled to file its appeals brief on Tuesday, and the court has said it will hear arguments on the matter on Oct. 23.

Mr. Trump has challenged attempts by Congress to obtain his tax returns. On Friday, a separate federal appeals court panel in Washington ruled that the House Oversight Committee can subpoena Mazars for eight years of the president’s financial records.

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

Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Ex-Ambassador Condemns ‘Hollowed Out State Dept.’

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162499107_8952a520-3a86-4115-b2a5-39940b23a35d-articleLarge Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Ex-Ambassador Condemns ‘Hollowed Out State Dept.’ Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

President Trump spoke during a campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Ms. Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine in May, told impeachment investigators during a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill that she believed Mr. Trump had intervened to have her removed “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

The former ambassador, who spoke to the House Intelligence Committee in defiance of the White House’s declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, delivered a scathing account of her own treatment and the Trump administration’s conduct of foreign policy.

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, she said that the deputy secretary of state, who at the time was John Sullivan, had told her that Mr. Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

She also described a “hollowed out State Department” under Mr. Trump, where private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, contradicts the State Department’s initial claim that her term had simply ended.

Her account could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that threatens to swamp Mr. Trump’s presidency. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who would “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”

The House Democratic committee chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry know that any witnesses who defy the president’s order not to cooperate risk retaliation, even the loss of their jobs. So they announced witnesses like Ms. Yovanovitch have no choice but to cooperate.

Representatives Adam B. Schiff of California, Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, and Eliot L. Engel of New York said on Friday that the State Department on Thursday tried to block the appearance of Ms. Yovanovitch, so the committees issued a subpoena Friday morning.

“This duly authorized subpoena is mandatory, and the illegitimate order from the Trump Administration not to cooperate has no force. As is required of her, the Ambassador is now complying,” they said in a joint statement Friday afternoon.

They continued:

“Any efforts by Trump Administration officials to prevent witness cooperation with the Committees will be deemed obstruction of a coequal branch of government and an adverse inference may be drawn against the President on the underlying allegations of corruption and cover-up.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 on Friday against the White House’s effort to crush an effort by House Democrats to extract Mr. Trump’s tax returns from his accounting firm, Mazars USA.

That had nothing to do with the House’s impeachment inquiry, but the dissenter, a Trump appointee, Judge Neomi Rao, raised it, saying that the House’s efforts were clearly looking for illegality and therefore those efforts should be done through an impeachment inquiry.

“Impeachment provides the exclusive method for Congress to investigate actions of illegal conduct by impeachable officials, particularly with the aid of compulsory process,” she wrote.

“Throughout our history, Congress, the President, and the courts have insisted upon maintaining the separation between the legislative and impeachment powers of the House and recognized the gravity and accountability that follow impeachment,” she argued, echoing House Judiciary Committee Democrats who have said an impeachment inquiry would have legal powers unavailable to other investigations.

As Democrats consider how wide their inquiry should be, Judge Rao may have given them an invitation to expand the scope of their “compulsory process.”

Andrey Kukushkin, a third player caught in the Ukraine controversy and accused of campaign finance violations, was arraigned in San Francisco on Friday, with bail set at $1 million.

The government argued that Mr. Kukushkin presented a flight risk and demanded that he be confined to his home in San Francisco until the case is heard in New York next week.

Mr. Kukushkin helped two clients of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Lev. Parnas and Igor Fruman, funnel money from a Russian businessman to state and local candidates with the hope of expediting the licensing process for marijuana businesses, according to court papers. The foreign businessman wanted to keep his involvement private because of “his Russian roots and the current political paranoia about it,” Mr. Kukushkin said, according to the indictment.

Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, has agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction to him not to appear before lawmakers, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer said Friday. He was prepared to testify on Tuesday, but the Trump administration directed him not to in the 11th hour.

“Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States,” his lawyers said in a statement Friday. “He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

Lawmakers have requested documents related to Ukraine, but Mr. Sondland’s attorneys said he would not be able to provide them because doing so would violate federal law and State Department regulations.

Impeachment investigators want to know more about Mr. Sondland’s role in the pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate one of Mr. Trump’s political rivals and other inquiries that could personally benefit the president.

Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, is nobody’s idea of a stalwart supporter of President Trump, but his embrace of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on Thursday night was not helpful to the Republican effort to delegitimize the investigation.

“I think we do need an inquiry because we have to get to the bottom of it,” Mr. Hogan, a moderate Republican, said on P.B.S.’ Firing Line. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry.”

Along with the governors of Massachusetts and Vermont, Mr. Hogan is part of the “Never Trump” Republican gubernatorial brigade. Mr. Hogan did implore Democrats to use “a fair, objective” process, but he did not say moving forward should depend on new rules.

“I don’t see any other way to get the facts,” he said.

The indictment of two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, added new details to the narrative at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped Mr. Giuliani navigate connections in Ukraine in pursuit of evidence that would undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and lift Mr. Trump against his political rivals heading into 2020.

The two men also appear to have made illegal campaign donations to Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, from whom Mr. Parnas sought support in pressing the Trump administration to remove the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Some Trump allies believed Ms. Yovanovitch was trying impede their effort to dig up damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, according to a former Ukrainian official.

Read more: Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt and Money

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

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

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Ex-Ambassador Condemns ‘Hollowed Out State Dept.’ Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

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

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

Impeachment Updates: Ex-Ambassador Condemns ‘Hollowed Out State Dept.’

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162499107_8952a520-3a86-4115-b2a5-39940b23a35d-articleLarge Impeachment Updates: Ex-Ambassador Condemns ‘Hollowed Out State Dept.’ Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

President Trump spoke during a campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Ms. Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine in May, told impeachment investigators during a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill that she believed Mr. Trump had intervened to have her removed “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

The former ambassador, who spoke to the House Intelligence Committee in defiance of the White House’s declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, delivered a scathing account of her own treatment and the Trump administration’s conduct of foreign policy.

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, she said that the deputy secretary of state, who at the time was John Sullivan, had told her that Mr. Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

She also described a “hollowed out State Department” under Mr. Trump, where private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, contradicts the State Department’s initial claim that her term had simply ended.

Her account could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that threatens to swamp Mr. Trump’s presidency. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who would “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 on Friday against the White House’s effort to crush an effort by House Democrats to extract Mr. Trump’s tax returns from his accounting firm, Mazars USA.

That had nothing to do with the House’s impeachment inquiry, but the dissenter, a Trump appointee, Judge Neomi Rao, raised it, saying that the House’s efforts were clearly looking for illegality and therefore those efforts should be done through an impeachment inquiry.

“Impeachment provides the exclusive method for Congress to investigate actions of illegal conduct by impeachable officials, particularly with the aid of compulsory process,” she wrote.

“Throughout our history, Congress, the President, and the courts have insisted upon maintaining the separation between the legislative and impeachment powers of the House and recognized the gravity and accountability that follow impeachment,” she argued, echoing House Judiciary Committee Democrats who have said an impeachment inquiry would have legal powers unavailable to other investigations.

As Democrats consider how wide their inquiry should be, Judge Rao may have given them an invitation to expand the scope of their “compulsory process.”

Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, has agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction to him not to appear before lawmakers, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer said Friday. He was prepared to testify on Tuesday, but the Trump administration directed him not to in the 11th hour.

“Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States,” his lawyers said in a statement Friday. “He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

Lawmakers have requested documents related to Ukraine, but Mr. Sondland’s attorneys said he would not be able to provide them because doing so would violate federal law and State Department regulations.

Impeachment investigators want to know more about Mr. Sondland’s role in the pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate one of Mr. Trump’s political rivals and other inquiries that could personally benefit the president.

Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, is nobody’s idea of a stalwart supporter of President Trump, but his embrace of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on Thursday night was not helpful to the Republican effort to delegitimize the investigation.

“I think we do need an inquiry because we have to get to the bottom of it,” Mr. Hogan, a moderate Republican, said on P.B.S.’ Firing Line. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry.”

Along with the governors of Massachusetts and Vermont, Mr. Hogan is part of the “Never Trump” Republican gubernatorial brigade. Mr. Hogan did implore Democrats to use “a fair, objective” process, but he did not say moving forward should depend on new rules.

“I don’t see any other way to get the facts,” he said.

The indictment of two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, added new details to the narrative at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped Mr. Giuliani navigate connections in Ukraine in pursuit of evidence that would undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and lift Mr. Trump against his political rivals heading into 2020.

The two men also appear to have made illegal campaign donations to Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, from whom Mr. Parnas sought support in pressing the Trump administration to remove the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Some Trump allies believed Ms. Yovanovitch was trying impede their effort to dig up damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, according to a former Ukrainian official.

Read more: Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt and Money

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

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

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Updates: Ex-Ambassador Condemns ‘Hollowed Out State Dept.’ Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

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

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

Trump Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Ex-Ambassador Says Trump Removed Her Based on “False Claims”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162499107_8952a520-3a86-4115-b2a5-39940b23a35d-articleLarge Trump Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Ex-Ambassador Says Trump Removed Her Based on “False Claims” Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

President Trump spoke during a campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Ms. Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine in May, told impeachment investigators during a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill that she believed Mr. Trump had intervened to have her removed “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

The former ambassador, who spoke to the House Intelligence Committee in defiance of the White House’s declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry, delivered a scathing account of her own treatment and the Trump administration’s conduct of foreign policy.

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, she said that the deputy secretary of state, who at the time was John Sullivan, had told her that Mr. Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

She also described a “hollowed out State Department” under Mr. Trump, where private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that imperils Mr. Trump. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who would “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”

Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, has agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction to him not to appear before lawmakers, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer said Friday. He was prepared to testify on Tuesday, but the Trump administration directed him not in the 11th hour.

“Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States,” his lawyers said in a statement Friday. “He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

Lawmakers have requested documents related to Ukraine, but Mr. Sondland’s attorneys said he would not be able to provide them because doing so would violate federal law and State Department regulations.

Impeachment investigators want to know more about Mr. Sondland’s role in the pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate one of Mr. Trump’s political rivals and other inquiries that could personally benefit the president.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 on Friday against the White House’s effort to crush an effort by House Democrats to extract Mr. Trump’s tax returns from his accounting firm, Mazars USA.

That had nothing to do with the House’s impeachment inquiry, but the dissenter, a Trump appointee, Judge Neomi Rao, raised it, saying that the House’s efforts were clearly looking for illegality and therefore those efforts should be done through an impeachment inquiry.

“Impeachment provides the exclusive method for Congress to investigate actions of illegal conduct by impeachable officials, particularly with the aid of compulsory process,” she wrote.

“Throughout our history, Congress, the President, and the courts have insisted upon maintaining the separation between the legislative and impeachment powers of the House and recognized the gravity and accountability that follow impeachment,” she argued, echoing House Judiciary Committee Democrats who have said an impeachment inquiry would have legal powers unavailable to other investigations.

As Democrats consider how wide their inquiry should be, Judge Rao may have given them an invitation to expand the scope of their “compulsory process.”

Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, is nobody’s idea of a stalwart supporter of President Trump, but his embrace of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on Thursday night was not helpful to the Republican effort to delegitimize the investigation.

“I think we do need an inquiry because we have to get to the bottom of it,” Mr. Hogan, a moderate Republican, said on P.B.S.’ Firing Line. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry.”

Along with the governors of Massachusetts and Vermont, Mr. Hogan is part of the “Never Trump” Republican gubernatorial brigade. Mr. Hogan did implore Democrats to use “a fair, objective” process, but he did not say moving forward should depend on new rules.

“I don’t see any other way to get the facts,” he said.

The indictment of two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, added new details to the narrative at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped Mr. Giuliani navigate connections in Ukraine in pursuit of evidence that would undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and lift Mr. Trump against his political rivals heading into 2020.

The two men also appear to have made illegal campaign donations to Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, from whom Mr. Parnas sought support in pressing the Trump administration to remove the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Some Trump allies believed Ms. Yovanovitch was trying impede their effort to dig up damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, according to a former Ukrainian official.

Read more: Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt and Money

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

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

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Trump Impeachment Inquiry Updates: Ex-Ambassador Says Trump Removed Her Based on “False Claims” Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

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

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

Trump Had Marie Yovanovitch Removed on ‘False Claims,’ She Tells House Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine, testified to impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of his administration’s conduct of foreign policy. She warned that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, the longtime diplomat said she was “incredulous” that she was removed as ambassador “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

She spoke to investigators on Capitol Hill in defiance of the White House’s declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that imperils Mr. Trump. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”

“I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” she said. But people associated with Mr. Giuliani “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” she said.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-investigation-tracker-promo-1570214529724-articleLarge-v3 Trump Had Marie Yovanovitch Removed on ‘False Claims,’ She Tells House Inquiry Yovanovitch, Marie L United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr

Subpoenas and Requests for Evidence in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

Her opening statement revealed no new details about Mr. Trump’s effort to pressure Volodymyr Zelensky, the new president of Ukraine, to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Joseph R. Biden Jr. It also offered no details about Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, two businessmen who helped Mr. Giuliani mount a campaign for her removal. Both were arrested late Wednesday on charges of campaign finance violations. The indictment charged that they were working for one or more Ukrainian officials who wanted her out of Kiev.

But she provided new details about her abrupt ouster from Kiev. Less than two months after the State Department asked her to extend her tour as ambassador until 2020, she said, she was abruptly told to return to Washington “on the next plane.”

She said that John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, told her later that she had “done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

He said that Mr. Trump had “lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador,” she said, and that there had been “a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018.”

She said that she had never inhibited any legitimate efforts by Ukraine to combat corruption and was not involved in discussions about the suspension of $391 million in American security aid to Ukraine this summer. And she said that she viewed the present circumstances as a tragedy not just for American diplomacy but Ukraine’s attempts to reform its government and defend against a hostile Russia.

“That harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” she said, according to the prepared remarks. “It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the president and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

Trump Had Ukraine Envoy Removed on ‘False Claims,’ She Tells House Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine, testified to impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of his administration’s conduct of foreign policy. She warned that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, the longtime diplomat said she was “incredulous” that she was removed as ambassador “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

She spoke to investigators on Capitol Hill in defiance of the White House’s declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s searing account, delivered at the risk of losing her job, could lend new momentum to the impeachment inquiry that imperils Mr. Trump. She said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries, including Russia.

“Today we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she said. She said the allegations that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump, circulated by allies of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, were totally “fictitious.”

“I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” she said. But people associated with Mr. Giuliani “may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” she said.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-investigation-tracker-promo-1570214529724-articleLarge-v3 Trump Had Ukraine Envoy Removed on ‘False Claims,’ She Tells House Inquiry Yovanovitch, Marie L United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr

Subpoenas and Requests for Evidence in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

Her opening statement revealed no new details about Mr. Trump’s effort to pressure Volodymyr Zelensky, the new president of Ukraine, to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Joseph R. Biden Jr. It also offered no details about Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, two businessmen who helped Mr. Giuliani mount a campaign for her removal. Both were arrested late Wednesday on charges of campaign finance violations. The indictment charged that they were working for one or more Ukrainian officials who wanted her out of Kiev.

But she provided new details about her abrupt ouster from Kiev. Less than two months after the State Department asked her to extend her tour as ambassador until 2020, she said, she was abruptly told to return to Washington “on the next plane.”

She said that John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, told her later that she had “done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

He said that Mr. Trump had “lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador,” she said, and that there had been “a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018.”

She said that she had never inhibited any legitimate efforts by Ukraine to combat corruption and was not involved in discussions about the suspension of $391 million in American security aid to Ukraine this summer. And she said that she viewed the present circumstances as a tragedy not just for American diplomacy but Ukraine’s attempts to reform its government and defend against a hostile Russia.

“That harm will come not just through the inevitable and continuing resignation and loss of many of this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants,” she said, according to the prepared remarks. “It also will come when those diplomats who soldier on and do their best to represent our nation face partners abroad who question whether the ambassador truly speaks for the president and can be counted upon as a reliable partner. The harm will come when private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, Appeals Court Rules

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-mazars-facebookJumbo Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, Appeals Court Rules United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Mazars USA Income Tax House of Representatives Federal Taxes (US) Decisions and Verdicts

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of financial records to a House committee, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday, handing the president a significant defeat in his attempts to block the release of the returns.

The House Reform and Oversight Committee issued a subpoena earlier this year demanding that Mazars USA, the president’s accounting firm, hand over the records. Mr. Trump’s lawyers accused Democrats on the committee of conducting a witch hunt with no legitimate purpose.

On Friday, a three-judge federal panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided 2-1 with the Democrats, saying that the committee has the right to the documents.

“Contrary to the president’s arguments, the committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,” the appeals court panel wrote in its opinion. Mr. Trump appointed the dissenting judge, Neomi Rao.

The ruling is a significant loss for the president, who often boasts of his wealth but has adamantly refused to release his tax returns since he began his campaign for president. His lawyers could appeal the case to the full appellate court or the Supreme Court.

“We conclude that the public record reveals legitimate legislative pursuits, not an impermissible law-enforcement purpose, behind the committee’s subpoena,” the judges wrote.

The president also suffered a defeat this week in a similar case in which the Manhattan district attorney has sought the president’s tax records from Mazars. A federal judge ruled that the accounting firm must hand over the tax records to the district attorney.

The president’s lawyers won an emergency stay of the ruling.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, Appeals Court Rules

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-mazars-facebookJumbo Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, Appeals Court Rules United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Mazars USA Income Tax House of Representatives Federal Taxes (US) Decisions and Verdicts

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of financial records to a House committee, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday, handing the president a significant defeat in his attempts to block the release of the returns.

The House Reform and Oversight Committee issued a subpoena earlier this year demanding that Mazars USA, the president’s accounting firm, hand over the records. Mr. Trump’s lawyers accused Democrats on the committee of conducting a witch hunt with no legitimate purpose.

On Friday, a three-judge federal panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided 2-1 with the Democrats, saying that the committee has the right to the documents.

“Contrary to the president’s arguments, the committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,” the appeals court panel wrote in its opinion. Mr. Trump appointed the dissenting judge, Neomi Rao.

The ruling is a significant loss for the president, who often boasts of his wealth but has adamantly refused to release his tax returns since he began his campaign for president. His lawyers could appeal the case to the full appellate court or the Supreme Court.

“We conclude that the public record reveals legitimate legislative pursuits, not an impermissible law-enforcement purpose, behind the committee’s subpoena,” the judges wrote.

The president also suffered a defeat this week in a similar case in which the Manhattan district attorney has sought the president’s tax records from Mazars. A federal judge ruled that the accounting firm must hand over the tax records to the district attorney.

The president’s lawyers won an emergency stay of the ruling.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

House Impeachment Investigators Question Ukraine Envoy

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-impeach-sub-facebookJumbo House Impeachment Investigators Question Ukraine Envoy Yovanovitch, Marie L United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators on Friday privately questioned the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, about her knowledge of a shadow campaign by President Trump and his private lawyer to push that country’s leaders to undertake investigations that could tarnish Democrats.

The Trump administration abruptly removed Ms. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat in her third posting as an ambassador, in May, months before she was scheduled to return from Ukraine. Allies of the president had concluded that she was not sufficiently loyal to Mr. Trump, and her recall from Kiev coincided with attempts by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and his associates to jump-start an investigation into Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son Hunter, as well as one into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled on behalf of Democrats in the 2016 election.

Those efforts, which extended into the State Department and the White House, where Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president in July phone call to commit to the investigations, is now at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Ms. Yovanovitch could be a key witness to Mr. Giuliani’s efforts on the ground and provide investigators with insights into how Ukraine’s leaders managed the overtures, though she has given few public hints about what, if anything, she knows. Her explanation of why Mr. Trump and his allies wanted her removed could also be crucial to House Democrats who are trying to bolster their contention that Mr. Trump abused his power in pressuring Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s appearance was itself remarkable, because she remains a Trump administration employee. The State Department blocked another high-level official from speaking with investigators on Tuesday, the same day the White House made an extraordinary declaration that it would defy the House’s every request for documents and witnesses going forward, putting a “full halt” to cooperation.

But Ms. Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of the State Department nearing the end of her public service, arrived Friday morning with a lawyer and entered the secure rooms of the House Intelligence Committee in the basement of the Capitol for questioning by congressional staff. Caught between the conflicting and equally forceful demands of two branches of government, she chose Congress, raising the possibility that other government officials with little loyalty to Mr. Trump could follow suit.

Just a day earlier, Ms. Yovanovitch had been mentioned in an indictment of two businessmen who worked with Mr. Giuliani on his Ukraine scheme. In charging the men with federal campaign finance violations, prosecutors said they had donated funds and promised to raise more for a congressman who then lent his support to a campaign to oust her.

Three House committees conducting the investigation hope to tick through a roster of additional witness depositions next week, when lawmakers return to Washington from a two-week recess. Among them are Fiona Hill, who until this summer served as senior director for Europe at the National Security Council, and is scheduled to appear on Monday; George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state and Ukraine expert, whose appearance is set for next Tuesday; and Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union whose scheduled appearance on Tuesday was blocked by the State Department hours before he was to arrive on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Sondland has now agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction that he not appear, although he will not hand over documents unless the department does, his lawyer said on Friday.

The White House or State Department could try to block those depositions, but like Ms. Yovanovitch and Mr. Sondland, each witness may make his or her own choice.

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