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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 25)

Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden

WASHINGTON — President Trump urged the president of Ukraine to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a transcript of a July phone call at the center of accusations that Mr. Trump pressured a foreign leader to find dirt on a political rival.

“I would like you to do us a favor,” Mr. Trump said in response to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine raising the prospect of acquiring military equipment from the United States. The president then also asked for another inquiry: that the Ukrainians examine an unsubstantiated theory about stolen Democratic emails.

After a whistle-blower raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the director of national intelligence and the inspector general for the intelligence community each referred the complaint for a possible criminal investigation into the president’s actions, according to a Justice Department official.

The department’s criminal division reviewed the matters and concluded that there was no basis for a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s behavior. Law enforcement officials determined that the transcript of the call did not show that Mr. Trump had violated campaign finance laws by soliciting from a foreign national a contribution, donation or thing of value.

During the call, Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky that he should be in touch with both Mr. Barr and the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, according to the transcript released by the White House on Wednesday.

“There is a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that,” Mr. Trump said to Mr. Zelensky during the call, according to the transcript. “So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”

The Justice Department said Wednesday that Mr. Barr was unaware that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Zelensky that he would contact him. The department said that Mr. Barr has never spoken with Mr. Trump about working with Ukraine to investigate anything related to the Bidens and that he has never spoken with Mr. Giuliani about “anything related to Ukraine.”

Though rooting out widespread corruption in Ukraine has long been an American foreign policy goal, Mr. Trump referenced Mr. Biden during the call. Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani have long pushed for Ukrainian officials to examine whether there was any improper overlap between Mr. Biden’s dealings with Ukraine while in office and his son’s position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

But Mr. Trump’s suggestion that American law enforcement be directly involved and in contact with Ukraine’s government marks the first evidence that the president personally sought to harness the power of the United States government to further a politically motivated investigation.

Westlake Legal Group trump-phone-transcript-ukraine-promo-1569369870401-articleLarge-v2 Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden Zelensky, Volodymyr Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Giuliani, Rudolph W Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Transcript: Trump’s Call With the Ukrainian President

Trump is accused of pressing Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Mr. Trump specifically asked his Ukrainian counterpart to come to the aid of the United States by looking into the unsubstantiated theory pushed by Mr. Giuliani holding that Ukrainians had some role in the emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

“I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of that,” Mr. Trump said on the call, also referencing Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s election sabotage. “Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it, if that’s possible.”

Mr. Trump’s allies argue that he was not exerting improper pressure on Mr. Zelensky, but mentioned Mr. Barr because the Justice Department was already reviewing the origins of the inquiry into Russia’s 2016 election meddling.

The president’s mentions of Mr. Barr and Mr. Giuliani were the most striking part of a half-hour conversation in which the two men discussed a series of issues. But several times, Mr. Trump steered the conversation back to Mr. Barr, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Biden.

There was no explicit reference to the $391 million in foreign aid that Mr. Trump had told Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to put a hold on several days before the call took place.

The details of the call — which were first revealed by a whistle-blower who works in the intelligence community — prompted Democrats on Tuesday to formally open an impeachment inquiry, accusing Mr. Trump of betraying his country by pressuring a foreign leader to dig up dirt on Mr. Biden.

But until Wednesday, lawmakers had not yet seen the transcript, which documents the 30-minute call and includes banter about Mr. Zelensky staying at the Trump Hotel and the two men comparing which of their airplanes is better.

The July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky is at the center of a rapidly escalating political crisis for the American president, who now faces an impeachment inquiry as he prepares to run for re-election.

In the days before the transcript was released, news reports revealed that Mr. Trump used the call in July to pressure Mr. Zelensky for an investigation about Mr. Biden’s actions on behalf of his son Hunter Biden’s work with a business in Ukraine.

That followed repeated efforts over the past several months by Mr. Giuliani to urge the Ukrainians to start an investigation into Mr. Biden.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 25dc-call2-articleLarge Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden Zelensky, Volodymyr Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment House of Representatives Giuliani, Rudolph W Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Attorney General William P. Barr at the White House last week. The Justice Department said Wednesday that Mr. Barr was unaware that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Zelensky that he would contact him.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump publicly acknowledged that he discussed the former vice president with Mr. Zelensky, even as he angrily railed against what he called another “witch hunt” and insisted that his conversation with the Ukrainian president was perfectly appropriate.

“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Sunday. “It was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”

Over the next several days, the president offered a series of shifting and at times contradictory explanations and justifications for his conversation with Mr. Zelensky and his decision this summer to freeze $391 million in aid to Ukraine. It was unblocked after officials at the Office of Management and Budget raised concerns that the money would be impounded, making it harder to spend in the future, and after two Republican senators — Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — raised concerns to the White House.

Mr. Trump made no direct or indirect mentions of aid to Ukraine during the July 25 call, according to the transcript. But Mr. Trump does repeatedly mention Mr. Biden, saying at one point that the former vice president had bragged about stopping a prosecution involving the company that his son worked for — a charge for which there is no public evidence.

According to the transcript, Mr. Zelensky responded that Ukraine has a good prosecutor now.

In New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, which opened Monday, Mr. Trump at one point repeated his assertion that the conversation with Mr. Zelensky was about corruption. But he later said he had frozen the aid because European countries were not committing their fair share toward defending Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Mr. Trump and his allies inside the White House initially refused to allow the transcript of the call to be released to lawmakers or disclosed publicly. They argued that doing so would set a dangerous precedent and would discourage frank conversations between presidents and foreign leaders.

Faced with mounting demands for details of the call to be disclosed, including by Senate Republicans, Mr. Trump relented on Tuesday. He said on Twitter that he had “authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified” information about the call and directed the administration to release it, unredacted.

But Mr. Trump’s advisers, even as the president gave in, said they believed that Democrats had gone too far and that the transcript — and the substance of the whistle-blower’s complaint — would prove not to be damaging to Mr. Trump.

Meanwhile, the president made it clear on Twitter that he planned to aggressively fight Democratic efforts to impeach him. He lashed out at the allegations of impropriety regarding the call, saying they were nothing more than “more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.” And he denounced what he called “crazy” partisanship by his opponents.

“PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT,” he tweeted Tuesday evening.

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

House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

ImageWestlake Legal Group 25dc-impeach-briefing-articleLarge-v2 House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Hours after Democrats began a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, President Trump prepared on Wednesday morning to release the transcript of a July 25 call he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. Mr. Trump has defiantly denied saying anything inappropriate on the call, even as he acknowledged pushing Mr. Zelensky for an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and one of his chief rivals.

On Wednesday morning, he declared on Twitter that Democrats had fallen into his trap, and that the release of the transcript would exonerate him — and make them look foolish.

Still, in the face of bipartisan calls from members of Congress, Mr. Trump ordered the Wednesday release of the transcript, ensuring a day of intense scrutiny into his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart. The decision did not go far enough for many Democrats, who have demanded to see the full complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions lodged by a whistle-blower, which has not been shared with Congress.

As a result, White House officials were continuing to work on a deal that would allow the whistle-blower to testify before Congress about those concerns, according to people briefed on the effort. The deal could also include the release of a redacted version of the complaint, which formed the basis of a report by the inspector general for the intelligence community, people familiar with the situation said.

The House plans to vote on Wednesday afternoon on a resolution condemning the Trump administration for withholding the whistle-blower complaint and demanding that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, promptly furnish it.

The resolution also demands that Mr. Maguire ensure that the whistle-blower is protected from retribution and chastises the president for comments disparaging the whistle-blower in recent days.

The vote is symbolic, but Democratic leaders want to put lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — on record to highlight their case. Sharing the complaint with Congress is already required by law, Democrats assert.

“This is not a partisan matter; it’s about the integrity of our democracy, respect for the rule of law and defending our Constitution,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, her No. 2, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We hope that all members of the House — Democrats and Republicans alike — will join in upholding the rule of law and oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution as representatives of the American people.”

In late July, as Congress was heading off for its long summer break, the House Judiciary Committee filed an extraordinary legal brief as Democrats sought information on potential presidential malfeasance. It declared an impeachment inquiry had begun:

“The House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.”

So what changed when Speaker Pelosi declared on Tuesday that the House was indeed launching an impeachment inquiry? Not a lot.

Ms. Pelosi’s words gave the inquiry momentum and political potency. But the investigations that she was empowering six committees to pursue they have been pursuing for months. And unlike the impeachment processes that were initiated against Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the one begun against Mr. Trump — either in July or on Tuesday — was not launched by a vote in the full House. Republicans, such as Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, are goading Democratic leaders to hold that vote, to put moderate Democrats representing Republican-leaning districts on record supporting the inquiry.

That could still happen. For now, however, Ms. Pelosi seems content to put her weight behind a declaration already made by her Judiciary Committee chairman nearly two months ago.

The political fallout from revelations about Mr. Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, came as the two men were scheduled to meet in person on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Zelensky was scheduled to deliver remarks to world leaders at 9 a.m. Wednesday. And he was expected to sit down with Mr. Trump at 2:15 p.m., even as details about the July 25 call were revealed publicly.

At the center of the controversy surrounding Mr. Trump is whether he pressed Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and whether Mr. Trump directed the United States to withhold aid for Ukraine until Mr. Zelensky agreed to his demands.

In an interview on Tuesday with Voice of America, Mr. Zelensky said that he expected the conversation on Wednesday afternoon to be “very warm” and that he respected Mr. Trump. “We just want the U.S. to always support Ukraine and Ukraine’s course in its fight against aggression and war,” Mr. Zelensky said. “It seems to me that it is so.”

Mr. Trump will face reporters in a formal news conference Wednesday afternoon, providing a high-profile forum for questions about his role in the telephone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the Democratic impeachment effort.

Presidents historically hold a formal news conference at the end of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Often, such events are a president’s primary opportunity to shape the perception of their actions during the meetings with world leaders.

In Mr. Trump’s case, the news conference is likely to be one of many opportunities for the president to make his views known. He typically will respond to questions from reporters throughout the day, before and after bilateral discussions with world leaders. And, of course, the president started tweeting his thoughts about the Democrats first thing Wednesday morning.

How the Impeachment Process Could Play Out

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-Artboard_1 House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

Trump remains

in office

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently

control the House.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently

control the Senate.

Two-thirds of members present do not vote to convict.

Two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-Artboard_2 House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.

The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

Trump remains

in office

The findings are determined to be sufficient.

The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.

Democrats currently control the House.

Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.

A majority of House members vote to impeach.

Trump remains

in office

Trump is

impeached

The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.

After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.

Republicans currently control the Senate.

Two-thirds of members present do not vote to convict.

Two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

By The New York Times

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

What to Expect as House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161442444_785c8318-baec-4aae-854a-7688219104ef-articleLarge What to Expect as House Opens Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Live Updates Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives General Assembly (UN) Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Hours after Democrats began a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, President Trump prepared on Wednesday morning to release the transcript of a July 25 call he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. Mr. Trump has defiantly denied saying anything inappropriate on the call, even as he acknowledged pushing Mr. Zelensky for an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and one of his chief rivals.

Still, in the face of bipartisan calls from members of Congress, Mr. Trump ordered the Wednesday release of the transcript, ensuring a day of intense scrutiny into his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart. The decision did not go far enough for many Democrats, who have demanded to see the full complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions lodged by a whistle-blower, which has not been shared with Congress.

As a result, White House officials were continuing to work on a deal that would allow the whistle-blower to testify before Congress about those concerns, according to people briefed on the effort. The deal could also include the release of a redacted version of the complaint, which formed the basis of a report by the inspector general for the intelligence community, people familiar with the situation said.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted his disapproval of the Democrats, condemning a “Witch Hunt!”

The House plans to vote on Wednesday afternoon on a resolution condemning the Trump administration for withholding the whistle-blower complaint and demanding that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, promptly furnish it.

The resolution also demands that Mr. Maguire ensure that the whistle-blower is protected from retribution and chastises the president for comments disparaging the whistle-blower in recent days.

The vote is symbolic, but Democratic leaders want to put lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — on record to highlight their case. Sharing the complaint with Congress is already required by law, Democrats assert.

“This is not a partisan matter; it’s about the integrity of our democracy, respect for the rule of law and defending our Constitution,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, her No. 2, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We hope that all members of the House — Democrats and Republicans alike — will join in upholding the rule of law and oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution as representatives of the American people.”

The political fallout from revelations about Mr. Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelensky, came as the two men were scheduled to meet in person on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mr. Zelensky was scheduled to deliver remarks to world leaders at 9 a.m. Wednesday. And he was expected to sit down with Mr. Trump at 2:15 p.m., even as details about the July 25 call were revealed publicly.

At the center of the controversy surrounding Mr. Trump is whether he pressed Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and whether Mr. Trump directed the United States to withhold aid for Ukraine until Mr. Zelensky agreed to his demands.

In an interview on Tuesday with Voice of America, Mr. Zelensky said that he expected the conversation on Wednesday afternoon to be “very warm” and that he respected Mr. Trump. “We just want the U.S. to always support Ukraine and Ukraine’s course in its fight against aggression and war,” Mr. Zelensky said. “It seems to me that it is so.”

Mr. Trump will face reporters in a formal news conference Wednesday afternoon, providing a high-profile forum for questions about his role in the telephone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the Democratic impeachment effort.

Presidents historically hold a formal news conference at the end of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Often, such events are a president’s primary opportunity to shape the perception of their actions during the meetings with world leaders.

In Mr. Trump’s case, the news conference is likely to be one of many opportunities for the president to make his views known. He typically will respond to questions from reporters throughout the day, before and after bilateral discussions with world leaders. And, of course, the president started tweeting his thoughts about the Democrats first thing Wednesday morning.

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

Trump Makes Clear He’s Ready for a Fight He Has Long Anticipated

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-prexy-sub-facebookJumbo Trump Makes Clear He’s Ready for a Fight He Has Long Anticipated United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment General Assembly (UN)

He knew it was coming. It almost felt inevitable. No other president in American history has been seriously threatened with impeachment since before his inauguration. So when the announcement came on Tuesday that the House would consider charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump made clear he was ready for a fight.

He lashed out at the opposition Democrats, denouncing them for “crazy” partisanship. He denounced the allegations against him as “more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.” And he proclaimed that even if the impeachment battle to come will be bad for the country, it will be “a positive for me” by bolstering his chances to win a second term in next year’s election.

The beginning of the long-anticipated showdown arrived when Mr. Trump was in New York for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, creating a surreal split-screen spectacle as the president sought to play global statesman while fending off his enemies back in Washington. One moment, he talked of war and peace and trade with premiers and potentates. The next, he engaged in a rear-guard struggle to save his presidency.

Mr. Trump gave a desultory speech and shuffled between meetings with leaders from Britain, India and Iraq while privately consulting with aides about his next move against the House. Shortly before heading into a lunch with the United Nations secretary general, he decided to release a transcript of his July telephone call with the president of Ukraine that is central to the allegations against him. In effect, he was pushing his chips into the middle of the table, gambling that the document would prove ambiguous enough to undercut the Democratic case against him.

By afternoon, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared to announce the impeachment inquiry, the president retreated to Trump Tower, his longtime home and base of operations, to contemplate his path forward. A telephone call between the president and speaker failed to head off the clash, and now the two are poised for an epic struggle that will test the limits of the Constitution and the balance of power in the American system.

“We have been headed here inexorably,” said Michael J. Gerhardt, an impeachment scholar at the University of North Carolina. “The president has pushed and pushed his powers up to and beyond the normal boundaries. He’s been going too far for some time, but even for him this most recent misconduct is beyond what most of us, or most scholars, thought was possible for a president to do.”

Long reluctant, Ms. Pelosi finally moved after reports that Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate unsubstantiated corruption allegations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading Democratic candidate for president, while holding up $391 million in American aid to Ukraine. Democrats said leaning on a foreign power for dirt on an opponent crossed the line. Mr. Trump said he was only concerned about corruption in Ukraine.

Mr. Trump now joins only Andrew Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton in facing a serious threat of impeachment, the constitutional equivalent of an indictment.

Mr. Nixon resigned when fellow Republicans abandoned him over Watergate, but Mr. Johnson and Mr. Clinton were each acquitted in a Senate trial, the result that seems most likely at the moment given that conviction requires a two-thirds vote, meaning at least 20 Republican senators would have to break with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nixon and Mr. Clinton both were privately distraught over facing impeachment even as they waged vigorous public battles to defend themselves. Undaunted, Mr. Trump appeared energized by the confrontation, eager for battle. Confident of his position in the Republican-controlled Senate, he seemed almost to assume that the Democrat-controlled House would probably vote to impeach and that he would take his case to the public in next year’s election.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, an ally of the president’s, said Mr. Trump could afford to feel secure. He predicted the same thing would happen to Ms. Pelosi that happened to him in 1998, when he led a party-line impeachment inquiry of Mr. Clinton and paid the price in midterm elections, costing him the speakership.

Just as the public recoiled at the Republican impeachment then, Mr. Gingrich said, it will reject a Democratic impeachment now. Instead, he said, it will give Mr. Trump and the Republicans a chance to focus attention on Mr. Biden.

“This is the fight that traps the Democrats into an increasingly unpopular position — I lived through this in 1998 — while elevating the Biden case, which involves big money,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It is a win-win for Trump.”

His point on the popularity of impeachment was a critical one. Until now, at least, polls have shown that most Americans do not support impeaching Mr. Trump, just as they never embraced impeaching Mr. Clinton. And although how the latest allegations might ultimately change public opinion remained unclear, a new survey by Reuters and Ipsos released on Tuesday night suggested that support for impeachment had actually fallen since the Ukraine revelations, with just 37 percent in favor, down from 41 percent earlier this month.

Mr. Trump, though, has never been as popular as Mr. Clinton. During the 13-month battle that stretched from 1998 into 1999 over whether Mr. Clinton committed high crimes by lying under oath about his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton’s approval rating was generally in the mid-60s and even surged to 73 percent in the days after he was impeached.

Mr. Trump does not have the same reservoir of good will, never having had the support of a majority of Americans in Gallup polling for even a single day of his presidency. His approval rating currently stands at 43 percent. But he has the support of 91 percent of Republicans, giving him reason to assume the party’s senators will stick with him.

Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation,” said there were times when a stand on principle was worth it even with a short-term cost. “Some defeats can ultimately be victories — but often only in the long or historical view,” she said. “The Johnson impeachment ultimately failed,” she said, but in the end, she added, the system worked.

At this turning point in his presidency, Mr. Trump began the day in New York toggling between world affairs and political survival. Even before he took the rostrum at the United Nations to deliver a subdued, boilerplate speech, he sought out reporters to push back on the suggestion that he used American aid to leverage Ukrainian cooperation with his investigation demand.

Mr. Trump asserted that he blocked the aid to Ukraine because European countries have not paid their fair share. He pointed to the fact that the money was eventually released as evidence that he did nothing wrong. What he did not mention was that European countries have chipped in $15 billion for Ukraine in the last few years and that he released the American aid only after senators from both parties threatened punitive legislation if he did not.

What he also did not say was that he had changed his explanation for withholding the money from just a day before. On Monday, he linked his decision to block the aid to his concerns about corruption in Ukraine, citing Mr. Biden as an example. By emphasizing instead his overall concern about foreign aid, he was advancing a rationale less tied to his demand for an investigation.

“I’m leading in the polls and they have no idea how to stop me,” Mr. Trump said. “The only way they can try is through impeachment.”

In fact, Mr. Trump is trailing Mr. Biden and other Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in most polls, which is why Democrats assert he was so intent on obtaining dirt from Ukraine on the former vice president.

Either way, as stunning as the day’s developments were, the only real surprise was how long it took to get here. Mr. Trump’s critics began discussing impeachment within days of his election because of various ethical issues and Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. By last year’s midterm election, Mr. Trump repeatedly raised impeachment on the campaign trail, warning that Democrats would come after him if they won the House.

They did win, but the drive to impeachment stalled when the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, produced a report that established no criminal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia while refusing to take a position on whether the president obstructed justice during the investigation.

As it turned out, Ukraine, not Russia, proved to be rocket fuel for the semi-dormant effort. Now, more than two and a half years later, the battle is on.

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

Trump Makes Clear He’s Ready for a Fight He Has Long Anticipated

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-prexy-sub-facebookJumbo Trump Makes Clear He’s Ready for a Fight He Has Long Anticipated United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment General Assembly (UN)

He knew it was coming. It almost felt inevitable. No other president in American history has been seriously threatened with impeachment since before his inauguration. So when the announcement came on Tuesday that the House would consider charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump made clear he was ready for a fight.

He lashed out at the opposition Democrats, denouncing them for “crazy” partisanship. He denounced the allegations against him as “more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.” And he proclaimed that even if the impeachment battle to come will be bad for the country, it will be “a positive for me” by bolstering his chances to win a second term in next year’s election.

The beginning of the long-anticipated showdown arrived when Mr. Trump was in New York for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, creating a surreal split-screen spectacle as the president sought to play global statesman while fending off his enemies back in Washington. One moment, he talked of war and peace and trade with premiers and potentates. The next, he engaged in a rear-guard struggle to save his presidency.

Mr. Trump gave a desultory speech and shuffled between meetings with leaders from Britain, India and Iraq while privately consulting with aides about his next move against the House. Shortly before heading into a lunch with the United Nations secretary general, he decided to release a transcript of his July telephone call with the president of Ukraine that is central to the allegations against him. In effect, he was pushing his chips into the middle of the table, gambling that the document would prove ambiguous enough to undercut the Democratic case against him.

By afternoon, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared to announce the impeachment inquiry, the president retreated to Trump Tower, his longtime home and base of operations, to contemplate his path forward. A telephone call between the president and speaker failed to head off the clash, and now the two are poised for an epic struggle that will test the limits of the Constitution and the balance of power in the American system.

“We have been headed here inexorably,” said Michael J. Gerhardt, an impeachment scholar at the University of North Carolina. “The president has pushed and pushed his powers up to and beyond the normal boundaries. He’s been going too far for some time, but even for him this most recent misconduct is beyond what most of us, or most scholars, thought was possible for a president to do.”

Long reluctant, Ms. Pelosi finally moved after reports that Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate unsubstantiated corruption allegations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading Democratic candidate for president, while holding up $391 million in American aid to Ukraine. Democrats said leaning on a foreign power for dirt on an opponent crossed the line. Mr. Trump said he was only concerned about corruption in Ukraine.

Mr. Nixon resigned when fellow Republicans abandoned him over Watergate, but Mr. Johnson and Mr. Clinton were each acquitted in a Senate trial, the result that seems most likely at the moment given that conviction requires a two-thirds vote, meaning at least 20 Republican senators would have to break with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nixon and Mr. Clinton both were privately distraught over facing impeachment even as they waged vigorous public battles to defend themselves. Undaunted, Mr. Trump appeared energized by the confrontation, eager for battle. Confident of his position in the Republican-controlled Senate, he seemed almost to assume that the Democrat-controlled House would probably vote to impeach and that he would take his case to the public in next year’s election.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, an ally of the president’s, said Mr. Trump could afford to feel secure. He predicted the same thing would happen to Ms. Pelosi that happened to him in 1998, when he led a party-line impeachment inquiry of Mr. Clinton and paid the price in midterm elections, costing him the speakership.

Just as the public recoiled at the Republican impeachment then, Mr. Gingrich said, it will reject a Democratic impeachment now. Instead, he said, it will give Mr. Trump and the Republicans a chance to focus attention on Mr. Biden.

“This is the fight that traps the Democrats into an increasingly unpopular position — I lived through this in 1998 — while elevating the Biden case, which involves big money,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It is a win-win for Trump.”

Mr. Trump, though, has never been as popular as Mr. Clinton. During the 13-month battle that stretched from 1998 into 1999 over whether Mr. Clinton committed high crimes by lying under oath about his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton’s approval rating was generally in the mid-60s and even surged to 73 percent in the days after he was impeached.

Mr. Trump does not have the same reservoir of good will, never having had the support of a majority of Americans in Gallup polling for even a single day of his presidency. His approval rating currently stands at 43 percent. But he has the support of 91 percent of Republicans, giving him reason to assume the party’s senators will stick with him.

Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation,” said there were times when a stand on principle was worth it even with a short-term cost. “Some defeats can ultimately be victories — but often only in the long or historical view,” she said. “The Johnson impeachment ultimately failed,” she said, but in the end, she added, the system worked.

At this turning point in his presidency, Mr. Trump began the day in New York toggling between world affairs and political survival. Even before he took the rostrum at the United Nations to deliver a subdued, boilerplate speech, he sought out reporters to push back on the suggestion that he used American aid to leverage Ukrainian cooperation with his investigation demand.

Mr. Trump asserted that he blocked the aid to Ukraine because European countries have not paid their fair share. He pointed to the fact that the money was eventually released as evidence that he did nothing wrong. What he did not mention was that European countries have chipped in $15 billion for Ukraine in the last few years and that he released the American aid only after senators from both parties threatened punitive legislation if he did not.

What he also did not say was that he had changed his explanation for withholding the money from just a day before. On Monday, he linked his decision to block the aid to his concerns about corruption in Ukraine, citing Mr. Biden as an example. By emphasizing instead his overall concern about foreign aid, he was advancing a rationale less tied to his demand for an investigation.

“I’m leading in the polls and they have no idea how to stop me,” Mr. Trump said. “The only way they can try is through impeachment.”

In fact, Mr. Trump is trailing Mr. Biden and other Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in most polls, which is why Democrats assert he was so intent on obtaining dirt from Ukraine on the former vice president.

Either way, as stunning as the day’s developments were, the only real surprise was how long it took to get here. Mr. Trump’s critics began discussing impeachment within days of his election because of various ethical issues and Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. By last year’s midterm election, Mr. Trump repeatedly raised impeachment on the campaign trail, warning that Democrats would come after him if they won the House.

They did win, but the drive to impeachment stalled when the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, produced a report that established no criminal conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia while refusing to take a position on whether the president obstructed justice during the investigation.

As it turned out, Ukraine, not Russia, proved to be rocket fuel for the semi-dormant effort. Now, more than two and a half years later, the battle is on.

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For Joe Biden, a Long-Expected Test From Trump

In public, for the last five days, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his campaign have been on a ferocious offensive, ripping into President Trump for allegedly abusing his powers in asking Ukraine’s leader to help hurt Mr. Biden politically, and castigating the news media for questioning his son Hunter Biden’s financial dealings there. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden made his biggest move yet, saying Congress should start an impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump if he does not cooperate with their investigations.

In private, though, this has been an enraging and uncertain time for the Biden campaign, and for Mr. Biden himself, who associates say has been astounded both by Mr. Trump’s contact with the Ukrainian government and his obvious enthusiasm for attacking Mr. Biden’s family. He and his advisers have long feared that Hunter Biden would become a target for political opponents, according to people familiar with their thinking, and now the scrutiny of Mr. Biden’s son is bound to intensify.

And as Mr. Trump’s onslaught has pushed the House of Representatives to start an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden now faces a crucial political test where his standing may hinge on how he handles a wildly unpredictable confrontation with Mr. Trump.

Bryce Smith, the Democratic Party chairman in Dallas County, Iowa, said the moment showcased Mr. Biden as a candidate Mr. Trump is “genuinely worried about” and offered a reminder of the lengths Mr. Trump may go to oppose any Democratic opponent. But it also exposed Mr. Biden to risks in the leadoff caucus state, he said.

“I could see people who are already on the fence about him, maybe because of his long career in politics, his age, his ability to win this, kind of going, ‘Oh, great, we’re already starting this and he hasn’t even gotten the nomination,’” Mr. Smith said. “And others going, ‘He’s obviously being thought of as a formidable opponent, if Trump is thinking about it like this.’”

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Mr. Biden and his campaign team have encouraged the latter interpretation, trying to project an image of strength in the primary and warning the press that the Biden campaign would deliver blunt criticism about coverage it sees as unfair. At a Philadelphia fund-raising event on Monday, Mr. Biden pledged, “I’m not going to take a punch and not punch back.”

Yet allies of Mr. Biden acknowledge privately that the campaign has been girding for months for criticism of Hunter Biden, who has charted a winding career as a bank executive, lobbyist and financier, often operating in parts of the private sector that overlapped with his father’s footprint in government. They have declined to say whether they vetted Hunter Biden’s business activities as part of preparing for the 2020 presidential campaign, arguing that the political world should be solely focused on Mr. Trump’s conduct.

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President Trump in New York on Tuesday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

There is no evidence that Mr. Biden, as vice president, intentionally tried to help his son in his dealings with Ukraine, but Hunter Biden’s business career has sporadically drawn attention from political rivals and the media for more than a decade. Associates say Mr. Biden is infuriated by Mr. Trump’s conduct and astonished by the president’s willingness to dismiss some of the most basic ethical lines in American politics.

In Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Mr. Biden called the president’s actions an “abuse of power’’ that undermined national security, and said he would support impeachment if Mr. Trump did not provide information related to Congressional investigations.

In some respects, Mr. Trump’s conduct has reinforced the central message of Mr. Biden’s appeal to Democratic voters: that the country is threatened by an out-of-control presidency, and that ousting Mr. Trump is more important than any other policy goal Democrats might share.

At fund-raisers and other events, Democrats who have spoken with Mr. Biden in recent days say he has largely appeared measured, greeting old friends in his typical effusive style and keeping the focus on his concerns with Mr. Trump’s foreign policy, rather than dwelling on the challenges the moment raises for his family.

Still unclear in this moment of crisis is what conclusions Democratic voters might make about Mr. Biden as an opponent for Mr. Trump, and how a drive for impeachment in Congress might shape the Democratic primary campaign.

Former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, who saw Mr. Biden at a fund-raiser in Iowa on Saturday, said he believed that Mr. Trump’s dangerous conduct was at the forefront of Mr. Biden’s mind.

“I suspect he’s just as focused and just as concerned about that as he is about an attack on a family member, as personal as that is,” said Mr. Vilsack, who served as agriculture secretary in the Obama administration.

A memo circulated to political surrogates from the Biden campaign on Tuesday urged supporters to note that “this isn’t about Biden or his family. We all know who Trump is,” and also suggested criticizing reporters for giving undeserved coverage to Mr. Trump’s attacks on Mr. Biden and his son.

“Trump is successfully playing the same game he played in 2016 — and the press is falling for it again,” the memo stated.

This clash has come at a precarious moment for Mr. Biden’s candidacy, as he seeks to recover momentum after a largely limp summer on the campaign trail. He has slipped in the polls over the last two months and faces an increasingly formidable challenge from Senator Elizabeth Warren: Two polls released in recent days showed her slightly overtaking him in Iowa and New Hampshire, the leadoff states in the Democratic nomination process.

In the short term, at least, Mr. Trump may have effectively put Hunter Biden off limits for his father’s Democratic rivals. It is unlikely that any other candidate in Mr. Biden’s party would soon follow Mr. Trump in going after the former vice president’s son on the subject of business ethics, while Mr. Trump may face an impeachment inquiry for allegedly pressuring a foreign government to do just that.

Senator Bernie Sanders, for one, deflected a reporter’s question on Tuesday about whether he thought the sudden focus on Hunter Biden’s overseas work would weaken the Biden campaign. “You guys write very perceptive articles on these things, and I’ll let you make that judgment,” he replied.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in Davenport, Iowa, on Tuesday. Mr. Sanders called on Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

It is unclear, however, how well prepared Mr. Biden and his campaign may be to address questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings beyond the specific case Mr. Trump has attempted to raise. Hunter Biden has operated for years in parts of the business world that intersected with his father’s career in government, including working for MBNA, a Delaware-based bank, while his father was involved in rewriting the bankruptcy code as a senator, and leading an investment fund that did business in foreign countries while his father was vice president.

Hunter Biden’s work for MBNA briefly became an issue during his father’s campaign for the vice presidency in 2008, and Obama-Biden campaign officials defended it as within the bounds of ethical propriety.

TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, said the former vice president was indeed angry that Mr. Trump was “lying about his family, and now appears to be blackmailing a foreign government into helping legitimize those lies.”

“He’s fighting back, which is what Democrats want to see in their nominee and why he will beat Donald Trump next fall,” Mr. Ducklo said, adding, “The V.P. and his family know Donald Trump plays dirty, and they can take it.

Mr. Ducklo declined to say whether the campaign had vetted Hunter Biden’s business dealings and said the media should not be asking questions like that. “We’re not going to indulge Trump’s conspiracy theories, and we’re not going to dignify his attacks with a response,” he said.

Mr. Biden is said to have limited patience for discussing Hunter Biden’s apparent political vulnerabilities, even in private. Some of Mr. Biden’s close advisers have argued in private settings that going after any member of Mr. Biden’s family — including Hunter Biden — would ultimately backfire on an opponent, because of Mr. Biden’s stature and the sympathetic feelings much of the public has for him and his family.

For Mr. Biden, the matter of his son is deeply sensitive for reasons that have nothing to do with politics: While the whole Biden family endorsed his choice to enter the 2020 race, friends of Mr. Biden said consistently throughout his deliberations that his deepest anxiety was the impact of a campaign on a family still grappling with profound loss after the death of Mr. Biden’s elder son, Beau Biden, in 2015, from brain cancer.

“I know that he worked through that, he did a lot of contemplation about how it would affect the family,” said the Rev. Joseph Darby, an influential South Carolina-based pastor who has known Mr. Biden for years.

Earlier this year, Hunter Biden spoke in detail to The New Yorker magazine about the crippling grief he experienced after his brother’s death, and his long-running struggles with drug addiction. The magazine story also detailed a number of potential ethical conflicts in Hunter Biden’s business activities and described the vice president as having dealt “with Hunter’s activities by largely ignoring them.”

Maggie Astor and Sydney Ember contributed reporting.

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Why an Impeachment Inquiry Now? Democrats Cite the Clarity of the Case

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WASHINGTON — For months, dozens of House Democrats anxiously avoided even the mention of impeaching President Trump — right up until the moment that they demanded it.

The sudden embrace of an impeachment inquiry by previously reluctant House Democrats — most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi — is attributable to one fundamental fact: They believe the new accusations against Mr. Trump are simple and serious enough to be grasped by a public overwhelmed by the constant din of complex charges and countercharges that has become the norm in today’s Washington.

In contrast to the murkiness of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump, Democrats see the current allegations as damningly clear-cut. His refusal so far to provide Congress with an intelligence official’s whistle-blower complaint as required by law, coupled with the possibility that Mr. Trump dangled American military aid as a bargaining chip to win investigation of a political rival by a foreign government, strikes them as a stark case of presidential wrongdoing. They consider it egregious enough that they expect many Americans who had been cool to the idea of moving to oust the president to recognize the imperative for the House to act.

“It has shifted the ground,” Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont and a member of the Intelligence Committee, said about the new allegations against the president, as party support for an impeachment inquiry solidified. “It makes the brazenness of the conduct and the simplicity of the misconduct easy for everybody to understand.”

A second factor was also at work. The national security implications of the president pressuring an embattled ally for political help threw open the door for more moderate Democrats — many of them products of the military and intelligence communities, rather than lifelong politicians — to justify their decision to pursue an impeachment case against the president despite his relative popularity in their districts. In Tuesday’s outpouring of new demands for an inquiry, national security loomed large as a rationale.

“Make no mistake, these recent allegations are certainly dire,” Representatives Steven Horsford and Susie Lee, two Nevada Democrats who had resisted impeachment, said in a joint statement. “They point to a direct abuse of power at the expense of our national security.”

Ms. Pelosi’s reversal was a head-snapping change. Since early in Mr. Trump’s tenure, the speaker had been the leading voice for restraint on impeachment, recognizing the political danger to her hard-won majority as well as the potential for a backlash that could hand Mr. Trump a second term in the White House. Despite her own deep disregard for the president, Ms. Pelosi did not believe the public was behind a formal impeachment inquiry that she considered nationally divisive. She preferred that various committees pursue Mr. Trump on a range of issues before next year’s election without forcing formal impeachment action.

That all changed with the disclosure of the whistle-blower complaint against the president.

Like her colleagues, Ms. Pelosi said that while the latest allegation against the president is but one candidate for an article of impeachment, “this is the most understandable by the public.”

“We don’t ask foreign governments to help us in our elections,” Ms. Pelosi said Tuesday at a forum sponsored by The Atlantic.

The initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry carries grave political risks for Democrats, allowing Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans to argue that Democrats are unfairly tormenting the president for partisan gain with an election just more than a year away. “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” Mr. Trump tweeted from New York, where he was attending meetings at the United Nations, as Democrats announced that they were opening a formal impeachment inquiry.

Republicans paid a steep political price for moving to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998, and some analysts believe this episode could backfire on Democrats as well.

But with the party clamor growing for action against the president after the Ukrainian revelations, Ms. Pelosi and others who had been holding back faced the prospect that failing to move forward on demands to hold the president accountable could cost them more with their own party than pursuing impeachment might hurt them with Republicans and independents. Long a progressive hero, Ms. Pelosi had already drawn fire from the left for failing to act.

Even as momentum rapidly built, worries surfaced among Democrats that the drive could fizzle with the release of a transcript of the telephone call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president if it proved less explosive than anticipated — an outcome Republicans predicted. But the speaker and others said that such an outcome would not deter them and that they wanted to hear all of the whistle-blower’s account of what led to the complaint against Mr. Trump, which is believed to include more than the call.

The decision to back the inquiry was not easy for Democrats who had been hesitant to get on board.

“I certainly didn’t run for Congress to be part of an impeachment inquiry,” said Representative Haley Stevens, Democrat of Michigan, who called the phone call an abuse of power. “It’s heartbreaking to look something like impeachment in the face,” she added. “No matter who the president is, we want them to succeed. At the same time, I have to maintain the rule of law and checks and balances.”

While the revelation of the whistle-blower complaint broke the logjam on impeachment, Democrats were becoming increasingly incensed at the proud defiance of the House by the president and his allies, essentially thumbing their noses at a coequal branch of government empowered to oversee the conduct of the administration. The Trump strategy had been effective as recently as a few days ago, when Democrats seemed stymied in their pursuit of the president with the prospect of a formal impeachment inquiry flagging.

To many of them, the fact that Mr. Trump had so far escaped any reckoning had only emboldened him to encourage the Ukrainian government to open a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential 2020 opponent, and his son Hunter Biden.

Now, Democrats who had been hesitant to open an inquiry are all in.

“These actions, which the president has admitted, represent a gross abuse of power and an abuse of the trust we the people have placed in the office of the president,” Representative Lizzie Fletcher, a Democrat from Houston who flipped a Republican seat last year and will face a challenge in holding on to it, said in a statement. She said the “House of Representatives should act swiftly to investigate and should be prepared to use the remedy exclusively in its power: impeachment.”

For months, it appeared that Ms. Pelosi’s calculus and the deep reservations of Democrats in swing districts would keep the House from moving forward on impeachment. The speaker told fellow Democrats in a private conference call in August that the House would not move to impeach unless the president gave them no choice.

In the eyes of Democrats, that is exactly what happened.

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Nancy Pelosi’s Statement on Impeachment: ‘The President Must Be Held Accountable’

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Here is a transcript of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks on Tuesday announcing the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Good afternoon.

Last Tuesday, we observed the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution on Sept. 17. Sadly, on that day, the intelligence community inspector general formally notified the Congress that the administration was forbidding him from turning over a whistle-blower complaint. On Constitution Day. This is a violation of law.

Shortly thereafter press reports began to break of a phone call by the president of the United States calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election. This is a breach of his constitutional responsibilities.

The facts are these. The intelligence community inspector general, who was appointed by President Trump, determined that the complaint is both of urgent concern and credible, and its disclosure, he went on to say, relates to one of the most significant and important of the director of national intelligence’s responsibility to the American people.

On Thursday the inspector general testified before the House Intelligence Committee stating that the acting director of national intelligence fought him from disclosing the whistle-blower complaint. This is a violation of law. The law is unequivocal. The D.N.I. staff — the D.N.I., director of national intelligence — shall provide Congress the full whistle-blower complaint.

For more than 25 years, I’ve served on the Intelligence Committee as a member, as the ranking member, as part of the Gang of Four, even before I was in the leadership. I was there when we created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That did not exist before 2004. I was there even earlier than the ’90s when we wrote the whistle-blower laws and continue to write them to ensure the security of our intelligence and the safety of our whistle-blowers.

I know what their purpose was. And we proceeded with balance and caution as we wrote the laws. I can say with authority the Trump administration’s actions undermine both. Our national security and our intelligence and our protections of the whistle-blowers. More than both.

This Thursday, the acting D.N.I. will appear before the House Intelligence Committee. At that time, he must turn over the whistle-blower’s full complaint to the committee. He will have to choose whether to break the law or honor his responsibility to the Constitution. On the final day of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when our Constitution was adopted, Americans gathered on the steps of Independence Hall to await the news of a government our founders had crafted. They asked Benjamin Franklin: “What do we have? A republic or a monarchy?”

Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our responsibility is to keep it. Because of the wisdom of our Constitution enshrined in three co-equal branches of government serving as checks and balances on each other. The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution especially when the president says Article II says, ‘I can do whatever I want.’ For the past several months, we have been investigating in our committees and litigating in the courts, so the House can gather all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity of articles of impeachment. And this week the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically.

The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections. Therefore, today I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.

The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law. Getting back to our founders in the darkest days of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote, “The times have found us.” The times found them to fight for and establish our democracy. The times have found us today. Not to place ourselves in the same category of greatness as our founders but to place us in the urgency of protecting and defending our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.

In the words of Ben Franklin, to keep our republic. I thank our chairmen — Chairman Nadler, Chairman Schiff of Intelligence, Chairman Engel, Chairman Cummings of Oversight, and Chairman Cummings, I’ve been in touch with constantly. He’s a master of so much, but including inspectors general and whistle-blowers. Congressman Richie Neal of the Ways and Means Committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters. I commend all of our members, our colleagues for their thoughtful, thoughtful approach to all of this, for their careful statements.

God bless them and God bless America. Thank you all.

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Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, saying that he had betrayed his oath of office and the nation’s security in seeking to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain.

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said after emerging from a meeting of House Democrats in the basement of the Capitol. Mr. Trump, she said, “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”

Read the Transcript
Nancy Pelosi’s Statement on Impeachment: ‘The President Must Be Held Accountable’

Sept. 24, 2019

The announcement was a stunning development that unfolded after months of caution by House Democrats, who have been divided over using the ultimate remedy to address what they have called flagrant misconduct by the president. It ushered in the beginning of a remarkable new chapter in American political life, with the potential to cleave an already divided nation, reshape Mr. Trump’s presidency and the country’s politics, and create heavy risks both for him and for the Democrats who have decided to weigh his removal. And it could result in Mr. Trump becoming only the third president in modern history to be impeached, after Bill Clinton and Richard M. Nixon, who resigned in the middle of the process.

In this case, with an avalanche of Democrats — including many who had resisted the move — now demanding it, Ms. Pelosi said that Mr. Trump’s reported actions, and his administration’s refusal to share details about the matter with Congress, have left the House no alternative outside of impeachment.

At issue are allegations that Mr. Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son. The conversation is said to be part of a whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress.

Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he would authorize the release of a transcript of the conversation, practically daring Democrats to try to find an impeachable offense in a conversation that he has called “perfect.” But Democrats, after months of holding back, demanded the full whistle-blower complaint, even as they pushed toward an expansive impeachment inquiry that could encompass unrelated charges.

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Ms. Pelosi said.

The president, in New York for several days of international diplomacy at the United Nations, issued a defiant response on Twitter, in a series of fuming posts that culminated with a simple phrase: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage,” Mr. Trump wrote. “So bad for our Country!

Ms. Pelosi said she had directed the chairmen of the six committees that have been investigating Mr. Trump to “proceed under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” In a closed-door meeting earlier in the day, she said the panels would put together their best cases on potentially impeachable offenses by the president and send them to the Judiciary Committee, according to two officials familiar with the conversation. That could potentially lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment based on the findings.

The decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry does not necessarily mean that the House will ultimately vote to charge Mr. Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors — much less that the Republican-controlled Senate will vote to remove him. But Ms. Pelosi and her leadership would not initiate the process unless they were prepared to reach that outcome.

Ms. Pelosi met privately on Tuesday with the leaders of the six key committees involved in investigations of Mr. Trump, and later huddled with the full Democratic caucus. Her announcement came amid a groundswell in favor of impeachment among Democrats that has intensified since late last week, with lawmakers from every corner of her caucus lining up in favor of using the House’s unique power to charge Mr. Trump if the allegations are proved true, or if his administration continues to stonewall attempts by Congress to investigate them.

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Complete List: Who Supports an Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump?

More than two-thirds of House Democrats and one Independent have said they now support impeachment proceedings.

The House Judiciary Committee has been conducting its own impeachment investigation focused on the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as well as allegations that Mr. Trump may be illegally profiting from spending by state and foreign governments and other matters. But that inquiry has never gotten the imprimatur of a full House vote or the full rhetorical backing of the speaker, as Democrats remained divided about the wisdom and political implications of impeaching a president without broader public support.

Now, after the revelation of a conversations between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressed the foreign leader to investigate the Bidens, a cascading flood of Democrats has come out in favor of a formal impeachment proceeding.

The shift in outlook among Democratic lawmakers has been rapid, and could yet still turn away from impeachment if exculpatory evidence comes to light. The developments that have turned the tide began less that two weeks ago, when Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman, first revealed the existence of a secret whistle-blower complaint that the intelligence community’s internal watchdog had deemed “urgent” and credible but that the Trump administration had refused to share with Congress.

Democrats have given Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, until Thursday to turn over the whistle-blower complaint or risk reprisal. And they have threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for a copy of the transcript of the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky and other relevant documents after Thursday if they are not shared voluntarily.

There were also indications the whistle-blower might not wait around for the complaint to be disclosed. Democrats said on Tuesday that a lawyer for the whistle-blower had informed the committee his client wanted to speak with the House and Senate intelligence panels, and had requested directions from the office of the director of national intelligence on how to do so.

Though it has attracted much less fanfare, the Senate Intelligence Committee intends to meet privately with the inspector general and Mr. Maguire this week to discuss the whistle-blower complaint.

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Trump Celebrates Nationalism in U.N. Speech and Plays Down Iran Crisis

President Trump delivered a sharp nationalist message and assailed “globalists” in remarks to the world’s leading international body on Tuesday, while taking a notably moderate line on Iranian aggression in the Middle East.

“If you want freedom, hold on to your sovereignty, and if you want peace, love your nation,” Mr. Trump said, as he called for stronger borders and new controls on migration. “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations.”

The United Nations was founded in 1945 to foster international cooperation and understanding after the nationalist fervor that had plunged the globe into World War II. But Mr. Trump, who spoke in a flat monotone, stressed the value of national identity and argued that governments must defend their “history, culture and heritage.”

“The free world must embrace its national foundations,” Mr. Trump said. “It must not attempt to erase them or replace them.”

Just as notable as his challenge to many of the world body’s principles was what Mr. Trump did not say. Before an audience that had been primed for him to focus on attacks on Saudi oil facilities that the United States has said Iran was behind, Mr. Trump said relatively little about the Sept. 14 strikes. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the attacks, which rattled global energy markets, “an act of war.”

Likely to the relief of his audience, which included European leaders who have been scrambling to find a way to avert conflict with Iran over its nuclear program, Mr. Trump did not repeat that bellicose phrase. Instead, he reiterated the distaste for military conflict he has demonstrated since he first ran for president. “Many of our friends today were once our greatest foes,” Mr. Trump said. “The United States has never believed in permanent enemies. America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can choose peace.”

“America’s goal is not to go with these endless wars, wars that never end,” he added.

Mr. Trump offered the world leaders and diplomats gathered before him little in the way of a clear path forward on how to deal with Iran, and largely repeated prior broad-stroke complaints about Iran’s “menacing behavior.”

He was rewarded with respectful applause when he finished, but none at all during the speech itself.

Mr. Trump’s speech also restated his hope that diplomacy can denuclearize North Korea; he vowed to seek peace in Afghanistan even as America continues to fight the Taliban; and he again condemned the “socialist” dictatorship in Venezuela.

But his strikingly pat language on Iran appeared to be part of an effort to tamp down expectations of a strong American response in defense of the Saudis, a key Middle East ally.

Instead, Mr. Trump called on Iran to give freedom to its people and engage in new talks with the United States.

Overall, the speech reaffirmed Mr. Trump’s belief in the ideas of nationalism and sovereignty that have fueled the rise of populist leaders across the world. It also bore the hallmarks of his policy adviser and speechwriter Stephen Miller, who has helped to push cultural and racial themes to the front of Mr. Trump’s agenda.

At a body that has been a champion of refugees and migrants, Mr. Trump offered a firm defense of strong borders at home and abroad.

“Many of the countries here today are coping with the challenges of uncontrolled migration,” he said. “Each of you has the absolute right to protect your borders. And so, of course, does our country.”

Mr. Trump also took explicit aim at the power of the United Nations, noting with pride that he has refused to ratify an international arms trade treaty sponsored by the body. “There’s no circumstance under which the United States will allow international entities to trample on the rights of our citizens, including the right to self-defense,” Mr. Trump said.

He assailed another international body, the World Trade Organization, saying that it had failed to check what he described as abusive Chinese economic practices for years. And he complained that a network of global elites had turned a blind eye to China’s behavior.

“For years, these abuses were tolerated, ignored or even encouraged,” Mr. Trump said. “Globalism exerted a religious pull over past leaders, causing them to ignore their own national interests. But as far as America is concerned, those days are over.”

Mr. Trump’s language about efforts to “replace” the foundations of national cultures bore echoes of the “great replacement” theory propounded by the French writer Renaud Camus, who has warned that European culture is being diluted by migrants from places like the Middle East and North Africa. The phrase “great replacement” has been adopted by many in the white nationalist movement, although it is unclear whether Mr. Trump intended such an allusion.

Just a week ago, it seemed certain that Mr. Trump would make the attack on the Saudis the central element of his United Nations speech. Not only did Mr. Pompeo call the attack an “act of war,” but military officials were at one point in the Situation Room offering military and cyberattack options to respond. Mr. Trump made no reference to any of those, and did not seek any kind of endorsement for the need for a response beyond a tightening of sanctions.

Earlier this week, Richard Fontaine, the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security and longtime Republican foreign policy aide, noted: “Not so long ago, a devastating attack on Saudi oil supplies would almost certainly have elicited an American military response. Ensuring the continued flow of energy from the Middle East was widely seen as crucial, one of the vital American interests that nearly all policymakers believed worth defending.”

But he noted that “fracking and reduced U.S. dependence on Middle East oil, the exhaustion and caution borne by two decades of American wars, a new focus on great-power competition, and the complexities of recent diplomacy with Iran have changed all this to a degree.”

Iran has denied responsibility for the attack, and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are armed by Iran, have taken credit. But Trump officials say they are certain that Iran was responsible.

In the days since that attack, Mr. Trump has alternated between threats of fierce military action and calls for patience and restraint.

An American military response could escalate the conflict with potentially devastating consequences for the global economy, which is powered by a Middle Eastern oil flow that Iran can easily disrupt.

Speaking to reporters shortly before his remarks, Mr. Trump projected confidence about the standoff with Tehran, saying that “Iran is coming along very well. We’re in very good shape with respect to Iran.”

As Trump Takes the U.N. Stage, an Eye on Troubles Back Home

Sept. 24, 2019

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What’s Happened So Far at the U.N. General Assembly

Sept. 24, 2019

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