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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 47)

2020 Democrats Say Trump’s Ukraine Call Is a ‘Smoking Gun’ for Impeachment

Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for president in 2020 swiftly renewed their condemnation of President Trump on Wednesday, saying that the remarks he made to the president of Ukraine during a July phone call constituted an impeachable offense.

At least two candidates used the same phrase: Both Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the former housing secretary Julián Castro, who have been calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment for months, labeled the reconstruction of the phone call a “smoking gun.”

“If this is the version of events the president’s team thinks is most favorable, he is in very deep jeopardy,” Ms. Warren said. “We need to see the full whistle-blower complaint and the administration needs to follow the law. Now.”

The call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been at the center of accusations that Mr. Trump pressured a foreign leader to open a potential corruption investigation tied to a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is seeking to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020.

According to the reconstructed transcript, which the White House released on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about opening an investigation connected to Mr. Biden, saying “whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”

‘Do Us A Favor’

The news of the call — which was first revealed by a whistle-blower who works in the intelligence community — have prompted House Democrats to say they would formally open an impeachment inquiry. And on Wednesday, after reviewing the contents of the reconstructed transcript, several Democratic candidates renewed their calls for Mr. Trump to be impeached.

“Congress should cancel recess and begin impeachment proceedings immediately,” Mr. Castro said.

Senator Kamala Harris’s campaign highlighted an exchange during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May between Ms. Harris and Mr. Barr, in which she asked the attorney general whether Mr. Trump had ever asked him to open an investigation into anyone else. After much hesitation, Mr. Barr said he did not know.

Video

Westlake Legal Group merlin_154438470_f3ced628-54fe-4972-9138-06177aa6aa09-videoSixteenByNine3000 2020 Democrats Say Trump’s Ukraine Call Is a ‘Smoking Gun’ for Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment

In May, Senator Kamala Harris asked Attorney General William P. Barr whether President Trump or any member of his administration had ever suggested that he “open an investigation of anyone.”CreditCreditAndrew Harnik/Associated Press

Ms. Harris, of California, posted a screen shot of the reconstructed transcript on Twitter, writing, “They admit it: Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to work with the U.S. Attorney General to investigate a political opponent. He must be impeached.”Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said in a statement that the document released Wednesday amounted to “apparent proof that Trump had pressured a foreign nation to meddle in our democracy again.”

“History will remember those who put politics aside at this time of crisis and treated it like the moral moment that it is,” he said.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who has said she supports the impeachment inquiry, said that the record of the call was “deeply disturbing,” adding that Mr. Trump had “violated the public’s trust.”

Ask a Question

Our reporters in Washington are available to answer your questions about the impeachment inquiry. We may publish your name and location along with your question.

Several other Democratic candidates for president, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, renewed their calls for an impeachment inquiry to begin. “Donald Trump is the most corrupt president in the modern history of this country,” Mr. Sanders tweeted, echoing a line he uses frequently on the campaign trail.

Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that if Mr. Trump continued to stonewall attempts by Congress to investigate his conduct, he would “leave Congress no choice but to initiate impeachment.”

Tom Steyer, the former hedge fund manager who pledged to spend millions of dollars on a campaign to impeach Mr. Trump before entering the presidential race, was blunt on Wednesday. “There it is,” Mr. Steyer said. “He did it. Donald Trump is a traitor.”

More on Impeachment and the 2020 Election
Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden

Sept. 25, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-call-sub-threeByTwoSmallAt2X 2020 Democrats Say Trump’s Ukraine Call Is a ‘Smoking Gun’ for Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment
Pelosi on Trump: ‘He Does Not Care About Ethics’ — Live Updates

Sept. 25, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-impeach-briefing5-threeByTwoSmallAt2X 2020 Democrats Say Trump’s Ukraine Call Is a ‘Smoking Gun’ for Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment
For Joe Biden, Trump Impeachment Inquiry Brings a Long-Expected Test

Sept. 24, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 24biden2-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v4 2020 Democrats Say Trump’s Ukraine Call Is a ‘Smoking Gun’ for Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment

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6 Key Moments in the Trump-Ukraine Phone Call

President Trump declassified and released on Wednesday a reconstructed transcript of his 30-minute conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. The five-page document reveals the discussion between the two men that took place on July 25. A group of National Security Council officials referred to as “notetakers” transcribed the call from the White House Situation Room. Trump appears to have spoken to Mr. Zelensky from his residence.

There is a note of caution in the transcript: a footnote says it is not verbatim, and its text contains ellipses.

The President: “The other thing. There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

In this passage, Mr. Trump pushed the new Ukrainian president to get his country’s prosecutor to open an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter. In May, Ukraine’s top prosecutor had said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens to investigate.

When he was vice president, Mr. Biden had pushed the Ukrainian government in 2015 to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely seen as an obstacle to reform because he failed to bring corruption cases. At the time, Mr. Biden’s son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, that was the subject of an investigation that Mr. Shokin’s office had long left dormant.

In 2018, Mr. Biden talked about his effort to get Mr. Shokin removed — carrying out the Obama administration’s policy — at a Council on Foreign Relations event, and Mr. Trump’s supporters have used a brief video clip from those remarks as part of their insinuations that the vice president was trying to protect Burisma Holdings from prosecution. Mr. Biden did not portray his effort to get Mr. Shokin out as stopping any prosecution of Burisma Holdings.

The President: “I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.”

At the time of this call, Mr. Trump was holding back hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated to help that country fend off Russian aggression. The two leaders did not directly refer to Mr. Trump’s freezing of the aid or whether he would unfreeze it. However, Mr. Trump referred to large-scale American assistance to Ukraine in this passage, and several sentences later, Mr. Trump added:

The President: … “but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal, necessarily, because things are happening that are not good. But the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”

At this point in the call, Mr. Trump brought up the idea of reciprocity, suggesting that the United States has been good to Ukraine even though something Ukraine has done is not good. The next thing Mr. Trump said — after Mr. Zelensky responded to this statement — was to ask for investigations.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161425452_ce1b1479-5fe8-477c-a5e1-87883f007055-articleLarge 6 Key Moments in the Trump-Ukraine Phone Call Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates

President Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

President Zelensky: “Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country.”

In May, Ukraine’s top prosecutor at the time had said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens for him to investigate. In this passage, Mr. Zelensky promises to do what Mr. Trump is asking — launch an investigation into the Bidens — but also asks Mr. Trump if he can provide any information for Ukrainian investigators to look at.

The President: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”

Mr. Trump appears to be referencing an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory pushed by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, that Ukraine had some involvement in the emails stolen from Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Giuliani said in a previously unpublished portion of an interview with The New York Times in April that he was in touch with people “who said that the Ukrainians were the ones who did the hacking,” then participated in an effort to blame the Russian government and link it to the Trump campaign.

The special counsel’s report, which Mr. Trump disparages here, made clear that Russian military officers hacked the D.N.C. mail server. There is no evidence that the Ukrainians were involved. But in May, Attorney General William P. Barr launched his own investigation into the Russia investigation and its origins.

The President: “Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very good to Ukraine.”

The geopolitical fate of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, has been up for grabs. Mr. Zelensky has expressed interest in having his country join NATO, and many in Ukraine want their future to be oriented toward Western Europe. But Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, has been trying to bring it back into Moscow’s orbit.

In recent years, Russia has annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine’s eastern territory, where many Ukrainian citizens are ethnically Russian and where pro-Russian separatists are strong. In this portion of the phone call, Mr. Trump suggests Ukraine cannot count on Europe and casts aspersions on German assistance.

The President: “Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news I just want to let you know that.”

Here the president is pushing Mr. Zelensky to deal directly with Mr. Giuliani, his personal lawyer and close ally, while disparaging the United States’ Senate-confirmed ambassador.

Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories about the Bidens and encouraged the Ukrainian government to ramp up investigations into them. He told The New York Times in May that he was doing so “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

At the time of this call, Mr. Giuliani had recently spoken on the phone with a top representative of the new Ukrainian president, and would soon meet him in person in Madrid. Mr. Giuliani has said he was acting on his own as a private citizen, but with the knowledge and assistance of the State Department.

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For Joe Biden, Trump Impeachment Inquiry Brings a Long-Expected Test

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.’”

On Politics

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.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 24biden-trump-articleLarge For Joe Biden, Trump Impeachment Inquiry Brings a Long-Expected Test Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

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.

The Latest

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.

More on Impeachment and the 2020 Race
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Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161468670_ac639581-dc56-4199-8de0-af730d6f8186-articleLarge Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: 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

President Trump on Wednesday played down the significance of the call he held with the president of Ukraine.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump released a reconstruction on Wednesday of a July 25 call he had with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, in which he encouraged his Ukrainian counterpart to contact Attorney General William P. Barr about investigating a political rival. Mr. Trump has defiantly denied saying anything inappropriate on the call, but the reconstructed transcript shows he clearly referred by name to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and encouraged Mr. Zelensky to reach out to Mr. Barr.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”

Call Record: Trump’s Conversation With the Ukrainian President

Sept. 25, 2019

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

The reconstructed transcript’s release and content ensured a day of intense scrutiny. “Period. Full stop. That is lawless,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic Caucus chairman, said of Mr. Trump’s request to Mr. Zelensky. “That undermines our national security. That is an abuse of power. That is unpatriotic.” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, marveled that the attorney general has now been pulled in.

Republicans stuck to their position that Mr. Trump did not offer Mr. Zelensky any inducements nor did he threaten him, so his demand for a Biden inquiry was not improper. “From a quid pro quo aspect, there’s nothing there,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

The release 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.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.CreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times

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.

Mr. Trump insisted that the reconstruction of the call showed that he did not exert pressure on his counterpart to investigate a political rival.

“It was going to be the call from hell. It turned out to be a nothing call, other than a lot of people said, ‘I never knew you could be so nice,’” he said during a brief encounter with reporters in New York City as he attended a meeting of Latin American leaders to discuss Venezuela.

Mr. Trump blamed “corrupt reporting” and said that Democrats should be impeached for actions they took related to Ukraine.

“If you noticed, the stock market went up when they saw the nonsense,” he said. “All of a sudden the stock market went down substantially yesterday when they saw a charge. After they read the charge the stock market went up substantially.”

Markets actually dropped when the call script was released at 10 a.m., but regained ground quickly, with the S&P 500 up about 0.21 percent in early morning trading. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 posted its biggest one-day decline in a month.

The president bragged about the nation’s economy, saying that “we have created the greatest economy in the history of our country, the greatest economy in the world.”

He called the latest Democratic maneuver “the single greatest witch hunt in American history — probably in history, but in American history. It’s a disgraceful thing.”

Democrats were giving no ground. Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, cited the reconstructed transcript and said Mr. Trump’s decision to ask the Ukrainian president for a favor amounted to a crime in and of itself.

“The crime is when you ask for that favor, when you inject politics into foreign policy,” Ms. Clark said. “The initial reading shows that not only was Rudolph Giuliani brought in, but the Department of Justice, Attorney General Barr. That is exactly the crime we were concerned about, blurring those lines between the political, our national security, and the official role of the president.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi arriving for a Democratic caucus meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

House Republican leaders tried to turn attention away from the president and toward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of playing politics with the speakership and endangering the safety of the country by working to undermine Mr. Trump’s ability to deal with foreign leaders.

“I just watched the speaker yesterday demean the office of the speakership,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, told reporters Wednesday, calling it “a dark day for the rule of law” and “a dark day for national security.”

That fit the script that the White House had provided. Talking points to congressional offices on Wednesday, entitled “What You Need to Know,” argued “what the president actually talked about” during the phone call with Mr. Zelensky was “entirely proper.”

“The real scandal here is that leaks about a secondhand account of the president’s confidential telephone call with a foreign leader triggered a media frenzy of false accusations against the president and forced the president to release the transcript,” the talking points read.

One by one at a morning news conference, the leaders echoed the White House’s words. Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump should not have had to release the reconstructed transcript. The leaders zipped out of the news conference, not having seen it, which was released as they spoke.

“The House Democrats have been careening from impeachment theory to impeachment theory, they’ve careened from target to target,” said Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican. She accused Ms. Pelosi of “trying to weaken the president, trying to weaken his hand as he’s dealing with crucial issues of national security.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, was one of the few exceptions. He pointedly did not suggest Ms. Pelosi had gone too far: “She’s able to do what she feels is right. That’s up to her.”

And he expressed deep concern for what he had read in the call reconstruction.

“Clearly what we’ve seen in the transcript is deeply troubling,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The words released by the White House recounting Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Zelensky look like a transcript, but the document is marked, Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, and it warns that it is not a verbatim account. Instead, it was “developed with assistance from voice recognition software along with experts and note takers listening.”

Because The New York Times cannot know what exactly was said, we have chosen to call the document a reconstructed transcript.

In throwing her support behind a full impeachment inquiry, Ms. Pelosi privately told fellow Democrats on Tuesday that she wanted “this to be done expeditiously — expeditiously.” And she charged six committee chairs to put together their best impeachment evidence and transmit it to the Judiciary Committee.

But on Wednesday morning in the Capitol, there were more questions than answers among Democrats about what actually comes next and how quickly.

“The process will come,” said Representative Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania, but other lawmakers said the House needed to urgently set its course to maintain momentum and ensure that their case against Mr. Trump does not meander off course.

“There is an understanding that all justice should be swift and sure, and that this has to happen deliberately but relatively quickly,” said Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut.

The first challenge is that the House is scheduled to depart for a two-week recess on Friday. House leaders do not plan to cancel it, but said that the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees would remain active.

There was also already some early disagreement about the breadth of the case the House should build. Ms. Pelosi’s instructions to all six investigative committees to pull together evidence suggested that she was envisioning articles of impeachment beyond just the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

But some moderate Democrats, whose support for an inquiry was key to Tuesday’s announcement, expressed reservations. Representative Mikie Sherrill, who represents a swing district in New Jersey, said Democrats had not made its case to voters on obstruction of justice or other offenses, and should narrow the impeachment case to the Ukraine matter.

“I am worried about it getting too broad,” she 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 in both parties 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.”

Even after the release of the reconstructed transcript, leading Republicans said Democrats were overreacting. Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, declared that there was nothing there.

“The transcript between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky reveals that Democrats have again leapt to conclusions before looking at the facts. There was no quid pro quo and nothing to justify the clamor House Democrats caused yesterday. The real danger here is that Democrats keep using baseless accusations in hopes of crippling a successful presidency.”

People at the bar in Trump Tower watched Speaker Nancy Pelosi announce an official impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

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 Mr. Collins 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.

Mr. Zelensky speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where Mr. Trump is scheduled to meet him.CreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times

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, speaking before the United Nations on Wednesday morning, made no mention of Mr. Trump or American military aid. On Tuesday night, Mr. Zelensky released a statement saying he planned to invite Mr. Trump to Ukraine. “I expect us to have awesome relations with the United States,” he said in the statement.

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-600 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: 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.

Less than two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Two-thirds or more of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-335 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: 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.

Less than two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Two-thirds or more of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-280 Trump Defends Phone Call as Impeachment Inquiry Opens: 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.

Less than two-thirds of members present vote to convict.

Two-thirds or more of members present vote to convict.

Trump remains

in office

Trump removed

from office

By The New York Times

Nicholas Fandos, Catie Edmondson, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington and Michael Crowley from New York.

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Pelosi Tells Trump: ‘You Have Come Into My Wheelhouse’

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump were discussing gun violence over the telephone Tuesday morning when the president abruptly changed the topic to an intelligence community whistle-blower complaint that had Democrats talking about impeachment.

Ms. Pelosi stopped him short.

“Mr. President,” she declared, according to a person familiar with the conversation, “you have come into my wheelhouse.”

The remark was a reference to Ms. Pelosi’s quarter-century of experience with intelligence matters in Congress, an aspect of her biography that played a central role in her decision on Tuesday to open a formal impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

The move is her most consequential act as speaker, and one that could shape the future of the Trump presidency, the 2020 election and the nation. It is the latest chapter in her fraught relationship with the president, and a stark turnabout for Ms. Pelosi, who until days ago had been deeply resistant to impeaching Mr. Trump despite the deep disgust she has expressed for him and his conduct.

For Ms. Pelosi, the intelligence and national security implications of the latest allegations against Mr. Trump helped turn the tide.

Long before she was speaker, Ms. Pelosi served as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, overseeing the secretive workings of America’s national security apparatus and helping to draft the law that governs how intelligence officials file whistle-blower complaints, and how that information is shared with Congress.

She saw the latest allegations against Mr. Trump — that he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate a leading political rival, then worked to bury an intelligence whistle-blower’s complaint detailing the effort — as an egregious perversion of the process.

Ms. Pelosi has always been a confounding figure for Mr. Trump, as a powerful woman unafraid to confront him to his face, and one of the few people in Washington who he regards as an equal. Her televised put-down of the president during last year’s government shutdown — “Please do not characterize the strength that I bring,” she told Mr. Trump, after he tried to undercut her during a meeting in the Oval Office — made their relationship an instant source of fascination in Washington, even before she officially became speaker.

Now, at a deeply divisive moment in American politics, the speaker is confronting the president yet again, by drawing on something Mr. Trump does not have: an intimate knowledge of the intelligence community, gleaned from 10 years on the panel and 15 more as an ex officio member, by dint of her position in leadership.

She comes at it with a bring-it-on attitude, telling colleagues that she is uniquely positioned to confront the president on matters of intelligence and national security.

“Some of you know, some of you don’t,” Ms. Pelosi said of her 25 years on the intelligence panel, during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats Tuesday night before announcing her impeachment decision, according to a Democratic aide who was in the room. “Nobody has ever served in leadership who had intelligence experience and exposure.”

Republicans charge that Ms. Pelosi is abusing the impeachment process.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_161434920_eae75d28-8e0c-4a54-b0bd-844b3cbbf052-articleLarge Pelosi Tells Trump: ‘You Have Come Into My Wheelhouse’ Whistle-Blowers United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Classified Information and State Secrets

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, called Ms. Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry “a dark day for the rule of law” and “a dark day for national security.”CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“I just watched the speaker yesterday demean the office of the speakership,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, said on Wednesday, calling it “a dark day for the rule of law” and “a dark day for national security.”

He pronounced himself “disgusted by the action of the speaker of the House and the majority party, because they did not like the outcome of the 2016 election.”

For months, as the left has clamored for impeachment proceedings, Ms. Pelosi has pushed back, urging caution. She has been guided by a deep conviction that the process would be bitterly divisive for the country and would not only fail to remove Mr. Trump, but potentially boost him politically even as it harmed moderate Democrats in Republican-leaning districts and, by extension, the party’s chances of keeping the House majority.

But the president’s admission that he urged the leader of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his administration’s refusal to give Congress a whistle-blower complaint about it, put her over the edge.

In 1998, she helped write a law protecting intelligence community whistle-blowers — the same law that Democrats argue that Mr. Trump is flouting.

“She takes very, very seriously the fact that we have a clear statute, that she was involved in drafting or getting passed that says you shall turn over this whistle-blower complaint,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey. “That is as clear as day. What I’m hearing is that’s a big factor in the decision that she’s come to.”

Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, joined the intelligence panel in 1993, just six years after she won a special election to fill a vacancy created by the death of her predecessor, Sala Burton. As an ambitious woman eager to rise up in the ranks, she felt she needed to gain foreign policy credentials. She saw the Intelligence Committee as a path into leadership.

“She would often talk about trying to ascend the leadership and the glass ceiling that was imposed on women — particularly in the areas of foreign policy and national security, as if those areas were the exclusive domain of men,” said Steve Israel, a former congressman from New York who served in leadership with Ms. Pelosi.

“She always took great pride in shattering that glass ceiling as someone who not only got into the leadership of the House, but played a leading role on the Intelligence Committee,” Mr. Israel said.

She spent 10 years on the panel, eventually rising to the role of ranking member. Once she became Democratic leader in 2003, she left the committee’s roster but continued in an ex officio capacity. That makes her a member of the so-called “Gang of Eight” — the bipartisan leaders of the House and the Senate, and their Intelligence Committees. The gang had frequent meetings with Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, less so with Mr. Trump. Stacy Kerr, a former senior adviser to Ms. Pelosi, says that exposure may have shaped the speaker’s approach to this current president: “I think she maybe learned the art of discretion is that your power is what you know. Your power is not always that you articulate what you know.”

Ms. Pelosi’s tenure on the panel unfolded in a very different era, when the Intelligence Committee was known for working in a bipartisan way. She was ranking Democrat in 2001, at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, and was instrumental in creating a joint House-Senate committee to investigate the intelligence failures that led to them.

President George W. Bush after announcing that the United States was in the early stages of disarming Iraq, in 2003.CreditStephen Crowley/ The New York Times

In 2003, when President George W. Bush sought authorization to go to war with Iraq, Ms. Pelosi voted against it, saying repeatedly that she did not believe the intelligence supported Mr. Bush’s contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. She turned out to be correct — a story she recounts in her 2008 autobiography, “Know Your Power.”

“As the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee at the time of the Iraq vote, I said to the press when I voted ‘No’ on the war that the intelligence did not support the imminent threat the Administration was claiming,’’ Ms. Pelosi wrote. “And the press asked, ‘Are you calling the President a liar?’ ‘I’m stating a fact,’ I replied.”

But Ms. Pelosi also drew criticism for failing to object to the Bush administration’s post-9/11 secret eavesdropping program, which she had been informed of as Democratic leader. She said at the time that she expressed her concerns about the program to the Bush administration in a letter, but could not make the letter public because it was classified.

Handling of classified information was at the heart of the Congressional debate over the 1998 whistle-blower law, which played out against the backdrop of accusations that members of Congress were leaking classified material.

The chairman of the intelligence panel at the time, Porter Goss, Republican of Florida, who later went on to become Mr. Bush’s C.I.A. director, convened two hearings with the aim of creating a system that would enable intelligence officials to bring complaints to Congress in a professional way, without having to fear they would be charged with revealing classified information.

At one of those hearings, in June 1998, Ms. Pelosi expressed her concern that “a person with conscience with information” would be “punished and have his security clearance removed because he revealed classified information to a member” of the Intelligence Committee. The proposed legislation passed and President Bill Clinton signed it into law. At Tuesday night’s meeting, she boasted about it.

“I know what the intent of the law was,” she said, according to the aide. “And what the intent of the law was to secure, in cases like this, to secure our intelligence and to protect our whistle-blowers.”

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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.

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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

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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.

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