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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 74)

Democrats, Seeking to Pre-empt Trump’s Defense, Delve Into Biden

Westlake Legal Group 23dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo Democrats, Seeking to Pre-empt Trump’s Defense, Delve Into Biden United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 House of Representatives Democratic Party Constitution (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — House Democrats sought on Thursday to pre-emptively dismantle President Trump’s core defenses in his impeachment trial, invoking the words of the nation’s founders, Mr. Trump’s allies and the president himself to argue that his pressure campaign on Ukraine was an abuse of power that warranted his removal.

On the second day of opening arguments in the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, Democrats turned to the task of arguing that Mr. Trump’s actions were an affront to the Constitution, and they worked to disprove his lawyers’ claims that he was acting in the nation’s interests, not his own, when he sought to enlist Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

In doing so, they waded deeply into the most politically delicate aspects of their case, taking a calculated risk in talking at length about Mr. Trump’s targets: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden. The oral arguments underscored the political backdrop of the trial, unfolding only 10 months before the election, and how, regardless of the outcome — almost certain to be Mr. Trump’s acquittal — it is likely to reverberate long after the verdict is reached.

“Impeachment is the Constitution’s final answer to a president who mistakes himself for a king,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told a restless and sharply divided Senate, adding: “Impeachment is not punishment for a crime. Impeachment exists to address threats to the political system.”

Mr. Nadler’s words were intended to rebut a central tenet of the president’s legal defense, that he cannot be impeached if he is not accused of a specific crime. On the contrary, Mr. Nadler said, his conduct was precisely the kind that impeachment was meant to address.

Mr. Trump, back at the White House after a trip to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, appeared to take note that the trial had started again, issuing an angry tweet about “Shifty Schiff” — his name for Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead impeachment manager — and “many other Democrat disasters.”

In presentations that stretched from early afternoon into the night, the team of seven Democratic impeachment managers attacked the argument that Mr. Trump’s legal defense team has signaled will be a main piece of their case: that when the president withheld military aid from Ukraine and sought to secure a promise to investigate Joseph Biden, a leading political opponent, he was merely making a foreign policy decision to root out corruption in Ukraine.

Mr. Trump has consistently suggested, without any evidence, that Mr. Biden pushed to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company with a long history of corruption that employed Hunter Biden on its board. But in a detailed presentation, Representative Sylvia R. Garcia, Democrat of Texas, spent nearly an hour debunking the claim.

Ms. Garcia pointed out that the Ukrainian prosecutor Mr. Biden wanted to see ousted was widely regarded as corrupt, and that it was American policy at the time that he should be removed. She asserted that neither the elder Mr. Biden nor his son had done anything wrong, and that American officials — and Mr. Trump — knew it.

“In short, President Trump asked for the investigation into Biden based on a made-up theory that no one agreed with,” Ms. Garcia said. “No one.”

It was, in effect, a defense of one of the Democrats’ leading 2020 presidential candidates and a potential challenger to the president. Mr. Schiff later volunteered that neither he nor his colleagues had a position on the Democratic presidential primary.

Mr. Schiff also brought Mr. Trump into the chamber — at least on video — to use the president’s own words against him, with a clip in which the president called both Bidens “corrupt” and called for Ukraine to start a “major investigation” into them.

“The president has confirmed what he wanted in his own words,” Mr. Schiff said. “He has made it clear he didn’t care about corruption, he cared only about himself. Now it is up to us to do something about it, to make sure that a president, that this president, cannot pursue an objective that places himself above our country.”

But in focusing on the Bidens, Democrats took a strategic risk. Some Republicans have already threatened to call the Bidens as witnesses, even suggesting that they would insist on hearing from them as a condition of agreeing to subpoena John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser.

Democrats have refused to consider the idea, and Mr. Biden has said he would not take part in any such swap. And on Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he would not “give in to that pressure” from some of his colleagues to do so.

But Mr. Trump’s legal team said the Bidens were now fair game in the trial.

“They have opened the door,” said Jay Sekulow. “It’s now relevant.”

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, said the Democrats’ arguments had made testimony from the Bidens vital.

“If we’re going to call witnesses,” he said, “it’s now clear we absolutely must call Hunter Biden, and we probably need to call Joe Biden.”

In laying out their case against Mr. Trump, the Democrats focused tightly on the first of two charges against him: that he abused his power by trying to compel a foreign power to help him win re-election in 2020 and withheld two official acts — the provision of $391 million in military aid and a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president — in an effort to advance his illicit scheme.

“President Trump exploited our ally, Ukraine, for his own political benefit to the detriment of American national security,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York. “Is that conduct impeachable? The answer is categorically yes. The Senate must hold this president accountable for his abuse-of-power crimes against our Constitution.”

Democrats expect to wrap up their case on Friday with presentations aimed at proving the second charge: that Mr. Trump obstructed Congress by withholding documents and witnesses and otherwise working to conceal his behavior. On Saturday, Mr. Trump’s defense team is expected to lay out its case.

On Thursday, Mr. Nadler drew on quotes from Alexander Hamilton; from George Washington’s farewell address; and from a 1792 letter to Thomas Jefferson from John Adams that warned of “foreign intrigue and influence” in arguing that Mr. Trump warranted impeachment and removal from office — regardless of whether he committed a crime.

“No president has ever used his office to compel a foreign nation to help him cheat in our elections,” Mr. Nadler said, adding, “It puts even President Nixon to shame.”

Mr. Nadler also turned to Trump allies — including Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard Law professor who is assisting in the president’s defense, and Mr. Graham — to make his case, using video clips of their comments from the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton to undercut Mr. Trump’s defense.

In one clip, a youthful-looking and unusually soft-spoken Mr. Graham, an impeachment manager during the Clinton trial, explained why a “high crime” — one of the criteria the Constitution sets forth for the impeachment and removal of a president — does not necessarily require breaking a law.

“What’s a high crime? How about if an important person hurt somebody of low means?” Mr. Graham said at the time, adding: “It doesn’t have to be a crime. It’s just when you start using your office and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime.”

Even before Thursday’s session got underway, it was clear that Mr. Schiff, Mr. Nadler and the other managers had not changed the minds of many Republicans. Senate Democrats were privately expressing concern that they may not get the four Republican votes they would need to bring witnesses and documents into the trial.

If they do not, the case could be over by the end of next week. Publicly, though, Democrats were putting on a good face.

“I am more hopeful than ever that four conscientious, brave Republicans will come forward and tell Mitch McConnell you can’t shut this down without witnesses, you can’t shut this down without documents,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, referring to his Republican counterpart.

Mr. Schumer said there were “lots of conversations going on,” but denied reports that any deal with Republicans was imminent.

The rules of the trial require senators to “keep silent, on pain of imprisonment,” and after two lengthy days of first voting on motions on Tuesday and hearing oral arguments on Wednesday, Republicans were growing weary.

Some complained that Democrats were simply reciting the same facts time and time again, more for the television viewing audience than for the audience in the chamber. Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, handed out fidget spinner toys to his colleagues, ostensibly to ease the boredom — and to deliver a not-too-subtle dig at Democrats.

“They spent a lot of time, they’re well prepared — I just don’t think they have much to work with,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. “They’ve got about a one-hour presentation that they gave six hours on Tuesday and eight hours yesterday, so they ought to be getting pretty good at it by now.”

But Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, said the Democrats had good reason to be repetitive: Many senators — not to mention the public — did not pay close attention to the House inquiry and needed to be brought up to speed.

One Republican, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, told reporters as much on Wednesday. “Senators didn’t know the case,” he said. “They really didn’t. We didn’t stay glued to the television. We haven’t read the transcripts.”

Reporting was contributed by Michael D. Shear, Emily Cochrane, Nicholas Fandos, Peter Baker and Catie Edmondson.

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Democrats seek to poke holes in Trump’s expected defense.

Westlake Legal Group 23dc-liveblog-managers-facebookJumbo Democrats seek to poke holes in Trump’s expected defense. Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schumer, Charles E Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Cipollone, Pat A Biden, Joseph R Jr

House managers had a very clear strategy when they walked into the Senate chambers on Thursday: Poke holes in the defenses they expect President Trump’s lawyers will try to employ when it’s their turn this week.

The White House defense team claims that impeachment cannot be valid without a crime. So for more than an hour, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York methodically walked through the history of constitutional law to preemptively assert that such a defense is wrong.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers also argue in their legal brief that the president was interested only in combating corruption in Ukraine. So the House managers zeroed in on evidence on Thursday that shows the president was concerned about corruption claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son — not corruption generally.

And because they expect the president’s legal advisers to repeatedly raise the Bidens when they present their defense, the House managers spent hours debunking the accusation that the Bidens did anything improper in Ukraine.

Taken together, Thursday’s presentations by the House managers were meant as a shield against what they expect is coming, most likely on Saturday, when Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal lawyer, get their chance in the well of the Senate.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, applauded the House managers during a break in the case for “pre-empting” the arguments from the president’s team. But Mr. Sekulow was undeterred a few minutes later.

“I am confident that whether it is Saturday, or Monday or Tuesday that the case will be made defending the president,” he said. “I have no doubt.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s role in the impeachment of Mr. Trump may be formally over, but by her own design, the matter is not out of her hands.

Even in her absence from the Capitol this week, as the speaker traveled through Poland and Israel in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, she had her hand firmly on the tiller of the prosecution of the president.

In many ways, Ms. Pelosi is the eighth, largely unseen manager of the Democrats’ case.

She selected the group of seven House impeachment managers from among her closest and most loyal advisers, placing at its helm Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, a trusted protégé whom she privately calls “the general.”

Ms. Pelosi has dispatched her handpicked House general counsel to sit at the table inside the Senate chamber, with the prosecutors acting as her eyes and ears. She reviewed all the managers’ written briefs before they were filed.

And the multipronged media campaign to make the case for Mr. Trump’s removal is being run out of her office, by her communications director and other staff.

“Look, she cares a lot about this,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said in a brief interview.

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The presentations at the Senate impeachment trial on Thursday have been some of the most dense yet, starting with a historical lecture about the constitutional roots of impeachment and later delving deeply into the details of President Trump’s actions.

But that hasn’t kept the public away.

The public galleries in the Senate were as full as they have been all week, with almost 200 people listening quietly as the House managers presented their case. The galleries no doubt included some Senate staff members and others who were assigned to be there. But there appeared to be plenty of regular attendees, too — people just eager to watch a bit of history unfold.

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President Trump on Thursday at the White House.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Trump is nowhere near the Capitol, but the House managers are still using his words against him.

At several points on Thursday, the House members prosecuting the articles of impeachment have used video clips of Mr. Trump as evidence of his motives in pressuring Ukraine for investigations into the Bidens.

Building his case that Mr. Trump wanted Ukrainian investigations that benefited him politically, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House manager, showed several clips, including one in which Mr. Trump referred to the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered with his campaign in 2016.

“There was a lot of corruption having to do with the 2016 election against us, and we want to get to the bottom it and it’s very important that we do,” Mr. Trump said in the clip, his voice echoing through the chamber.

Mr. Schiff quickly made his point: “He’s not concerned about actual corruption cases, only matters that affect him personally.”

Later, as Mr. Schiff argued that Mr. Trump only cared about investigations into the Bidens, he used a video clip of the president’s own words, as he discussed his interest in working with Ukraine on corruption.

“And let me tell you something, Biden’s son is corrupt. And Biden is corrupt,” the president said in the clip.

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The House managers made a strategic decision on Thursday to focus extensive attention on the actions of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.

The lengthy presentation — by Representative Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas, one of the House managers — was aimed at proving that there was no basis to President Trump’s assertions that the former vice president and his son did improper things in Ukraine.

“Common sense will tell us that this allegation against Joe Biden is false,” Ms. Garcia told the senators.

But allies of Mr. Trump quickly pounced on the extended discussion about the Bidens to insist that the impeachment trial should include scrutiny of their actions, and potentially a move to call them as witnesses.

Mr. Trump’s Republican defenders have long argued that the president’s demand that Ukraine announce investigations into the Bidens was not improper because he was merely interested in rooting out corruption in that country.

At least one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers suggested the Democrats made a mistake in focusing on the former vice president and his son.

“They have opened the door,” said Jay Sekulow, a personal lawyer for Mr. Trump and a member of his impeachment legal defense team. “It’s now relevant.”

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri and a staunch ally of the president, made the same point in a tweet during a break after the presentation.

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Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for President Trump, arriving Thursday on Capitol Hill.Credit…Calla Kessler/The New York Times

Jay Sekulow, the president’s lawyer and one of the leaders of his defense team, declared that “nothing has changed in the last day and a half of their two and a half days.”

He declined to say whether the White House defense would request any changes to the schedule on Saturday, saying that they would do what “our legal team thinks is appropriate to present our case.”

During a break in the trial, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, applauded the House managers for “pre-empting” arguments from the president’s defense team.

Mr. Sekulow was undeterred. “I am confident that whether it is Saturday, or Monday or Tuesday that the case will be made defending the president,” he said. “I have no doubt.”

The rules of the Senate trial say the senators are supposed to be sitting in their seats throughout the presentation. In President Trump’s trial, they are treating that rule rather liberally.

At one point Thursday morning, when Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York finished his presentation, 19 seats on the Senate floor belonging to a mix of Republicans and Democrats were empty, according to Peter Baker, The New York Times’s chief White House correspondent, who was sitting in the press gallery.

Most were only vacant for a few minutes. It appeared, Mr. Baker said, that several senators were treating the end of Mr. Nadler’s presentation — which was followed immediately by one from a fellow House manager, Representative Sylvia R. Garcia of New York — as an unofficial break.

Ten minutes after the end of Mr. Nadler’s presentation, 10 seats were still empty. Five minutes after that, most of the senators had wandered back in, and only four seats were empty.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democratic presidential candidate, was one of the senators who left, at 1:59 p.m. She returned 15 minutes later, taking her seat again at 2:14 p.m.

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Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky had a white legal notepad in front of him as Thursday’s impeachment trial began — and he was busy doodling.

On the top page, Mr. Paul had created an extensive, and impressive, doodle of the United States Capitol. Drawn with a blue ballpoint pen, the drawing covered the entire bottom third of the paper.

At one point, Representative Sylvia Garcia of Texas, a House manager, showed a video clip of George P. Kent, a State Department official, being asked whether some Republicans, like Mr. Paul, believed that what President Trump did in Ukraine was the same as what former Vice President Joseph R. Biden did when he tried to get a corrupt prosecutor fired.

Looking up from his doodle, Mr. Paul smiled and raised a fist with his index finger extended, as if to say, “Yes!” Then, when Mr. Kent answered by saying that what Mr. Biden did was very different than what Mr. Trump did, Mr. Paul lowered his arm.

And he went back to his doodle.

The House managers continued to lay out their arguments for impeaching President Trump, and his lawyers prepared their defense.Image by Doug Mills/The New York Times

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, began the House presentation on Thursday with an hourlong lecture on the constitutional history of impeachment.

He insisted that the history of the Constitution makes it clear that a criminal violation is not necessary to impeach the president. In making the argument, he cited words from some of President Trump’s key allies in his impeachment defense: Alan Dershowitz, a member of the president’s impeachment team; William P. Barr, the attorney general; and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

He concluded his presentation with a forceful assertion to the senators: “Impeachment is aimed at presidents who act as if they are above the law, at presidents who believe their own interests are more important than those of the nation, and thus at president who ignore right and wrong in pursuit of their own gain.”

“Abuse. Betrayal. Corruption,” he said. “Here are the core offenses, the framers feared most. The president’s abuse of power, his betrayal of the national interest, and his corruption of our elections plainly qualified as great and dangerous offenses.”

Drawing on legal scholars and liberally quoting historical figures, Mr. Nadler argued that the founders of the nation envisioned that impeachment would be required for presidential abuses of power like the misconduct the House alleged when it passed two articles of impeachment.

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Reporters waiting near the Senate chamber as the trial continues.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

As senators settled in for another long day of arguments from the House managers, there was already talk among lawmakers and their aides of a potentially abbreviated weekend trial schedule.

Under one proposal being discussed, the Senate could convene as a court of impeachment early on Saturday, around 10 a.m. and meet for a far shorter session than usual. That would theoretically allow senators who wanted to travel home — or for Democrats running for president, to campaign in early voting states — for 36 hours before the trial resumes on Monday.

The Senate’s impeachment rules normally require the trial to meet every Monday to Saturday at 1 p.m. until a verdict is reached. That late daily start time is meant to accommodate Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who maintains a morning case schedule at the Supreme Court before presiding over the trial. But Chief Justice Roberts does not have court business on Saturdays.

The decision may also depend on the president’s lawyers, who are scheduled to begin their defense against the House charges on Saturday. If they want to move the trial along as quickly as possible, they could ask for an early start on Saturday but also that the session be allowed to run into the evening. Or they could simply shorten their arguments.

“I suspect we’ll start on Saturday, and then we’ll go, probably another day or two, but who knows,” Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers said Wednesday night. “I mean we’ve got to make that determination, with our team.”

Any change would require consent from both Democrats and Republicans.

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Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of the impeachment managers in 1999, left the Senate chamber just minutes before House Democrats played a video of him speaking during President Bill Clinton’s trial.

In the clip, Mr. Graham gave a broad definition of a “high crime”: “It’s just when you’re using your office in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime,” he said.

One of the Republicans’ talking points is that there was no crime underlying President Trump’s conduct, therefore it was not impeachable. That argument is widely disputed.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who sits next to Mr. Graham on the Senate floor, briefly patted the South Carolina Republican’s empty seat as the video began to play.

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Vice President Mike Pence, right, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem on Thursday.Credit…Ammar Awad/Reuters

As Democrats spoke in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence announced that President Trump had asked him to invite to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to Washington next week to discuss “regional issues, as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land.”

Mr. Pence, who is visiting Jerusalem, said at Mr. Netanyahu’s request he had also invited Benny Gantz, an opposition leader in Israel. Mr. Netanyahu said he would “gladly accept.”

It is another instance of the administration moving forward with legislative and diplomatic work while the impeachment trial is going on in the Senate.

On Wednesday, Republican senators held a ceremonial event to formally send Mr. Trump’s revised North American trade pact to his desk for his signature.

Just as Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a House manager, started his presentation about “high crimes and misdemeanors,” President Trump started tweeting, accusing Democrats of not wanting to agree to a trade in which the Senate would subpoena several administration officials in exchange for people Mr. Trump’s allies have said they want. Two people Republicans have sought to interview are Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, and the anonymous whistle-blower who first expressed concerns about Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

Democrats have urged the Senate to subpoena John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and two other administration officials. But they have said they will not consider a deal that would include what they call irrelevant witnesses like Mr. Biden.

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Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, speaking with other House impeachment managers ahead of the trial on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, opened the day by observing how rare it was for House lawmakers to have the opportunity to speak on the Senate floor, before silent senators. (Senators have begun flouting the rules of decorum during an impeachment trial, with some going so far as to leave the floor for short bursts of time during the day.)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the House impeachment managers have 16 hours and 42 minutes remaining to make their case.

A Democratic official working on the inquiry said that the seven managers planned to spend the day going through the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, and applying the law and the Constitution to their case. On Friday, the lawmakers plan to do the same with the second article of impeachment.

Moments before the Senate convened, pages could be seen placing packets of paper on desks across the chamber. Senators, ahead of the trial, dropped off binders and bags before stealing a final moment off the chamber floor.

Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania and vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, could be seen on the Senate floor, observing the proceedings.

Senators must sit quietly to listen to the arguments; even during the 16 hours they will have devoted to their questions, those questions will be submitted in writing.

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Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, during an impeachment inquiry hearing in November.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The White House named eight House Republicans as part of the public face of the president’s defense on Capitol Hill, and on Thursday some of those lawmakers arrived again in the Senate basement to hold court with reporters and deliver a full-throated defense of the president.

“We’re just making sure that we are paying close attention to the testimony,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, “and making sure that our points are getting out there to the American people.”

The group, she said, was working closely with the White House lawyers. But since they are not part of the official legal team, they will not be able to speak in the Senate chamber.

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Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said he still has “hope” that Republicans would agree to new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial.Image by Calla Kessler/The New York Times

The top Democrat in the Senate said he still had “hope” that Republicans would agree to new witnesses and evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial, but he stopped short of saying he was optimistic that it would happen.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said there are “lots of conversations going on,” but he denied reports that there had been discussions with Republicans about a deal allowing Republican witnesses in exchange for the witnesses whom House managers want to call.

Democrats have urged the Senate to call John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and two other administration officials. Several moderate Republicans have said they might be open to witnesses after oral arguments and questions from senators.

“Not a single Republican has approached me and said ‘What about this? What about that?’ It’s not happening,” Mr. Schumer told reporters at the Capitol ahead of the second day of oral arguments from the managers.

Mr. Schumer said he hoped the “weight of history” would help persuade those Republicans. But when asked whether he thought the Democrats would win the argument, he started to say he had optimism, then stopped.

“I have hope, that’s a better way to put it,” he said, “that we might get the witnesses at the end of the day. And we’re going to keep fighting and fighting and fighting.”

The president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, again promised on Thursday to release more evidence of the widely debunked conspiracy theory implicating one of the president’s top political rivals, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, in wrongdoing.

Mr. Biden is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the narrative Mr. Giuliani has been promoting is at the center of the impeachment charges against Mr. Trump.

While he’s not on Mr. Trump’s defense team for the Senate trial, Mr. Giuliani is deeply entwined in the pressure campaign on Ukraine that led to the president’s impeachment. And he is among the witnesses who refused to testify during House impeachment inquiry. Mr. Giuliani has said that his work in Ukraine had Mr. Trump’s support.

For the first time since the Senate began hearing arguments against him, President Trump is back in Washington and on Twitter. He tweeted a number of criticisms toward Democrats and their arguments, rehashing favorite insults against his opponents and quoting Fox News personalities.

After returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday evening, the president is scheduled to travel to Florida on Thursday afternoon just as House managers will begin their second day of arguments.

It is not clear how much of the trial the president has watched live.

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Representative Sylvia Garcia, one of the House impeachment managers, Wednesday on Capitol Hill. The managers will continue to present their case to the Senate on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The House impeachment managers are set to begin their second day of arguments on Thursday, building on about eight hours already spent arguing that President Trump’s conduct warranted his removal on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, told senators that on Thursday they would “go through the law, the Constitution and the facts as they apply to article one” of impeachment.

“We’ve introduced the case, we’ve gone through the chronology and tomorrow we will apply the facts to the law as it pertains to the president’s abuse of power,” Mr. Schiff said as he concluded Wednesday’s arguments.

The impeachment managers have until Friday evening to use their remaining hours of argument time to present before a rancorous Senate. Lawmakers, despite rules threatening imprisonment for talking, have grown increasingly restless while cooped up in the chamber — and few minds appear to be changed.

On Wednesday, the seven lawmakers tasked with presenting the case for Mr. Trump’s conviction took turns outlining the charges that the president attempted to pressure Ukraine for assistance in his re-election campaign by withholding critical military assistance and a White House visit for the country’s leader.

Several Senate Republicans emerged late Wednesday to inform reporters that they had not learned anything new after hours of presentation from the House.

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House managers use Trump’s words as evidence.

Westlake Legal Group 23dc-live-trump-facebookJumbo House managers use Trump’s words as evidence. United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Presidential Election of 2020

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President Trump on Thursday at the White House.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Trump is nowhere near the Capitol, but the House managers are still using his words against him.

At several points on Thursday, the House members prosecuting the articles of impeachment have used video clips of Mr. Trump as evidence of his motives in pressuring Ukraine for investigations into the Bidens.

Building his case that Mr. Trump wanted Ukrainian investigations that benefited him politically, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead House manager, showed several clips, including one in which Mr. Trump referred to the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered with his campaign in 2016.

“There was a lot of corruption having to do with the 2016 election against us, and we want to get to the bottom it and it’s very important that we do,” Mr. Trump said in the clip, his voice echoing through the chamber.

Mr. Schiff quickly made his point: “He’s not concerned about actual corruption cases, only matters that affect him personally.”

Later, as Mr. Schiff argued that Mr. Trump only cared about investigations into the Bidens, he used a video clip of the president’s own words, as he discussed his interest in working with Ukraine on corruption.

“And let me tell you something, Biden’s son is corrupt. And Biden is corrupt,” the president said in the clip.

The House managers made a strategic decision on Thursday to focus extensive attention on the actions of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.

The lengthy presentation — by Representative Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas, one of the House managers — was aimed at proving that there was no basis to President Trump’s assertions that the former vice president and his son did improper things in Ukraine.

“Common sense will tell us that this allegation against Joe Biden is false,” Ms. Garcia told the senators.

But allies of Mr. Trump quickly pounced on the extended discussion about the Bidens to insist that the impeachment trial should include scrutiny of their actions, and potentially a move to call them as witnesses.

Mr. Trump’s Republican defenders have long argued that the president’s demand that Ukraine announce investigations into the Bidens was not improper because he was merely interested in rooting out corruption in that country.

At least one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers suggested the Democrats made a mistake in focusing on the former vice president and his son.

“They have opened the door,” said Jay Sekulow, a personal lawyer for Mr. Trump and a member of his impeachment legal defense team. “It’s now relevant.”

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri and a staunch ally of the president, made the same point in a tweet during a break after the presentation.

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Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for President Trump, arriving Thursday on Capitol Hill.Credit…Calla Kessler/The New York Times

Jay Sekulow, the president’s lawyer and one of the leaders of his defense team, declared that “nothing has changed in the last day and a half of their two and a half days.”

He declined to say whether the White House defense would request any changes to the schedule on Saturday, saying that they would do what “our legal team thinks is appropriate to present our case.”

During a break in the trial, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, applauded the House managers for “pre-empting” arguments from the president’s defense team.

Mr. Sekulow was undeterred. “I am confident that whether it is Saturday, or Monday or Tuesday that the case will be made defending the president,” he said. “I have no doubt.”

The rules of the Senate trial say the senators are supposed to be sitting in their seats throughout the presentation. In President Trump’s trial, they are treating that rule rather liberally.

At one point Thursday morning, when Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York finished his presentation, 19 seats on the Senate floor belonging to a mix of Republicans and Democrats were empty, according to Peter Baker, The New York Times’s chief White House correspondent, who was sitting in the press gallery.

Most were only vacant for a few minutes. It appeared, Mr. Baker said, that several senators were treating the end of Mr. Nadler’s presentation — which was followed immediately by one from a fellow House manager, Representative Sylvia R. Garcia of New York — as an unofficial break.

Ten minutes after the end of Mr. Nadler’s presentation, 10 seats were still empty. Five minutes after that, most of the senators had wandered back in, and only four seats were empty.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democratic presidential candidate, was one of the senators who left, at 1:59 p.m. She returned 15 minutes later, taking her seat again at 2:14 p.m.

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Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky had a white legal notepad in front of him as Thursday’s impeachment trial began — and he was busy doodling.

On the top page, Mr. Paul had created an extensive, and impressive, doodle of the United States Capitol. Drawn with a blue ballpoint pen, the drawing covered the entire bottom third of the paper.

At one point, Representative Sylvia Garcia of Texas, a House manager, showed a video clip of George P. Kent, a State Department official, being asked whether some Republicans, like Mr. Paul, believed that what President Trump did in Ukraine was the same as what former Vice President Joseph R. Biden did when he tried to get a corrupt prosecutor fired.

Looking up from his doodle, Mr. Paul smiled and raised a fist with his index finger extended, as if to say, “Yes!” Then, when Mr. Kent answered by saying that what Mr. Biden did was very different than what Mr. Trump did, Mr. Paul lowered his arm.

And he went back to his doodle.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, gave the Senate a lecture on the constitutional history of impeachment.Image by Senate Television, via Associated Press

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, began the House presentation on Thursday with an hourlong lecture on the constitutional history of impeachment.

He insisted that the history of the Constitution makes it clear that a criminal violation is not necessary to impeach the president. In making the argument, he cited words from some of President Trump’s key allies in his impeachment defense: Alan Dershowitz, a member of the president’s impeachment team; William P. Barr, the attorney general; and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

He concluded his presentation with a forceful assertion to the senators: “Impeachment is aimed at presidents who act as if they are above the law, at presidents who believe their own interests are more important than those of the nation, and thus at president who ignore right and wrong in pursuit of their own gain.”

“Abuse. Betrayal. Corruption,” he said. “Here are the core offenses, the framers feared most. The president’s abuse of power, his betrayal of the national interest, and his corruption of our elections plainly qualified as great and dangerous offenses.”

Drawing on legal scholars and liberally quoting historical figures, Mr. Nadler argued that the founders of the nation envisioned that impeachment would be required for presidential abuses of power like the misconduct the House alleged when it passed two articles of impeachment.

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Reporters waiting near the Senate chamber as the trial continues.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

As senators settled in for another long day of arguments from the House managers, there was already talk among lawmakers and their aides of a potentially abbreviated weekend trial schedule.

Under one proposal being discussed, the Senate could convene as a court of impeachment early on Saturday, around 10 a.m. and meet for a far shorter session than usual. That would theoretically allow senators who wanted to travel home — or for Democrats running for president, to campaign in early voting states — for 36 hours before the trial resumes on Monday.

The Senate’s impeachment rules normally require the trial to meet every Monday to Saturday at 1 p.m. until a verdict is reached. That late daily start time is meant to accommodate Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who maintains a morning case schedule at the Supreme Court before presiding over the trial. But Chief Justice Roberts does not have court business on Saturdays.

The decision may also depend on the president’s lawyers, who are scheduled to begin their defense against the House charges on Saturday. If they want to move the trial along as quickly as possible, they could ask for an early start on Saturday but also that the session be allowed to run into the evening. Or they could simply shorten their arguments.

“I suspect we’ll start on Saturday, and then we’ll go, probably another day or two, but who knows,” Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers said Wednesday night. “I mean we’ve got to make that determination, with our team.”

Any change would require consent from both Democrats and Republicans.

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Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of the impeachment managers in 1999, left the Senate chamber just minutes before House Democrats played a video of him speaking during President Bill Clinton’s trial.

In the clip, Mr. Graham gave a broad definition of a “high crime”: “It’s just when you’re using your office in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime,” he said.

One of the Republicans’ talking points is that there was no crime underlying President Trump’s conduct, therefore it was not impeachable. That argument is widely disputed.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who sits next to Mr. Graham on the Senate floor, briefly patted the South Carolina Republican’s empty seat as the video began to play.

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Vice President Mike Pence, right, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Jerusalem on Thursday.Credit…Ammar Awad/Reuters

As Democrats spoke in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence announced that President Trump had asked him to invite to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to Washington next week to discuss “regional issues, as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land.”

Mr. Pence, who is visiting Jerusalem, said at Mr. Netanyahu’s request he had also invited Benny Gantz, an opposition leader in Israel. Mr. Netanyahu said he would “gladly accept.”

It is another instance of the administration moving forward with legislative and diplomatic work while the impeachment trial is going on in the Senate.

On Wednesday, Republican senators held a ceremonial event to formally send Mr. Trump’s revised North American trade pact to his desk for his signature.

Just as Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a House manager, started his presentation about “high crimes and misdemeanors,” President Trump started tweeting, accusing Democrats of not wanting to agree to a trade in which the Senate would subpoena several administration officials in exchange for people Mr. Trump’s allies have said they want. Two people Republicans have sought to interview are Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, and the anonymous whistle-blower who first expressed concerns about Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

Democrats have urged the Senate to subpoena John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and two other administration officials. But they have said they will not consider a deal that would include what they call irrelevant witnesses like Mr. Biden.

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Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, speaking with other House impeachment managers ahead of the trial on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, opened the day by observing how rare it was for House lawmakers to have the opportunity to speak on the Senate floor, before silent senators. (Senators have begun flouting the rules of decorum during an impeachment trial, with some going so far as to leave the floor for short bursts of time during the day.)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the House impeachment managers have 16 hours and 42 minutes remaining to make their case.

A Democratic official working on the inquiry said that the seven managers planned to spend the day going through the firrst article of impeachment, abuse of power, and applying the law and the Constitution to their case. On Friday, the lawmakers plan to do the same with the second article of impeachment.

Moments before the Senate convened, pages could be seen placing packets of paper on desks across the chamber. Senators, ahead of the trial, dropped off binders and bags before stealing a final moment off the chamber floor.

Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania and vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, could be seen on the Senate floor, observing the proceedings.

Senators must sit quietly to listen to the arguments; even during the 16 hours they will have devoted to their questions, those questions will be submitted in writing.

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Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, during an impeachment inquiry hearing in November.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The White House named eight House Republicans as part of the public face of the president’s defense on Capitol Hill, and on Thursday some of those lawmakers arrived again in the Senate basement to hold court with reporters and deliver a full-throated defense of the president.

“We’re just making sure that we are paying close attention to the testimony,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, “and making sure that our points are getting out there to the American people.”

The group, she said, was working closely with the White House lawyers. But since they are not part of the official legal team, they will not be able to speak in the Senate chamber.

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Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said he still has “hope” that Republicans would agree to new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial.Image by Calla Kessler/The New York Times

The top Democrat in the Senate said he still had “hope” that Republicans would agree to new witnesses and evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial, but he stopped short of saying he was optimistic that it would happen.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said there are “lots of conversations going on,” but he denied reports that there had been discussions with Republicans about a deal allowing Republican witnesses in exchange for the witnesses whom House managers want to call.

Democrats have urged the Senate to call John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and two other administration officials. Several moderate Republicans have said they might be open to witnesses after oral arguments and questions from senators.

“Not a single Republican has approached me and said ‘What about this? What about that?’ It’s not happening,” Mr. Schumer told reporters at the Capitol ahead of the second day of oral arguments from the managers.

Mr. Schumer said he hoped the “weight of history” would help persuade those Republicans. But when asked whether he thought the Democrats would win the argument, he started to say he had optimism, then stopped.

“I have hope, that’s a better way to put it,” he said, “that we might get the witnesses at the end of the day. And we’re going to keep fighting and fighting and fighting.”

The president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, again promised on Thursday to release more evidence of the widely debunked conspiracy theory implicating one of the president’s top political rivals, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, in wrongdoing.

Mr. Biden is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the narrative Mr. Giuliani has been promoting is at the center of the impeachment charges against Mr. Trump.

While he’s not on Mr. Trump’s defense team for the Senate trial, Mr. Giuliani is deeply entwined in the pressure campaign on Ukraine that led to the president’s impeachment. And he is among the witnesses who refused to testify during House impeachment inquiry. Mr. Giuliani has said that his work in Ukraine had Mr. Trump’s support.

For the first time since the Senate began hearing arguments against him, President Trump is back in Washington and on Twitter. He tweeted a number of criticisms toward Democrats and their arguments, rehashing favorite insults against his opponents and quoting Fox News personalities.

After returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday evening, the president is scheduled to travel to Florida on Thursday afternoon just as House managers will begin their second day of arguments.

It is not clear how much of the trial the president has watched live.

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Representative Sylvia Garcia, one of the House impeachment managers, Wednesday on Capitol Hill. The managers will continue to present their case to the Senate on Thursday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The House impeachment managers are set to begin their second day of arguments on Thursday, building on about eight hours already spent arguing that President Trump’s conduct warranted his removal on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead impeachment manager, told senators that they would spend Thursday “go through the law, the Constitution and the facts as they apply to article one” of impeachment.

“We’ve introduced the case, we’ve gone through the chronology and tomorrow we will apply the facts to the law as it pertains to the president’s abuse of power,” Mr. Schiff said as he concluded Wednesday’s arguments.

The impeachment managers have until Friday evening to use their remaining hours of argument time to present before a rancorous Senate. Lawmakers, despite rules threatening imprisonment for talking, have grown increasingly restless while cooped up in the chamber — and few minds appear to be changed.

On Wednesday, the seven lawmakers tasked with presenting the case for Mr. Trump’s conviction took turns outlining the charges that the president attempted to pressure Ukraine for assistance in his re-election campaign by withholding critical military assistance and a White House visit for the country’s leader.

Several Senate Republicans emerged late Wednesday to inform reporters that they had not learned anything new after hours of presentation from the House.

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Even From Half a World Away, Pelosi Keeps a Tight Grip on Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 23dc-tot1-facebookJumbo Even From Half a World Away, Pelosi Keeps a Tight Grip on Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Pelosi, Nancy impeachment Hastert, J Dennis Clinton, Bill

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s motorcade was winding through Jerusalem on Wednesday, en route to a state dinner hosted by the president of Israel, when she placed perhaps the most important call of her day — to Representative Adam B. Schiff, the man leading the charge to remove President Trump from office.

On the other end of the line, 5,900 miles away, Mr. Schiff, the top impeachment manager, was preparing to stride into the Senate chamber to begin arguing the House’s case, and the speaker wanted to compare notes before she slipped into a gathering of world leaders.

Ms. Pelosi’s role in the impeachment of Mr. Trump may be formally over, but by her own design, the matter is not out of her hands. Even in her absence from the Capitol this week, as the speaker traveled through Poland and Israel in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, she had her hand firmly on the tiller of the prosecution of the president.

In many ways, Ms. Pelosi is the eighth, largely unseen manager of the Democrats’ case.

She selected the group of seven House impeachment managers from among her closest and most loyal advisers, placing Mr. Schiff, the California Democrat and trusted protégé whom she privately calls “the general,” at its helm. Ms. Pelosi has dispatched her handpicked House general counsel to sit at the table inside the Senate chamber, with the prosecutors acting as her eyes and ears. She reviewed all the managers’ written briefs before they were filed. And the multipronged media campaign to make the case for Mr. Trump’s removal is being run out of her office, by her communications director and other staff.

“Look, she cares a lot about this,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said in a brief interview.

She is also hands-on by nature. Aides and lawmakers involved in the impeachment trial say that after unilaterally withholding the charges for nearly a month in a bid for leverage — a decision that Republicans fiercely criticized — Ms. Pelosi has now passed off many of the day-to-day tasks of the case. Yet even as the public focus has shifted to Mr. Schiff and his team of impeachment managers, who on Wednesday and Thursday began laying out their arguments for convicting Mr. Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Ms. Pelosi has remained firmly in control.

Her approach underscores the stakes of the case for Democrats and for Ms. Pelosi herself, whose control of the House is in many ways on the line as much as the president’s fate is.

With the election less than 10 months away, Democrats are running a two-track prosecution: one aimed at persuading the Republican-controlled Senate to convict and remove Mr. Trump — an effort that is all but certain to fail — and another at voters who appear more skeptical and will have the final say at the ballot box.

A bungled trial could blow up in Democrats’ faces and cost them their House majority, squandering any chance at cutting short a presidency they view as deeply destructive to the country. A well-executed one could burnish their image and turn voters against Republicans who side with the president.

Republicans are happy to remind the public of the involvement of Ms. Pelosi, whom they have long vilified. Much of their defense of the president, both in the Senate and on television, rests on delegitimizing the House inquiry she blessed. They argue that Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schiff have been driven by raw partisanship and a vendetta against the president, attempting nothing less than a coup.

“It’s not the Senate’s role to mop up the mess that the House made when Speaker Pelosi rammed this thing through,” Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, said on Fox News this week.

Ms. Pelosi’s approach to the Senate trial is no different from how she handled the impeachment process when it was on her side of the Capitol. After months of resisting a move she repeatedly said was too divisive, the speaker dove in headfirst after revelations about Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, carefully stage-managing every public announcement and each major hearing to ensure that she maintained support among Democrats and from the public.

Backing off, her longtime aides and allies say, is not how Ms. Pelosi has retained the trust and control of her caucus for 17 years, longer than any other recent party leader.

“This is the approach which has been used and used successfully,” said John A. Lawrence, a former chief of staff to Ms. Pelosi.

But it could not stand in sharper contrast to how House Republican leaders handled President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1999, when they deliberately ignored the Senate’s trial.

Mr. Clinton’s impeachment coincided with the collapse of the party’s leadership team in the House after Republicans’ unexpected losses in the midterm congressional elections. Newt Gingrich of Georgia was forced to resign as speaker, and his would-be replacement, Robert L. Livingston of Louisiana, abruptly followed suit weeks later when, in the middle of the final debate over whether to impeach Mr. Clinton for sexual transgressions, he confessed in a speech on the House floor to his own extramarital affair.

By the time J. Dennis Hastert, a mild-mannered Republican, was chosen as speaker in early 1999, he was more interested in installing a new leadership team and policy agenda that could broaden the party’s appeal than seeing through an impeachment case that Republicans saw as politically toxic.

“He really wanted to run away from impeachment because he thought it was a loser politically, and he wanted to bring the country back together,” said John Feehery, who was a top aide to Mr. Hastert. Clinton was not going to be kicked out of office, and our view was we had to restore the brand of the party from launching a partisan impeachment to get some stuff done.”

While her initial instincts might have been similar, once Ms. Pelosi embraced impeachment, she remained intimately involved.

As she has traveled this week, Ms. Pelosi has stayed up late in her hotel room, watching the impeachment trial on television as her lieutenants and Mr. Trump’s lawyers feuded over witnesses and trial rules. She is in frequent contact with Mr. Schumer, with whom she has orchestrated an effort to pressure Republicans into calling new witnesses and documents.

Ashley Etienne, Ms. Pelosi’s communications director and a veteran of the Obama administration, is working with a top aide to Mr. Schiff, Patrick Boland, to oversee an elaborate news media strategy around the impeachment effort. Before the trial formally got underway, Ms. Pelosi lent the managers and their staff her spacious Capitol office suite, where they spent the weekend holed away for marathon prep sessions with her aides.

Inside the chamber, Doug Letter, the House general counsel and a veteran Justice Department lawyer, is among only a handful of aides sharing the prosecution table.

In 1999, Mr. Hastert left it to Representative Henry Hyde, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a fellow Illinois Republican, to select a team of a dozen managers to help him prosecute the case.

Ms. Pelosi, by contrast, met with nearly every House manager in person, alone without staff, before she selected them, based not just on courtroom experience but their ability to connect with different segments of the country.

Aside from the occasional check-ins by staff for the speaker, Mr. Hyde and his team had free rein to conduct the trial as they saw fit, said Paul McNulty, who served as a top aide to Mr. Hyde.

“Everything we were doing then was being done strictly by the Judiciary Committee trying to work its way through,” Mr. McNulty said.

In that case, the managers met a less divided Senate, where many Democrats were deeply angry at their own party’s president and some Republicans were trying to help smooth over the bitterly partisan politics of the House. Mr. Clinton’s approval ratings were high, and he was not facing re-election.

The opposite is true this time, as members of both parties eye the election in November, when a deeply unpopular Mr. Trump is on the ballot. Lawmakers are keenly aware that the verdict in his Senate trial is unlikely to be the last word for Mr. Trump — or for them.

“Pelosi believes that impeachment is going to work for her politically, and we believed that impeachment was not,” Mr. Feehery said. “We ran away from it; she is running to embrace it. She hesitated at first, but she is all in.”

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‘Where Is Kevin?’ McCarthy Finds a Place in the Trump Camp

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WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, hails from an era — four years ago — when gaffes could cost a lawmaker a job. In 2015 he lost his shot at the speaker’s gavel after he said the quiet part out loud: The true purpose of Republicans’ two-year inquiry into a deadly 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was to dent Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

But in these times, when such impolitic truths are uttered often by the commander in chief, Mr. McCarthy has found a moment. He stayed on as the House Republicans’ No. 2 after failing to grab the speakership, rising to the conference’s top spot last year after Paul D. Ryan retired amid the anti-Trump wave of 2018, which handed the speaker’s gavel to Nancy Pelosi.

Unburdened by Mr. Ryan’s strong ideologies or the self-certainty of a Newt Gingrich, Mr. McCarthy has become the happy warrior of the age, one colleague said, posing for photographs with players in the Ukraine saga, like Lev Parnas, shouting encouragement to his compatriots from his leadership perch and shepherding a fractious Republican conference behind President Trump, wrecker of Republican tradition.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Tom Davis, a former Republican House member from Virginia. “He is made for that role.”

In recent weeks, Mr. McCarthy has called House impeachment “a national nightmare,” “rigged” and a “last attempt to stop the Trump presidency.” He claimed the F.B.I. “broke into” Mr. Trump’s campaign in a “modern-day Watergate.” He suggested that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. should suspend campaigning while many of his top rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, sit as captive jurors in the impeachment trial.

His delivery lacks the razor edge of his fellow House Republican leader Liz Cheney, who announced on Thursday that she would forgo a campaign for Wyoming’s open Senate seat to remain in the House, a veiled threat to challenge Mr. McCarthy for the speakership if Republicans regain the majority. He never attains the volume of Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has challenged him for Republican leadership posts, or the umbrage of Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from the California district next door.

“He’s a nice guy,” said Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, with a verbal shrug.

Five minutes later, Mr. Massie texted an additional thought: “I can say this about Kevin, he’s been far more helpful to the president than Paul Ryan would have ever been during this impeachment sham.”

For now, that may be his main job: making the president happy.

“Where is Kevin McCarthy, the great Kevin McCarthy?” Mr. Trump demanded last week at a China trade event at the White House. When it was clear the minority leader was in the House, preparing for the vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, the president added: “Kevin McCarthy, as you know, left for the hoax. Well, we have to do that; otherwise, it becomes a more serious hoax.”

It is no small thing to the president that Mr. McCarthy kept House Republicans unified in their opposition to Mr. Trump’s impeachment. House Republicans include “former prosecutors who probably don’t love the president, moderates who are retiring and thinking, ‘I’m going to vote to impeach the president because I want my grandchildren to talk to me again,’” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist. “That they didn’t is a significant victory for the president, and a significant victory for Kevin McCarthy.”

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said House Republicans had gained confidence in their leader since he flubbed the speakership and forced leaders to dragoon Mr. Ryan into action.

“I can’t see him making that Hillary Clinton mistake again,” Mr. King said. “He’s able to get his point across without damaging the party.”

“It’s really brutal warfare right now, and any sign of seeming too reasonable or conciliatory could scare off the Republican base and be looked upon as weakness by the Democrats,” he continued. “These aren’t normal times. Today, if you make a deal you’re a sellout.”

Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, noted, “We need to have a productive relationship with the president.”

The impeachment saga has, however, most likely tainted Mr. McCarthy. Late last year, his awkward defense of the president in the Ukraine affair on “60 Minutes” — he appeared unfamiliar with the rough transcript of Mr. Trump’s now-infamous call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — prompted Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the Republican Party last year over the president’s conduct, to tweet, “Kevin McCarthy again displays his unique brand of incompetence and dishonesty.”

Photographs have trickled out in recent days showing the minority leader hobnobbing with characters central to Mr. Trump’s effort to enlist Ukraine in discrediting Mr. Biden. Those include Mr. Parnas, an associate of the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Robert F. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate who suggested in encrypted messages to Mr. Parnas that he was secretly tracking the United States ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch.

Ms. Pelosi could not resist taking a dig at Mr. McCarthy on the House floor last week when she referred to “new evidence, pursuant to a House subpoena, from Lev Parnas — recently photographed with the Republican leader.”

On Thursday, Mr. McCarthy could not hide his frustration with a reporter, Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, when he asked the leader to explain exactly what he had done with Mr. Parnas’s campaign contributions, a question Mr. McCarthy said the reporter asks “every week.”

“I do events every single day, and I do pictures with thousands of people all the time,” he said during one of his exchanges with Mr. Klasfeld, adding that he donated Mr. Parnas’s contributions “to charity.” He has repeatedly declined to say which ones.

Asked whether Mr. McCarthy would agree to be interviewed for this article, his spokesman, Matt Sparks, said, “I’m trying to figure out what he could say that might be interesting.”

That was a question on the mind of some of his political opponents. After Mr. McCarthy suggested that the impeachment trial was a way for establishment Democrats to hurt Mr. Sanders’s presidential campaign, Ms. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, wrote on Twitter, “As usual, the Minority Leader has no idea what he’s talking about.”

Charlie Dent, a former Republican House member from Pennsylvania, suggested the unsolicited advice to the Democrats was a way to damage Mr. Biden. “This is Kevin McCarthy’s way of invading the Democratic primary, and helping the president,” he said. “That’s why he’s wandered into this minefield.”

Beneath the bravado, Mr. McCarthy may be feeling the walls closing in on him. After Republicans’ 2018 midterm shellacking, he is one of only a half-dozen Republicans left in California’s 53-member House delegation. There were 19 elected in 2006, when he first won his seat.

He must protect his right flank from a restive Freedom Caucus, which counts as one of its founders Mr. Jordan, a ferocious Trump acolyte who helped derail Mr. McCarthy’s bid for the speakership in 2015. Last week, the minority leader’s confines grew even cozier with Ms. Cheney’s political decision.

All this, plus Mr. McCarthy must retain favor with the mercurial Mr. Trump, who makes his displeasure with recalcitrant Republican lawmakers known in ways that have cost them their jobs.

The son of a firefighter, Mr. McCarthy, 54, hails from a solidly Republican, middle-class district in California’s agricultural interior. He was initially skeptical of Mr. Trump: He once suggested that the president-to-be was on the payroll of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

But as Mr. Trump tightened his grip on the party’s base, Mr. McCarthy wooed him with gestures large and small. During the 2016 campaign, he played mediator with outraged Republicans after Mr. Trump was heard bragging about sexual assault on an “Access Hollywood” tape. He issued a statement heralding “a new period in our country’s great history” after Mr. Trump’s “American carnage” inauguration speech. He threw a big party at the Trump International Hotel (Mr. Trump did not show up, despite high hopes) and he sent a handpicked supply of Mr. Trump’s favorite cherry and strawberry Starburst candies to the White House.

In 2010, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Ryan and Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia were hailed as the young, hip, fit future of their party. In their book, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” they portrayed themselves as “reform-minded Republicans” who were “eager to erase the image of congressional Republicans as big spenders preoccupied with assuring their own re-election.”

Today, Mr. Cantor and Mr. Ryan are gone, along with many of their small-government, free-market, pro-trade ideals, replaced by Mr. Trump’s crackdown on immigrants, his protectionist tariffs, and tax cut and spending deals that have ballooned the federal deficit. Used copies of “Young Guns” sell on Amazon for 10 cents, and Mr. McCarthy is very much focused on his conference’s re-election campaigns, hopping from fund-raiser to fund-raiser late into the night.

“The difference between Eric and Paul and Kevin is that Kevin really likes politics,” Mr. Feehery said. “He’s not particularly ideological, he likes to backslap with his colleagues, and he likes to get around and raise money.”

Mike Franc, a former McCarthy policy aide, remembered Mr. McCarthy serving staff members fast-food Italian during late-night votes and developing a minor obsession with Vine, the now-defunct six-second video app, playing with it for hours in his office.

If the Young Guns’ personalities represented parts of a meal, Mr. Franc said, Mr. Ryan would be “vegetables” and Mr. Cantor “good fish.” Mr. McCarthy, he said, “is the maître d’.”

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Trump Moves to Block Visas for Pregnant Women on ‘Birth Tourism’

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WASHINGTON — The State Department on Thursday gave visa officers more power to block pregnant women abroad from visiting the United States and directed them to stop “birth tourism” — trips designed to obtain citizenship for their children.

The administration is using the new rule, which takes effect on Friday, to push consular officers abroad to reject women they believe are entering the United States specifically to gain citizenship for their child by giving birth. The visas covered by the new rule are issued to those seeking to visit for pleasure, medical treatment or to see friends and family.

Conservatives have long railed against what they call “anchor babies,” born on American soil and used by their parents to bring in other family members. President Trump has also criticized the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to most babies born on American soil.

It is not clear whether such “birth tourism” is a significant phenomenon or that “anchor babies” do lead to substantial immigration, but many conservatives believe both issues are real and serious. The Trump administration has repeatedly moved to allay conservative immigration concerns, which President Trump has often stoked.

“Birth tourism poses risks to national security,” Carl C. Risch, assistant secretary for consular affairs at the State Department, wrote in the final rule. “The birth tourism industry is also rife with criminal activity, including international criminal schemes.”

Consular officers were already unlikely to grant visa to women who they believed were traveling to the United States solely to give birth. But with the new rule, the White House seems to be signaling to officers abroad that those close to delivering a child would be added to a growing list of immigrants unwelcome in the United States, a list that includes the poor, most refugees and asylum-seeking migrants.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that the new rule seeks to stop those who seek “automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil.”

“It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism,” Ms. Grisham said. “The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.”

The rule raises the burden of proof for pregnant women applying for tourist visas by outlining in writing that giving birth in the country “is an impermissible basis” for visiting the United States. Even if the women say they are entering the country for medical treatment — a legitimate factor for visa eligibility — an applicant would need to prove that she has enough money to pay for such treatment to the satisfaction of the officer. The woman will also need to prove that the medical care being sought was not available in her home country.

“If an applicant’s responses to this line of questions are not credible, that may give consular officers reason to question whether the applicant qualifies for a visa,” Mr. Risch said in the rule.

The new policy does not change guidance granted to airport officers working for the Department of Homeland Security, meaning visa eligibility changes would occur outside the United States, not at airport immigration counters.

It is also not clear how effective the new rule will be. Some visas allow foreigners to visit the United States multiple times over the course of as many as 10 years, so an applicant could be granted a visa, get pregnant years later and still be permitted to visit the country.

“Unless D.H.S. changes how its officers interpret travel for pleasure to be consistent with the State Department rule, than people will still come to the United States to give birth. This won’t stop that happening,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

But those abroad applying for visas close to the delivery date could be denied, she said.

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‘Where Is Kevin?’ McCarthy Finds a Place in the Trump Camp

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WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, hails from an era — four years ago — when gaffes could cost a lawmaker a job. In 2015 he lost his shot at the speaker’s gavel after he said the quiet part out loud: The true purpose of Republicans’ two-year inquiry into a deadly 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was to dent Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

But in these times, when such impolitic truths are uttered often by the commander in chief, Mr. McCarthy has found a moment. He stayed on as the House Republicans’ No. 2 after failing to grab the speakership, rising to the conference’s top spot last year after Paul D. Ryan retired amid the anti-Trump wave of 2018, which handed the speaker’s gavel to Nancy Pelosi.

Unburdened by Mr. Ryan’s strong ideologies or the self-certainty of a Newt Gingrich, Mr. McCarthy has become the happy warrior of the age, one colleague said, posing for photographs with players in the Ukraine saga, like Lev Parnas, shouting encouragement to his compatriots from his leadership perch and shepherding a fractious Republican conference behind President Trump, wrecker of Republican tradition.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Tom Davis, a former Republican House member from Virginia. “He is made for that role.”

In recent weeks, Mr. McCarthy has called House impeachment “a national nightmare,” “rigged” and a “last attempt to stop the Trump presidency.” He claimed the F.B.I. “broke into” Mr. Trump’s campaign in a “modern-day Watergate.” He suggested that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. should suspend campaigning while many of his top rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, sit as captive jurors in the impeachment trial.

His delivery lacks the razor edge of his fellow House Republican leader Liz Cheney, who announced on Thursday that she would forgo a campaign for Wyoming’s open Senate seat to remain in the House, a veiled threat to challenge Mr. McCarthy for the speakership if Republicans regain the majority. He never attains the volume of Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has challenged him for Republican leadership posts, or the umbrage of Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from the California district next door.

“He’s a nice guy,” said Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, with a verbal shrug.

Five minutes later, Mr. Massie texted an additional thought: “I can say this about Kevin, he’s been far more helpful to the president than Paul Ryan would have ever been during this impeachment sham.”

For now, that may be his main job: making the president happy.

“Where is Kevin McCarthy, the great Kevin McCarthy?” Mr. Trump demanded last week at a China trade event at the White House. When it was clear the minority leader was in the House, preparing for the vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, the president added: “Kevin McCarthy, as you know, left for the hoax. Well, we have to do that; otherwise, it becomes a more serious hoax.”

It is no small thing to the president that Mr. McCarthy kept House Republicans unified in their opposition to Mr. Trump’s impeachment. House Republicans include “former prosecutors who probably don’t love the president, moderates who are retiring and thinking, ‘I’m going to vote to impeach the president because I want my grandchildren to talk to me again,’” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist. “That they didn’t is a significant victory for the president, and a significant victory for Kevin McCarthy.”

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said House Republicans had gained confidence in their leader since he flubbed the speakership and forced leaders to dragoon Mr. Ryan into action.

“I can’t see him making that Hillary Clinton mistake again,” Mr. King said. “He’s able to get his point across without damaging the party.”

“It’s really brutal warfare right now, and any sign of seeming too reasonable or conciliatory could scare off the Republican base and be looked upon as weakness by the Democrats,” he continued. “These aren’t normal times. Today, if you make a deal you’re a sellout.”

Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, noted, “We need to have a productive relationship with the president.”

The impeachment saga has, however, most likely tainted Mr. McCarthy. Late last year, his awkward defense of the president in the Ukraine affair on “60 Minutes” — he appeared unfamiliar with the rough transcript of Mr. Trump’s now-infamous call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — prompted Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the Republican Party last year over the president’s conduct, to tweet, “Kevin McCarthy again displays his unique brand of incompetence and dishonesty.”

Photographs have trickled out in recent days showing the minority leader hobnobbing with characters central to Mr. Trump’s effort to enlist Ukraine in discrediting Mr. Biden. Those include Mr. Parnas, an associate of the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Robert F. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate who suggested in encrypted messages to Mr. Parnas that he was secretly tracking the United States ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch.

Ms. Pelosi could not resist taking a dig at Mr. McCarthy on the House floor last week when she referred to “new evidence, pursuant to a House subpoena, from Lev Parnas — recently photographed with the Republican leader.”

On Thursday, Mr. McCarthy could not hide his frustration with a reporter, Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, when he asked the leader to explain exactly what he had done with Mr. Parnas’s campaign contributions, a question Mr. McCarthy said the reporter asks “every week.”

“I do events every single day, and I do pictures with thousands of people all the time,” he said during one of his exchanges with Mr. Klasfeld, adding that he donated Mr. Parnas’s contributions “to charity.” He has repeatedly declined to say which ones.

Asked whether Mr. McCarthy would agree to be interviewed for this article, his spokesman, Matt Sparks, said, “I’m trying to figure out what he could say that might be interesting.”

That was a question on the mind of some of his political opponents. After Mr. McCarthy suggested that the impeachment trial was a way for establishment Democrats to hurt Mr. Sanders’s presidential campaign, Ms. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, wrote on Twitter, “As usual, the Minority Leader has no idea what he’s talking about.”

Charlie Dent, a former Republican House member from Pennsylvania, suggested the unsolicited advice to the Democrats was a way to damage Mr. Biden. “This is Kevin McCarthy’s way of invading the Democratic primary, and helping the president,” he said. “That’s why he’s wandered into this minefield.”

Beneath the bravado, Mr. McCarthy may be feeling the walls closing in on him. After Republicans’ 2018 midterm shellacking, he is one of only a half-dozen Republicans left in California’s 53-member House delegation. There were 19 elected in 2006, when he first won his seat.

He must protect his right flank from a restive Freedom Caucus, which counts as one of its founders Mr. Jordan, a ferocious Trump acolyte who helped derail Mr. McCarthy’s bid for the speakership in 2015. Last week, the minority leader’s confines grew even cozier with Ms. Cheney’s political decision.

All this, plus Mr. McCarthy must retain favor with the mercurial Mr. Trump, who makes his displeasure with recalcitrant Republican lawmakers known in ways that have cost them their jobs.

The son of a firefighter, Mr. McCarthy, 54, hails from a solidly Republican, middle-class district in California’s agricultural interior. He was initially skeptical of Mr. Trump: He once suggested that the president-to-be was on the payroll of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

But as Mr. Trump tightened his grip on the party’s base, Mr. McCarthy wooed him with gestures large and small. During the 2016 campaign, he played mediator with outraged Republicans after Mr. Trump was heard bragging about sexual assault on an “Access Hollywood” tape. He issued a statement heralding “a new period in our country’s great history” after Mr. Trump’s “American carnage” inauguration speech. He threw a big party at the Trump International Hotel (Mr. Trump did not show up, despite high hopes) and he sent a handpicked supply of Mr. Trump’s favorite cherry and strawberry Starburst candies to the White House.

In 2010, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Ryan and Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia were hailed as the young, hip, fit future of their party. In their book, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” they portrayed themselves as “reform-minded Republicans” who were “eager to erase the image of congressional Republicans as big spenders preoccupied with assuring their own re-election.”

Today, Mr. Cantor and Mr. Ryan are gone, along with many of their small-government, free-market, pro-trade ideals, replaced by Mr. Trump’s crackdown on immigrants, his protectionist tariffs, and tax cut and spending deals that have ballooned the federal deficit. Used copies of “Young Guns” sell on Amazon for 10 cents, and Mr. McCarthy is very much focused on his conference’s re-election campaigns, hopping from fund-raiser to fund-raiser late into the night.

“The difference between Eric and Paul and Kevin is that Kevin really likes politics,” Mr. Feehery said. “He’s not particularly ideological, he likes to backslap with his colleagues, and he likes to get around and raise money.”

Mike Franc, a former McCarthy policy aide, remembered Mr. McCarthy serving staff members fast-food Italian during late-night votes and developing a minor obsession with Vine, the now-defunct six-second video app, playing with it for hours in his office.

If the Young Guns’ personalities represented parts of a meal, Mr. Franc said, Mr. Ryan would be “vegetables” and Mr. Cantor “good fish.” Mr. McCarthy, he said, “is the maître d’.”

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Trump Moves to Block Visas for Pregnant Women on ‘Birth Tourism’

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WASHINGTON — The State Department on Thursday gave visa officers more power to block pregnant women abroad from visiting the United States and directed them to stop “birth tourism” — trips designed to obtain citizenship for their children.

The administration is using the new rule, which takes effect on Friday, to push consular officers abroad to reject women they believe are entering the United States specifically to gain citizenship for their child by giving birth. The visas covered by the new rule are issued to those seeking to visit for pleasure, medical treatment or to see friends and family.

Conservatives have long railed against what they call “anchor babies,” born on American soil and used by their parents to bring in other family members. President Trump has also criticized the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to most babies born on American soil.

It is not clear whether such “birth tourism” is a significant phenomenon or that “anchor babies” do lead to substantial immigration, but many conservatives believe both issues are real and serious. The Trump administration has repeatedly moved to allay conservative immigration concerns, which President Trump has often stoked.

“Birth tourism poses risks to national security,” Carl C. Risch, assistant secretary for consular affairs at the State Department, wrote in the final rule. “The birth tourism industry is also rife with criminal activity, including international criminal schemes.”

Consular officers were already unlikely to grant visa to women who they believed were traveling to the United States solely to give birth. But with the new rule, the White House seems to be signaling to officers abroad that those close to delivering a child would be added to a growing list of immigrants unwelcome in the United States, a list that includes the poor, most refugees and asylum-seeking migrants.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that the new rule seeks to stop those who seek “automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil.”

“It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism,” Ms. Grisham said. “The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.”

The rule raises the burden of proof for pregnant women applying for tourist visas by outlining in writing that giving birth in the country “is an impermissible basis” for visiting the United States. Even if the women say they are entering the country for medical treatment — a legitimate factor for visa eligibility — an applicant would need to prove that she has enough money to pay for such treatment to the satisfaction of the officer. The woman will also need to prove that the medical care being sought was not available in her home country.

“If an applicant’s responses to this line of questions are not credible, that may give consular officers reason to question whether the applicant qualifies for a visa,” Mr. Risch said in the rule.

The new policy does not change guidance granted to airport officers working for the Department of Homeland Security, meaning visa eligibility changes would occur outside the United States, not at airport immigration counters.

It is also not clear how effective the new rule will be. Some visas allow foreigners to visit the United States multiple times over the course of as many as 10 years, so an applicant could be granted a visa, get pregnant years later and still be permitted to visit the country.

“Unless D.H.S. changes how its officers interpret travel for pleasure to be consistent with the State Department rule, than people will still come to the United States to give birth. This won’t stop that happening,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

But those abroad applying for visas close to the delivery date could be denied, she said.

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McConnell Prefers to Hold ’Em, but Also Knows When to Fold ’Em

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WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell never backs down — unless he has to.

Facing a rare revolt from a wide selection of Senate Republicans this week over the rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial, Mr. McConnell swiftly surrendered.

Having written the rules mainly in secret, keeping the final text from even many of his fellow Republican senators until the last moment, Mr. McConnell quickly quelled a brewing backlash from his colleagues by agreeing to relax some of the most stringent aspects he had drafted.

His retreat on Tuesday was a reminder that Mr. McConnell is an astute reader of the desires and political imperatives of the people who have made him the majority leader.

It is a skill he has honed over his years in leadership. But in the Trump era, his mastery is being challenged anew. Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, must balance the wishes and interests of his members with the whims of a president who cares little for the two things that drive the Senate: consensus and precedent.

Never have those conflicting imperatives collided quite as drastically for Mr. McConnell as now, as he manages Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial with an eye toward protecting the president, his Senate majority and himself.

Mr. McConnell’s strategic withdrawal ultimately paid off by keeping all of his Republican colleagues marching nearly in lock step into the early-morning hours on Wednesday, through 11 votes on Democratic demands for new evidence in the trial and other changes to the rules. Only one, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, defected on a single Democratic proposal, to afford more time for each side to respond to motions in the trial. Republicans stood together to kill the rest.

The results prompted his colleagues to warn not to read too much into the initial pushback against Mr. McConnell, saying Republicans were now firmly on the same page as opening arguments against Mr. Trump began.

“The conference is united in our view of how we move forward over the next six days,” said Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership.

But Mr. McConnell’s rare retreat illustrated the risks he faces of running afoul of fellow Republicans as he tries to align with the wishes of the White House. And his response suggests that as the trial marches forward — with more conflicts to come over whether to subpoena witnesses or hear new evidence — Mr. McConnell will maintain a sharp focus on keeping Republicans happy.

“He leads, and if the conference expresses its will as different, then he leads that way,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota.

Mr. McConnell has shown in the past that he can be pushed from his position if internal pressure becomes great enough. Fearing an embarrassing division among Republicans on a criminal justice overhaul, Mr. McConnell for years resisted putting the bipartisan legislation on the floor despite overwhelming support. Prodded by the president, Mr. McConnell finally relented in 2018 and the measure passed with almost 90 votes — including his own.

In the days leading to the disclosure of Mr. McConnell’s trial proposal, the focus was on whether it would guarantee witnesses, as sought by Democrats, or simply allow a future vote on the matter, following a bipartisan set of rules set in 1999 for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.

But when the details became public on Monday night, only hours before a debate on them on the Senate floor, the proposal also included an unexpected compressed timetable for opening arguments — 24 hours over two days — and required a separate vote on accepting the House impeachment record into evidence, rather than taking it automatically, as had been done in the past.

Officials with knowledge about the developments said the White House sought the compressed time period. The president’s allies feared that allowing Democrats three days to present their case would allow them to drag it out through Saturday, ending the first week — and heading into the Sunday talk shows — with no formal response from the president’s defenders. The White House did not like that idea, and was not particularly concerned about the optics for Senate Republicans of squeezing the proceedings into marathon, 12-hour sessions that would stretch long into the evening.

But Republican senators quickly raised concerns privately, suggesting that the restrictions would open the door to harsh criticism that they were trying to short-circuit the trial — a claim they were eager to avoid — and also strayed too far from the precedents of the Clinton trial they were relying on to justify their stance on witnesses.

During a Republican lunch shortly before the trial convened Tuesday, Ms. Collins stepped forward to express reservations about the time limits. Her sentiments were quickly embraced by several other senators, including some not known for raising objections. They encouraged Mr. McConnell and his aides to rethink their plans.

Given the resistance, Mr. McConnell acquiesced, with a top aide hurriedly rewriting the resolution to allow three days for the arguments and the acceptance of the House record without a separate vote.

The move allowed Mr. McConnell to avoid the spectacle of a fracture among Republicans at the outset of the trial, and he was willing to break from the White House’s plan if needed to do so. A loss of just four Republicans could swing control of the trial away from the majority leader, an unsettling prospect for him.

“We saw Democrats lighting their hair on fire — ‘this is an outrageous effort, a cover-up’ — to have 24 hours of argument over two days,” said Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas. “But you know what?” Mr. Cruz added. “I think Senate Republicans did something wise and right and said, ‘O.K. We’ll make a concession.’”

White House officials appeared relatively undisturbed by the outcome, and the administration now anticipates its defense will begin by Saturday, if not before. White House officials see Mr. McConnell as an extremely powerful ally as they try to fight off the Democrats.

“He’s a strong partner,” said Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs and a veteran Senate staff member with a deep knowledge of the institution.

Democrats tried to claim that public pressure resulting from their campaign for witnesses and a fair trial framework influenced Republicans, calling it a hopeful sign that Republicans might be willing to go their own way and endorse calling witnesses later in the trial. But McConnell allies scoffed at that idea, saying that Democrats are irrelevant to the majority leader as long as he has his members behind him.

Mr. McConnell has certainly demonstrated that he is willing to endure the harshest of Democratic criticism as long as he retains a hold on his own membership. Democrats pounded him for months over his blockade of Judge Merrick B. Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016, but nearly all Republicans backed his maneuver and he never gave an inch.

Resolving the sometimes divergent views of the administration and his Republican colleagues has taken careful management by Mr. McConnell, and he has on occasion had to send a strong message down Pennsylvania Avenue. For instance, when Mr. Trump began making noises last year that he might want the Senate to take up a health care bill — a dismal prospect for senators facing re-election — Mr. McConnell used an interview with Politico to make it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing to with the issue and that the president should save his energy.

Similarly, Mr. McConnell has counseled the White House against seeking a quick vote to dismiss the impeachment charges, warning that there was not enough Republican support for doing so before arguments were made in the trial. Mr. Trump’s team appeared to have listened and declined to offer such a motion when it had the chance on Wednesday.

Now, Mr. McConnell is working to convince his colleagues that expanding the trial to include witnesses — a prospect Mr. Trump’s team wants to avoid at all costs — would be more trouble than it was worth.

“Pursing those witnesses could indefinitely delay the Senate trial and draw our body into a protracted and complex legal fight over presidential privilege,” he said.

That message could well prevail. Far more often than not, Mr. McConnell’s colleagues follow his lead rather than try to persuade him otherwise.

“If I was torn between what he wants to do and what I want to do strategically, I wouldn’t flip a coin,” Mr. Cramer said. “I would just yield it to his expertise, wisdom and frankly, results.”

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What to Watch For in the Trump Impeachment Trial

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In a protracted presentation on Wednesday, House impeachment managers pressed their case that President Trump should be removed from office, accusing him of enlisting the help of a foreign government to damage political rivals.

Democrats continued to insist that testimony from witnesses like John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, was critical to conduct a fair trial. But much of the first day of arguments was spent rehashing well-known details of the impeachment inquiry and reviewing evidence and video clips that House Democrats have presented as a narrative arc documenting a coordinated pressure campaign against Ukraine.

Those arguments will continue on Thursday.

What we’re expecting to see: The seven members of the House will continue delivering their opening arguments, building on the case against the president that they began on Wednesday. After spending about eight hours in session on Wednesday, of a maximum of 24, they have time to flesh out their case on Thursday.

When we’re likely to see it: Managers are expected to take the floor at 1 p.m., and are likely to stay for another eight hours, wrapping up about 9:45 p.m.

How to follow it: The New York Times’s congressional team will be following the developments on Capitol Hill and reporters covering the White House will get the latest from Mr. Trump’s defense team. Visit nytimes.com for coverage throughout the day.

How the impeachment managers divide their 24 hours is up to them. In President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial, the Republican leadership opted not to take the full time allotted to them, keeping their opening arguments relatively succinct.

As House managers proceed on Thursday, a clearer picture may emerge of how much of the now-familiar case against the president is left to cover, and how thoroughly they intend to dive back into the details of the House impeachment inquiry.

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