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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 8)

Former G.O.P. Lawmaker Pressed for Ambassador’s Ouster, Diplomat Will Say

Westlake Legal Group 30dc-impeach-1-facebookJumbo Former G.O.P. Lawmaker Pressed for Ambassador’s Ouster, Diplomat Will Say Zelensky, Volodymyr Yovanovitch, Marie L Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Foreign Aid Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — Robert Livingston, the former Republican congressman turned lobbyist, repeatedly told a foreign service officer assigned to the White House that the American ambassador to Ukraine should be fired because of her association with Democrats, the officer plans to tell impeachment investigators on Wednesday.

The officer, Catherine M. Croft, will testify that she “documented” multiple calls from Mr. Livingston about the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, while she was working at the National Security Council from mid-2017 to mid-2018. She plans to say she informed two other officials — Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the council, and George P. Kent, a Ukraine expert at the State Department — about them at the time.

“He characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as an ‘Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” she will say, referring to the billionaire liberal philanthropist, according to a copy of Ms. Croft’s opening statement reviewed by The New York Times. “It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch.”

The testimony shifts forward by several months a timeline of known attacks on Ms. Yovanovitch by conservatives questioning, without evidence, her loyalty to President Trump. It is not clear if Mr. Livingston’s work, or those financing it, were in any way connected to efforts by two Americans with business interests in Ukraine who wanted her gone and, later, by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Nor did Ms. Croft have anything to say about who else Mr. Livingston spoke with.

Still, the outreach is certain to interest impeachment investigators, who are scrutinizing smears against Ms. Yovanovitch to understand if they were part of a larger pressure campaign by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to secure from Ukraine politically beneficial investigations into Democratic rivals. Mr. Trump eventually recalled her this spring from Kiev, months ahead of schedule.

Ms. Croft is one of two witnesses the House committees leading the inquiry will summon on Wednesday. Both served as advisers to Kurt D. Volker, the United States’ special envoy to Ukraine, and in other diplomatic capacities related to that country. The other is Christopher J. Anderson, who preceded Ms. Croft as Mr. Volker’s adviser.

Investigators will be keen to press both officers to confirm aspects of testimony given earlier by Mr. Volker and fill in details about his work trying to manage the demands of Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani on the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. They are expected to testify despite State Department orders not to.

Mr. Volker told investigators that he had not been aware of any quid pro quo demanded by Mr. Trump, but he detailed how Mr. Giuliani pressed the Ukrainians to publicly pledge that they would undergo investigations that could damage the president’s political domestic adversaries. And text messages he shared with Congress at least appeared to show that a coveted White House meeting for Mr. Zelensky would come only if they agreed to certain investigations.

According to a copy of his own opening statement, Mr. Anderson will testify that he and Mr. Volker worked to accommodate Mr. Giuliani’s influence as they tried to help Ukraine’s new government root out corruption in general and deepen its ties to the United States — but bumped up against it again and again.

Mr. Anderson plans to describe a June 13 meeting at the White House with Mr. Volker and John R. Bolton, then Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, in which Mr. Bolton indicated that Mr. Giuliani could pose a problem as they sought to build more support for Mr. Zelensky among senior White House officials.

“He cautioned that Mr. Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement,” Mr. Anderson planned to say. He will add that he wrote a summary of Mr. Bolton’s remarks about Mr. Giuliani and shared it with Mr. Kent and others at the State Department.

Other witnesses have testified that Mr. Bolton expressed alarm at Mr. Giuliani’s role in even more vivid terms on other occasions.

During another meeting of senior officials at the Energy Department a few days later, Mr. Anderson plans to testify, there were “vague discussions in the meeting about how to address Mr. Giuliani’s continued calls for a corruption investigation.”

Ms. Croft, who took over as Mr. Volker’s adviser in July, appears to have less to say about Mr. Giuliani.

As for Mr. Livingston, Ms. Croft does precisely date the outreach in her opening statement, but she was assigned to the National Security Council as Ukraine director from July 2017 to July 2018, when she left for another government posting.

In her own testimony before impeachment investigators, Ms. Yovanovitch said that she was informed upon removal that Mr. Trump had lost faith in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018. Ms. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat and veteran ambassador, said that she had no bias against Mr. Trump and that her bosses at the State Department had acknowledged she did “nothing wrong.”

Mr. Livingston was once a household name in Washington, and closely associated with the impeachment of another president, Bill Clinton. In 1998, Mr. Livingston was on the cusp of being elected House speaker as Republicans were preparing to impeach Mr. Clinton, but he abruptly resigned after details of his extramarital affair became public.

Foreign Agents Registration Act filings show that Mr. Livingston’s firm, the Livingston Group, has represented Ukrainian clients in the past, including in 2018.

Ms. Croft may also have other information of interest to investigators, including about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Mr. Zelensky’s predecessor. She plans to say that during her time at the National Security Council, she staffed a September 2017 meeting between Mr. Trump and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine and was involved that winter in Mr. Trump’s decision to sell Javelin missiles to Ukraine.

As part of their work, House Democrats are investigating whether Mr. Trump later tried to use $391 million in military aid as leverage to secure the investigations he wanted into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unproven theory about Democrats colluding with Ukraine in the 2016 election. Ms. Croft will say she learned that Mr. Trump had frozen the aid in July.

Both Ms. Croft and Mr. Anderson intend to warn about the risks of a failure by the White House to support Mr. Zelensky and Ukraine in their continuing military conflict with Russia.

“His best chance at success is with our support along with our European partners,” Ms. Croft will say. “It is my hope that even as this committee’s process plays out, we do not lose sight of what is happening in Ukraine and its great promise as a prosperous and democratic member of the European community.”

In one case, Mr. Anderson plans to say, the senior White House officials blocked the release of a statement prepared by the State Department that would have condemned Russia for attacking and seizing Ukrainian military vessels in November 2018. Mr. Volker ended up sending his own tweet.

Mark J. MacDougall, a lawyer for both witnesses, planned to tell investigators for the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees that neither Ms. Croft nor Mr. Anderson is the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine helped prompt the impeachment inquiry. But in a statement of his own, he will say that neither witness would be willing to answer questions they believe may be meant to identify the whistle-blower.

“To the extent we reasonably conclude that any questions directed to Mr. Anderson this afternoon are intended to assist anyone in establishing the identity of the whistle-blower, we will make the necessary objections and will give the witness appropriate instructions,” Mr. MacDougall planned to say.

His decision to offer such introductory remarks was unusual, and reflected the extent to which accounts of Republican questioning related to the activity of the whistle-blower has spooked potential witnesses.

Sharon LaFraniere contributed reporting.

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White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call

Westlake Legal Group 29dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call Zelensky, Volodymyr Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Ethics and Official Misconduct Burisma Holdings Ltd Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the editing process. But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House’s most classified computer system — and whether those moves were meant to conceal the conversation’s most controversial aspects.

The phrases do not fundamentally change lawmakers’ understanding of the call, which was first reported by the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose complaint set off the impeachment inquiry. There are plenty of other examples of Mr. Trump referring to Ukraine-related conspiracy theories and asking for investigations of the Biden family. But Colonel Vindman’s account offered a hint to solving a mystery surrounding the conversation: what Mr. Trump’s aides left out of the transcript in places where ellipses indicated dropped words.

In hours of questioning on Tuesday by Democrats and Republicans, Colonel Vindman recounted his alarm at the July 25 call, saying he “did not think it was proper” for Mr. Trump to have asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate a political rival, and how White House officials struggled to deal with the fallout from a conversation he and others considered problematic.

His testimony about the reconstructed transcript, the aftermath of the call and a shadow foreign policy being run outside the National Security Council came as Democrats unveiled plans for a more public phase of the impeachment process. They plan to vote on Thursday to direct the Intelligence Committee to conduct public hearings and produce a report for the Judiciary Committee to guide its consideration of impeachment articles. The measure will also provide a mechanism for Republicans to request subpoenas for witnesses and give Mr. Trump’s lawyers a substantive role in the Judiciary Committee’s proceedings to mount a defense.

Some lawmakers indicated Colonel Vindman would make a good candidate to appear again at a public hearing next month.

It is not clear why some of Colonel Vindman’s changes were not made, while others he recommended were, but the decision by a White House lawyer to quickly lock down the reconstructed transcript subverted the normal process of handling such documents.

The note-takers and voice recognition software used during the July 25 call had missed Mr. Zelensky saying the word “Burisma,” but the reconstructed transcript does reference “the company,” and suggests that the Ukrainian president is aware that it is of great interest to Mr. Trump.

The prosecutor general, Mr. Zelensky said, according to the document, “will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.”

The rough transcript also contains ellipses at three points where Mr. Trump is speaking. Colonel Vindman told investigators that at the point of the transcript where the third set of ellipses appears, Mr. Trump said there were tapes of Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump’s mention of tapes is an apparent reference to Mr. Biden’s comments at a January 2018 event about his effort to get Ukraine to force out its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. Supporters of Mr. Biden have said Mr. Shokin was widely criticized for his lax anti-corruption efforts. Republicans charge, without evidence, that Mr. Biden was trying to stop an investigation into his son.

Colonel Vindman told House investigators Tuesday that he twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were pressuring Ukraine to undertake inquiries beneficial to the president, including of Mr. Biden. After the July 25 call, the colonel reported what happened to a superior, explaining that “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” according to his opening remarks. He added, “This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

He also described confronting Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, after the envoy pressed Ukrainian officials to help the Trump administration by investigating the Biden family. The colonel said he acted out of a “sense of duty,” and emphasized his military service in his remarks. “I am a patriot,” he said, “and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

As he spoke, House leaders were preparing for what was expected to be significant new private testimony from current and former White House officials in the coming days. On Wednesday, they will hear from two Ukraine experts who advised Kurt D. Volker, the former United States special envoy to the country. On Thursday, Timothy Morrison, the National Security Council’s Russia and Europe director, is scheduled to testify. And on Friday, investigators have called Robert Blair, a top national security adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.

There is no recording of the July 25 call by the American side. The White House uses note-takers listening in on the call as well as voice recognition software to create a rough transcript that is a close approximation of the call. But names and technical terms are frequently missed by the software, according to people familiar with the matter.

After the call, Colonel Vindman was given a hard copy of the rough transcript to make updates and corrections, according to a person familiar with the matter. Colonel Vindman went through the transcript, made changes and gave his written edits to his boss, Mr. Morrison, according to the person.

But after the call, Colonel Vindman went with his brother, a lawyer on the National Security Council staff, to see John A. Eisenberg, the council’s legal adviser, to raise his concerns about the conversation.

Colonel Vindman declined to detail to investigators his discussions with Mr. Eisenberg, citing attorney-client privilege, according to two of the people familiar with the testimony.

One explanation for why Colonel Vindman’s changes were not made could be that the transcript had been quickly placed into a highly secure computer system, the N.S.C. Intelligence Collaboration Environment, or NICE system, making it more difficult to alter.

Mr. Eisenberg ordered the transcript moved to ensure that people who were not assigned to handle Ukraine policy could not read the transcript, a decision he hoped would prevent gossip and leaks about the call.

Putting the transcript in the secure server would have made it more difficult to make further edits to the document, and in the case of the July call effectively stopped additional changes.

Mr. Eisenberg made the decision without consulting with his supervisor, Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. A White House review of the handling of the call is examining if Mr. Eisenberg acted properly in securing the notes.

Administration officials have said a number of calls between Mr. Trump and foreign leaders were put in the most secure server. But tightened security had been put in place for those calls ahead of time. The Ukraine call was put in the secure server only after the fact.

In the whistle-blower complaint that was made public, the C.I.A. officer wrote that placing the rough transcript in the server was part of an effort to lock it down, restrict access and a sign that “White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

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In Another Bipartisan Rebuke of Trump, House Votes for Sanctions Against Turkey

Westlake Legal Group 29dc-sanctions-facebookJumbo In Another Bipartisan Rebuke of Trump, House Votes for Sanctions Against Turkey United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Senate McCaul, Michael T House of Representatives Engel, Eliot L Embargoes and Sanctions

WASHINGTON — The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to impose a series of sweeping sanctions on Turkey over its brutal assault on the Kurds in northern Syria, dealing its second bipartisan rebuke to President Trump this month for pulling back American forces to allow for the Turkish incursion.

The measure drew broad support from Republicans, including the party’s leaders, underscoring how Mr. Trump’s decision to effectively surrender American influence in the region and abandon Kurdish fighters has provoked the most vocal and intense criticism of the president by his own party since he was elected. The vote was 403 to 16, with 15 Republicans and one Democrat, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, voting against the legislation.

This month, two-thirds of House Republicans joined with Democrats to censure his withdrawal of troops from Syria in a 354 to 60 vote. It was, at the time, the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.

The top Democrat and Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee — Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman, and Representative Michael McCaul of Texas — sponsored the legislation that passed Tuesday, which is an attempt by lawmakers to add teeth to what they consider an insufficient response from the Trump administration to Turkey’s bloody offensive into Syria. If enacted, it would prohibit the sale of arms to Turkey for use in Syria, impose sanctions on senior Turkish officials for their role in the military offensive against the Kurds, and require the administration to impose additional sanctions for the Turkish government’s purchase of surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.

“Today Democrats and Republicans come together to demonstrate the strong, smart leadership that has certainly been lacking from the White House,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said.

Last week, Mr. Trump lifted the modest sanctions he had imposed on Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources after he announced that Turkey had agreed to a permanent cease-fire in Syria.

“The sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we are not happy with,” he said.

That comment upset many lawmakers, who believe there is indeed much to be unhappy about. James F. Jeffrey, the president’s special representative to Syria, told Congress that same day that American officials were investigating allegations that Turkish-supported forces had committed war crimes.

On Tuesday, House Republicans largely did not discuss the administration’s decision to lift sanctions, instead focusing their remarks on condemning President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials.

“We let Turkey into NATO to protect them from the Soviet Union,” Mr. McCaul said. “And now our NATO ally is buying Russian equipment, Russian military equipment and, through its invasion into Syria, threatening our allies.”

Only a handful of libertarian-minded Trump allies have come to the president’s defense.

Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, the chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, argued in an op-ed for The Hill newspaper on Tuesday that Mr. Trump’s decision to “pursue diplomacy” is an approach that “seems to already be bearing fruit.”

For now, the tougher sanctions approved by the House are likely to remain stalled. To enact them, the legislation would have to pass the Republican-led Senate and be signed by Mr. Trump. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has said that, for now at least, he does not intend to bring up any such measure.

“We need to think extremely carefully before we employ the same tools against a democratic NATO ally that we would against the worst rogue states,” Mr. McConnell said in a speech. He has introduced his own resolution rebuking the president for the withdrawal of troops from Syria, but that, too, is unlikely to draw broad support. It would put Congress on the record warning against precipitous withdrawals of American troops from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, a provision that is intended to politically jam Democrats, who — notwithstanding their criticism of the president’s pullback in Syria — have long called for pulling United States troops out of the Middle East.

Some Republican senators, however, hope to press forward with sanctions. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, have introduced their own package of more punitive sanctions, with provisions that would cut off American military assistance to Turkey and bar Mr. Erdogan from visiting the United States.

Republican senators have also privately pressed Mr. Trump for months to impose sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of a Russian antiaircraft system called the S-400. Mr. Trump already punished Ankara for acquiring the surface-to-air missile system in July by canceling the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets, but lawmakers in both parties believe Mr. Trump is legally obligated by a 2017 law to go further and enact sanctions.

“On a strong bipartisan basis, Congress has made it clear that there must be consequences for President Erdogan’s misguided S-400 acquisition, a troubling signal of strategic alignment with Putin’s Russia and a threat to the F-35 program,” the top Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees said in a joint statement.

In July, Republican senators met with Mr. Trump at the White House in the hopes of convincing the president to impose sanctions on Turkey. But after a freewheeling meeting that often veered off topic, the lawmakers left with the impression that the president was not interested in such a move, a Republican senator who attended said.

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Democrats Unveil Proposed Rules for Public Impeachment Proceedings

Westlake Legal Group 29dc-impeach-facebookJumbo-v2 Democrats Unveil Proposed Rules for Public Impeachment Proceedings United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s lawyers would be allowed to present a formal defense of him and cross-examine witnesses once the House Judiciary Committee begins debate over whether to impeach him, under proposed rules House Democrats unveiled on Tuesday to begin the next, more public phase of their inquiry.

A vote on the rules scheduled for Thursday would mark the first time the full House would go on the record explicitly blessing the impeachment inquiry. Styled as a direction to continue “ongoing” impeachment investigations, the Democrats produced the resolution after weeks of complaints by Republicans about the lack of such a vote.

But while the rules would afford the president many of the rights that congressional Republicans have demanded, including allowing Mr. Trump’s lawyers or Republican lawmakers to submit written proposals to call additional witnesses, they are unlikely to satisfy his allies.

As in past impeachment inquiries, Democrats as the majority party could block subpoenas requested by the minority Republicans if they disagreed that hearing from those people was necessary. That could foreshadow a fight over whether to call such people as the unidentified C.I.A. whistle-blower who brought to light Mr. Trump’s use of his powers to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

“The evidence we have already collected paints the picture of a president who abused his power by using multiple levers of government to press a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election,” House leaders wrote in a statement. “Following in the footsteps of previous impeachment inquiries, the next phase will move from closed depositions to open hearings where the American people will learn firsthand about the president’s misconduct.”

Four committee leaders signed the statement: Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee; Jerrold Nadler of New York and the Judiciary Committee; Eliot L. Engel of New York and the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, the acting chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee.

Democratic leaders expressed confidence that they would have enough votes to pass the resolution this week, even if a handful of moderate Democrats vote no. Republican leaders were urging their members to vote against it, arguing that to do otherwise would be a validation of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“This thing has been poisoned from the very beginning,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Rules Committee. “Now, we are going to have rules presented to us at the last minute that we had nothing to do with. No negotiation. No input. Not even, ‘Hey, what would you like to see in this thing?’”

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said the resolution only confirmed that the House investigation so far had been “an illegitimate sham” and would fail to provide the due process Mr. Trump deserved until the proceedings were nearly complete.

“The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee,” she said.

The resolution envisions two distinct phases. In the first, the Intelligence Committee, led by Mr. Schiff — which until now has been conducting closed-door depositions about the Ukraine scandal — would hold one or more open hearings to take public testimony about the matter. His committee would then compile its findings in a report, and transmit transcripts and additional evidence to the Judiciary Committee.

In the second phase, the Judiciary Committee, led by Mr. Nadler, would receive the Intelligence Committee report and consider whether to recommend one or more articles of impeachment. The Judiciary panel could also seek additional evidence, including hearing from witnesses. Mr. Trump’s legal team would be permitted to participate in that round.

Still, a related set of procedures unveiled on Tuesday by the Judiciary Committee for its phase sought to use that due process right as leverage to get Mr. Trump to stop stonewalling congressional subpoenas. Mr. Trump has vowed to fight all subpoenas, and his White House counsel has directed executive branch employees not to participate in the effort.

The Judiciary Committee procedures would empower Mr. Nadler to block Mr. Trump’s lawyers from cross-examining witnesses if the president continued to try to prevent any of the four committees conducting impeachment-related investigations from gathering information from the executive branch. (Republicans on the committee could still do so.)

“Should the president unlawfully refuse to make witnesses available” or produce documents, the procedures said, Mr. Nadler could “impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the president or his counsel under these procedures to call or question witnesses.”

The House will recess late Thursday for a week, but Democratic leaders aim to begin open hearings in the Intelligence Committee as soon as the week of Nov. 11. The public hearings will most likely feature several key witnesses investigators have interviewed behind closed doors.

The rule granting Mr. Trump and his legal team some due process rights to participate once the proceedings reach the Judiciary Committee is largely modeled on the practice used by previous Congresses when they began impeachment proceedings against Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Republicans have complained that the depositions have taken place behind closed doors. Democrats have pointed out that the initial fact-finding stage against Mr. Clinton was conducted by an independent counsel who used a grand jury to question witnesses behind closed doors, and that Republican members can question the witnesses.

In both phases, the top Republican on each committee — Representative Devin Nunes of California for Intelligence, and Representative Doug Collins of Georgia for Judiciary — could propose subpoenas for witnesses or documents. But if Mr. Schiff or Mr. Nadler object, the full committee will vote, giving Democrats the ability to quash them.

The measure is also intended to pave the way for more compelling and substantive sessions than the typical, often tedious oversight hearings in which each lawmaker has a brief turn and often uses the time to speechify or try to create a viral moment. Instead, the top Democrat and Republican — or staff lawyers — will question witnesses for extended blocks of time.

The resolution also would grant explicit blessing from the full House for the impeachment inquiry, saying the committees are “directed to continue” such investigations. Republicans have called the inquiry a sham because there has been no resolution by the full House to authorize one.

Last week a federal judge backed Democrats’ contention that no such resolution was legally necessary, but this week the Trump administration filed an appeal.

And though it is focused on the Ukraine matter, the resolution effectively leaves open the possibility of a broader case that includes accusations of financial wrongdoing against Mr. Trump and obstruction of justice in relation to Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

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Democrats Unveil Proposed Rules to Govern Impeachment Proceedings

Westlake Legal Group 29dc-impeach-facebookJumbo-v2 Democrats Unveil Proposed Rules to Govern Impeachment Proceedings United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

WASHINGTON — House Democrats unveiled new rules on Tuesday for going public with their impeachment inquiry, directing the Intelligence Committee to convene open hearings and produce a written report to share the findings of its investigation into President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

Under the proposed rules, which the House plans to bring up for a vote on Thursday, the report, along with transcripts of witness interviews being conducted behind closed doors and additional evidence collected by the Intelligence Committee, would promptly be shared with the Judiciary Committee, which would weigh the evidence and produce articles of impeachment to send to the full House.

The draft resolution allows for new due process rights for President Trump and maps out exactly how Democrats plan to take public the confidential fact-finding process they began late last month.

“The evidence we have already collected paints the picture of a president who abused his power by using multiple levers of government to press a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election,” four House committee leaders involved in the inquiry wrote in a statement. “Following in the footsteps of previous impeachment inquiries, the next phase will move from closed depositions to open hearings where the American people will learn firsthand about the president’s misconduct.”

The statement was signed by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee; Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, the acting chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee.

In many respects, the procedures appear to mimic those adopted by Republicans when they initiated impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton in 1998. But there is a key difference: In that case, the process followed an independent counsel report and was limited to the Judiciary Committee. This time, the House itself is carrying out the investigation, and it will be Mr. Schiff’s panel that is responsible for issuing a document summing up the findings.

The resolution, if adopted, would grant Republicans many of the rights and provisos they have angrily demanded from Democrats in recent weeks, as the investigation remained behind closed doors. It specifically empowers the top Republicans on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels to issue subpoenas for witness testimony or evidence if Democratic committee leaders sign off. And if they do not, the Democrats must schedule a vote to allow the full committee to have its say on the proposal.

Democrats also plan to lay out due process rights for Mr. Trump and his lawyers once the process moves to the Judiciary panel. Those will also closely resemble the rules for the impeachment proceedings against Mr. Clinton, as well as Richard M. Nixon. They would allow lawyers for Mr. Trump to request additional testimony or evidence, attend all Judiciary Committee hearings, object to testimony given and cross-examine witnesses called by the committee.

The measure is designed to pave the way for more compelling and substantive hearings than the typical, often tedious sessions that are the norm in congressional committees, in which each lawmaker has a brief turn to question witnesses, and often uses the time to speechify or try to create a viral moment. Instead, under the proposed rules, the Intelligence Committee could convene public hearings in which the top Democrat and Republican — as well as staff aides — can question witnesses for extended, equal blocks of time, up to 45 minutes per side.

Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the Rules Committee, released the resolution Tuesday afternoon. Lawmakers in both parties were eagerly awaiting a chance to review it, though for the most part, partisan lines appear to have already been drawn.

Democratic leaders expressed confidence that they would have enough votes to pass the resolution this week, even if a handful of moderate Democrats vote no. Republican leaders were urging their members to vote against it, arguing that to do otherwise would be a validation of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“This thing has been poisoned from the very beginning,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Rules Committee. “Now, we are going to have rules presented to us at the last minute that we had nothing to do with. No negotiation. No input. Not even, ‘Hey, what would you like to see in this thing?’”

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After Vindman’s Testimony Went Public, Right-Wing Conspiracies Fired Up

Westlake Legal Group 29VINDMANMEDIA-01sub-facebookJumbo After Vindman’s Testimony Went Public, Right-Wing Conspiracies Fired Up Vindman, Alexander S Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Posobiec, Jack News and News Media Ingraham, Laura A Fox News Channel

Prominent right-wing media commentators have sought for weeks to cast aspersions on the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump, echoing the president’s repeated cries of “witch hunt!” and framing the investigation as motivated by political bias.

Now some of those commentators have opened a new front: questioning the patriotism of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the White House national security official and decorated Iraq war veteran who was testifying on Tuesday that he had heard Mr. Trump ask Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rival.

One pundit on Fox News went as far as to suggest that Colonel Vindman had engaged in “espionage” against the United States, prompting an unusual rebuke from a Republican member of Congress.

Colonel Vindman, who received a Purple Heart after he was wounded in Iraq, is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who was 3 years old when his family fled to the United States. On her Fox News program on Monday, the conservative host Laura Ingraham sought to turn his ethnic background against him, noting that Ukrainian officials had recently sought the colonel’s advice about interacting with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest,” Ms. Ingraham said. “Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?”

Her guest, John Yoo, a former top lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, agreed. “I find that astounding,” Mr. Yoo said. “Some people might call that espionage.”

The accusation by Mr. Yoo was decried by left-leaning pundits and, on Tuesday, by Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a Republican lawmaker. “It is shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this country,” Ms. Cheney said, calling on critics to stop questioning the colonel’s loyalties.

Still, the notion that Colonel Vindman has some allegiance to a foreign country rapidly spread in right-wing circles, who apparently sensed a useful talking point to undermine testimony that is expected to be deeply damaging to Mr. Trump.

On Tuesday, the president repeatedly described Colonel Vindman as a “Never Trumper” in a series of posts on Twitter. Mr. Giuliani chimed in, too, writing in a tweet that the colonel “has reportedly been advising two gov’s.” He added: “No wonder he is confused and feels pressure.”

On CNN’s “New Day,” Sean Duffy — a former Republican representative from Wisconsin and now a pro-Trump pundit — declared: “It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”

“We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from,” Mr. Duffy added. “Like me, I’m sure that Vindman has the same affinity.”

His interviewer, the CNN anchor John Berman, pushed back. “Are you suggesting that you would put Irish defense over U.S. defense? Is that what you’re saying?” he asked, referring to Mr. Duffy’s Irish heritage.

“He has an affinity, I think, for the Ukraine,” Mr. Duffy said. “He speaks Ukrainian, and he came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.”

Colonel Vindman, 44, grew up in Brooklyn, completed basic training in 1999, and carried out numerous overseas tours in the Army, including in South Korea, Germany and Iraq. In 2003, he was wounded by a roadside bomb and received a Purple Heart. He has served in multiple United States embassies and joined the National Security Council in 2018.

But online, the conspiracy theory about Mr. Vindman as a foreign agent has begun to spread.

On Tuesday morning, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, a close Trump ally, tweeted: “Donald Trump is innocent. The deep state is guilty.” An account tied to QAnon, the fringe online conspiracy movement, amplified his claim to 160,000 followers on Twitter, and the conspiracy claim was likewise posted to a Facebook QAnon page within the hour.

Jack Posobiec, a well-known figure on the far-right internet, tweeted the falsehood that Mr. Vindman had been advising the Ukrainian government on how to counter Mr. Trump’s foreign policy goals. Mr. Posobiec cited The New York Times as his source — in fact, The Times reported no such thing.

Nevertheless, his tweet was repeated verbatim at least 50 times by over 25 accounts in the same hour, many written in response to mainstream media tweets about news of Mr. Vindman’s testimony with no reference back to Mr. Posobiec’s original tweet.

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Meet Alexander Vindman, the Colonel Testifying on Trump’s Phone Call

WASHINGTON — Alexander S. Vindman and his twin brother, Yevgeny, were 3 years old when they fled Ukraine with their father and grandmother, Jewish refugees with only their suitcases and $750, hoping for a better life in the United States.

In the 40 years since, he has become a scholar, diplomat, decorated lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and Harvard-educated Ukraine expert on the White House National Security Council.

On Tuesday, his past and his present converged, when he became the first sitting White House official to testify in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with the country of his birth.

The testimony of Colonel Vindman, 44, is one of the more riveting turns in an inquiry that has been full of them. He told impeachment investigators in an opening statement that he “did not think it was proper” for Mr. Trump to push Ukraine’s leader to dig up dirt on his political rivals during a July phone call, and felt duty-bound to report the conversation to a White House lawyer, fearing that it jeopardized the country’s national security.

But more than that, Colonel Vindman’s testimony offered a compelling immigrants’ tale and a glimpse into the story of twin brothers who have lived a singular American experience. From their days as little boys in matching short pants and blue caps, toddling around the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn — known as Little Odessa for its population of refugees from the former Soviet Union — and into adulthood, they have followed strikingly similar paths.

Like Alexander Vindman, Yevgeny is a lieutenant colonel in the Army. He also serves on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, as a lawyer handling ethics issues.

When Alexander Vindman decided to alert a White House lawyer to his concerns about Mr. Trump’s July telephone call with the Ukrainian president, he turned to his twin, bringing him along as he reported the conversation to John A. Eisenberg, the top National Security Council lawyer.

The twins both married and they have offices across from one another in the West Wing of the White House, according to Carol Kitman, a photographer who met the family when they were boys, chronicled their growing up and remains a close family friend.

“They say nothing,” Ms. Kitman said, when asked if the two had revealed their views about Mr. Trump. “They’re very smart and they’re very discreet.”

Along with their older brother, Leonid, the twins left Kiev with their father, Semyon, shortly after their mother died there. Their maternal grandmother came along to help care for them. The family sold its possessions to survive in Europe while waiting for visas to the United States.

“I think their father felt they would do better in the United States as Jews,” said Ms. Kitman, who recalls spotting the grandmother and the two boys, then known as Sanya and Genya, under the elevated train in Brooklyn. She spoke to the grandmother in Yiddish, she said, and returned the following day, aiming to do a book about their lives.

“Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night,” Colonel Vindman told House lawmakers on Tuesday. “He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream.”

Ms. Kitman’s website tells the story in pictures.

“Genya is always the smiling twin. Sanya is serious,” she wrote in the caption accompanying the image of them in their blue ball caps and short pants in 1980, the year after they arrived. A 1985 photograph of them with their grandmother on a boardwalk appeared in a documentary by the filmmaker Ken Burns, she wrote.

When they were 13, Ms. Kitman captured the Vindman twins in matching red shirts. When Colonel Vindman married, she photographed him and his bride under a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl, that served as a huppah, or wedding canopy.

The twins’ father, Semyon Vindman, went on to become an engineer, Ms. Kitman said, and the twins’ older brother entered the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college. She said the younger boys looked up to Leonid and decided to pursue their own military paths.

In 1998, Alexander Vindman graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his military commission from Cornell University, completed basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1999, and deployed to South Korea, where he led infantry and anti-armor platoons, the following year.

In his testimony, the colonel mentioned his “multiple overseas tours,” including in South Korea and Germany, and a 2003 combat deployment to Iraq that left him wounded by a roadside bomb, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Since 2008, he has been an Army foreign area officer — an expert in political-military operations — specializing in Eurasia. Colonel Vindman has a master’s degree from Harvard in Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies. He has served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Moscow, and was the officer specializing in Russia for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before joining the National Security Council in 2018.

By this spring, he said in his opening statement, he became troubled by what he described as efforts by “outside influencers” to create “a false narrative” about Ukraine. Documents reviewed by The New York Times suggest the reference is to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and implicate Ukraine, rather than Russia, in interfering with the 2016 elections.

Westlake Legal Group vindman-statement-impeachment-1572300930303-articleLarge Meet Alexander Vindman, the Colonel Testifying on Trump’s Phone Call Vindman, Alexander S United States Defense and Military Forces Ukrainian-Americans Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Refugees and Displaced Persons impeachment Immigration and Emigration Brighton Beach (Brooklyn, NY)

Read Alexander Vindman’s Opening Statement on Trump and Ukraine

He twice reported concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to a draft statement.

In May, a month after Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine in a landslide victory, Mr. Trump asked the colonel to join Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Ukraine to attend the new president’s inauguration.

By July, Colonel Vindman had grown deeply concerned that administration officials were pressuring Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden. That concern only intensified, he told investigators, when he listened in to the now-famous July 25 phone conversation between Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Trump.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” his testimony said, “and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

His heritage gave Colonel Vindman, who is fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian, unique insight into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign; on numerous occasions, Ukrainian officials sought him out for advice about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani.

Colonel Vindman’s testimony was sprinkled with references to duty, honor and patriotism — but also his life as an immigrant and a refugee.

“I sit here, as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant,” he said, adding, “I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics.”

Ms. Kitman, the photographer, said that was what she would expect from both the Vindman twins.

“When you talk about what good immigrants do,” she said, “look at what these immigrants are doing for this country.”

Danny Hakim and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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Alexander Vindman, a White House Official, Testifies in Impeachment Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Alexander S. Vindman and his twin brother, Yevgeny, were 3 years old when they fled Ukraine with their father and grandmother, Jewish refugees with only their suitcases and $750, hoping for a better life in the United States.

In the 40 years since, he has become a scholar, diplomat, decorated lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and Harvard-educated Ukraine expert on the White House National Security Council.

On Tuesday, his past and his present converged, when he became the first sitting White House official to testify in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with the country of his birth.

The testimony of Colonel Vindman, 44, is one of the more riveting turns in an inquiry that has been full of them. He told impeachment investigators in an opening statement that he “did not think it was proper” for Mr. Trump to push Ukraine’s leader to dig up dirt on his political rivals during a July phone call, and felt duty-bound to report the conversation to a White House lawyer, fearing that it jeopardized the country’s national security.

But more than that, Colonel Vindman’s testimony offered a compelling immigrants’ tale and a glimpse into the story of twin brothers who have lived a singular American experience. From their days as little boys in matching short pants and blue caps, toddling around the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn — known as Little Odessa for its population of refugees from the former Soviet Union — and into adulthood, they have followed strikingly similar paths.

Like Alexander Vindman, Yevgeny is a lieutenant colonel in the Army. He also serves on Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, as a lawyer handling ethics issues.

When Alexander Vindman decided to alert a White House lawyer to his concerns about Mr. Trump’s July telephone call with the Ukrainian president, he turned to his twin, bringing him along as he reported the conversation to John A. Eisenberg, the top National Security Council lawyer.

The twins both married and they have offices across from one another in the West Wing of the White House, according to Carol Kitman, a photographer who met the family when they were boys, chronicled their growing up and remains a close family friend.

“They say nothing,” Ms. Kitman said, when asked if the two had revealed their views about Mr. Trump. “They’re very smart and they’re very discreet.”

Along with their older brother, Leonid, the twins left Kiev with their father, Semyon, shortly after their mother died there. Their maternal grandmother came along to help care for them. The family sold its possessions to survive in Europe while waiting for visas to the United States.

“I think their father felt they would do better in the United States as Jews,” said Ms. Kitman, who recalls spotting the grandmother and the two boys, then known as Sanya and Genya, under the elevated train in Brooklyn. She spoke to the grandmother in Yiddish, she said, and returned the following day, aiming to do a book about their lives.

“Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night,” Colonel Vindman told House lawmakers on Tuesday. “He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream.”

Ms. Kitman’s website tells the story in pictures.

“Genya is always the smiling twin. Sanya is serious,” she wrote in the caption accompanying the image of them in their blue ball caps and short pants in 1980, the year after they arrived. A 1985 photograph of them with their grandmother on a boardwalk appeared in a documentary by the filmmaker Ken Burns, she wrote.

When they were 13, Ms. Kitman captured the Vindman twins in matching red shirts. When Colonel Vindman married, she photographed him and his bride under a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl, that served as a huppah, or wedding canopy.

The twins’ father, Semyon Vindman, went on to become an engineer, Ms. Kitman said, and the twins’ older brother entered the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college. She said the younger boys looked up to Leonid and decided to pursue their own military paths.

In 1998, Alexander Vindman graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his military commission from Cornell University, completed basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1999, and deployed to South Korea, where he led infantry and anti-armor platoons, the following year.

In his testimony, the colonel mentioned his “multiple overseas tours,” including in South Korea and Germany, and a 2003 combat deployment to Iraq that left him wounded by a roadside bomb, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Since 2008, he has been an Army foreign area officer — an expert in political-military operations — specializing in Eurasia. Colonel Vindman has a master’s degree from Harvard in Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies. He has served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Moscow, and was the officer specializing in Russia for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before joining the National Security Council in 2018.

By this spring, he said in his opening statement, he became troubled by what he described as efforts by “outside influencers” to create “a false narrative” about Ukraine. Documents reviewed by The New York Times suggest the reference is to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and implicate Ukraine, rather than Russia, in interfering with the 2016 elections.

Westlake Legal Group vindman-statement-impeachment-1572300930303-articleLarge Alexander Vindman, a White House Official, Testifies in Impeachment Inquiry Vindman, Alexander S United States Defense and Military Forces Ukrainian-Americans Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Refugees and Displaced Persons impeachment Immigration and Emigration Brighton Beach (Brooklyn, NY)

Read Alexander Vindman’s Opening Statement on Trump and Ukraine

He twice reported concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to a draft statement.

In May, a month after Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine in a landslide victory, Mr. Trump asked the colonel to join Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Ukraine to attend the new president’s inauguration.

By July, Colonel Vindman had grown deeply concerned that administration officials were pressuring Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden. That concern only intensified, he told investigators, when he listened in to the now-famous July 25 phone conversation between Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Trump.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” his testimony said, “and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

His heritage gave Colonel Vindman, who is fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian, unique insight into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign; on numerous occasions, Ukrainian officials sought him out for advice about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani.

Colonel Vindman’s testimony was sprinkled with references to duty, honor and patriotism — but also his life as an immigrant and a refugee.

“I sit here, as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant,” he said, adding, “I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics.”

Ms. Kitman, the photographer, said that was what she would expect from both the Vindman twins.

“When you talk about what good immigrants do,” she said, “look at what these immigrants are doing for this country.”

Danny Hakim and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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Murray Energy Is 8th Coal Company in a Year to Seek Bankruptcy

Westlake Legal Group 29coal2-facebookJumbo Murray Energy Is 8th Coal Company in a Year to Seek Bankruptcy Trump, Donald J Murray, Robert E Murray Energy Corp Mines and Mining Layoffs and Job Reductions Energy and Power Coal Bankruptcies

Murray Energy, once a symbol of American mining prowess, has become the eighth coal company in a year to file for bankruptcy protection. The move on Tuesday is the latest sign that market forces are throttling the Trump administration’s bid to save the industry.

The collapse of the Ohio-based company had long been expected as coal-fired power plants close across the country.

Its chief executive, Robert E. Murray, has been an outspoken supporter and adviser of President Trump. He had lobbied extensively for Washington to support coal-fired power plants.

Mr. Murray gave up his position as chief executive and was replaced on Tuesday by Robert Moore, the former chief financial officer. Mr. Murray, who will remain chairman, expressed optimism that the company would survive with a lighter debt load.

“Although a bankruptcy filing is not an easy decision, it became necessary to access liquidity,” he said in a statement, “and best position Murray Energy and its affiliates for the future of our employees and customers and our long-term success.”

Murray, the nation’s largest privately-held coal company, has nearly 7,000 employees and operates 17 mines in six states across Appalachia and the South as well as two mines in Colombia. It produces more than 70 million tons of coal annually.

But with utilities quickly switching to cheap natural gas and renewable sources like wind and solar power, Murray and other coal companies have been shutting down mines and laying off workers. Murray’s bankruptcy follows those of industry stalwarts like Cloud Peak Energy, Cambrian Coal and Blackjewel.

Murray was most closely identified with Trump administration promises to reverse the industry’s fortunes.

Mr. Murray contributed $300,000 to Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Shortly after, he wrote Mr. Trump a confidential memo with his wish list for the industry, including shaving regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and ozone and mine safety, along with cutting the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency by at least 50 percent. Several of the suggestions were adopted.

In July, Mr. Murray hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Trump attended by the Republican governors of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

With Mr. Murray applauding his efforts, President Trump installed former coal lobbyists in regulatory positions and slashed environmental rules. But utilities continued to shut down coal plants that could not compete with a glut of natural gas produced in the nation’s shale fields. More recently, the improved economics of wind and solar energy production hastened coal’s decline.

Once the source of over 40 percent of the country’s power, coal produced 28 percent in 2018. That share has declined to just 25 percent this year and the Energy Department projects that it will drop to 22 percent next year.

The only bright spot for Murray and other coal companies in recent years has been growing demand from Europe, Latin America and Asia, but exports have dropped by nearly 30 percent in the third quarter compared with last year. All told, domestic coal production is expected to decline by 10 percent this year from 2018 and by an additional 11 percent in 2020, the Energy Department said recently.

Environmentalists cheered the bankruptcy.

“Bob Murray and his company are the latest examples of how market forces have sealed the fate of coal and there’s nothing the president can do about it,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.

Murray entered into a restructuring agreement with some of its lenders and said it had received $350 million in loans to keep operating its mines.

Many coal companies have gone through bankruptcy in recent years only to re-emerge smaller, with reduced debts and eroded pension and health care benefits. Murray had been the last coal company contributing to the pension fund of the United Mine Workers of America.

In a statement, the United Mine Workers president, Cecil E. Roberts, warned that Murray “will seek to be relieved of its obligations to retirees, their dependents and widows,“ adding, “We have seen this sad act too many times before.’’

He promised to fight for the interests of workers in bankruptcy court.

While coal is in sharp decline in the United States, it remains a major power source in developing countries like India and China.

For coal to grow again in the United States and other industrialized countries, energy experts and even some coal executives say a concerted effort will be needed to develop technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. So far, the Trump administration has stopped short of pushing such an initiative.

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The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 29dc-impeachbriefing-sub-articleLarge The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, arrived Tuesday morning at the Capitol to testify to impeachment investigators about how he twice reported his concerns to a White House lawyer about how President Trump and his inner circle treated Ukraine.

He appeared in his midnight blue dress uniform, a bevy of medals pinned to his chest, for the closed-door session, where the colonel planned to deliver the latest in a series of damning accounts about the president’s dealings with Ukraine. His opening statement details his concerns about Mr. Trump’s request, during a July 25 telephone call, that Ukraine’s president launch investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family.

Even as Colonel Vindman arrived, Mr. Trump lashed out at the decorated Army combat veteran without naming him, accusing him on Twitter of being a longtime political opponent.

Mr. Trump has sought to undermine the credibility of impeachment witnesses by suggesting they are part of a deep state political conspiracy staging a coup, or have a political agenda against him. In his opening statement, Colonel Vindman described himself as just the opposite, saying he was a “patriot” who is determined to “advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

Colonel Vindman is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb. He is the first White House official, and the only witness so far who listened in on the July call to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

The colonel was subpoenaed on Tuesday morning, as expected, after the White House directed him not to appear and sought to limit the scope of his testimony, according to an official involved in the inquiry who spoke on condition of anonymity without authorization to discuss it.

Westlake Legal Group vindman-statement-impeachment-1572300930303-articleLarge The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

Read Alexander Vindman’s Opening Statement on Trump and Ukraine

He twice reported concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to a draft statement.

A leading House Republican drew the line on Tuesday at personal attacks on Colonel Vindman, sharply distancing herself from a flood of criticism of the decorated Army officer from conservative commentators who have publicly questioned his patriotism.

“We’re talking about decorated veterans who’ve served this nation, who’ve put their lives on the line, and it’s shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this nation, and we shouldn’t be involved in that process,” Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican, told reporters, unprompted at a morning news conference.

Within hours after Colonel Vindman’s damaging account of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine became public on Tuesday night, the president’s allies in the conservative news media began disparaging him, with some suggesting that he was a spy loyal to his native Ukraine, not the United States.

The Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham said during her broadcast on Monday night that Colonel Vindman was working inside the White House, “apparently against the president’s interest,” noting that he spoke Ukrainian. John Yoo, who worked in the White House Counsel’s Office under George W. Bush, agreed with Ms. Ingraham that the situation was “astounding,” adding, “some people might call that espionage.”

Brian Kilmeade, who hosts Fox & Friends, a favorite show of Mr. Trump, said of Colonel Vindman: “We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family. Young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine.”

Sean P. Duffy, a former Republican representative from Wisconsin and pro-Trump commentator, also questioned Colonel Vindman’s loyalties, saying Tuesday during an appearance on CNN: “It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense — I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”

“We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from,” Mr. Duffy added.

Later Tuesday morning on Twitter, Mr. Duffy appeared to walk back his remarks, praising Colonel Vindman’s service.

“Lt. Col. Vindman is an American war hero,” he wrote, adding, “My point is that Mr. Vindman is an unelected advisor, he gives ADVICE. President Trump sets the policy.”

While Ms. Cheney rejected those suggestions, she continued to rail against the impeachment inquiry that has called Colonel Vindman to testify, saying it was illegitimate and unfair.

“The process is broken,” she said on Tuesday. “It’s tainted.”

Even as they prepare to move their case into public view, Democrats at the helm of the impeachment inquiry continued on Tuesday to add names to the queue of administration officials they are calling for private depositions.

The most high-profile among them was Robert Blair, a top national security adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Mr. Blair listened in on the July phone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Mr. Mulvaney’s behalf, but did not raise concerns about what he heard at the time. Mr. Blair is also likely to have information about deliberations within the White House over the decision to suspend $391 million in security aid allocated for Ukraine.

Democrats have also requested testimony from Brian McCormack, the chief of staff to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Wells Griffith, an energy adviser at the White House, according to an official familiar with the matter. Mr. Perry played a significant role in the administration’s outreach to Ukraine. At least one impeachment witnesses has identified Mr. McCormack as having been intimately involved in many of the events under scrutiny.

It is not yet clear if any of the officials plan to comply with the requests, which were first reported by The Washington Post.
Nicholas Fandos

At their weekly caucus meeting on Tuesday, House Democrats heard a largely upbeat message regarding the shifting political field in the wake of the impeachment inquiry, along with a warning that voters will be watching to see that the inquiry is handled fairly.

Citing three different pollsters, officials with House Democrats’ campaign arm reported that recent polling shows a steady generic ballot for Democrats, with the party holding a 3-point lead in the most competitive House districts and an 8-point lead across all districts, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the discussion.

Democratic campaign officials also cited new focus-group research that showed that voters want to see the impeachment inquiry conducted as a fact-finding investigation — not a process designed to arrive at a foregone conclusion. 

But the pollsters stressed that health care, the kitchen-table issue that catapulted many of the current Democratic freshmen to victory in 2018, remains voters’ top priority, and encouraged lawmakers to capitalize on that through a proposed bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs. That bill has been largely sidelined since the inquiry began.
Catie Edmondson

House Democrats announced plans on Monday to hold a floor vote on the impeachment inquiry on Thursday in an effort to publicly establish rules for the examination and due process for the president.

Mr. Trump and his supporters have dismissed the inquiry as a political witch hunt, and the White House has ordered key witnesses not to cooperate. Impeachment investigators said they would not wait for courts to rule on witness appearances. Moving forward with a vote will lead to the public phase of the inquiry, including televised congressional hearings.

The House Intelligence Committee chairman who is leading the inquiry, Representative Adam B. Schiff, said if the White House continues to prevent witnesses from testifying, it would strengthen the case against the president and be considered obstruction of Congress.

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

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

Video

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 The Latest on the Trump Impeachment Inquiry: White House Official Testifies Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

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

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