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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry" (Page 28)

Slotkin, Backing Impeachment, Draws Instant Protests, and Applause

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-slotkin-facebookJumbo Slotkin, Backing Impeachment, Draws Instant Protests, and Applause United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Slotkin, Elissa Michigan impeachment Elections, House of Representatives

ROCHESTER, Mich. — The blowback began on Monday even before Representative Elissa Slotkin took the lectern to announce she would vote to impeach President Trump.

Dozens of angry Trump supporters bearing “Impeach Slotkin, Keep Trump” signs shouted down Ms. Slotkin, a first-term congresswoman, at a packed town hall-style meeting in a university ballroom, chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Elissa Slotkin has got to go!” and “One-term congresswoman!” and “C.I.A. Hack!” — a reference to Ms. Slotkin’s past work as a C.I.A. analyst.

Keeping her composure, Ms. Slotkin plowed through her statement — “Guys, let’s try to have a civil conversation,” she said at one point — and then took questions, though her pleas for civility were ignored.

The more she explained her decision to constituents in her district north of Detroit, one that Mr. Trump won in 2016, the angrier and louder the protests grew.

“MAGA! MAGA!” attendees shouted, repeating the president’s campaign slogan. “Four more years! Four more years!”

But the voices on the other side, though not nearly as loud, were present in force. Most in the crowd of about 400 people who gathered here on Monday leaped to their feet and applauded when Ms. Slotkin announced her intention to vote “yes” on Wednesday when the House holds its vote on the articles of impeachment.

One of her supporters arrived with a competing sign: “We’ve got your back, Representative Slotkin.”

So it has been all year for Ms. Slotkin, who served in Iraq as a C.I.A. analyst and in the Obama Defense Department before she ran for Congress in 2018, winning a seat that had been held by Republicans for 20 years. Caught in the middle of the United States’ red-blue divide, she resisted impeachment for months, even after Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, issued a report detailing at least 10 instances of obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.

The story of how she arrived at her impeachment decision is the story of so many moderate Democrats in this year’s historic freshman class. Moved to run for public office to counter the rise of Mr. Trump, they flipped Republican seats and are now in danger of becoming one-term members of Congress — possibly costing their party control of the House — over a decision they tried mightily to avoid.

Ms. Slotkin announced her decision in an opinion piece on Monday morning in The Detroit Free Press, making instant headlines here. She had submitted it the night before, as she pored through a thick, leather-bound binder containing the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and a thick tome containing the House of Representatives’ manual of rules, procedures and precedents.

“I didn’t dream of being a politician,” Ms. Slotkin said in an interview Sunday night. “My whole life. This was not part of my normal plan. And if this district sees fit to elect someone else, then I will accept that and walk away with my head held high that I’ve made decisions based on principle, and not political calculus.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Judiciary Committee Report Argues Trump ‘Betrayed the Nation’

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-impeach-facebookJumbo Judiciary Committee Report Argues Trump ‘Betrayed the Nation’ Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Elections, House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee formally presented its case for impeaching President Trump in a 658-page report published online early Monday morning, arguing just days before a final vote in the House that he “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office.”

The report, which echoes similar documents produced after the committee’s approval of impeachment articles for Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, contains no new allegations or evidence against Mr. Trump.

But it offers a detailed road map for the two articles of impeachment the committee approved, charging that Mr. Trump abused the power of the presidency to enlist Ukraine in tarnishing his political rivals and obstructing Congress by blocking witnesses from testifying and refusing to provide documents.

The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on whether to impeach the sitting president for only the third time in the nation’s history, setting in motion a trial in the Senate early next year that could lead to Mr. Trump’s removal from office.

“President Trump has placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances,” the report states. “He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked. Accordingly, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.”

The report argues that the House should charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power for holding up nearly $400 million worth of security aid and the promise of a White House meeting until Ukraine agreed to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and 2016 election interference.

“When the president demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections,” the report states. “To the founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment. American elections should be for Americans only.”

It also urges the House to approve an article of impeachment charging the president with obstruction of Congress, saying that “President Trump’s obstruction of Congress does not befit the leader of a democratic society. It calls to mind the very claims of royal privilege against which our founders rebelled.”

The report includes a scathing 20-page dissent from Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who accuses Democrats on the panel of conducting an unfair process in a partisan attempt to drive Mr. Trump from office because of their dislike of him and his policies.

“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments,” he writes. “The record put forth by the majority is based on inferences built upon presumptions and hearsay. In short, the majority has failed to make a credible, factually-based allegation against this president that merits impeachment.”

Mr. Collins concludes: “Before the House are two articles of impeachment against the president of the United States, Donald John Trump. To these articles, the minority dissents.”

The report by the Democratic-controlled committee rejects the criticism that the impeachment inquiry was unfair to Mr. Trump and Republicans, arguing that the president had many opportunities to have his lawyer present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during the inquiry.

“The president’s decision to reject these opportunities to participate affirms that his principal objective was to obstruct the House’s inquiry rather than assist in its full consideration of all relevant evidence,” the report states.

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Schumer, Pushing McConnell to Negotiate, Lays Out Plan for Impeachment Trial

As the House prepared to make President Trump only the third president in American history to be impeached, the Senate’s top Democrat on Sunday laid out a detailed proposal for a Senate trial “in which all of the facts can be considered fully and fairly” — including subpoenas for documents the White House has withheld and witnesses it has prevented from testifying.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, presented the proposal in a letter to his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell, in an opening move to force Republicans to negotiate over the shape and scope of the proceedings. Mr. McConnell’s statement last week that he was “taking my cues” from the White House infuriated Democrats, who accused him of abandoning his oath to render “impartial justice” in the trial.

In the letter, Mr. Schumer proposed a trial beginning Jan. 7 that would give each side a fixed amount of time to present their cases, and called for four top White House officials who have not previously testified — including Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser — to appear as witnesses.

Mr. Schumer also called for the Senate to subpoena documents that could shed light on the events at the heart of the charges against Mr. Trump: his campaign to enlist Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. And he set forth a specific timetable for each side to present its case, modeled on the one used when President Bill Clinton was tried in 1999. Mr. Clinton’s trial lasted about five weeks.

“Senate Democrats believe strongly, and I trust Senate Republicans agree, that this trial must be one that is fair, that considers all of the relevant facts, and that exercises the Senate’s ‘sole power of impeachment’ under the Constitution with integrity and dignity,” Mr. Schumer wrote.

“The trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people,” the letter went on. “That is the great challenge for the Senate in the coming weeks.”

Read Chuck Schumer’s Letter

The Senate’s top Democrat laid out his proposal for President Trump’s impeachment trial.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Schumer, Pushing McConnell to Negotiate, Lays Out Plan for Impeachment Trial United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party  3 pages, 0.29 MB

Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, has voiced support for a short, dignified trial, even though Mr. Trump has privately pushed for a longer process that would allow him and his allies to mount an aggressive defense against what he has repeatedly called “a hoax” being perpetrated on the American people. Mr. McConnell met last week with Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, to lay the groundwork for the proceedings, though no agreement has been reached.

But a spokesman for Mr. McConnell said the majority leader also planned to meet with Mr. Schumer.

“Leader McConnell has made it clear he plans to meet with Leader Schumer to discuss the contours of a trial soon,” said Doug Andres, Mr. McConnell’s spokesman. “That timeline has not changed.”

There are effectively two paths Mr. McConnell can take in setting the parameters of the trial: He can strike an agreement with Mr. Schumer, or he can push through a resolution so long as he has the votes of 51 senators. But with just 53 Republicans in the Senate, Mr. McConnell has a narrow margin; he can only afford two defections.

Mr. McConnell has yet to reach out directly to Mr. Schumer. However, on Twitter over the weekend, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who until this year was the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he was certain Mr. McConnell would work with the Democratic leader.

“Strictly procedural,” Mr. Cornyn wrote, in pushing back against the assertion that Mr. McConnell was letting Mr. Trump plan his own trial. “Customarily the parties try their own cases. Also I am sure Senator McConnell would listen to Senator Schumer’s ideas.”

In trying to force Mr. McConnell to the negotiating table, Mr. Schumer is betting that centrist and independent-minded Republicans like Senators Susan Collins of Maine, who is facing a tough race for re-election in 2020, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will not go along with a trial devised solely by Mr. McConnell and Mr. Trump.

The debate over the shape of the trial came as House Democrats barreled ahead with their plan to hold a vote to impeach the president on two charges: abuse of the powers of his office and obstruction of Congress. A vote is likely on Wednesday.

The vote will be a tough one for moderate House Democrats, especially the so-called front-liners in Trump-friendly districts who flipped Republican seats in 2018. One of those front-liners, Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, told aides over the weekend that he intends to become a Republican next week. Others were starting to announce their plans.

Representative Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota — who was the only Democrat, other than Mr. Van Drew, to vote against formalizing an impeachment inquiry — announced Saturday that he would most likely vote against impeachment. Representatives Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado, and Antonio Delgado, Democrat of New York, said they would support impeachment.

At the same time, a group of more than two dozen freshman Democrats in the House is quietly lobbying for Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, an independent who left the Republican Party this year, to serve as one of the six or more impeachment managers to present the case against Mr. Trump during the Senate trial.

Mr. Amash has been an outspoken proponent of the president’s impeachment, and the freshman lawmakers believe his selection would be a sign of bipartisanship. The idea, which was first reported by The Washington Post, appeals to moderate Democrats from conservative-leaning districts where the president is popular who are wary of joining in a one-sided impeachment vote and looking for ways to show they pushed for a fair process.

“If he would be willing to do it, it would send all the right signals to have a principled constitutional conservative front and center in a process that is not supposed to be partisan,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, who flipped a Republican seat and is facing a tough re-election race.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have the final say on who serves as managers, which are high-profile, coveted spots for Democratic lawmakers. A final decision is likely early this week, but Ms. Pelosi, who has kept tight control over the impeachment process so far, has given no indication that she would be willing to invite anyone but a loyalist to serve as the face of the House impeachment investigation.

A spokesman for Ms. Pelosi declined to comment about the possible selection of Mr. Amash as an impeachment manager. A person close to the impeachment inquiry said it would be highly unlikely that the speaker would risk appointing Mr. Amash when several of her own members are eager to be managers.

As party leaders looked ahead to a trial in the Senate, lawmakers of both parties took to the airwaves on Sunday.

Two Republican senators said they had already decided they would vote to acquit Mr. Trump. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, predicted that the president would be cleared of the charges against him in the Senate, a view widely shared among members of both parties.

“I think this is the beginning of the end for this show trial that we’ve seen in the House,” Mr. Cruz said. “I think it’s going to come to the Senate. We’re going to have fair proceedings, and then it’s not going anywhere because the facts aren’t there.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he hoped the Republican-led Senate would conduct a short impeachment trial that could be over quickly, without calling numerous witnesses on both sides.

“I think what’s best for the country is to get this thing over with,” Mr. Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process.”

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday condemned Mr. McConnell and others for seeking to conduct a trial without demanding testimony and documents that the White House refused to provide to House investigators.

“They don’t want the American people to see the facts,” Mr. Schiff said on “This Week.” “There’s more damning evidence to be had, and they don’t want the American people to see that, and I think that’s disgraceful.”

Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said that if the Senate proceeding was “dismissed on the first day, obviously that’s not a full and fair trial.” And he said he was worried about what the president would do if he was not removed from office.

“If the Senate Republican majority refuses to discipline him through impeachment, he will be unbounded,” Mr. Coons said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I’m gravely concerned about what else he might do between now and the 2020 election, when there are no restrictions on his behavior.”

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which on Friday approved the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump, said the president deserved to be impeached for pressuring Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals and obstructing Congress.

Mr. Nadler accused Mr. Trump of continuing to solicit foreign help in the 2020 elections and urged Republicans to join with Democrats in the House to impeach him during the vote expected on Wednesday, a prospect that appeared increasingly remote.

“This is a crime in progress against the Constitution and against the American democracy,” Mr. Nadler said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We cannot take the risk that the next election will be corrupted through foreign interference solicited by the president, which he is clearly trying to do. It goes to the heart of our democracy.”

Republicans defended Mr. Trump, insisting that after a nearly three-month investigation, Democrats had failed to prove that the president committed a crime. Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican who has criticized the president’s behavior in the Ukraine matter, nonetheless said he would vote against impeaching him.

“My fear is that you weaponize impeachment for political gains in the future,” Mr. Hurd said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “For me, my standard for impeachment has always been a violation of the law.”

Nicholas Fandos and Chris Cameron contributed reporting.

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Schumer, Pushing McConnell to Negotiate, Lays Out Plan for Impeachment Trial

WASHINGTON — As the House prepared to make President Trump only the third president in American history to be impeached, the Senate’s top Democrat on Sunday laid out a detailed proposal for a Senate trial “in which all of the facts can be considered fully and fairly” — including subpoenas for documents the White House has withheld and witnesses it has prevented from testifying.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, presented the proposal in a letter to his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell, in an opening move to force Republicans to negotiate over the shape and scope of the proceedings. Mr. McConnell’s statement last week that he was “taking my cues” from the White House infuriated Democrats, who accused him of abandoning his oath to render “impartial justice” in the trial.

In the letter, Mr. Schumer set the time frame for a trial that would begin on Jan. 7, and called for four top White House officials who have not previously testified — including Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser — to appear as witnesses.

Mr. Schumer also called for the Senate to subpoena documents that could shed light on the events at the heart of the charges against Mr. Trump: his campaign to enlist Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. And he set forth a specific timetable for each side to present its case, modeled on the one used when President Bill Clinton was tried in 1999. Mr. Clinton’s trial lasted about five weeks.

“Senate Democrats believe strongly, and I trust Senate Republicans agree, that this trial must be one that is fair, that considers all of the relevant facts, and that exercises the Senate’s ‘sole power of impeachment’ under the Constitution with integrity and dignity,” Mr. Schumer wrote.

“The trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people,” the letter went on. “That is the great challenge for the Senate in the coming weeks.”

Read Chuck Schumer’s Letter

The Senate’s top Democrat laid out his proposal for President Trump’s impeachment trial.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Schumer, Pushing McConnell to Negotiate, Lays Out Plan for Impeachment Trial United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party  3 pages, 0.29 MB

Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, has voiced support for a short, dignified trial, even though Mr. Trump has privately pushed for a longer process that would allow him and his allies to mount an aggressive defense against what he has repeatedly called “a hoax” being perpetrated on the American people. Mr. McConnell met last week with Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, to lay the groundwork for the proceedings, though no agreement has been reached.

There are effectively two paths Mr. McConnell can take in setting the parameters of the trial: He can strike an agreement with Mr. Schumer, or he can push through a resolution so long as he has the votes of 51 senators. But with just 53 Republicans in the Senate, Mr. McConnell has a narrow margin; he can only afford two defections.

Mr. McConnell has yet to reach out directly to Mr. Schumer. However, on Twitter over the weekend, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who until this year was the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he was certain Mr. McConnell would work with the Democratic leader.

“Strictly procedural,” Mr. Cornyn wrote, in pushing back against the assertion that Mr. McConnell was letting Mr. Trump plan his own trial. “Customarily the parties try their own cases. Also I am sure Senator McConnell would listen to Senator Schumer’s ideas.”

In trying to force Mr. McConnell to the negotiating table, Mr. Schumer is betting that centrist and independent-minded Republicans like Senators Susan Collins of Maine, who is facing a tough race for re-election in 2020, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will not go along with a trial devised solely by Mr. McConnell and Mr. Trump.

The debate over the shape of the trial came as House Democrats barreled ahead with their plan to hold a vote to impeach the president on two charges: abuse of the powers of his office and obstruction of Congress. A vote is likely on Wednesday.

The vote will be a tough one for moderate House Democrats, especially the so-called front-liners in Trump-friendly districts who flipped Republican seats in 2018. One of those front-liners, Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, told aides over the weekend that he intends to become a Republican next week. Others were starting to announce their plans.

Representative Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota — who was the only Democrat, other than Mr. Van Drew, to vote against formalizing an impeachment inquiry — announced Saturday that he would most likely vote against impeachment. Representatives Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado, and Antonio Delgado, Democrat of New York, said they would support impeachment.

At the same time, a group of more than two dozen freshman Democrats in the House is quietly lobbying for Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, an independent who left the Republican Party this year, to serve as one of the six or more impeachment managers to present the case against Mr. Trump during the Senate trial.

Mr. Amash has been an outspoken proponent of the president’s impeachment, and the freshman lawmakers believe his selection would be a sign of bipartisanship. The idea, which was first reported by The Washington Post, appeals to moderate Democrats from conservative-leaning districts where the president is popular who are wary of joining in a one-sided impeachment vote and looking for ways to show they pushed for a fair process.

“If he would be willing to do it, it would send all the right signals to have a principled constitutional conservative front and center in a process that is not supposed to be partisan,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, who flipped a Republican seat and is facing a tough re-election race.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have the final say on who serves as managers, which are high-profile, coveted spots for Democratic lawmakers. A final decision is likely early this week, but Ms. Pelosi, who has kept tight control over the impeachment process so far, has given no indication that she would be willing to invite anyone but a loyalist to serve as the face of the House impeachment investigation.

A spokesman for Ms. Pelosi declined to comment about the possible selection of Mr. Amash as an impeachment manager. A person close to the impeachment inquiry said it would be highly unlikely that the speaker would risk appointing Mr. Amash when several of her own members are eager to be managers.

As party leaders looked ahead to a trial in the Senate, lawmakers of both parties took to the airwaves on Sunday.

Two Republican senators said they had already decided they would vote to acquit Mr. Trump. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, predicted that the president would be cleared of the charges against him in the Senate, a view widely shared among members of both parties.

“I think this is the beginning of the end for this show trial that we’ve seen in the House,” Mr. Cruz said. “I think it’s going to come to the Senate. We’re going to have fair proceedings, and then it’s not going anywhere because the facts aren’t there.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he hoped the Republican-led Senate would conduct a short impeachment trial that could be over quickly, without calling numerous witnesses on both sides.

“I think what’s best for the country is to get this thing over with,” Mr. Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process.”

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday condemned Mr. McConnell and others for seeking to conduct a trial without demanding testimony and documents that the White House refused to provide to House investigators.

“They don’t want the American people to see the facts,” Mr. Schiff said on “This Week.” “There’s more damning evidence to be had, and they don’t want the American people to see that, and I think that’s disgraceful.”

Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said that if the Senate proceeding was “dismissed on the first day, obviously that’s not a full and fair trial.” And he said he was worried about what the president would do if he was not removed from office.

“If the Senate Republican majority refuses to discipline him through impeachment, he will be unbounded,” Mr. Coons said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And I’m gravely concerned about what else he might do between now and the 2020 election, when there are no restrictions on his behavior.”

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which on Friday approved the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump, said the president deserved to be impeached for pressuring Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals and obstructing Congress.

Mr. Nadler accused Mr. Trump of continuing to solicit foreign help in the 2020 elections and urged Republicans to join with Democrats in the House to impeach him during the vote expected on Wednesday, a prospect that appeared increasingly remote.

“This is a crime in progress against the Constitution and against the American democracy,” Mr. Nadler said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We cannot take the risk that the next election will be corrupted through foreign interference solicited by the president, which he is clearly trying to do. It goes to the heart of our democracy.”

Republicans defended Mr. Trump, insisting that after a nearly three-month investigation, Democrats had failed to prove that the president committed a crime. Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican who has criticized the president’s behavior in the Ukraine matter, nonetheless said he would vote against impeaching him.

“My fear is that you weaponize impeachment for political gains in the future,” Mr. Hurd said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “For me, my standard for impeachment has always been a violation of the law.”

Nicholas Fandos and Chris Cameron contributed reporting.

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Representative Jeff Van Drew, Anti-Impeachment Democrat, Plans to Switch Parties

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163630359_4d3f6f4a-d3dd-401a-93ff-381e75bcbe08-facebookJumbo Representative Jeff Van Drew, Anti-Impeachment Democrat, Plans to Switch Parties Van Drew, Jeff Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a moderate Democrat who is among his party’s staunchest opponents of impeaching President Trump, told aides on Saturday that he is planning to switch parties and declare himself a Republican as soon as next week, just as the House is casting its historic votes on articles of impeachment.

At a White House meeting on Friday, Mr. Van Drew sought Mr. Trump’s blessing for the move, which could be critical to his ability to avoid a primary challenge next year, and the president urged him to make the jump, according to two Democrats and one Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were intended to be private.

Mr. Van Drew has spoken with senior advisers to Mr. Trump about announcing his switch at an event at the White House either immediately before or just after the House votes on two articles of impeachment, which is expected to happen on Wednesday, according to Republicans and Democrats.

Beyond the potential boost to Mr. Van Drew’s own political fortunes, the move would also provide a silver lining for Mr. Trump as he becomes the third president ever to be impeached. The president has characterized the drive to remove him as an entirely partisan exercise that will cost Democrats their majority in the House, and a high-profile Democratic defection could help bolster his case while allowing him to divert attention from the vote.

The decision by Mr. Van Drew reflects the heavy political consequences hanging over next week’s impeachment vote, particularly for moderate Democrats in districts that supported Mr. Trump in 2016. While there is little doubt that Democrats will have the votes to approve the charges against the president in a near party-line vote, a small number of their conservative-leaning members are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of taking part in a Democrat-only impeachment vote and are spending the weekend torn over how to proceed.

Mr. Van Drew did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month, Mr. Van Drew vowed in a two-hour teleconference that he would remain a Democrat.

“I am absolutely not changing,” he said, stating his lifelong position as a moderate Democrat.

But conversations between Mr. Van Drew and top advisers to Mr. Trump intensified in recent days, according to a Republican familiar with the discussions, with the lawmaker making clear that he was nervous about losing his seat, either in a Democratic primary or the general election.

Those talks came after Mr. Van Drew saw the results of a poll conducted this month that suggested that a vote against impeaching Mr. Trump would damage his chances of winning his Democratic primary. The poll, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, showed that the overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters — 71 percent — would be less likely to support his re-election if he opposed the charges against Mr. Trump.

A freshman lawmaker from a historically Republican-leaning southern New Jersey district, Mr. Van Drew has already made clear he will not support impeachment, which has prompted talk of a liberal primary challenger.

“I don’t see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office,” he said earlier in the week.

Mr. Van Drew was one of only two House Democrats who opposed the impeachment process when the party’s leaders brought the matter to a vote in October to lay out ground rules for the inquiry. That stance has made him the target of sharp criticism from progressive activists and protests outside his district office. Perhaps more notable, his state’s machine-aligned Democratic leaders have also gone public with their own discomfort over his stance.

“I am imploring you to vote in favor of impeachment,” Michael Suleiman, the Atlantic County Democratic chairman, wrote in a letter to Mr. Van Drew, warning about repercussions for other Democrats. “A ‘no’ vote on impeachment will suppress Democratic turnout down-ballot, which my organization cannot sustain,” he continued.

A former state senator, Mr. Van Drew represents a congressional district the president won by about 5 points in 2016. Mr. Van Drew won the seat more easily thanks to a Republican opponent who made racist comments and lost his backing from the national party.

But congressional Republicans were already focusing on Mr. Van Drew, considering him a top target in their effort to take back the House.

Mr. Van Drew kept his discussions about leaving the Democratic Party closely guarded. On Saturday afternoon, as word circulated about his switch, his re-election campaign emailed a fund-raising invitation for an event next month in New Jersey to benefit him and his fellow freshman Democrats in the state’s delegation.

“These frontline members are facing incredibly difficult re-election campaigns and are a critical piece of the puzzle as we work to protect our majority in the House,” the invitation said.

Mr. Van Drew may already have Democratic challenger. Brigid Harrison, a politics professor at Montclair State University, had been publicly signaling that she was considering a primary challenge to Mr. Van Drew. Already, she has met with many of the county Democratic leaders in the district, as well as Stephen M. Sweeney, the powerful State Senate president.

Now, she says an announcement about her candidacy as a Democrat is imminent.

“At the end of the day, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, what you don’t like is a traitor,” Ms. Harrison said in an interview. “So now, in addition to prioritizing his political career over the direction of the country, Congressman Van Drew is also a traitor to his voters.”

Mr. Van Drew has long had a difficult relationship with many Democrats in his home state, based in part on his support for gun rights. But during his years in the state legislature, he was an important Democratic vote for the southern block of the state, so he was largely spared from intraparty threats.

Still, once he was elected to Congress, Mr. Van Drew began to stray more visibly from the state delegation. He skipped a delegation meeting in Washington with Gov. Philip D. Murphy, the lone lawmaker from New Jersey’s 13 Democratic representatives and senators to do so.

And since he has been publicly indicating he will not vote for impeachment, party leaders in New Jersey have intensified their opposition. Mr. Van Drew had reportedly sought a letter of support from Democratic county leaders to help prop him up after his impeachment vote, but was denied.

Instead, Mr. Suleiman, the powerful Atlantic County chairman, sent the stern letter to Mr. Van Drew.

“Atlantic County Democrats have a tough time as it is facing 100 years of ‘Boardwalk Empire;’ we cannot afford to have Democrats sit on their hands in a presidential year when we usually perform well,” he wrote in a letter first obtained by The New Jersey Globe.

The drop-off in support from party leaders also comes after Mr. Van Drew failed to deliver legislative victories in his district last month. A slate that was publicly called “Team Van Drew” lost all three of its legislative seats, one of the few red-to-blue flips in the New Jersey off-year elections.

Mr. Van Drew would hardly be the first political moderate to change parties before what could be a difficult election. In December 2009, then-Representative Parker Griffith of Alabama, a freshman who was elected as a Democrat, became a Republican. But Mr. Griffith, with no Republican president in office to vouch for him, lost his primary the next year.

Jonathan Martin reported from Washington, and Nicholas Corasaniti from New York.

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The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-assess1-facebookJumbo The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sensenbrenner, F James Jr Republican Party Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — It was the rarest of moments in the nation’s capital, a seemingly sincere attempt at persuasion across the partisan breach by the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on the eve of the panel’s vote to impeach President Trump.

“I know this moment must be difficult, but you still have a choice,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York told his Republican colleagues at the start of more than 17 hours of debate on whether to remove Mr. Trump from office. “I hope that we are able to work together to hold this president — or any president — accountable for breaking his most basic obligations to the country and to its citizens.”

A short time later, the former Republican chairman of the committee responded with a plea to Democrats to abandon impeachment: “Put aside your partisan politics,” Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin implored, “because the future of our country and the viability of our Constitution as the framers decided it, are at stake.”

But the appeals to rise above the tribalism of the moment from the two veteran lawmakers fell on deaf ears. They persuaded no one, and only served to contrast with the rancorous, sometimes personally vindictive debate that unfolded over the next two days in the Ways and Means Committee Room not far from the Capitol.

This was the very divisive impeachment debate that Democrats had always hoped to avoid.

In March, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her new Democratic majority that barring “something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should” try to impeach Mr. Trump. “It divides the country,” she said then. “And he’s just not worth it.”

But now, less than three months after the allegations in a whistle-blower complaint catapulted Democrats into an investigation of whether the president pressured Ukraine for political gain, the country is exactly where Ms. Pelosi worried it would be — on the brink of an intensely partisan impeachment with deep consequences for both parties and the country.

When she gave the green light for impeachment articles to be drafted this month, Ms. Pelosi said, “the president leaves us no choice but to act,” arguing that to do nothing in the face of Mr. Trump’s transgressions would invite lasting damage to the Constitution and the institutions of government.

But by Friday morning, as the committee formally paved the way for the House to impeach Mr. Trump next week, both sides seemed to sense that political vandalism had already taken place. Representative Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana, predicted “irreparable damage to our country” and closed his final argument with a lament: “God help us.”

It wasn’t just that the committee eventually voted to approve two articles of impeachment, charging Mr. Trump with abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress. Throughout the committee’s debate, the lawmakers from the two parties couldn’t even agree on a basic set of facts in front of them.

They called each other liars and demagogues and accused each other of being desperate and unfair. At one point, Republicans all but abandoned their pursuit of trying to persuade their Democratic colleagues, instead making a motion to strike the most critical lines out of the articles — essentially taking the “impeach” out of impeachment.

“It is silly,” Mr. Nadler complained about the proposed amendment not long before his Democratic majority rejected it on a 23-17 vote, the same party-line margin that emerged throughout the day, time after time, no matter the argument or the issue.

Lawmakers in both parties appeared to feel the weight of history as they delivered impassioned arguments over and over again, in five-minute chunks, alternating between Democrats and Republicans well into the night on Wednesday, and again on Thursday.

But if the passion was similar, the substance was not. Even for members of a profession who are used to talking past each other, it was striking how unwilling both Republicans and Democrats on the committee were to concede even an inch to the other side.

“Ukraine was not aware of the aid,” Mr. Johnson insisted Thursday, referring to the $391 million in security assistance that Mr. Trump had ordered withheld. If they didn’t know the money had been frozen, he explained, Ukraine couldn’t have been on the receiving end of a pressure campaign by the president.

When it was his turn, Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, asserted exactly the opposite, alluding to email evidence and testimony that disproved Mr. Johnson’s argument. “They knew it on July the 25th,” Mr. Cohen said of the Ukranians. “There were communications from the embassy that have been released that they knew the aid was being held up. They knew it was being held up.”

It was an example of the different impeachment realities that the two parties are living in. But it was hardly the only one.

Representative Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia, described Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine one way, saying it “shows that the president tried to get President Zelensky to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.” His Republican colleague, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, saw it differently: “We saw the call transcript, and there is no conditionality.”

And after Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, said it was “clear” that Mr. Trump cared about rooting out corruption in Ukraine, Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, scoffed: “The president never brings up corruption.”

As the skies darkened outside and the clock ticked toward midnight on Thursday, both sides appeared to grow weary of the verbal combat.

“Republican colleagues are working overtime to try to convince us that we didn’t see what we saw with our own eyes and we didn’t hear what we heard with our own ears,” complained Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel, had a more colorful way of expressing his frustration after being accused of trying to “muddy the waters” with fuzzy facts and questionable interpretations.

“If this was a muddying the waters, y’all are an E.P.A. hazardous waste site at this point,” Mr. Collins snapped back.

After three-and-a-half hours of opening statements on Wednesday, a marathon session on Thursday seemed like it would never finish as both sides engaged in a kind of mutually assured destruction — refusing to be the ones to call it quits first.

Determined to avoid the accusation that they shut down debate prematurely, Mr. Nadler gave every member who wanted it a chance to speak. Republicans, grumpy about a rumor circulating that their members wanted to leave early to attend the Congressional Ball at the White House that evening, refused to give Democrats the satisfaction of ending their speeches either.

The night finally ended with predictable rancor when Mr. Nadler abruptly called a recess right before taking a final vote, saying he wanted “the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences.”

Instead, his decision — made without any warning and without the kind of bipartisan consultation that is common on the Judiciary Committee — added to the sense of mounting tension inside the grand room, where nerves were already frayed.

It was clear that despite Mr. Nadler’s advice, nothing had changed by 10 the next morning, when the weary committee members returned for a rare Friday session to take the party-line vote that had been a certainty all along.

Mr. Nadler moved swiftly to call for the final votes on the two articles of impeachment, and both passed with all 23 Democrats in favor of impeaching Mr. Trump and all 17 Republicans opposed.

In just 7 minutes, the work was over, and Mr. Nadler banged his gavel.

“Without objection,” he said, as some Republicans in the room scowled, “this meeting is adjourned.”

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The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-assess1-facebookJumbo The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sensenbrenner, F James Jr Republican Party Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — It was the rarest of moments in the nation’s capital, a seemingly sincere attempt at persuasion across the partisan breach by the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on the eve of the panel’s vote to impeach President Trump.

“I know this moment must be difficult, but you still have a choice,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York told his Republican colleagues at the start of more than 17 hours of debate on whether to remove Mr. Trump from office. “I hope that we are able to work together to hold this president — or any president — accountable for breaking his most basic obligations to the country and to its citizens.”

A short time later, the former Republican chairman of the committee responded with a plea to Democrats to abandon impeachment: “Put aside your partisan politics,” Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin implored, “because the future of our country and the viability of our Constitution as the framers decided it, are at stake.”

But the appeals to rise above the tribalism of the moment from the two veteran lawmakers fell on deaf ears. They persuaded no one, and only served to contrast with the rancorous, sometimes personally vindictive debate that unfolded over the next two days in the Ways and Means Committee Room not far from the Capitol.

This was the very divisive impeachment debate that Democrats had always hoped to avoid.

In March, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her new Democratic majority that barring “something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should” try to impeach Mr. Trump. “It divides the country,” she said then. “And he’s just not worth it.”

But now, less than three months after the allegations in a whistle-blower complaint catapulted Democrats into an investigation of whether the president pressured Ukraine for political gain, the country is exactly where Ms. Pelosi worried it would be — on the brink of an intensely partisan impeachment with deep consequences for both parties and the country.

When she gave the green light for impeachment articles to be drafted this month, Ms. Pelosi said, “the president leaves us no choice but to act,” arguing that to do nothing in the face of Mr. Trump’s transgressions would invite lasting damage to the Constitution and the institutions of government.

But by Friday morning, as the committee formally paved the way for the House to impeach Mr. Trump next week, both sides seemed to sense that political vandalism had already taken place. Representative Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana, predicted “irreparable damage to our country” and closed his final argument with a lament: “God help us.”

It wasn’t just that the committee eventually voted to approve two articles of impeachment, charging Mr. Trump with abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress. Throughout the committee’s debate, the lawmakers from the two parties couldn’t even agree on a basic set of facts in front of them.

They called each other liars and demagogues and accused each other of being desperate and unfair. At one point, Republicans all but abandoned their pursuit of trying to persuade their Democratic colleagues, instead making a motion to strike the most critical lines out of the articles — essentially taking the “impeach” out of impeachment.

“It is silly,” Mr. Nadler complained about the proposed amendment not long before his Democratic majority rejected it on a 23-17 vote, the same party-line margin that emerged throughout the day, time after time, no matter the argument or the issue.

Lawmakers in both parties appeared to feel the weight of history as they delivered impassioned arguments over and over again, in five-minute chunks, alternating between Democrats and Republicans well into the night on Wednesday, and again on Thursday.

But if the passion was similar, the substance was not. Even for members of a profession who are used to talking past each other, it was striking how unwilling both Republicans and Democrats on the committee were to concede even an inch to the other side.

“Ukraine was not aware of the aid,” Mr. Johnson insisted Thursday, referring to the $391 million in security assistance that Mr. Trump had ordered withheld. If they didn’t know the money had been frozen, he explained, Ukraine couldn’t have been on the receiving end of a pressure campaign by the president.

When it was his turn, Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, asserted exactly the opposite, alluding to email evidence and testimony that disproved Mr. Johnson’s argument. “They knew it on July the 25th,” Mr. Cohen said of the Ukranians. “There were communications from the embassy that have been released that they knew the aid was being held up. They knew it was being held up.”

It was an example of the different impeachment realities that the two parties are living in. But it was hardly the only one.

Representative Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia, described Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine one way, saying it “shows that the president tried to get President Zelensky to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.” His Republican colleague, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, saw it differently: “We saw the call transcript, and there is no conditionality.”

And after Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, said it was “clear” that Mr. Trump cared about rooting out corruption in Ukraine, Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, scoffed: “The president never brings up corruption.”

As the skies darkened outside and the clock ticked toward midnight on Thursday, both sides appeared to grow weary of the verbal combat.

“Republican colleagues are working overtime to try to convince us that we didn’t see what we saw with our own eyes and we didn’t hear what we heard with our own ears,” complained Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel, had a more colorful way of expressing his frustration after being accused of trying to “muddy the waters” with fuzzy facts and questionable interpretations.

“If this was a muddying the waters, y’all are an E.P.A. hazardous waste site at this point,” Mr. Collins snapped back.

After three-and-a-half hours of opening statements on Wednesday, a marathon session on Thursday seemed like it would never finish as both sides engaged in a kind of mutually assured destruction — refusing to be the ones to call it quits first.

Determined to avoid the accusation that they shut down debate prematurely, Mr. Nadler gave every member who wanted it a chance to speak. Republicans, grumpy about a rumor circulating that their members wanted to leave early to attend the Congressional Ball at the White House that evening, refused to give Democrats the satisfaction of ending their speeches either.

The night finally ended with predictable rancor when Mr. Nadler abruptly called a recess right before taking a final vote, saying he wanted “the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences.”

Instead, his decision — made without any warning and without the kind of bipartisan consultation that is common on the Judiciary Committee — added to the sense of mounting tension inside the grand room, where nerves were already frayed.

It was clear that despite Mr. Nadler’s advice, nothing had changed by 10 the next morning, when the weary committee members returned for a rare Friday session to take the party-line vote that had been a certainty all along.

Mr. Nadler moved swiftly to call for the final votes on the two articles of impeachment, and both passed with all 23 Democrats in favor of impeaching Mr. Trump and all 17 Republicans opposed.

In just 7 minutes, the work was over, and Mr. Nadler banged his gavel.

“Without objection,” he said, as some Republicans in the room scowled, “this meeting is adjourned.”

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It Was a Great Day for Trump, Except for That ‘Scam’

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-TRUMP-facebookJumbo It Was a Great Day for Trump, Except for That ‘Scam’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Polls and Public Opinion Luntz, Frank I Johnson, Boris impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Abdo Benitez, Mario

WASHINGTON — President Trump had plenty of good news to talk about on Friday, beginning with the news from across the Atlantic that a close ally, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, had just seen his party win a decisive majority in Parliament. There were also his accomplishments at home to promote: finishing the first phase of a trade deal with China, averting a government shutdown and moving forward with House Democrats on his signature North American trade pact.

“This has been a wild week,” Mr. Trump said, stating the obvious to reporters in the Oval Office as he praised Mr. Johnson and hailed the China accord as a “phenomenal deal.”

On any other day, the session with reporters would have been an unqualified victory lap for Mr. Trump, a leader who has long felt he does not receive enough credit for his policy accomplishments, and who on Friday had several such wins to crow about. Except that earlier in the morning, the House Judiciary Committee had voted to advance two articles of impeachment against him, prompting an all-but-certain impeachment vote and Senate trial.

Nothing about the vote was a surprise, but Mr. Trump’s private frustration and embarrassment over most likely becoming the third president in American history to be impeached bubbled again to the surface, at least momentarily, dashing the hopes of advisers who have been encouraging him to keep focused on “presidenting.”

“I think it’s a horrible thing to be using the tool of impeachment, which is supposed to be used in an emergency,” Mr. Trump said, scowling as he sat next to President Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay. “It’s a scam. It’s something that shouldn’t be allowed. And it’s a very bad thing for our country.”

The timing and mechanics of an impeachment trial in the Republican-controlled Senate remain in flux, but Mr. Trump said he would support a lengthy proceeding, an idea his aides have long said he favors. He added that it would give him a chance to learn more about a whistle-blower whose account of Mr. Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian president formed the basis of the impeachment inquiry.

The president’s support for a more drawn-out process was at odds with a plan set forth by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, who has tried to persuade the president to support an abbreviated trial.

“I’ll do whatever they want to do,” Mr. Trump said, before adding, “I wouldn’t mind a long process because I’d like to see the whistle-blower, who is a fraud.”

Mr. Trump’s extensive comments on impeachment seemed at least momentarily to conflict with the operative stance at the White House of emphasizing what the president was getting done for the American people — similar to the approach aides to President Bill Clinton took when he was impeached. But while Mr. Clinton seethed and obsessed over the proceedings in private, Mr. Trump’s use of his preferred pressure release valve — Twitter — hit a new peak this week.

“How do you get Impeached when you have done NOTHING wrong (a perfect call), have created the best economy in the history of our Country, rebuilt our Military, fixed the V.A. (Choice!), cut Taxes & Regs, protected your 2nd A, created Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and soooo much more? Crazy!” Mr. Trump wrote Friday morning.

Mr. Trump was in a meeting in the White House residence and not watching television as the Judiciary Committee vote began, but he kept his aides close throughout morning. That group included two in-house strategists focused on impeachment messaging: Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, and Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general. Other advisers described the president, who has publicly and privately marveled over the unity he sees in the Republican Party around impeachment, as in good spirits.

Another ally in the mix was Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer whose work to dredge up unflattering information on Mr. Trump’s political opponents landed him at the center of the Democratic-led impeachment effort.

Mr. Giuliani was ushered into the White House moments before the vote, and one senior administration official said he was there, in part, to talk about a trip he had taken to interview Ukrainians in Budapest and Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, for an anti-impeachment documentary.

Last month, Mr. Giuliani told an associate that Mr. Trump had approved of his participation in the documentary when he briefed the president about it during a meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

By the time the Paraguayan president arrived at the White House just before noon, Mr. Trump was flanked by several additional advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O’Brien, his national security adviser.

“It’s a very sad thing for our country but it seems to be very good for me politically,” Mr. Trump said. “The polls have gone through the roof for Trump.”

Mr. Trump and his advisers firmly believe they are winning the public opinion battle around impeachment. His advisers are leaning on polls they say show shifting fortunes in politically crucial swing states, and they are closely watching the behavior of House Democrats they believe are in vulnerable districts.

Frank Luntz, a longtime Republican pollster, offered a different assessment: Public opinion has remained polarized and static as impeachment moves forward, even with a strong economy and several trade accords in the making. “When taken together it’s a political home run,” Mr. Luntz said.

At least, it should be.

“The president never gets the credit he deserves because there’s always something ugly under the surface,” Mr. Luntz added. “Any other president would be in the 60th percentile after a week like this.”

The president’s approval rating continues to hover around 41 percent, according to national polls.

Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.

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Ukraine’s Leader, Wiser to Washington, Seeks New Outreach to Trump

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-lobby-1-facebookJumbo Ukraine’s Leader, Wiser to Washington, Seeks New Outreach to Trump Zelensky, Volodymyr Yanukovych, Viktor F United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Telizhenko, Andrii Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Mercury Public Affairs Manafort, Paul J Lobbying and Lobbyists Lanza, Bryan

WASHINGTON — Eager to repair their country’s fraught relationship with Washington, allies of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine have met with lobbyists with close ties to the Trump administration, hopeful of creating new channels of communication.

After more than two months of anxious waiting, Mr. Zelensky finally appears to have won support from the White House for a candidate to fill Ukraine’s vacant ambassadorship to the United States.

And Mr. Zelensky, still deeply dependent on American assistance, has been signaling, in hardly subtle fashion, that he and his officials will not assist in the impeachment process, keeping quiet in particular about the fact that his government knew weeks earlier than it has publicly acknowledged that Mr. Trump had frozen nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Nearly every world leader has struggled to figure out how to deal with Mr. Trump. But few face greater pressure to find the answer — or more hurdles to doing so — than Mr. Zelensky.

Wiser now to the ways of Washington, he and his team are carefully trying to reestablish themselves in a variety of ways as an important ally with a substantive agenda deserving of Washington’s attention and support.

They have a long ways to go. Mr. Zelensky’s team has been discouraged by the absence of expected support from Mr. Trump for Ukraine’s peace talks with Russia, as well as the lack of follow-through from the White House on a promised Oval Office meeting with Mr. Zelensky that the administration had quietly signaled might happen in late January.

Mr. Zelensky’s allies were frustrated further by Mr. Trump’s meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. And when the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani paid an unexpected visit to Kyiv last week in a continued effort to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump’s political opponents, no Ukrainian government officials met him.

Asked by an official at the German Marshall Fund on Friday what the Zelensky administration wants from Washington, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, who has been in Washington this week meeting with administration and congressional officials, said “all we are asking from our colleagues in the U.S. administration is fair treatment.”

He added, “We don’t want to be shamed and blamed.”

The continued push to try to overcome Mr. Trump’s grudge against Ukraine suggests Zelensky administration officials have concluded that impeachment will fail in the Senate and that they will almost certainly need to work with Mr. Trump for at least another year, and possibly another five years if Mr. Trump is re-elected.

“Our relations are not in good shape,” said Olena Zerkal, a former deputy foreign minister under Mr. Zelensky. “I don’t believe in any chemistry between our leaders.”

Mr. Zelensky’s willingness to accommodate the Trump administration has hardly gone unnoticed in Kyiv.

After the White House released a rough transcript of a July 25 call between the American and Ukrainian presidents, Mr. Zelensky was panned in Ukraine on social media for seeming too eager to please Mr. Trump. That included signaling a willingness to pursue the investigations sought by Mr. Trump into political targets like the family of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Monica Zelensky,” the Ukrainian president was called on social media in Kyiv, in a reference to the intern whose sexual relations with Bill Clinton led to the last impeachment proceedings of an American president.

Even a White House visit, if it happens, risks being seen not so much as a triumph for Mr. Zelensky as more kowtowing to Mr. Trump, who could cite it as evidence he never linked such a visit, or American military assistance for Ukraine, to investigations that would benefit him politically.

“In Kyiv, we have to place bets on the current power in Washington,” said Nikolay Kapitonenko, professor at the Institute of International Relations. But outreach to the Republican administration is not risk free, he said, adding, “Zelensky understands that taking any side is dangerous.”

The importance of American support for Ukraine — and the desire for more of it from Mr. Trump — has been on display in recent days.

An American diplomat traveled to Kyiv to express support for the Ukrainians headed into Mr. Zelensky’s first face-to-face meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday in Paris.

But Trump administration officials privately told the Ukrainians that Mr. Trump himself would signal support, according to Americans and Ukrainians familiar with the matter, either via Twitter, as first reported by The Daily Beast, or possibly even an invitation for Mr. Zelensky to visit the White House next month. While Mr. Trump posted more than 100 tweets on Sunday, none expressed support for the Ukrainians headed into the peace talks.

The Trump administration had also resisted calls to levy sanctions against a Russian gas pipeline that would circumvent Ukraine. The White House reportedly worked to undermine congressional efforts to block the pipeline, though sanctions language was added to a $738 billion military policy bill that passed the House on Wednesday. And the military assistance that Democrats accuse Mr. Trump of using as leverage to force the investigations reportedly still has not fully reached Ukraine.

Those are among the issues that may help explain why the Ukrainians are considering stepping up their lobbying in Washington, despite potential political and financial costs.

During his campaign and early in his presidency, Mr. Zelensky proclaimed that he had no need to hire lobbyists like the government of his predecessor. “I never met a single lobbyist,” he said. “I don’t need this. I never paid a coin and I never will.”

Yet, in the weeks before Mr. Zelensky was elected in April, his advisers quietly worked with a Washington lobbying firm, Signal Group, to arrange meetings in Washington with Trump administration officials, as well as congressional offices and think tanks that focus on Ukraine-United States relations.

Mr. Zelensky distanced himself from the arrangement, even though Signal Group reported in a filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, that it was paid nearly $70,000 by Mr. Zelensky’s party through a lawyer named Marcus Cohen. Mr. Cohen, on the other hand, claimed that the money came from his own pocket, not from Mr. Zelensky’s party.

The Justice Department’s National Security Division, which oversees FARA, sent a letter to Mr. Cohen requesting information about the arrangement, then urged him to register as a foreign agent, according to people with knowledge of the situation. One of the people said that the division also audited Signal Group’s filings, informing the firm in a letter in October that the inquiry was closed.

Signal defended its FARA filings as accurate, and referred questions about Mr. Cohen’s representations to him or Mr. Zelensky’s team. Neither responded to requests for comment.

Mr. Zelensky “may find that it is best to be his own spokesperson on this subject for a while to prevent others from interpreting his words for him,” at least until “trust can be rebuilt,” Heather A. Conley, who was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of European and Eurasian affairs from 2001 to 2005, said in an email.

Ms. Conley, who is director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was among the think tank officials who met with one Mr. Zelensky’s advisers in April in a meeting arranged by Signal and Mr. Cohen.

They discussed Mr. Zelensky’s anticorruption and economic overhaul plans, Ms. Conley said, adding, “Ukraine faces a fraught landscape in Washington — with or without a lobbyist.”

The discussions about hiring a lobbyist, which are described as preliminary, have divided Mr. Zelensky’s team.

Some are concerned that hiring a lobbying firm with ties to Mr. Trump could jeopardize Democratic support. And some are wary of becoming involved with K Street at all, because of the specter of Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for crimes related to his lobbying for a deeply unpopular former Ukrainian government.

Yet two of the firms being discussed for possible lobbying engagement have links to Mr. Manafort, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

A representative of one of the firms, Mercury Public Affairs, which worked with Mr. Manafort on his Ukraine effort, met in Kyiv last month with a top aide to Mr. Zelensky. The lobbyist, Bryan Lanza, has ties to the Trump White House, and was in Ukraine on unrelated business according to people familiar with the meeting.

It was arranged by an American lawyer named Andrew Mac, who himself registered last month with the Justice Department as an unpaid lobbyist for Mr. Zelensky. Mr. Mac, who splits his time between Washington and Kyiv, was appointed by Mr. Zelensky last month as an adviser responsible for building support among the Ukrainian diaspora.

In a sign of the scrutiny in Kyiv on its new government’s tumultuous relationship with Mr. Trump, and efforts to calm it, secretly recorded video and photographs circulated of Mr. Lanza’s meeting with the Zelensky aide in a restaurant.

In an article featuring the photographs, a Ukrainian news outlet noted that Mr. Lanza helped lift sanctions against the corporate empire of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin ally. That arrangement was assailed by critics in Washington as a sweetheart deal that represented a capitulation to the Kremlin, while Mr. Lanza also lobbied to help remove potentially crippling sanctions on the Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

Mr. Mac said Mr. Lanza had been “very effective in working for his clients on difficult matters.”

Another firm that was discussed by Mr. Zelensky’s aides, Prime Policy Group, also has a Manafort link — albeit a more dated one. It was started by Charlie Black, a former business partner of Mr. Manafort’s in the 1980s and ’90s. Mr. Black’s firm has represented other clients in Ukraine, including Sergey Tigipko, a Ukrainian billionaire and former official in the government of Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Mr. Black said he had not had any conversations with Mr. Zelensky’s team about a possible contract, but would not be opposed to such an engagement.

Mr. Mac met this month in Washington to discuss Ukrainian energy issues with the former Representative Billy Tauzin, a Democrat turned Republican from Louisiana who is now a lobbyist. While someone with knowledge of the deliberations said Mr. Tauzin was not being considered as a potential lobbyist for Ukraine, he has connections that could be helpful. His congressional staff once included Dan Brouillette, who was confirmed this month as secretary of the Energy Department, upon which the Ukrainian government has relied for help with its power supply during brutally cold winters.

Ms. Conley suggested that Mr. Zelensky would be better served by an ambassador than a lobbyist, but the process of filling that vacancy has not been quick.

At least three names had been floated in recent months, and the Zelensky administration’s current preference for the position, Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, had been awaiting approval since late September or early October, according to people familiar with the process. They said that the State Department had signed off on Mr. Yelchenko weeks ago, but that the Ukrainians had grown anxious waiting for the White House to do so.

Officials in Kyiv were told that the approval would be formally communicated this week, they said. The White House and State Department did not respond to questions about the approval of Mr. Yelchenko.

Some attributed the delay to a quiet push by some Trump allies for a prospective ambassador who is closely aligned with Mr. Giuliani, Andrii Telizhenko, who had served as a low-ranking diplomat in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington under the previous government.

He was embraced by Mr. Trump’s allies after claiming that the former American ambassador to Kyiv and other Ukrainian officials worked to undermine Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. In recent months, Mr. Telizhenko has worked closely with Mr. Giuliani to advance those claims. As part of the effort, the two men traveled together to Hungary and Ukraine last week to record interviews with former Ukrainian officials for a series of programs by a conservative cable channel seeking to undermine the impeachment proceedings.

It is unclear whether Mr. Zelensky’s team ever seriously considered Mr. Telizhenko as an ambassador candidate.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Andrew E. Kramer from Kyiv.

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Panel Approves Impeachment Articles and Sends Charges for a House Vote

WASHINGTON — A fiercely divided House Judiciary Committee pushed President Trump to the brink of impeachment on Friday, voting along party lines to approve charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress.

After a fractious two-day debate steeped in the Constitution and shaped by the realities of a hyperpartisan era in American politics, the Democratic-controlled committee recommended that the House ratify two articles of impeachment against the 45th president. In back-to-back morning votes, they adopted each charge against Mr. Trump by a margin of 23 to 17 over howls of Republican protest.

The partisan result and the contentious debate that preceded it were harbingers of a historic proceeding and vote on the House floor, expected next week, to impeach Mr. Trump, whose nearly three-year tenure has exacerbated the nation’s political divisions. Mr. Trump, who insists he did nothing wrong, is now only the fourth American president in history to face impeachment by the House of Representatives for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and possible conviction and removal from office by the Senate.

The charges ratified on Friday arise from a House Intelligence Committee investigation that concluded this fall that the president has manipulated his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his political rival, and a theory that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. He did so, Democrats allege, using as leverage nearly $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine’s fight against Russia and a coveted White House meeting for its president.

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Mr. Trump then sought to conceal the scheme from Congress, the committee charged, ordering unprecedented, across-the-board stonewalling of its investigation unlike any “in the history of the Republic.” It amounted to an effort by the president to undermine the separation of powers and limit his accountability, they said.

The vote took place in the Ways and Means Committee room the morning after a contentious 14-hour session in the Judiciary Committee that stretched past 11 p.m. on Thursday as Democrats turned back a number of Republican efforts to gut or weaken the charges and members of both parties feuded over impeaching the president. Republicans argued not so much that Mr. Trump’s conduct was not impeachable, but that his actions were justified and explained by more innocent intentions.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, abruptly paused the session late Thursday night before bringing the articles to a final vote, saying he wanted members to take the time to “search their consciences” before the historic roll-call. After Republicans had dragged out the debate for hours, Democrats said they did not want such a consequential vote to occur in the dark of night, when the American public was unlikely to be watching.

Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached on largely partisan votes, but were later acquitted by the Senate. Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 after the Judiciary Committee had approved charges against him, and just before the House could take a final vote to impeach him.

Talk of impeaching Mr. Trump began among some liberals as early as his Inauguration Day in 2017, and intensified this year when Democrats reclaimed control of the House amid a swirl of speculation about whether a special counsel investigation would conclude that Mr. Trump’s campaign had conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

But in the end, the impeachment of Mr. Trump has unfolded rapidly and on grounds that emerged only a few months ago. The Judiciary Committee votes came almost exactly four months after an anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower submitted a complaint alleging a systematic campaign by the president to solicit Ukraine’s help in the 2020 election. The House opened its inquiry in late September.

On Friday, the Judiciary Committee endorsed the charge that Mr. Trump abused the powers of his office by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals, using official acts as leverage as he sought advantage for his 2020 re-election campaign.

Though Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have explicitly connected the Ukraine matter to Mr. Trump’s embrace of Russian election assistance during the 2016 campaign, accusing the president of a broad and dangerous pattern of conduct, they elected not to include additional charges outside of it.

Democratic leaders have indicated the full House will debate and vote on the articles next week, with final approval likely falling on Wednesday, just before Congress recesses for Christmas and the New Year’s holiday. They were lining up two more consequential votes to help soften the political liability for moderate Democrats in swing districts, including approval of Mr. Trump’s new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Impeachment votes by the House Judiciary Committee have brought past presidents to their knees. Nixon resigned days afterward. Mr. Clinton promptly apologized for his actions and offered to accept a censure resolution by the House in lieu of impeachment.

Mr. Trump has remained defiant, insisting he had done “NOTHING wrong” and lambasting Democrats Friday morning as “the Party of lies and deception!” Firing off a series of tweets hours before the vote, Mr. Trump praised Republicans for their defense of him and declared “Republicans are the Party of the American Dream!”

“It always helps to have a much better case, in fact the Dems have no case at all, but the unity & sheer brilliance of these Republican warriors, all of them, was a beautiful sight to see. Dems had no answers and wanted out!” he wrote.

Over the last two weeks, the president declined to send his lawyers to participate in the hearings or offer a White House defense before the House, breaking with the approach of Nixon and Mr. Clinton. He did not want to lend the proceedings legitimacy and argued he would get a fairer trial in the Senate.

Republican leaders in the upper chamber indicated on Thursday, in the run-up to the vote, that they wanted a speedy trial and would work hand-in-glove with Mr. Trump’s defense team — an announcement that quickly drew a rebuke from Democrats who pointed out that senators take an oath to “do impartial justice” in an impeachment trial.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, predicted there was “no chance” 67 senators — the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction — would vote to remove Mr. Trump in an election year.

Unlike during Watergate, when the public came to broadly support removal, or in 1998, when a clear majority opposed it, public polling in recent weeks suggests that Americans are as divided as their elected lawmakers with little signs of change. Some polls show a slight majority of the public supports impeachment and removal, roughly the same fraction who voted against Mr. Trump three years ago.

Still, the echoes of history were hard to miss. The charges against Mr. Trump paralleled some of the articles drawn up against Nixon. And Thursday’s vote fell almost exactly 21 years after the Judiciary panel voted to recommend the impeachment of Mr. Clinton, on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.

The Intelligence Committee’s conclusions were reached based on documents and testimony from more than a dozen senior American diplomats and White House officials who said that over the spring and fall, Mr. Trump empowered his personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and a group of allies inside the government to toss out official American policy toward Ukraine and supplant it with his personal interests.

However, the House never heard from some of those closest to Mr. Trump, who could have shed further light on the scheme and the president’s thinking, based on the White House’s orders not to comply. During the debate this week, Republicans accused Democrats of rushing to conclusions without all the facts.

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