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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry" (Page 5)

Republicans’ Emerging Defense: Trump’s Actions Were Bad, but Not Impeachable

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-impeach-facebookJumbo Republicans’ Emerging Defense: Trump’s Actions Were Bad, but Not Impeachable United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment Ethics and Official Misconduct Ernst, Joni Alexander, Lamar

WASHINGTON — Even as they are set to acquit President Trump in his impeachment trial this week, Senate Republicans appear to be increasingly breaking with his defense that he did nothing wrong.

On Sunday, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who was a key vote against calling witnesses in the Senate trial, expanded upon his criticism that Mr. Trump was “crossing the line” in his pressure campaign against Ukraine. And Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, who has remained a reliable defender of the president during his trial, called his actions “not what I would have done.”

A day before the first contest of the 2020 election, two days before Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address and three days before his expected acquittal, they and other Republicans appeared to be coalescing around a more nuanced argument: Mr. Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine into investigating a political rival while withholding critical military aid might not have been appropriate. But that did not warrant the president’s removal from office for the first time in American history.

“I think he shouldn’t have done it — I think it was wrong,” Mr. Alexander said Sunday on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “Inappropriate, was the way I’d say it. Improper, crossing the line. And then the only question left is: Who decides what to do about that?”

“The people,” he added. “The people, is my conclusion.”

Mr. Alexander first took that position last week, when he announced that he would vote against the consideration of new witnesses and documents in Mr. Trump’s trial. He acknowledged the merits of the House case for removing the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress: that the president had withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.

But Mr. Alexander’s decision was in part influenced by the proximity of the election. (When pressed about how he would have voted outside an election year, he said he most likely would have arrived at the same conclusion.)

“I don’t think it’s the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president,” he said on Sunday.

That argument has come under fire from Democrats, who say the nature of Mr. Trump’s offense — trying to persuade a foreign nation to interfere in the 2020 race — could compromise the election.

“They need to remove him from office because he is threatening to still cheat in the next election by soliciting foreign interference,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead House impeachment manager, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “And so the normal remedy for a president’s misconduct isn’t available here because the elections, he is already trying to prejudice and compromise with further foreign interference.”

The Republicans’ argument also stands starkly at odds with what Mr. Trump — who has deemed a phone call he had with Ukraine’s president “perfect” and has resisted any suggestion that he acted improperly — has demanded from his defenders.

But Mr. Alexander’s reasoning was echoed by multiple Republicans who voted against allowing new witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial. “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us,” said Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska.

Among them is Ms. Ernst, who has repeatedly said the scrutiny over Hunter Biden’s work for an energy company in Ukraine — the basis for the investigation Mr. Trump had demanded — could affect the presidential campaign of the elder Mr. Biden.

“I think, generally speaking, going after corruption would be the right thing to do; he did it maybe in the wrong manner,” Ms. Ernst said Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN. “I think that he could have done it through different channels.”

But she added that “whether you like what the president did or not,” the charges did not clear the bar for removing him. “Does it come to the point of removing a president from office?” she said. “I don’t believe this does.”

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said in a statement late last week that while some of Mr. Trump’s actions were “wrong and inappropriate,” they did not “rise to the level of removing a duly-elected president from office and taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election.”

“Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office,” said Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. (He later added on Twitter that he did not find either of the two articles of impeachment brought against Mr. Trump to be proved beyond a doubt.)

Even one member of the president’s defense team seemed to adopt a similar argument. As he continued to walk back remarks he made during the trial that suggested a president’s actions in pursuit of re-election were inherently in the country’s interest, Alan M. Dershowitz, the constitutional law scholar, said that actions that might be wrong might not be impeachable.

“On Election Day, as a citizen I will allow that to enter into my decision who to vote for. But it’s not an impeachable offense,” Mr. Dershowitz said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I was there to argue a constitutional issue, not to tell people who to vote for, for president.”

With nine months left in the campaign, Mr. Alexander said he hoped that the consequences of Mr. Trump’s phone call with Ukraine — becoming the third American president to stand trial for high crimes and misdemeanors — would resonate with the commander in chief.

“Enduring an impeachment is something no one should like,” Mr. Alexander said. “If a call like this gets you an impeachment, I would think he would think twice before he did it again.”

Chris Cameron contributed reporting.

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

While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168174624_765d81d7-fc4b-4b75-8d0c-a04f04985659-facebookJumbo While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy impeachment

WASHINGTON — Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. “When you strike at a king,” Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.”

Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down.

With the end of the impeachment trial now in sight and acquittal assured, a triumphant Mr. Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.

The president’s Democratic adversaries rolled out the biggest constitutional weapon they had and failed to defeat him, or even to force a full trial with witnesses testifying to the allegations against him. Now Mr. Trump, who has said that the Constitution “allows me to do whatever I want” and pushed so many boundaries that curtailed past presidents, has little reason to fear the legislative branch nor any inclination to reach out in conciliation.

“I don’t think in any way Trump is willing to move on,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who teaches at Princeton University. “I think he will just have been given a green light and he will claim not just acquittal but vindication and he can do those things and they can’t impeach him again. I think this is going to empower him to be much bolder. I would expect to see him even more let loose.”

Impeachment will always be a stain on Mr. Trump’s historical record, a reality that has stung him in private, according to some close to him. But he will be the first president in American history to face voters after an impeachment trial and that will give him the chance to argue for the next nine months that his enemies have spent his entire presidency plotting against him to undo the 2016 election.

“This was clearly a political coup d’état carried out by a group of people who were amazingly, openly dishonest and I think it’s going to be repudiated,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong ally of the president’s. “He’s been beaten up for three solid years and he’s still standing. That’s an amazing achievement if you think about it.”

Even before a final vote on the impeachment charges on Wednesday, Mr. Trump has several high-profile opportunities in the next few days to begin framing the new post-trial environment to his advantage.

On Sunday, he will be interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News during the pregame of the Super Bowl, one of the most watched television events of the year. Then on Tuesday, he will deliver his State of the Union address from the dais in the House chamber where he was impeached in December.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on Friday said the president will use his State of the Union address to celebrate “the great American comeback” and present “a vision of relentless optimism” encouraging Congress to work with him. Mr. Trump plans to pursue an agenda of cutting taxes again, bringing down prescription drug prices, completing his trade negotiations with China and further restricting immigration.

From there, Mr. Trump will head back to the campaign trail, starting with a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 10, the night before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary race, an effort to upstage the Democrats as they try to pick a nominee to face him in the fall.

Democrats insist that Mr. Trump has been damaged by the evidence presented to the public that he sought to use the power of his office to illicitly benefit his own re-election chances. Even as they line up to acquit him, some Senate Republicans have acknowledged that the House managers prosecuting the case proved that Mr. Trump withheld $391 million in security aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure it to announce political investigations into his domestic rivals.

But the public comes out of the impeachment trial pretty close to where it was when it started, divided starkly down the middle with somewhat more Americans against Mr. Trump than for him.

When the House impeached him in December, 47.4 percent supported the move and 46.5 percent opposed it, according to an analysis of multiple surveys by the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight. Now as the trial wraps up, 49.5 percent favor impeachment versus 46.4 percent who do not.

Those numbers are strikingly close to the popular vote results from 2016, when Mr. Trump trailed Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 48 percent even as he prevailed in the Electoral College. That means that the public today is roughly where it was three years ago; few seem to have changed their minds. And the president has done nothing to expand his base and by traditional measures is a weak candidate for a second term, forcing him to try to pull the same Electoral College inside straight he did last time.

Mr. Trump is the only president in the history of Gallup polling who has never had the support of a majority of Americans for even a single day, a troubling indicator for re-election. Nine months is an eternity in American politics these days and, given his history, Mr. Trump could easily create another furor that will change the campaign dynamics, the economy could become an issue, and with all the accumulated allegations some analysts anticipate at a certain scandal fatigue could weigh him down.

But Mr. Trump is gambling that he can rally his most fervent supporters by making the case that he was the victim and not the villain of impeachment while keeping disenchanted supporters on board with steady economic growth, rising military spending and conservative judicial appointments. He has made clear he will paint former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as corrupt if he faces him in the fall and will assail other possible Democratic challengers as socialists.

If Mr. Trump does win a second term, it would be the first time an impeached president had the opportunity to serve five years after his trial and Mr. Trump’s critics worry that he would feel unbound. He has already used his power in ways that presidents since Richard M. Nixon considered out of line, like firing an F.B.I. director who was investigating him and browbeating the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

While in theory nothing in the Constitution would prevent the House from impeaching him again, as a political matter that seems implausible given that he has demonstrated his complete command over congressional Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leaving the president less to fear from a Democratic House. Some House managers warned that acquittal would lower the bar for presidential misconduct, meaning that Mr. Trump would feel even freer to use his power for his own benefit because he got away with it.

“He is going to ratchet it up to another level now,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime White House communications director who has broken with Mr. Trump. “He’s going to Trump to the third power now. He’s not going to be exponential Trump because that’s not enough Trump. It’s going to be Trump to the third power.”

But in that, Mr. Scaramucci said, are the seeds of Mr. Trump’s own downfall because he could go so far that he finally alienates enough of the public to lose. “The one person who absolutely can beat Trump is Trump,” he said.

No other impeached president had the opportunity or challenge that Mr. Trump does. President Andrew Johnson, who was acquitted in 1868, was a man without a party, a Democrat who had joined the Republican Abraham Lincoln’s ticket, and was so disliked that both parties nominated other candidates shortly after his Senate trial, leaving him to finish his last 10 months in office a lame duck.

Indeed, while Johnson was not removed from office, impeachment reduced him to a shadow president, said Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers,” an account of his trial.

“The Republicans still had a majority in Congress so they could reject some of his appointments, which they did, and override his vetoes of their legislation — and they could allow the states that conformed to the Reconstruction Acts to re-enter the Union,” she said. “So in that sense, Johnson was hamstrung, if not powerless.”

Mr. Clinton was in his second term when he was impeached and acquitted, never to be on a ballot again. With nearly two years left in office, he tried to move on from his impeachment, all but pretending it had not happened. On the day of his acquittal in 1999, he appeared in the Rose Garden alone and expressed regret rather than vindication.

“I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people,” Mr. Clinton said, calling for “a time of reconciliation and renewal.”

As he turned to leave, a reporter called after him. “In your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget?”

Mr. Clinton paused as if deciding whether to take the bait, then turned and answered, “I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.”

Mr. Clinton, who unlike Mr. Trump admitted wrongdoing without agreeing that he committed felonies, never truly forgave his opponents, or reconciled with them, but for the most part he avoided expressing those feelings publicly.

“Clinton saw the acquittal as a humbling end to that chapter and I think Trump sees it as a way to start his re-elect,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who was a top aide to Mr. Clinton. “He just wanted to shut the door on that and move on and have a fresh start. And Trump sees it as a jump start — ‘this is what I’m going to run on.’”

Mr. Clinton had some help in that Republicans themselves emerged from his trial feeling bruised by their failure to remove him and the clear public repudiation of the impeachment in polls and the midterm elections. Unlike Mr. Trump, whose approval ratings remain mired in the mid-40s, Mr. Clinton’s popularity reached its highest level during impeachment, with 73 percent of the public backing him just days after the House charged him with high crimes.

“I don’t think Clinton was emboldened. I think he was embarrassed about the mess he caused and he wanted to somehow move on and fix his own reputation,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert at the time.

And so did the Republicans. “I think both the president and the speaker had a vested interest in moving past impeachment to getting things done,” he said. “We were very conscious about how polarizing impeachment was and we were dedicated to healing the country and repairing the G.O.P. brand.”

That does not seem like the likeliest path forward for Mr. Trump, more of a pugilist than a peacemaker. “He’s obviously legitimately pretty angry,” said Mr. Gingrich, who was forced out as speaker after Republicans lost the midterm elections during the drive to impeach Mr. Clinton. “Given that he’s a natural counterpuncher, he may decide to go after them.”

“That’s not his best strategy,” Mr. Gingrich said. “His best strategy is to assume that the Democrats are totally out of control, that they will not be able to keep fighting. If he appears conciliatory, they’re going to very badly damage themselves with average voters who are going to say these guys are pathological.”

“He has that option,” he added. “I’m not saying he’s going to take it.”

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

While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168174624_765d81d7-fc4b-4b75-8d0c-a04f04985659-facebookJumbo While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy impeachment

WASHINGTON — Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. “When you strike at a king,” Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.”

Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down.

With the end of the impeachment trial now in sight and acquittal assured, a triumphant Mr. Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.

The president’s Democratic adversaries rolled out the biggest constitutional weapon they had and failed to defeat him, or even to force a full trial with witnesses testifying to the allegations against him. Now Mr. Trump, who has said that the Constitution “allows me to do whatever I want” and pushed so many boundaries that curtailed past presidents, has little reason to fear the legislative branch nor any inclination to reach out in conciliation.

“I don’t think in any way Trump is willing to move on,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who teaches at Princeton University. “I think he will just have been given a green light and he will claim not just acquittal but vindication and he can do those things and they can’t impeach him again. I think this is going to empower him to be much bolder. I would expect to see him even more let loose.”

Impeachment will always be a stain on Mr. Trump’s historical record, a reality that has stung him in private, according to some close to him. But he will be the first president in American history to face voters after an impeachment trial and that will give him the chance to argue for the next nine months that his enemies have spent his entire presidency plotting against him to undo the 2016 election.

“This was clearly a political coup d’état carried out by a group of people who were amazingly, openly dishonest and I think it’s going to be repudiated,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong ally of the president’s. “He’s been beaten up for three solid years and he’s still standing. That’s an amazing achievement if you think about it.”

Even before a final vote on the impeachment charges on Wednesday, Mr. Trump has several high-profile opportunities in the next few days to begin framing the new post-trial environment to his advantage.

On Sunday, he will be interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News during the pregame of the Super Bowl, one of the most watched television events of the year. Then on Tuesday, he will deliver his State of the Union address from the dais in the House chamber where he was impeached in December.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on Friday said the president will use his State of the Union address to celebrate “the great American comeback” and present “a vision of relentless optimism” encouraging Congress to work with him. Mr. Trump plans to pursue an agenda of cutting taxes again, bringing down prescription drug prices, completing his trade negotiations with China and further restricting immigration.

From there, Mr. Trump will head back to the campaign trail, starting with a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 10, the night before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary race, an effort to upstage the Democrats as they try to pick a nominee to face him in the fall.

Democrats insist that Mr. Trump has been damaged by the evidence presented to the public that he sought to use the power of his office to illicitly benefit his own re-election chances. Even as they line up to acquit him, some Senate Republicans have acknowledged that the House managers prosecuting the case proved that Mr. Trump withheld $391 million in security aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure it to announce political investigations into his domestic rivals.

But the public comes out of the impeachment trial pretty close to where it was when it started, divided starkly down the middle with somewhat more Americans against Mr. Trump than for him.

When the House impeached him in December, 47.4 percent supported the move and 46.5 percent opposed it, according to an analysis of multiple surveys by the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight. Now as the trial wraps up, 49.5 percent favor impeachment versus 46.4 percent who do not.

Those numbers are strikingly close to the popular vote results from 2016, when Mr. Trump trailed Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 48 percent even as he prevailed in the Electoral College. That means that the public today is roughly where it was three years ago; few seem to have changed their minds. And the president has done nothing to expand his base and by traditional measures is a weak candidate for a second term, forcing him to try to pull the same Electoral College inside straight he did last time.

Mr. Trump is the only president in the history of Gallup polling who has never had the support of a majority of Americans for even a single day, a troubling indicator for re-election. Nine months is an eternity in American politics these days and, given his history, Mr. Trump could easily create another furor that will change the campaign dynamics, the economy could become an issue, and with all the accumulated allegations some analysts anticipate at a certain scandal fatigue could weigh him down.

But Mr. Trump is gambling that he can rally his most fervent supporters by making the case that he was the victim and not the villain of impeachment while keeping disenchanted supporters on board with steady economic growth, rising military spending and conservative judicial appointments. He has made clear he will paint former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as corrupt if he faces him in the fall and will assail other possible Democratic challengers as socialists.

If Mr. Trump does win a second term, it would be the first time an impeached president had the opportunity to serve five years after his trial and Mr. Trump’s critics worry that he would feel unbound. He has already used his power in ways that presidents since Richard M. Nixon considered out of line, like firing an F.B.I. director who was investigating him and browbeating the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

While in theory nothing in the Constitution would prevent the House from impeaching him again, as a political matter that seems implausible given that he has demonstrated his complete command over congressional Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leaving the president less to fear from a Democratic House. Some House managers warned that acquittal would lower the bar for presidential misconduct, meaning that Mr. Trump would feel even freer to use his power for his own benefit because he got away with it.

“He is going to ratchet it up to another level now,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime White House communications director who has broken with Mr. Trump. “He’s going to Trump to the third power now. He’s not going to be exponential Trump because that’s not enough Trump. It’s going to be Trump to the third power.”

But in that, Mr. Scaramucci said, are the seeds of Mr. Trump’s own downfall because he could go so far that he finally alienates enough of the public to lose. “The one person who absolutely can beat Trump is Trump,” he said.

No other impeached president had the opportunity or challenge that Mr. Trump does. President Andrew Johnson, who was acquitted in 1868, was a man without a party, a Democrat who had joined the Republican Abraham Lincoln’s ticket, and was so disliked that both parties nominated other candidates shortly after his Senate trial, leaving him to finish his last 10 months in office a lame duck.

Indeed, while Johnson was not removed from office, impeachment reduced him to a shadow president, said Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers,” an account of his trial.

“The Republicans still had a majority in Congress so they could reject some of his appointments, which they did, and override his vetoes of their legislation — and they could allow the states that conformed to the Reconstruction Acts to re-enter the Union,” she said. “So in that sense, Johnson was hamstrung, if not powerless.”

Mr. Clinton was in his second term when he was impeached and acquitted, never to be on a ballot again. With nearly two years left in office, he tried to move on from his impeachment, all but pretending it had not happened. On the day of his acquittal in 1999, he appeared in the Rose Garden alone and expressed regret rather than vindication.

“I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people,” Mr. Clinton said, calling for “a time of reconciliation and renewal.”

As he turned to leave, a reporter called after him. “In your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget?”

Mr. Clinton paused as if deciding whether to take the bait, then turned and answered, “I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.”

Mr. Clinton, who unlike Mr. Trump admitted wrongdoing without agreeing that he committed felonies, never truly forgave his opponents, or reconciled with them, but for the most part he avoided expressing those feelings publicly.

“Clinton saw the acquittal as a humbling end to that chapter and I think Trump sees it as a way to start his re-elect,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who was a top aide to Mr. Clinton. “He just wanted to shut the door on that and move on and have a fresh start. And Trump sees it as a jump start — ‘this is what I’m going to run on.’”

Mr. Clinton had some help in that Republicans themselves emerged from his trial feeling bruised by their failure to remove him and the clear public repudiation of the impeachment in polls and the midterm elections. Unlike Mr. Trump, whose approval ratings remain mired in the mid-40s, Mr. Clinton’s popularity reached its highest level during impeachment, with 73 percent of the public backing him just days after the House charged him with high crimes.

“I don’t think Clinton was emboldened. I think he was embarrassed about the mess he caused and he wanted to somehow move on and fix his own reputation,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert at the time.

And so did the Republicans. “I think both the president and the speaker had a vested interest in moving past impeachment to getting things done,” he said. “We were very conscious about how polarizing impeachment was and we were dedicated to healing the country and repairing the G.O.P. brand.”

That does not seem like the likeliest path forward for Mr. Trump, more of a pugilist than a peacemaker. “He’s obviously legitimately pretty angry,” said Mr. Gingrich, who was forced out as speaker after Republicans lost the midterm elections during the drive to impeach Mr. Clinton. “Given that he’s a natural counterpuncher, he may decide to go after them.”

“That’s not his best strategy,” Mr. Gingrich said. “His best strategy is to assume that the Democrats are totally out of control, that they will not be able to keep fighting. If he appears conciliatory, they’re going to very badly damage themselves with average voters who are going to say these guys are pathological.”

“He has that option,” he added. “I’m not saying he’s going to take it.”

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

While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168174624_765d81d7-fc4b-4b75-8d0c-a04f04985659-facebookJumbo While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Pelosi, Nancy impeachment

WASHINGTON — Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. “When you strike at a king,” Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.”

Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down.

With the end of the impeachment trial now in sight and acquittal assured, a triumphant Mr. Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.

The president’s Democratic adversaries rolled out the biggest constitutional weapon they had and failed to defeat him, or even to force a full trial with witnesses testifying to the allegations against him. Now Mr. Trump, who has said that the Constitution “allows me to do whatever I want” and pushed so many boundaries that curtailed past presidents, has little reason to fear the legislative branch nor any inclination to reach out in conciliation.

“I don’t think in any way Trump is willing to move on,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman who teaches at Princeton University. “I think he will just have been given a green light and he will claim not just acquittal but vindication and he can do those things and they can’t impeach him again. I think this is going to empower him to be much bolder. I would expect to see him even more let loose.”

Impeachment will always be a stain on Mr. Trump’s historical record, a reality that has stung him in private, according to some close to him. But he will be the first president in American history to face voters after an impeachment trial and that will give him the chance to argue for the next nine months that his enemies have spent his entire presidency plotting against him to undo the 2016 election.

“This was clearly a political coup d’état carried out by a group of people who were amazingly, openly dishonest and I think it’s going to be repudiated,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong ally of the president’s. “He’s been beaten up for three solid years and he’s still standing. That’s an amazing achievement if you think about it.”

Even before a final vote on the impeachment charges on Wednesday, Mr. Trump has several high-profile opportunities in the next few days to begin framing the new post-trial environment to his advantage.

On Sunday, he will be interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News during the pregame of the Super Bowl, one of the most watched television events of the year. Then on Tuesday, he will deliver his State of the Union address from the dais in the House chamber where he was impeached in December.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on Friday said the president will use his State of the Union address to celebrate “the great American comeback” and present “a vision of relentless optimism” encouraging Congress to work with him. Mr. Trump plans to pursue an agenda of cutting taxes again, bringing down prescription drug prices, completing his trade negotiations with China and further restricting immigration.

From there, Mr. Trump will head back to the campaign trail, starting with a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 10, the night before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary race, an effort to upstage the Democrats as they try to pick a nominee to face him in the fall.

Democrats insist that Mr. Trump has been damaged by the evidence presented to the public that he sought to use the power of his office to illicitly benefit his own re-election chances. Even as they line up to acquit him, some Senate Republicans have acknowledged that the House managers prosecuting the case proved that Mr. Trump withheld $391 million in security aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure it to announce political investigations into his domestic rivals.

But the public comes out of the impeachment trial pretty close to where it was when it started, divided starkly down the middle with somewhat more Americans against Mr. Trump than for him.

When the House impeached him in December, 47.4 percent supported the move and 46.5 percent opposed it, according to an analysis of multiple surveys by the polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight. Now as the trial wraps up, 49.5 percent favor impeachment versus 46.4 percent who do not.

Those numbers are strikingly close to the popular vote results from 2016, when Mr. Trump trailed Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 48 percent even as he prevailed in the Electoral College. That means that the public today is roughly where it was three years ago; few seem to have changed their minds. And the president has done nothing to expand his base and by traditional measures is a weak candidate for a second term, forcing him to try to pull the same Electoral College inside straight he did last time.

Mr. Trump is the only president in the history of Gallup polling who has never had the support of a majority of Americans for even a single day, a troubling indicator for re-election. Nine months is an eternity in American politics these days and, given his history, Mr. Trump could easily create another furor that will change the campaign dynamics, the economy could become an issue, and with all the accumulated allegations some analysts anticipate at a certain scandal fatigue could weigh him down.

But Mr. Trump is gambling that he can rally his most fervent supporters by making the case that he was the victim and not the villain of impeachment while keeping disenchanted supporters on board with steady economic growth, rising military spending and conservative judicial appointments. He has made clear he will paint former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as corrupt if he faces him in the fall and will assail other possible Democratic challengers as socialists.

If Mr. Trump does win a second term, it would be the first time an impeached president had the opportunity to serve five years after his trial and Mr. Trump’s critics worry that he would feel unbound. He has already used his power in ways that presidents since Richard M. Nixon considered out of line, like firing an F.B.I. director who was investigating him and browbeating the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

While in theory nothing in the Constitution would prevent the House from impeaching him again, as a political matter that seems implausible given that he has demonstrated his complete command over congressional Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, leaving the president less to fear from a Democratic House. Some House managers warned that acquittal would lower the bar for presidential misconduct, meaning that Mr. Trump would feel even freer to use his power for his own benefit because he got away with it.

“He is going to ratchet it up to another level now,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime White House communications director who has broken with Mr. Trump. “He’s going to Trump to the third power now. He’s not going to be exponential Trump because that’s not enough Trump. It’s going to be Trump to the third power.”

But in that, Mr. Scaramucci said, are the seeds of Mr. Trump’s own downfall because he could go so far that he finally alienates enough of the public to lose. “The one person who absolutely can beat Trump is Trump,” he said.

No other impeached president had the opportunity or challenge that Mr. Trump does. President Andrew Johnson, who was acquitted in 1868, was a man without a party, a Democrat who had joined the Republican Abraham Lincoln’s ticket, and was so disliked that both parties nominated other candidates shortly after his Senate trial, leaving him to finish his last 10 months in office a lame duck.

Indeed, while Johnson was not removed from office, impeachment reduced him to a shadow president, said Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers,” an account of his trial.

“The Republicans still had a majority in Congress so they could reject some of his appointments, which they did, and override his vetoes of their legislation — and they could allow the states that conformed to the Reconstruction Acts to re-enter the Union,” she said. “So in that sense, Johnson was hamstrung, if not powerless.”

Mr. Clinton was in his second term when he was impeached and acquitted, never to be on a ballot again. With nearly two years left in office, he tried to move on from his impeachment, all but pretending it had not happened. On the day of his acquittal in 1999, he appeared in the Rose Garden alone and expressed regret rather than vindication.

“I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people,” Mr. Clinton said, calling for “a time of reconciliation and renewal.”

As he turned to leave, a reporter called after him. “In your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget?”

Mr. Clinton paused as if deciding whether to take the bait, then turned and answered, “I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.”

Mr. Clinton, who unlike Mr. Trump admitted wrongdoing without agreeing that he committed felonies, never truly forgave his opponents, or reconciled with them, but for the most part he avoided expressing those feelings publicly.

“Clinton saw the acquittal as a humbling end to that chapter and I think Trump sees it as a way to start his re-elect,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who was a top aide to Mr. Clinton. “He just wanted to shut the door on that and move on and have a fresh start. And Trump sees it as a jump start — ‘this is what I’m going to run on.’”

Mr. Clinton had some help in that Republicans themselves emerged from his trial feeling bruised by their failure to remove him and the clear public repudiation of the impeachment in polls and the midterm elections. Unlike Mr. Trump, whose approval ratings remain mired in the mid-40s, Mr. Clinton’s popularity reached its highest level during impeachment, with 73 percent of the public backing him just days after the House charged him with high crimes.

“I don’t think Clinton was emboldened. I think he was embarrassed about the mess he caused and he wanted to somehow move on and fix his own reputation,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert at the time.

And so did the Republicans. “I think both the president and the speaker had a vested interest in moving past impeachment to getting things done,” he said. “We were very conscious about how polarizing impeachment was and we were dedicated to healing the country and repairing the G.O.P. brand.”

That does not seem like the likeliest path forward for Mr. Trump, more of a pugilist than a peacemaker. “He’s obviously legitimately pretty angry,” said Mr. Gingrich, who was forced out as speaker after Republicans lost the midterm elections during the drive to impeach Mr. Clinton. “Given that he’s a natural counterpuncher, he may decide to go after them.”

“That’s not his best strategy,” Mr. Gingrich said. “His best strategy is to assume that the Democrats are totally out of control, that they will not be able to keep fighting. If he appears conciliatory, they’re going to very badly damage themselves with average voters who are going to say these guys are pathological.”

“He has that option,” he added. “I’m not saying he’s going to take it.”

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Impeachment Briefing: Senate Votes to Block Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group defaultPromoCrop Impeachment Briefing: Senate Votes to Block Witnesses Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

This is the Impeachment Briefing, The Times’s newsletter about the impeachment investigation. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weeknight.

  • The Senate voted Friday evening to block consideration of new witnesses and evidence in the impeachment trial, all but securing President Trump’s acquittal. The motion failed 49 to 51, with Senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney joining all 47 Democrats. (See how each senator voted.)

  • Leaders from both parties settled on a schedule for the remainder of the trial, with a plan to bring it to a close on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the House managers and Mr. Trump’s lawyers made their final pleas, debating for several hours whether to consider hearing from witnesses.

  • Hours before the vote, we got more John Bolton news: In his unpublished manuscript, Mr. Bolton wrote that Mr. Trump asked him to get involved in the Ukraine pressure campaign last May, well before Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s president for help investigating his political rivals.

  • In an Oval Office meeting surrounded by top advisers, Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, to ensure that Mr. Zelensky would meet with Rudy Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought.

Read our full story on the day, some key takeaways, and an analysis of how Mr. Trump’s control of Senate Republicans is nearly complete.

The Senate will return at 11 a.m. Eastern on Monday for a few hours of closing arguments, and senators will have a chance to give floor speeches on Tuesday. The final vote, on whether to remove Mr. Trump from office, will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Senate Republicans had previously homed in on concluding the trial Saturday, and many of them wanted to take acquittal votes Friday night. Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said Republicans “wanted to rush through an acquittal vote tonight,” but Democrats wanted “ample time for every member to speak.”

People close to Mr. Trump, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the president was unhappy about the prospect of giving Tuesday’s State of the Union address before he was acquitted, and that he was mystified as to why Senator Mitch McConnell could not force an end to the trial before then.

Several Republican senators released statements defending their decisions to vote against considering new witnesses. The comments were striking for their willingness to admit Mr. Trump’s wrongdoing, while still dismissing the case Democrats had built against him. A number of them alluded to a vote the Senate would have taken to ban Mr. Trump from future office.

The statements also revealed how intertwined the vote on witnesses and the ultimate acquittal were. The senators referred to Mr. Trump’s exoneration as an inevitable conclusion, arguing that even accepting the facts of the Democratic case could not sway them to change their final votes. Therefore, they said, there was no reason to take the intermediary step of hearing from people like Mr. Bolton.

Here’s a look at what they said.

Marco Rubio of Florida released a 1,000-word account of his rationale. He wrote that “just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office.” And he framed Mr. Trump’s potential removal with the language of insurgency: “Can anyone doubt that at least half of the country would view his removal as illegitimate — as nothing short of a coup d’état?”

Rob Portman of Ohio said in a statement Friday that “some of the president’s actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate.” But, Mr. Portman said, Democrats built a “flawed” and rushed case that witnesses would have prolonged by weeks.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the final holdout among the moderates, released a brief statement that avoided addressing Mr. Trump’s behavior. Instead, she criticized the style of the proceedings. “Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout,” she wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.”

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in a statement last night that Mr. Trump did what Democrats accused him of, and that those actions were “inappropriate.” He said that “there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.” (Ben Sasse of Nebraska said that “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us.”)

My colleague Carl Hulse interviewed Mr. Alexander in a small private office on the third floor of the Capitol this afternoon. There, the outgoing senator offered more detail on how he thought about his “no” vote on witnesses. Why call them, Mr. Alexander asked, “if you are persuaded that he did it.”

I called Carl to ask about what Mr. Alexander’s decision can tell us about how Republicans came together to effectively end the trial.

Carl, I was struck by the political-cultural argument behind his vote. He said removing Mr. Trump from office would “pour gasoline on cultural fires that are burning out there.” Why did he frame his decision that way?

He thought it would just be too disruptive, that even if you add up all this conduct, it just isn’t of the level for which you’d remove a president at such a volatile moment.

He thought that this close to the election, doing something so drastic as pushing the president out of office would have sparked what would basically be a rebellion. People wouldn’t have accepted the election, he thought. He talked to me about what would happen to the primary ballots Mr. Trump’s name is on already.

What does he think the “cultural fires” are?

He thinks of it as the divide between urban and coastal America and the rest of the country, and that people outside of the coasts would go crazy if Mr. Trump was thrown out. The president is the embodiment of the Republican Party and its position now. Conservatives identify their conservatism with Mr. Trump. Senate Republicans challenge him at their own risk.

In your interview with Mr. Alexander, he said:

“Whatever you think of his behavior, with the terrific economy, with conservative judges, with fewer regulations, you add in there an inappropriate call with the president of Ukraine, and you decide if your prefer him or Elizabeth Warren.”

He’s presenting the impeachment case as a kind of one-off incident, the July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine’s president, amid the glory of a conservative political agenda.

Ukraine was just one part of Mr. Trump’s record, he’s thinking. They have to weigh it against what Mr. Trump would say are his biggest accomplishments. Mr. Alexander thinks if you do that and you’re a Republican, you’ll still vote for Mr. Trump. To him, Ukraine is part of an overall record that people can consider in ten short months.

  • Chief Justice John Roberts dodged a scenario that could have called (at least in the minds of Democrats) for some kind of intervention: a 50-50 tie on the witness vote. He said at the trial Friday that “it would be inappropriate for me, an unelected official from a different branch of government, to assert the power to change that result so that the motion would succeed.”

  • Politico has an account of how the four deciding votes in the Senate — Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Romney, Ms. Collins and Mr. Alexander — ended up splitting on the issue of hearing from witnesses. They were in constant contact during the trial, texting and calling one another regularly.

  • My colleague Eric Lipton spent the day at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and wrote a memorable account of its anti-impeachment mood. Robert Hyde, a long-shot Republican congressional candidate who was suspected of having put the former American ambassador to Ukraine under surveillance, was sitting at the bar eating a chopped wedge salad. “There is no treason, no bribery,” he said. “No abuse of power.”

  • That former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was the target of a conspiracy-riddled smear campaign led by Rudy Giuliani and whose abrupt recall led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment, has retired from the State Department.


The Impeachment Briefing is also available as a newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weeknight.

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Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path for Trump Acquittal

WASHINGTON — The Senate brought President Trump to the brink of acquittal on Friday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, as Republicans voted to block consideration of new witnesses and documents in his impeachment trial and shut down a final push by Democrats to bolster their case for the president’s removal.

In a nearly party-line vote after a bitter debate, Democrats failed to win support from the four Republicans they needed. With Mr. Trump’s acquittal virtually certain, the president’s allies rallied to his defense, even as some conceded he was guilty of the central allegations against him.

The Democrats’ push for more witnesses and documents failed 49 to 51, with only two Republicans joining Democrats in favor. A vote on the verdict is planned for Wednesday.

As they approached the final stage of the third presidential impeachment proceeding in United States history, Democrats condemned the witness vote and said it would render Mr. Trump’s trial illegitimate and his acquittal meaningless.

“America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, when the Senate turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “If the president is acquitted, with no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value because Americans will know that this trial was not a real trial.”

Even as they prepared to vote against removing him, several Republicans broke with Mr. Trump’s repeated assertions that he had done nothing wrong, saying they believed he had committed the main offense of which he was accused: withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Still, those Republicans said, they were unwilling to remove a president fewer than 10 months before he is to face voters.

“If you are persuaded that he did it, why do you need more witnesses?” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, a critical swing vote on the issue whose late decision to oppose considering new evidence all but sealed Mr. Trump’s swift acquittal. “The country is not going to accept being told that they can’t elect the president they want to elect in the week the election starts by a majority for a merely inappropriate telephone call or action.”

“You don’t apply capital punishment for every offense,” Mr. Alexander added.

The vote signaled the end of a saga that has consumed Washington and threatened Mr. Trump’s hold on the presidency for the past five months, since the emergence in September of an anonymous whistle-blower complaint accusing him of using the levers of government to push Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Senators laid the groundwork for rendering their verdict on Wednesday afternoon, with plans to recess the trial for the weekend and return Monday for closing arguments. The timetable will rob Mr. Trump of the opportunity to use his State of the Union address, scheduled for Tuesday night, to boast about his acquittal, a prospect he has relished for several weeks. Instead, he will become only the second president to deliver the speech, before a joint session of Congress, during his own impeachment trial.

At the White House, Mr. Trump raged against a process he has dismissed from the start as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” preparing to make his defiance in the face of Democrats’ attempts to remove him a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

“No matter what you give to the Democrats, in the end, they will NEVER be satisfied,” the president wrote Friday night on Twitter. “In the House, they gave us NOTHING!”

The outcome of the vote, however, was not in doubt. It would take a two-thirds majority — 67 senators — to convict Mr. Trump and remove him from office.

The president has insisted that he did nothing wrong, calling his telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine “perfect” and the impeachment inquiry a “sham.” For months, he has demanded that his allies deliver nothing less than an absolute defense of his actions. But even as they were poised to acquit him, several Republicans said that was not so.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said that “some of the president’s actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who challenged Mr. Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016, suggested that he did not necessarily consider the president innocent, either.

“Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office,” he said. “I will not vote to remove the president because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation.”

Video

transcript

Impeachment Trial Highlights: A Showdown Over Calling Witnesses

Senators rejected a call for additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, dealing a fatal blow to efforts by Democrats to bring about new evidence.

“Mr. Blunt?” “No.” “No.” “Mr. Booker?” “Yes.” “Aye.” “Mr. Boozman?” “No.” “No.” “Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to change his or her vote? If not, the yeas are 49, the nays are 51. The motion is not agreed to.” “This will set a new precedent. This will be cited in impeachment trials from this point to the end of history. The documents the president is hiding will come out. The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories. And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance.” “There is a way to decide right up front in some quick way whether there’s really a triable issue, whether you really need to go to all the trouble of calling in new witnesses and having more evidence in something like that.” “It’s not just about hearing from witnesses. You need documents. The documents don’t lie.” “The question here before this body is, what do you want your place in history to be? Do you want your place in history to be, let’s hear the truth? Or that we don’t want to hear it?” “You did hear evidence. You heard evidence from 13 different witnesses, 192 video clips, and as my colleague the deputy White House counsel said, over 28,000 pages of documents.”

Westlake Legal Group 31dc-mcconnell-videoSixteenByNine3000 Republicans Block Impeachment Witnesses, Clearing Path for Trump Acquittal United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Schiff, Adam B Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 impeachment Democratic Party Collins, Susan M Alexander, Lamar

Senators rejected a call for additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, dealing a fatal blow to efforts by Democrats to bring about new evidence.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Reflecting the depth of the country’s divisions, both sides were already looking past the trial to begin framing the fight over Mr. Trump’s conduct ahead of the November election, starting on Monday, when the Iowa caucuses will be held, marking the first voting in a contest that will deliver the final verdict on his fitness for office.

With the threat of conviction removed, Mr. Trump enters the election season as the first impeached president in modern history to face the voters for re-election, and damaged by the revelations about his conduct. But his expected acquittal is also likely to leave the president emboldened and more determined than ever to stoke voters’ anger and grievances, arguing that Democrats, unelected bureaucrats and the mainstream news media have targeted him because of their disdain for his core supporters, and that his fight for political survival is theirs as well.

“I don’t think he acted improperly,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota. “For three-plus years, Democrats have been trying to parse every one of his words, add their traditional view and find themselves often perplexed. Part of the problem is that most of America likes the straight talk and occasionally forgives if he doesn’t say exactly the right thing.”

Democrats, too, planned to capitalize on the battle scars from the impeachment fight to target Republicans, appealing to voters to punish them for refusing to press for a more thorough trial and ultimately sticking with Mr. Trump despite evidence of his misdeeds. But they faced the risks of a potential backlash by voters to a process that highlighted deep partisan divisions.

After resisting impeachment for months, Speaker Nancy Pelosi embraced it after the Ukraine allegations last fall. In doing so, she calculated that her party could not fail to act against a president whose actions they saw as clearly beyond the pale. But she confronted what she knew to be an unmovable reality in the Senate, where Democrats were certain to fall far short of removing him.

Republicans in the Senate made a wager of their own that it was better to withstand the short-term criticisms of Democrats and potentially constituents to quickly put the trial behind them than, rather than allow the proceeding to stretch on risking damaging new revelations. In doing so, they are strapping their political fate to that of a polarizing president who enjoys unparalleled loyalty among conservative voters.

The Republican victory was sealed just moments after the debate was gaveled open on Friday when Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, issued a statement saying that a vote for additional witnesses would only extend what she called a “partisan” impeachment, even as she lamented that the Senate trial had not been fair and Congress had failed its obligation to the country. Her announcement followed a similar one by Mr. Alexander.

Two Republicans senators — Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine — broke ranks with their party and voted with Democrats in their demand for additional testimony from witnesses.

Ms. Murkowski did not indicate how she would vote on the final articles of impeachment, which she denounced as “rushed and flawed” by the House. But she offered an unusually sharp rebuke of the institution in which she serves, appearing to cast blame on both parties and both chambers of Congress for letting excessive partisanship overtake a solemn responsibility, even as she sided with her own party.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” she said in a statement Friday morning. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything.”

“It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” she added

Speaking from the well of the Senate, the Democratic House managers made a final, urgent appeal for additional witnesses during their two-hour presentation on Friday, warning senators that a refusal to hear new evidence would ensure that Mr. Trump is never held accountable even as it undermines the nation’s democratic order and the public’s faith in the institutions of government.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager, seized on a New York Times report published in the hours before the vote to hammer home his point. The story revealed that Mr. Trump had asked John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, last may to assist in his pressure campaign on Ukraine.

“The facts will come — out in all of their horror, they will come out,” Mr. Schiff said. “The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories,” he said. “And we will be asked why we didn’t want to hear that information when we had the chance. What answer shall we give if we do not pursue the truth now?”

Mr. Trump’s defense team vigorously argued in the opposite direction, alternately telling senators they already had all the evidence they needed to dismiss thee charged before them and warning that calling new witnesses would set a dangerous precedent of its own by validating a rushed and incomplete case presented by the House.

“The Senate is not here to do the investigatory work that the House didn’t do,” said Patrick Philbin, the deputy White House counsel.

Reporting was contributed by Carl Hulse, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Catie Edmondson, Emily Cochrane and Patricia Mazzei.

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Diplomat at Center of Trump Impeachment Retires From State Department

Westlake Legal Group 31dc-ambassador-facebookJumbo Diplomat at Center of Trump Impeachment Retires From State Department Yovanovitch, Marie L Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Pompeo, Mike Giuliani, Rudolph W Foreign Service (US) Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — The American ambassador whose abrupt recall from Ukraine helped lead to President Trump’s impeachment has retired from the State Department, a person familiar with her plans confirmed on Friday.

Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, had been expected to leave the Foreign Service after she was ordered back to Washington from Kyiv, Ukraine, ahead of schedule last spring, accused of being disloyal to Mr. Trump.

But documents and testimony later showed that she was the target of a smear campaign for, in part, refusing to grant visas to former Ukrainian officials who were investigating Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

On a July 25 telephone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Mr. Trump described Ms. Yovanovitch as “bad news” and said, ominously, “She’s going to go through some things.”

She possibly already had: Text messages between Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and his associates that were released publicly earlier this month indicated that Ms. Yovanovitch was under surveillance while still in Kyiv — a claim that the State Department and Ukraine security officials are investigating.

State Department officials have suggested that Ms. Yovanovitch was pulled from Kyiv because of concerns about her security. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to publicly support her, or clarify why she was recalled to the United States, setting off an internal revolt of diplomats who have rallied to her defense.

Ms. Yovanovitch was a star witness for House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry. She described being “shocked, appalled, devastated” upon learning of what the president said about her to Mr. Zelensky.

The Senate is all but assured to acquit Mr. Trump in a vote scheduled for Wednesday that will end his impeachment trial.

At its heart was whether Mr. Trump could be held liable for appearing to withhold $391 million in security aid from Ukraine — money that Congress had already approved — until Mr. Zelensky announced an investigation into a company that had employed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Mr. Trump.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s retirement from the State Department, after 33 years of service, was first reported on Friday by NPR. She could not be immediately reached for comment, and the State Department did not return calls and messages seeking comment Friday night.

Since returning to Washington last spring, Ms. Yovanovitch has been assigned to a fellowship at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and she is scheduled to receive an award in February from the university’s School of Foreign Service for “Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy.”

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Despite Evidence, Republicans Rallied Behind Trump. This Was Their Reasoning.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168179412_43c02278-dc61-4c34-9405-e9f4cd7c1178-facebookJumbo Despite Evidence, Republicans Rallied Behind Trump. This Was Their Reasoning. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Sasse, Benjamin E Rubio, Marco Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Portman, Rob Murkowski, Lisa House of Representatives Alexander, Lamar

The Senate voted on Friday nearly along party lines to block additional witnesses and evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial, effectively accelerating the proceedings toward a final vote, which is expected to be held Wednesday.

But even before votes were cast Friday, a number of top Republicans came forward with statements rejecting the notion that the president should be convicted and removed, despite the evidence laid out in recent weeks by House impeachment managers.

While some lamented the partisan tenor of the proceeding, which they said threw the fairness of the trial into doubt, others said their decisions were based on a stronger conviction: Even if the president did everything the House managers described, his actions and alleged wrongdoing still did not justify his removal from office.

This is what they said:

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee: “The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: “Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.”

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio: “I have said consistently for the past four months, since the Zelensky transcript was first released, that I believe that some of the president’s actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate. But I do not believe that the president’s actions rise to the level of removing a duly-elected president from office and taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election.”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida: “For me, the question would not just be whether the President’s actions were wrong, but ultimately whether what he did was removable. The two are not the same. Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office.”

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska: “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us.”

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Giuliani Sought Help for Client in Meeting With Ukrainian Official

Westlake Legal Group 31Klitschko-facebookJumbo Giuliani Sought Help for Client in Meeting With Ukrainian Official Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Poroshenko, Petro Olekseyevich KIEV, Ukraine impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Foreign Aid Corruption (Institutional)

KYIV, Ukraine — When Rudolph W. Giuliani met with a top aide to Ukraine’s president last summer, he discussed the prospect of a coveted White House meeting for the president while seeking Ukraine’s commitment to certain investigations that could benefit President Trump politically.

Mr. Giuliani also threw in a request of his own: help the mayor of Kyiv keep his job.

The mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, a professional boxer turned politician and longtime friend and former client of Mr. Giuliani’s, was on the verge of being fired from his duties overseeing Kyiv’s $2 billion budget.

Firing Mr. Klitschko would have fit with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s campaign promise to fight Ukraine’s entrenched interests and allowed him to replace a political adversary with a loyalist in one of the country’s most important posts.

But despite the fact that Mr. Zelensky’s cabinet approved Mr. Klitschko’s removal, he remains there today, leaving his adversaries in the murky and lucrative world of Ukrainian municipal politics to wonder whether Mr. Trump’s personal attorney may have tipped the scales in his favor.

“The coincidence in timing between Klitschko’s meeting with Giuliani and the developments in the governance of Kyiv was striking,” said Oleksandr Tkachenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament whom Mr. Zelensky had been expected to nominate as Mr. Klitschko’s replacement.

Mr. Giuliani’s effort to help his friend and former client, first reported in The Washington Post, shed fresh light on the former New York mayor’s mingling of personal, business and political interests with his role as personal attorney to the president of the United States.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged discussing Mr. Klitschko’s position in a meeting with a senior aide to Mr. Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, in Madrid on Aug. 2.

“I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m from the outside, but he seems like one of the good guys,’” Mr. Giuliani said, recalling the conversation. “‘And I’m speaking, speaking, speaking as a personal friend, not as a representative of the government or anything else.’”

In the same meeting, Mr. Giuliani discussed a possible Oval Office visit by Mr. Zelensky that the Ukrainian president had been seeking, and asked for a commitment by his government to pursue investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his son, and Ukrainians who disseminated damaging information about Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The meeting took place at a time when Ukraine’s new president was looking to cement support from the United States, his country’s most powerful ally in the conflict against Russia, and to build a relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Giuliani said that he made it clear that he was relating his personal view of Mr. Klitschko, not that of the administration. “I gave it as my opinion — not the government — and based on our personal relationships,” he said.

Mr. Yermak also acknowledged that the two discussed Mr. Klitschko’s fate.

“Giuliani asked for my opinion about Vitaliy Klitschko as a mayor,” Mr. Yermak said in a statement in response to an inquiry from The Times. “He immediately issued the disclaimer that I should not see his question as an attempt to influence me.”

Mr. Yermak said he told Mr. Giuliani that he had long known Mr. Klitschko and that he had the support of Kyiv’s citizens.

“That was the end of our conversation about Klitschko,” Mr. Yermak said. “As a result I reject any speculation that Mr. Giuliani in any way sought to influence my opinion or to make me accept some narrative regarding Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.”

Given the complex and opaque nature of Ukrainian politics, it is not clear whether Mr. Giuliani’s intervention was the decisive force allowing the mayor to keep his job.

But it is clear that he tried.

Mr. Klitschko, a former heavyweight world boxing champion, first hired Mr. Giuliani as a consultant for his unsuccessful run for mayor of Kyiv in 2008.

Since 2014, Mr. Klitschko has held dual roles: both the largely ceremonial, elected position of Kyiv mayor and the powerful position of head of Kyiv’s city-state administration, an appointment made by the Ukrainian president. The latter position gives him oversight of matters such as the city budget, building permits and transportation funds, making him one of the most powerful people in the country.

Mr. Klitschko supported Mr. Zelensky’s opponent, the incumbent Petro O. Poroshenko, in last spring’s presidential election in Ukraine. Mr. Zelensky’s landslide victory appeared to augur Mr. Klitschko’s political demise.

Mr. Zelensky, a comedian, had frequently lampooned Mr. Klitschko on his Saturday Night Live-style variety show, portraying him as a dunderheaded member of Ukraine’s shadowy, corrupt elite. In one skit, Mr. Zelensky played a translator to a boxing-belt-wearing Mr. Klitschko, who is unable to string together an intelligible sentence.

After taking power in May, Mr. Zelensky had no way to remove Mr. Klitschko as mayor but could strip him of the more influential post as head of the Kyiv administration. Ukrainian politicians and analysts expected him to do so.

A confidante of Mr. Klitschko’s, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was concerned about harm to his business if he spoke publicly, said that by the end of July, “it was clear that only outside interference, say the president of the United States or anyone on his behalf,” could save Mr. Klitschko from dismissal. As the power struggle escalated, Mr. Klitschko flew to New York to meet with Mr. Giuliani.

On July 30, in an apparent prelude to the dismissal, Mr. Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Bohdan, called a news conference and accused Mr. Klitschko of allowing corruption to flourish in Kyiv. Without offering evidence, Mr. Bohdan said he had been offered a $20 million bribe for Mr. Klitschko to remain head of the Kyiv administration.

The next day, Mr. Klitschko posted photographs on Facebook of his meeting with Mr. Giuliani, his “old friend and one of the most authoritative mayors in the world.” The two discussed “the situation in Ukraine,” he said, “future cooperation between the United States and Ukraine,” and the topic of “local self-rule” — an apparent reference to Mr. Klitschko’s battle to hold on to power at home.

Upon returning to Kyiv, Mr. Klitschko told his aides that his American allies would help him keep his job, according to several people who heard him make the comments in staff meetings and who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are still involved in municipal politics and were afraid to be identified when discussing issues related to Mr. Klitschko.

“That’s ridiculous,” Mr. Klitschko said in a statement on Friday. Asked about the meeting with Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Klitschko said, “I did not ask anyone for any assistance.”

Mr. Klitschko said he had never had a business relationship with Mr. Giuliani, a claim contradicted by Mr. Giuliani, who consulted for the former boxer’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Giuliani said that he had not formally represented Mr. Klitschko in years, “even though I still advise him.”

But two days later, Mr. Giuliani was speaking about Mr. Klitschko to Mr. Yermak in Madrid.

On Sept. 4, Mr. Zelensky’s cabinet approved the dismissal of Mr. Klitschko as head of the Kyiv administration.

But on Sept. 6, Mr. Giuliani fired off a tweet: “Reducing the power of Mayor Klitschko of Kiev was a very bad sign particularly based on the advice of an aide to the President of Ukraine who has the reputation of being a fixer. The former champion is very much admired and respected in the US.”

The tweet came as Mr. Zelensky was scrambling to stabilize his relationship with Mr. Trump after finding out that American military aid to Kyiv had been halted for unexplained reasons.

The last step needed to make the dismissal official was Mr. Zelensky’s signature on the dismissal — a formality, it seemed, since it was Mr. Zelensky’s office that had sought approval for the firing in the first place.

But the signature never came.

Asked by reporters in October, Mr. Zelensky said that he was still thinking about whether or not to sign.

“When a controversial issue arises, he tries to balance various interests,” a Kyiv political analyst, Volodymyr Fesenko, said of Mr. Zelensky’s unexpected reprieve. “He decided not to make a sudden move.”

Aside from any influence Mr. Giuliani may have had, Mr. Fesenko points to a power struggle within different factions in Mr. Zelensky’s administration as another factor, along with Mr. Zelensky’s own dwindling political capital amid intense criticism from domestic political opponents that he was too soft on Russia.

Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Klitschko declined to comment on the Madrid meeting between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Yermak, or on why Mr. Zelensky decided to keep him in office. He described Mr. Giuliani as “a big friend of Ukraine and one of the most successful mayors of the world.”

Mr. Giuliani himself became a fraught figure in Ukraine as the impeachment investigation unfolded on Capitol Hill.

“Starting in late September, the Giuliani issue became very toxic,” Mr. Fesenko said. “It seemed Klitschko’s team stopped pushing the relationship with Giuliani.”

Ronen Bergman and Anton Troianovski reported from Kyiv, and Kenneth P. Vogel from Washington.

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3 Takeaways from Today’s Trump Impeachment Trial

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WASHINGTON — After 10 days of arguments and deliberations, the Senate voted against hearing from new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, signaling a vote to acquit him would likely come in the coming days.

House impeachment managers and President Trump’s defense team made their final arguments for and against hearing from new witnesses as the Senate trial entered its final stages on Friday before the evening vote. Not long before the session started, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, announced that she would vote against a measure to hear new witnesses erasing any doubt that the Republicans would have the support to end the trial without considering new material.

Here are five key takeaways from the afternoon.

In a nearly party-line vote, the Senate decided not to hear testimony from witnesses or review evidence before it moves to vote on whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office.

The 51-49 outcome was not surprising and paved the way for the Senate to acquit Mr. Trump. Senate leaders are negotiating over the next steps to end the trial.

Many of the arguments from the House managers over the past two weeks have been centered on the importance of hearing from witnesses, like Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who has firsthand accounts of Mr. Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine.

Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, voted in favor of hearing witnesses, as they had signaled ahead of the trial.

Democrats have said that a trial without witnesses and documents is not a fair one. Republicans said that they did not need to hear any additional information and that the Democrats brought a weak case.

The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, said the trial was a sham and a tragedy.

“To not allow a witness, a document — no witnesses, no documents — in an impeachment trial is a perfidy,” Mr. Schumer said after the vote. “America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities.”

In the hours before the vote, House impeachment managers made their final plea, citing a New York Times report that published about an hour before the trial started.

The report, which draws from new details from an upcoming book by Mr. Bolton, shows that Mr. Trump had a direct role in the Ukraine pressure campaign earlier than previously known, and senior White House advisers were aware of it.

“Yet another reason why we want to hear from witnesses,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead manager.

In the book, Mr. Bolton describes a meeting in early May at which Mr. Trump instructed him to call President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to press him to meet with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. According to the book, one of Mr. Trump’s defense lawyers for the impeachment trial, Pat Cipollone, was also in the meeting, which took place months before Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky spoke by phone on July 25. That conversation ultimately set the impeachment proceedings in motion.

The fight over witnesses had largely been an argument about hearing testimony from Mr. Bolton, particularly as details about what he knows of Mr. Trump’s motives and his efforts to pressure Ukraine emerged in the past week.

Mr. Trump blocked Mr. Bolton from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry, but Mr. Bolton has said he would comply with a subpoena to testify during the Senate trial.

Even before the Senate trial resumed on Friday, some Republican senators announced their plans to vote to acquit Mr. Trump, and there was noticeably less note-taking in the Senate chamber compared with previous days of the trial.

“Can anyone doubt that at least half of the country would view his removal as illegitimate — as nothing short of a coup d’état?” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, wrote in a statement on Friday.

His decision, he said, was made out of concern of further dividing the country.

Mr. Rubio added that if the president was removed from office, it would be a victory for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“It is difficult to conceive of any scheme Putin could undertake that would undermine confidence in our democracy more than removal would,” he wrote.

Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said that he did find some of Mr. Trump’s actions “wrong and inappropriate,” but he wanted to leave it to voters decide on a verdict in November.

“Our country is already too deeply divided and we should be working to heal wounds, not create new ones,” Mr. Portman said in a statement.

“It seems it was half a trial,” said John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, hours before the Senate officially voted.

“If I was advising the United States Senate, I would say, ‘If you don’t respond to 75 percent of the American voters and have witnesses, it’s a job only half-done,’” Mr. Kelly said, ahead of delivering a speech in New Jersey on Friday. “You open yourself up forever as a Senate that shirks its responsibilities.”

Mr. Kelly appeared to be referring to a recent national poll from Quinnipiac University, which found that 75 percent of independents think witnesses should testify. The independent vote is expected to be a critical one in November.

A retired four-star Marine general, Mr. Kelly was well-liked in the Senate — he was confirmed with bipartisan support to be Mr. Trump’s first homeland security secretary — which made his criticism on Friday even more pointed. He was later drafted to be the president’s chief of staff with the hope he would bring order to a White House defined by chaos.

Earlier this week, Mr. Kelly said he believed Mr. Bolton’s account of the president’s dealings with Ukraine, which the president has denied.

“If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” he said on Tuesday.

Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bolton overlapped at the White House for much of 2018 but were not always in lock step. On Friday, Mr. Kelly described Mr. Bolton as “an honest and an honorable guy,” and “a copious note-taker.”

Senators will vote at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to render a verdict in President Trump’s impeachment trial. But before then, they will vote on procedural motions on Friday and return at 11 a.m. on Monday to give closing arguments, senators said. They will also have a chance to give floor speeches on Tuesday before the Wednesday vote.

“I’d rather conclude it right away,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. But the rules allowed for more time, and Democrats insisted, he added.

“It gives everybody the flexibility if they need to go somewhere over the weekend,” said Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana.

The schedule means Mr. Trump would deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night with his all but certain acquittal pending.

For the four senators running for the Democratic nomination to face Mr. Trump in November, it will be a busy few days as they rush to Iowa ahead of the caucuses there on Monday before needing to return to Washington for the closing phase of the trial.

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