Day 984: Fractures.
1/ Trump called the whistleblower “a fraud,” suggested that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff be arrested for “Treason,” and warned of a “civil war-like fracture” in America if he’s removed from office. Trump accused Schiff of “illegally” misrepresenting him during acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire’s testimony last week, saying “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?” Trump also called for Schiff to be “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.” In a series of tweets, Trump retweeted a conservative evangelical pastor’s warning that a “civil war-like fracture” in America would happen “If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / The Guardian / Reuters / Associated Press / USA Today / CNN)
2/ The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani for Ukraine-related documents as part of their impeachment inquiry. In a letter to Giuliani, the heads of three House committees asked for information going back to January 2017 related to efforts to get Ukraine’s government to investigate the Biden family, noting “a growing public record” of information appearing “to have pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically-motivated investigations.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings also said they are investigating “credible allegations” that Giuliani “acted as an agent of the president in a scheme to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the office of the president.” The chairmen gave Giuliani until Oct. 15th to comply. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)
- Giuliani canceled his scheduled paid appearance at a Kremlin-backed conference in Armenia next week, which Putin and other top Russian officials are expected to attend. (Washington Post)
3/ Attorney General William Barr privately met overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking help in a Justice Department investigation that Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Barr previously met with British intelligence officials, and last week traveled to Italy to ask the Italians to assist John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who is tasked with reviewing CIA and FBI activities in 2016. It was not Barr’s first trip to Italy to meet intelligence officials. (Washington Post)
4/ Trump pressured Australia’s prime minister to help Barr gather information for a Justice Department investigation into the origins of the Mueller investigation. Trump initiated the discussion – with Barr’s knowledge and at his suggestion – in recent weeks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia’s help in the Justice Department review that Trump believes will show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt and partisan origins. Similar to the call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the discussion with Morrison shows Trump using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests. The White House restricted access of the transcript to a small group of Trump’s aides. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News / ABC News / Associated Press)
- 📌 Day 348: A drunk George Papadopoulos bragged about the political dirt Russia had on Hillary Clinton to Australia’s top diplomat at a London bar in May 2016. Australian officials passed the information about Papadopoulos to their American counterparts two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online. The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election following the revelation that the Trump campaign had information about the DNC’s hacked emails Trump and his advisers have dismissed Papadopoulos’ campaign role as just a “coffee boy.” (New York Times)
5/ The White House restricted access to Trump’s calls with Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. With Putin, access to the transcript of at least one of Trump’s conversations were restricted, though it’s not clear if aides placed the Russian phone calls in the same highly secured electronic system that held the phone call with Ukraine’s president. There were no transcripts made of the phone conversations between Trump and the Saudi king or crown prince, which came as the White House was confronting the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA concluded that bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)
6/ The attorney for the intelligence community whistleblower said he has “serious concerns” that Trump’s comments could put his client “in harm’s way.” On Sunday, Trump claimed that he “deserves to meet my accuser,” who he referred to as a “so-called ‘Whistleblower’” that had “represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way.” And, earlier today, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that “we’re trying to find out” the identity of the whistleblower. In a letter to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, Andrew Bakaj, the whistleblower’s lead attorney, said Trump’s call for “the person who gave the whistleblower the information” to be publicly identified “have heightened our concerns that our client’s identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm’s way.” Bakaj also wrote that “certain individuals” had issued a $50,000 bounty for anyone with information relating to the whistleblower’s identity. (NBC News / New York Times / Axios / CNN / USA Today / Axios)
- The whistleblower agreed to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Adam Schiff added that his committee is currently “taking all the precautions we can to make sure that we do so – we allow that testimony to go forward in a way that protects the whistleblower’s identity.” Mark Zaid, the attorney for the anonymous whistleblower, said “protecting whistleblower’s identity is paramount” and that “discussions continue to occur to coordinate & finalize logistics but no date/time has yet been set.” (CNN)
7/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the administration officials who listened in on the July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Pompeo said that he hadn’t yet read the whistleblower’s complaint, but claimed that actions by State Department officials had been “entirely appropriate and consistent” with the Trump’s administration efforts to improve relations with Ukraine. Three House committees subpoenaed Pompeo on Friday for documents related to the inquiry. (Wall Street Journal / NBC News / The Guardian)
📌 Day 981: The House foreign affairs, intelligence and oversight committees subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents related to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The subpoena demands that Pompeo provide documents by Oct. 4th and was accompanied by a plan to also depose five State Department officials, including Ambassador Kurt Volker and Marie Yovanovitch. Volker reportedly arranged for Rudy Giuliani to meet with high-level Ukrainian officials, and Yovanovitch was removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine by Trump. In a joint letter to Pompeo, the chairmen of the three committees said a “failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.” (Politico / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)
Zelensky said Kiev was unlikely to publish its version of a transcript from the July 25th with Trump. The White House published its summary of the call last week, but Zelensky said he felt it would be wrong to share the Ukrainian summary or transcript of the call. “There are certain nuances and things which I think it would be incorrect, even, to publish,” Zelensky said. When asked whether Kiev would open an investigation into the claims against Biden and his son, Zelensky said Ukraine would not act solely at the behest of other nations. “We can’t be commanded to do anything,” he said. “We are an independent country.” (Reuters)
8/ Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he wasn’t concerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, because the U.S. did the same in other countries. A memorandum summarizing the meeting was limited to select officials with the highest security clearances in an attempt to keep Trump’s comments from being disclosed publicly. (Washington Post)
The Kremlin claimed that transcripts between Trump and Putin can only be published by mutual agreement, because there “is a certain diplomatic practice” and the “diplomatic practice doesn’t envisage such publications.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia would be prepared to discuss the issue with Washington “If we receive some signals from the U.S., we will consider it.” (Associated Press / Reuters)
📌 Day 111: Trump met with Putin’s top diplomats at the White House. The talks came one day after Trump fired the FBI Director, who was overseeing an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sergey Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson earlier in the day and sarcastically acknowledged the dismissal of James Comey by saying “Was he fired? You’re kidding. You’re kidding.” The Kremlin said Trump’s firing of Comey will have no effect on bilateral relations between the two countries. Trump also met with Sergey Kislyak, a key figure in the Flynn investigation. (Associated Press / Reuters / Washington Post / NPR)
9/ The State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine resigned. Kurt Volker tendered his resignation to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday – hours after three House committees announced that he was among the State Department officials who would be compelled to testify. The committees are expected to examine Volker’s role in facilitating contacts between Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian officials on Trump’s behalf this past summer. The unidentified intelligence official who filed the whistleblower complaint that brought the president’s actions to light identified Volker as one of the officials trying to “contain the damage” by advising Ukrainians how to navigate Mr. Giuliani’s campaign. The whistleblower also said Volker was one of the officials trying to “contain the damage” to U.S. national security from Giuliani’s foreign policy efforts. Volker plans to appear at his deposition next Thursday in front of the Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees. (The State Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN)
- Trump and other aides are frustrated with Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for not having a strategy for defending and explaining the whistleblower complaint or the summary of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s leader. (CNN)
10/ Mitch McConnell said the Senate would have “no choice” but to put Trump on trial and vote on removing him from office if the House votes to pass articles of impeachment, addressing doubts he may circumvent Senate procedures. The Republican-held Senate, however, is unlikely to vote to convict Trump and remove him from office. The Constitution gives the Senate the power to try the president if he is impeached by the House, but it does not set a timetable for the process. (CNBC / Axios / Wall Street Journal / Yahoo News / Reuters)
poll/ 55% of Americans approve of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, while 45% disapprove. 87% of Democrats approve of the inquiry, while 23% of Republicans feel the same. (CBS News)
poll/ 47% of voters think Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 47% disagree. (Quinnipiac)
poll/ 47% of Americans support impeaching Trump and removing him from office, while 45% disagree. (CNN)
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