1/ Trump asked Attorney General William Barr to hold a press conference and say that he didn’t break the law during his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Barr, however, declined. Trump’s request was made around Sept. 25 – shortly after the Trump administration released a summary of the July 25 call. Trump denied he asked Barr “to hold a news conference,” instead saying people “MADE UP the story” and that “the Justice Department already ruled that the call was good.” (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN)
2/ Former national security adviser John Bolton is willing to defy the White House and testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Bolton, however, skipped his scheduled deposition today, wanting a federal court to first rule on a lawsuit between the Trump administration and Congress. House impeachment investigators intend to continue their inquiry without delay and plan to use Bolton’s refusal to testify as evidence of Trump’s attempt to obstruct Congress. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News)
A national security aide to Mike Pence testified behind closed doors in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into Trump. Jennifer Williams is the first person from Pence’s office to testify and is one of a handful of U.S. officials who listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky in which Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to open an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The White House tried to prevent Williams from attending the deposition. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times)
A State Department official told House investigators that he kept notes of the White House’s attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine. George Kent said he witnessed an “effort to initiate politically motivated prosecutions that were injurious to the rule of law.” Kent also accused Rudy Giuliani of conducting a “campaign of lies” about the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, that led to her early recall from Kiev. (NBC News / Politico / NPR)
A senior National Security Council official who attended meetings at the center of the congressional impeachment inquiry will leave his post this week. Earl Matthews traveled with John Bolton to Ukraine in August and Poland in September, sitting in on meetings with Zelensky and senior American officials, including Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and senior NSC Russia expert Tim Morrison. (Politico)
3/ The Government Accountability Office is reviewing the Trump administration’s hold on security assistance to Ukraine to see if the freeze violated appropriations law. At a Senate Budget Committee hearing last week, Sen. Chris Van Hollen asked the U.S. comptroller general if the administration’s failure to formally inform Congress about the hold ran afoul of legal notification requirements. The money was released in mid-September after bipartisan pressure on Capitol Hill, but lawmakers and aides never received a clear answer about the reason for the hold. (Wall Street Journal)
- Intelligence officials want CIA director Gina Haspel to protect the whistleblower from Trump. Haspel has avoided making any statements about the whistleblower or the complaint. U.S. intelligence officials, meanwhile, say that while they have taken steps to protect the identity of the whistleblower, neither Haspel nor Joseph Maguire, the director of national intelligence, have urged Trump behind the scenes to stop trying to out the whistleblower’s identity. (NBC News)
4/ The $500,000 Rudy Giuliani was paid to investigate Trump’s political rivals came from a Long Island attorney investing in Fraud Guarantee, a company owned by a Ukrainian-American businessman. Charles Gucciardo, a Republican donor and Trump supporter, gave the money to Lev Parnas as part of a deal that would make Gucciardo an investor in Parnas’ company, Fraud Guarantee, which does not appear to have any customers. Gucciardo paid Giuliani $250,000 in September and October 2018 on behalf of Fraud Guarantee. Giuliani is currently under federal investigation for possible foreign lobbying violations, and Parnas has been indicted for alleged campaign finance and foreign money-laundering violations. (New York Times / Reuters)
📌 Day 999: Rudy Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges. Lev Parnas’ company – Fraud Guarantee (!) – engaged Giuliani Partners around August 2018 to consult on technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues. Giuliani said the money came in two payments made within weeks of each other, but that he couldn’t remember the dates. He also said most of the work he did for Fraud Guarantee was completed in 2018, but that he has been doing follow-up work for more than a year. Federal prosecutors have been “examining Giuliani’s interactions” with Parnas and Igor Fruman, who was also indicted on campaign finance charges, since at least early 2019. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are also investigating whether Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled on Trump’s orders in May. Giuliani also denied that he was planning to visit Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who is currently wanted on corruption charges in the U.S., during a trip to Vienna he planned last week. (Reuters / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / USA Today / NBC News / Axios / ABC News)
📌 Day 1013: An indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani can be questioned under oath about financial transfers he made to Republican political campaigns. Lev Parnas’ defense attorney previously argued that some of the evidence gathered in the campaign finance investigation could be subject to executive privilege. Parnas owes a family trust more than $500,000, which alleges that Parnas transferred the money to his corporate accounts, to the Trump PAC America First Action, to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and to Pete Sessions for Congress – defrauding the family trust in the process. (CNN)
5/ Trump must personally pay $2 million in damages for unlawfully coordinating with the Trump Foundation charity to further his 2016 presidential campaign. A New York state judge found that “Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation” by “allowing his campaign to orchestrate” a televised fundraiser for the foundation in January 2016, and then allowing the campaign to direct the distribution of the money raised from that event “to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign.” The settlement included an admission of misconduct, including that he used the foundation to settle the legal obligations of his companies, including Mar-A-Lago and the Trump National Golf Club in New York. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
6/ A forthcoming book by an anonymous senior Trump administration claims that high-level White House aides were certain that Mike Pence would support using the 25th Amendment to have Trump removed from office. The author of “A Warning” – the same official behind the 2018 op-ed that declared there was a “resistance” within the administration – claimed that White House officials put together a list of Cabinet secretaries who were open to the idea of removing Trump because of mental incapacity and that “there was no doubt in the minds of these senior officials that Pence would support invoking the 25th Amendment if the majority of the Cabinet signed off on it.” Pence, meanwhile, said he never heard about any discussion of using the 25th amendment in the White House. (HuffPost / Politico)
- 📌 Day 1019: The Justice Department is trying to “intimidate and expose” the anonymous author of “A Warning”– the same senior Trump administration official behind a 2018 op-ed who claimed cabinet members discussed removing Trump from office early in his presidency “given the instability many witnessed.” The DOJ claimed that the author may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” by writing the book, which is set to come out on November 19. (CNN / New York Times)
7/ Trump and “The Apprentice” creator have discussed shooting “The Apprentice: White House” after Trump leaves office. Trump and Mark Burnett reportedly still keep in touch by phone with Trump confiding to close associates that he misses his job as a reality-TV host. (Daily Beast)
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