1/ Trump committed impeachable offenses, according to three constitutional scholars who testified during the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing into Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain. Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard, Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina, and Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor, all agreed that Trump was guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors" for soliciting foreign assistance and withholding a White House meeting and military assistance from Ukraine as leverage for political favors. Gerhardt added that Trump's actions toward Ukraine were worse than Richard Nixon's misconduct during Watergate. Karlan also told lawmakers that Trump's attempt to "strong arm a foreign leader" would not be considered politics as usual. Feldman, Gerhardt, and Karlan were invited to testify by the Democrats. Republicans also tapped their own law professor, Jonathan Turley, to testify, who suggested that the impeachment case is "slipshod" and premature. Turley also disagreed that Trump conditioning a White House meeting and releasing military aid on whether Ukraine would announce the investigations he wanted amounted to a bribe. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News)

  • 💬 Quotable: "The very idea that a president might seek the aid of a foreign government in his re-election campaign would have horrified" America's Founding Fathers. –Pamela Karlan

  • 💬 Quotable: "On the basis of the testimony and evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency." –Noah Feldman

  • 💬 Quotable: "The record compiled thus far shows that the president has committed several impeachable offenses, including bribery, abuse of power in soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader to benefit his political campaign, obstructing Congress and obstructing justice." –Michael Gerhardt

  • "Are you ready?" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked fellow Democrats during a closed-door Capitol meeting before the Judiciary Committee's proceedings began. While Pelosi didn't announce a firm decision or timeline for voting on Trump's impeachment, Democrats responded with a standing ovation, indicating they wanted to continue to press the inquiry. (Washington Post / Associated Press)

  • Takeaways from the Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing. (Washington Post / CNN)

  • Live blogs: New York Times / ABC News / The Guardian / CNN / NBC News)

2/ House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler suggested that Democrats could link Mueller's findings to the House's impeachment inquiry. Nadler's opening statement outlined how Trump met both the Mueller investigation and the Ukraine probe with "obstruction." Nadler added that "Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election," "demanded it for the 2020 election," and "In both cases, he got caught. And in both cases, he did everything in his power to prevent the American people from learning the truth about his conduct." (Politico)

  • A witness in the Mueller investigation was indicted along with seven other people on charges of conspiring to funnel $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions. George Nader was charged along with a Lebanese businessman named Ahmad "Andy" Khawaja as part of a 53-count indictment for conspiring to secretly direct $3.5 million in campaign contributions to political committees associated with U.S. presidential candidates. Nader served as an adviser to the United Arab Emirates and an intermediary for members of the Trump campaign who wanted to make contacts in the Middle East. (Washington Post)

3/ Trump called the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report "a joke" and that "Everybody is saying it." Trump then cited "reviews" of the report by Fox News' opinion hosts who he had watched, saying that their takeaway is "a uniform statement pretty much right down the road" that the Democrats' investigation is "of no merit." (Politico / ABC News)

  • The Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry report, annotated. The House Intelligence Committee Democrats released a 300-page report outlining their impeachment inquiry into the conduct of Trump. (CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1048: The House Intelligence Committee concluded that Trump tried to "use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election." The 300-page impeachment report also asserts that Trump "placed his own personal and political interests" ahead of U.S. national interests, "subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign." The report continues that "This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a U.S. election presents a clear and present danger that the president will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain." The Intelligence Committee is expected to approve the report along party lines Tuesday evening, ahead of the first impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (New York Times / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / NBC News / ABC News / Washington Post)

4/ Rudy Giuliani traveled to Europe to meet with several former Ukrainian prosecutors in an effort to defend Trump against the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani traveled to Budapest to meet with former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, before going to Ukraine to meet with a number of other former prosecutors, including Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk. It was Giuliani's earlier interactions with some of the same Ukrainians that setup the impeachment inquiry in the first place and led to an investigation by federal prosecutors into whether Giuliani violated federal lobbying laws. (New York Times / CNN)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration approved a plan to end food stamp benefits for about 700,000 Americans. The new regulation will strictly enforcing federal work requirements and makes it harder for states to gain waivers from the requirement. It was the first of three rule changes that are expected to ultimately cut 3 million people from the food stamp rolls. (New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg)

  2. Attorney General William Barr suggested that "communities" who don't "respect" the police could lose "the police protection they need," conflating protests of police misconduct with a disrespect for the police. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  3. The Department of Homeland Security is considering requiring all travelers be photographed entering or leaving the country – including American citizens – as part of an identification system using facial-recognition technology. (ABC News)

  4. Senate Republicans confirmed Sarah Pitlyk to a lifetime seat on the federal judiciary despite her unanimous "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association. Pitlyk also believes fertility treatment is having "grave effects on society." (HuffPost / Slate)

  5. The Trump administration is considering deploying an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East to counter Iran. The additional forces would join the roughly 14,000 U.S. service members sent to the region since May. (Wall Street Journal)

  6. China warned the U.S that passing legislation criticizing the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China would affect negotiations to end the ongoing trade war. The UIGHUR Act of 2019 is currently awaiting approval in the Senate. The bill would require certain U.S. government agencies to report on the treatment of Uighurs at internment and re-education camps in Xinjiang. A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry told reporters that "any wrong words and deeds" by the U.S. "must pay the due price." (Reuters)

  7. Trump met privately with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for an unscheduled meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London. They discussed trade, energy, and the importance that both countries fulfill their alliance commitments. The meeting was not open to U.S. media. (Bloomberg)

  8. Trump abruptly canceled a planned news conference to cap NATO's 70th anniversary meeting after being mocked by other world leaders. A video surfaced of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on a hot mic joking about Trump during a reception at Buckingham Palace. Trump responded by calling Trudeau "two-faced," before adding, "honestly with Trudeau, he's a nice guy." (CNN / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian / Politico / BuzzFeed News)

  9. Trump made at least 21 false claims during the NATO meetings and turned the public portion of each of the three sessions into his own impromptu press conference. (CNN)


Impeachment: What Happens Next.

  1. The House Judiciary Committee expected to announce a hearing for next week. The Democratic and GOP staff attorneys on the House Intelligence Committee are expected to present the findings of their investigations.

  2. The White House has a Friday deadline to decide about whether to participate in future hearings.


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