1/ Mitch McConnell rejected Democrats requests to have four White House witnesses testify during Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. McConnell called the request to have Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, and two others to testify a “strange request” and said the Senate will not volunteer its time for a “fishing expedition.” McConnell’s remarks came in response to a letter from Chuck Schumer, who outlined several procedural requests that he said would make an impeachment trial more fair. McConnell later said he’s “not an impartial juror […] I’m not impartial about this at all.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Axios / Bloomberg)

  • 👀 Impeachment Watch:

  • Tuesday: The House Rules Committee will set the terms for the debate on the House floor over the articles of impeachment.

  • Wednesday: The House is expected to vote to affirm the rules and then vote on the two articles of impeachment in the late afternoon. The House is also expected to vote to empower Nancy Pelosi to name impeachment managers.

  • Thursday: Your last chance to order gifts that will arrive by Christmas.

2/ Trump denounced what he called a “partisan impeachment crusade,” accusing Democrats of “perversion of justice” for their handling of impeachment. In a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump accused Pelosi of having “cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment” and that she was “declaring open war on American Democracy” by pursuing his impeachment. He called it an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” and a “spiteful” “election-nullification scheme.” Trump also claimed that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.” Trump later told reporters in the Oval Office that he takes “zero” responsibility for the fact that he is about to be impeached. (NBC News / CNN / New York Times / Axios / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • READ: Trump’s letter to Pelosi. (Washington Post)

  • ANNOTATED: Trump’s letter to Pelosi. (Washington Post)

  • More than 700 historians and legal scholars published an open letter urging the House to impeach Trump, denouncing his conduct as “a clear and present danger to the Constitution.” (Washington Post)

3/ Rudy Giuliani confirmed that he needed the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to get “out of the way,” because she “was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.” Giuliani said he told Trump “a couple of times” that Marie Yovanovitch was impeding efforts that could benefit Trump politically. Trump then put Giuliani in touch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On March 28, Giuliani provided Pompeo with a dossier of evidence he had collected on the Bidens and Yovanovitch. Trump fired Yovanovitch in April. (New York Times / New Yorker)

  • Giuliani backtracked on his Yovanovitch assertion, instead claiming that she “needed to be removed for many reasons.” Giuliani – without evidence – accused Yovanovitch of “OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE” and for having “enabled Ukrainian collusion.” (NBC News)

  • A Russian disinformation campaign circulated false claims about Yovanovitch that led to her recall from the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. The disinformation campaign purported that Yovanovitch had given a “list of people whom we should not prosecute” to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko. The State Department has denied that such a list existed. (Washington Post)

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham invited Giuliani to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his recent trip to Ukraine. Giuliani traveled to Ukraine earlier this month to gather information intended to discredit the House’s impeachment probe. Giuliani was spotted at the White House last week. (Politico)

  • Russian state media called Trump their “Agent” after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Trump in the Oval Office. The network aired a segment called “Puppet Master and ‘Agent,’” which sought to explain “How to Understand Lavrov’s Meeting With Trump.” (Daily Beast)

  • A convicted Russian agent will become the host of an online video program for Russia’s state owned network RT. Maria Butina was released from a U.S. prison and deported to Russia in October. The U.S. intelligence community has called RT part of Russia’s “state-run propaganda machine.” (CNN)

4/ Giuliani claimed that Trump has been “very supportive” of his continued efforts to dig up dirt on Democrats in Ukraine. Giuliani suggested that Trump is aware of everything he has done in Ukraine, adding: “We’re on the same page.” Giuliani, however, declined to say if Trump directed him to go to Ukraine earlier this month. (CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1049: 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)

  • A Giuliani associate will be allowed to remain free on bail despite allegedly concealing a $1 million payment from Russia. Lev Parnas was charged with violating campaign finance laws and has been living under house arrest in Florida since October. Prosecutors said Parnas and Igor Fruman illegally funneled money into a pro-Trump election committee and to other politician. Parnas denied hiding the payment and both have pleaded not guilty. (NBC News / Reuters)

5/ The top U.S. diplomat for Ukraine will leave his post at the end of the year. Bill Taylor was a key witness in the congressional impeachment inquiry into Trump and described for Congress what he saw as Trump’s efforts to pressure Kyiv to go after political rivals. (New York Times / NBC News)

6/ Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was sentenced to 45 days in jail – to be served on weekends – and a $20,000 fine for conspiracy against the U.S. and lying to the FBI and Robert Mueller. Gates was also sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service. Gates cooperated extensively with the government after pleading guilty in February 2018. Federal sentencing guidelines recommend that Gates serve 46 to 57 months in prison. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / NBC News / Axios / New York Times)

  • Paul Manafort was hospitalized for a “cardiac event” while serving his seven-year sentence stemming from Robert Mueller’s investigation. Manafort is slated to be released from prison Christmas Day 2024. (ABC News / NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 819: Paul Manafort told Rick Gates to “sit tight” and not plead guilty because Trump is “going to take care of us.” Mueller’s report says “evidence […] indicates that the President intended to encourage Manafort to not cooperate with the government.” Gates ended up cooperating with Mueller.

7/ The House approved a $1.4 trillion spending package to avert a government shutdown and fund the federal government through September. The spending legislation will now move to the Senate, which must act before midnight on Friday, when existing funding for government agencies expires. Trump has not said whether he would support the packages. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)

8/ Trump now claims he doesn’t consider the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 to be a genocide after Turkey’s authoritarian president threatened to close an air base in Turkey that hosts U.S. nuclear warheads. In April, Trump called the genocide where 1.5 million Armenians were killed “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.” (BBC)

9/ A group of Republican Trump critics launched a super PAC to oppose Trump’s reelection. The Lincoln Project has reportedly raised more than $1 million so far to support their official mission, which is to “Defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box.” (CNBC / Associated Press)

poll/ 45% of Americans support impeaching Trump and removing him from office – down from 50% in November. 51% say Trump used the presidency improperly in his interactions with the President of Ukraine by attempting to gain political advantage against a possible 2020 rival. (CNN)

poll/ 49% of Americans say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46% say he should not. 49% say Trump improperly pressured Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, regardless of whether Trump committed an impeachable offense — 39% say Trump’s actions were not improper. (Washington Post)

poll/ 71% of Americans say Trump should allow his top aides to testify in the Senate trial, including 64% of Republicans, 72% of independents, and 79% of Democrats. 55% say Trump was treated fairly in the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committee hearings that led to the articles of impeachment against him. (ABC News)