Nov 8, 2019

The takeaways from the impeachment inquiry's closed-door phase

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

House Democrats head into next week's public stage of the impeachment inquiry armed with closed-door testimony from witnesses who mostly corroborated each other — and the whistleblower.

Why it matters: Democrats said this week they have no intention of pursuing subpoenas for former national security adviser John Bolton or his deputy, signaling they already believe they have enough evidence to proceed without hearing from White House witnesses who have refused to cooperate.

  • In fact, instead of fighting that defiance in court, Democrats plan to use the refusals as evidence of obstruction for a likely article of impeachment.

Here are the common facts we learned from the six transcripts released this week:

  • Career officials were disturbed by an irregular foreign policy channel toward Ukraine driven by Rudy Giuliani.
  • They largely viewed the allegations that led to the ouster of Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as a baseless smear campaign promoted by Giuliani, his associates and members of the right-wing media.
  • Witnesses acknowledge that there appeared to be a quid pro quo involving a White House visit for Ukraine’s president, conditioned on the announcement of investigations into President Trump's political opponents.
  • They differ on whether military aid was also used as leverage. But key diplomats intimately involved in discussions with Ukraine believe it was.

Go deeper ... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

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Swalwell says House Intel has evidence of Trump-Ukraine "extortion scheme"

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that the impeachment inquiry has uncovered evidence of an "extortion scheme" involving President Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to investigate his political opponents.

Go deeperArrowNov 10, 2019

Why the missing testimony from the impeachment inquiry matters

As impeachment moves into its next phase, House Democrats lack testimony from major players in the Trump administration about allegations that the president withheld military aid and a coveted White House meeting to pressure Ukraine into investigating his domestic political rivals.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Scoop: GOP outlines theory of impeachment defense in memo to members

Reps. Mark Meadows (L) and Jim Jordan (R). Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Republicans on the three House committees conducting the Trump-Ukraine investigation have settled on "four key pieces of evidence" that they claim will undermine Democrats' arguments for why the president should be impeached, according to a staff memo circulated to committee members Monday night.

Why it matters: The first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry will take place this week. The Republican memo previews how committee members plan to defend Trump on the substance of the Ukraine allegations, in addition to the "process" attacks on the Democratic-led inquiry that have defined much of the GOP's defense strategy thus far.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019