Nov 28, 2019

Trump is successfully running out the clock

President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, 13, leave the White House for Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump keeps losing in court, but his legal strategy is winning as he plays for time, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Even as the Democrats take Trump to court over ignored subpoenas, he benefits by letting it all bleed out slowly. Voters won't be learning new damaging facts about him before they hit the polls in 2020.

  • "Trump is winning despite losing" as court fights play out over impeachment testimony by former White House counsel Don McGahn, Trump’s financial records and grand-jury evidence in the Russia investigation.

Worth noting:

  • The WashPost reports "serious questions about the accuracy" of Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s account of a phone call in which Trump told him there was no quid pro quo: "[N]o other witness testimony or documents have emerged that corroborate Sondland’s description of a call that day."
  • "The Justice Department's inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016," people familiar with a draft of the report told the Times.

Go deeper

Highlights from Gordon Sondland's impeachment testimony

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday in one of the week's most-anticipated impeachment hearings.

Driving the news: In his opening statement, Sondland said that he worked with Rudy Giuliani "at the express direction" of President Trump on matters involving Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019

Trump's shifting story on his relationship with Gordon Sondland

Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday that he "doesn't know" EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland "very well."

Why it matters: It's the latest walk-back from the president about his relationship with Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Sondland says Ukraine quid pro quo "reflected Trump's desires and requirements"

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday that a quid pro quo conditioning a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a Ukrainian investigation into the Biden family's business dealings "reflected President Trump's desires and requirements."

Why it matters: This key point in Sondland's impeachment testimony could potentially be a turning point for Trump's support among Senate Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Axios' Jonathan Swan last month: "If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing."

Go deeper: Live updates on Sondland's impeachment testimony

Keep ReadingArrowNov 20, 2019