Key facts and latest news
- President Trump referred to the impeachment inquiry against him as a “lynching.”
- William Taylor, the top U.S. official in Ukraine, has arrived for his deposition before lawmakers behind closed doors on Tuesday.
- Russ Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), tweeted Monday morning that he and Mike Duffey, another top OMB official, will not comply with congressional requests for interviews.
- On a July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump urged Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
Washington — President Trump, in a tweet Tuesday morning, compared the impeachment inquiry against him to a “lynching,” a term often associated with the racially motivated killings of African Americans in the Jim Crow era.
“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching,” he wrote.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott defended Mr. Trump, while Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries called on Mr. Trump to apologize for equating the inquiry with the killing of thousands of African Americans in the U.S. in the decades following the Civil War.
On Tuesday morning, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine arrived at Capitol Hill to testify before House lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, the latest diplomatic official to appear before the committees despite a White House directive not to cooperate with investigators.
William Taylor, the U.S. chargé d’affaires in Kiev, was involved in the events at the center of the impeachment inquiry. In messages with other diplomats from August and September released earlier this month, Taylor raised concerns about the U.S. withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.
“I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor wrote to Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, two other officials who have testified before the committees.
Democrat on Taylor’s testimony: “My most disturbing day in Congress so far”
1:05 p.m.: Representative Andy Levin, a freshman Democrat from Michigan, emerged from the hearing room earlier where William Taylor is testifying, and said the U.S. diplomat’s account was “very troubling.”
“All I have to say is that in my 10 short months in Congress — it’s not even noon, right? — and this is my most disturbing day in Congress so far,” Levin said. — Kimberly Brown
White House spokesman defends Trump’s “lynching” comment
12:16 p.m.: Hogan Gidley, the principal deputy White House press secretary, claimed the president was not equating the impeachment inquiry with the brutal killing during Jim Crow.
“The president is not comparing what’s happened to him with one of our darkest moments in American history,” Gidley told reporters on the White House driveway. “What he is explaining clearly is the way he has been treated by the media since he announced for president.”
“What the president has done for the African American community is something no president has ever done in my lifetime,” Gidley claimed. — Stefan Becket
Jeffries calls on Trump to apologize for “lynching” tweet
10:49 a.m.: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, of New York, condemned Mr. Trump for his tweet comparing the impeachment inquiry to a “lynching.”
“Thousands of African Americans were slaughtered during the lynching epidemic in this country for no reason other than the color of their skin. The president should not compare a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry to such a dangerous and dark chapter of American history,” Jeffries said. “I hope that he will apologize.”
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in the House, said on CNN that lynching is “one word that no president ought to apply to himself.”
Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush, who has introduced a bill to make lynching a hate crime, called on Mr. Trump to delete the tweet.
“You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?” Rush said, quoting Mr. Trump’s tweet. “Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet.” — Grace Segers
You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?
Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet. https://t.co/oTMhWo4awR
— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) October 22, 2019
Bill Taylor arrives for deposition
9:30 a.m.: At about 9:22 a.m., Bill Taylor, the chargé d’affaires at the Ukrainian embassy in Kiev, arrived for his closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees. He did not answer questions from reporters as he walked by. — Rebecca Kaplan
Trump compares impeachment inquiry to “lynching”
8:00 a.m.: President Trump claimed Democrats are “lynching” him, carrying out their impeachment inquiry without due process. He tweeted early Tuesday, “So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!” Mr. Trump tweeted early Tuesday.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, defended Mr. Trump’s tweet, declaring it to be an “accurate” assessment.
“This is a lynching and in every sense this is un-American,” Graham said. — Emily Tillett
Volker testified Giuliani “poisoned” Trump’s view of Ukraine
8:45 a.m.: Kurt Volker, the former special representative to Ukraine, told the House committees leading the impeachment probe that he believed President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani had poisoned Mr. Trump’s view of Ukraine. One of Volker’s goals was to give the president a more positive view of the country.
Volker testified that he pushed for an Oval Office meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky because he thought if Mr. Trump met him in person, it would help sway the president’s opinion of Ukraine. — Arden Farhi
House Democrats block GOP resolution to censure Schiff
Monday, 7:12 p.m.: House Democrats on Monday blocked a vote on Republican resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff over his handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
Lawmakers voted to table the censure resolution, effectively killing it, by a vote of 218 to 185. The vote fell completely along party lines, with independent Representative Justin Amash, a former Republican, siding with the Democrats.
The measure was introduced last week by GOP Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. It cited several reasons for Schiff’s censure, including his recitation of an embellished account of the call between Mr. Trump and the president of Ukraine during a congressional hearing, his accusations that Mr. Trump was colluding with the Russians and contact between committee staff and the whistleblower. — Caroline Cournoyer
Read the full story here.
Romney calls Mulvaney’s comments a “real concern”
Monday, 6:06 p.m.: Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said Mulvaney’s comments on the delay in Ukraine aid were a “real concern,” but urged his fellow senators to “not jump to any conclusions” ahead of a potential trial in the Senate.
“Obviously what he said in the press conference was of real concern because he said, in effect, that they were holding up funding going to Ukraine, in part based upon a desire to have Ukraine carry out an investigation with regards to the 2016 election,” Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill. “And in holding up funds to a foreign nation, particularly one that’s under military threat, in order to fulfill a political purpose is a real problem.”
Romney said he thinks most senators “are looking at what’s going on in the House with interest, obviously with concern.”
“But ultimately we may well become a jury. And if that’s the case, I think people want to make their own decision and not jump to any conclusions at this early stage,” he said. — Alan He
2 officials to testify in the impeachment inquiry this week
Monday, 4:55 p.m.: In deference to services honoring the late Congressman Elijah Cummings, only two witnesses will appear before the committees leading the impeachment inquiry this week, according to an official working on the investigation:
- William Taylor, the chargé d’affaires in Ukraine who raised concerns about withholding military aid, is expected to appear in closed session on Tuesday.
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper is expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday.
Cummings, who died last week after battle long-standing health problems, will lie in state in Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Thursday, and his wake and funeral will be held Friday in Baltimore. — Rebecca Kaplan
Schumer inquires about protections for whistleblower
Monday, 3:50 p.m.: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is asking how the director of national intelligence and intelligence community inspector general are protecting the identity of the whistleblower who filed the complaint about the president’s dealings with Ukraine.
In a letter to Acting Director Joseph Maguire and Inspector General Michael Atkinson, Schumer said the president’s statements have put the whistleblower at risk of being exposed.
“The President has also incorrectly stated that he has a right to ‘confront’ the whistleblower, and has said that he is ‘trying to find out’ the whistleblower’s identity — notwithstanding the fact that whistleblower anonymity is protected by law,” Schumer wrote.
Schumer said he fears Mr. Trump “may disclose the whistleblower’s identity or cause it to be disclosed.” If it is, Schumer said the pair “must be prepared to protect the whistleblower from both workplace reprisal and threats to his or her personal safety.”
“I understand that some security measures may already have been taken, but I fear that risks may increase in the event that the whistleblower’s identity is disclosed,” the Democratic leader wrote. “I also note reports that one or more additional whistleblowers may be coming forward, creating added security concerns. I therefore ask that you inform me regarding your plans to ensure that these whistleblowers are adequately protected.” — Stefan Becket
OMB officials won’t comply with House depositions, acting director says
Monday, 12:35 p.m.: Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), tweeted Monday morning that he and Mike Duffey, another top OMB official, won’t comply with deposition requests.
“I saw some Fake News over the weekend to correct,” Vought wrote on Twitter. “As the WH letter made clear two weeks ago, OMB officials – myself and Mike Duffey – will not be complying with deposition requests this week. #shamprocess”
Vought took over for Mulvaney as acting director when Mulvaney became acting White House chief of staff. OMB was involved in delaying the release of military funding for Ukraine. — Kathryn Watson
The uncharted road to the impeachment and removal of a president
Monday, 12:13 p.m.: The three other times in which lawmakers filed articles of impeachment against presidents, targeting Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, offer insight into the mechanics of Congress’ extraordinary constitutional recourse to unseat the nation’s leader through democratic means.
The precedent they set is limited, however. One of the impeachment campaigns did not lead to a Senate trial and none of them resulted in a president’s conviction and removal from office. Because of this, part of the path to a president’s removal through an impeachment process remains uncharted territory.
With the help of experts of American politics and constitutional law, we have outlined what we know — and don’t know — about impeaching and removing a sitting president.
Read more here.