House Republicans Release Impeachment Report Defending Trump
As House Democrats push forward with their impeachment inquiry, House Republicans have released a 123-page report defending President Donald Trump.
Washington journalists called the GOP report a “pre-buttal to the Democrats’ not-yet-drafted articles of impeachment” and a “full-throated defense” of the president’s dealings with Ukraine.
You can read the report here.
Judge Denies Trump Attempt to Delay McGahn testimony
U.S. District Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson has denied the Trump administration’s request to stay an order requiring former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress while the administration appeals Jackson’s ruling to a higher court.
“Further delay of the Judiciary Committee’s enforcement of its valid subpoena causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation and the interests of the public more broadly,” Jackson wrote, noting also that delaying McGahn’s testimony “would impede an investigation that a committee of Congress is undertaking as part of an impeachment inquiry.”
The judge made clear that McGahn may still invoke executive privilege and refuse to answer Congressional questions during his testimony, but had previously rejected the Trump Justice Department’s argument that the president could give senior aides immunity from having to testify at all.
What additional charges might Giuliani allies Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman face from federal prosecutors?
A prosector said during a hearing today in Manhattan that additional charges were “likely.”
A Florida reporter suggests these charges might involve donations Parnas and Fruman made to Republicans in Florida: Ron DeSantis, now the state’s governor; Rick Scott, the former governor and now one of Florida’s senators, and Brian Mast, one of the state’s members of Congress.
Report: Republican committee debunked GOP Ukraine claim
As the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s president continues, Trump’s Republican allies have repeatedly claimed that the Ukrainian government tried to meddle in the 2016 election to favor Hillary Clinton.
That claim was “thoroughly investigated” and debunked by the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, Politico reports. The committee “found no evidence that Ukraine waged a top-down interference campaign akin to the Kremlin’s efforts to help Trump win in 2016.”
More from Politico here.
For Giuliani associates, ‘an upgraded indictment likely’
More details from federal court in Manhattan: A prosecutor said an upgraded indictment is likely in the criminal case against two Rudy Giuliani associates with ties to Ukraine, the Associated Press reports.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind made the prediction during a pretrial hearing Monday in the case against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The men are charged with using foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors say the donations were made while the men were lobbying U.S. politicians to oust the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
The arrest of Parnas and Fruman brought new scrutiny to Giuliani, a former New York City mayor who is President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. Giuliani has tried to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Trump’s potential Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Giuliani has said he knew nothing about illegal campaign donations.
The Trump administration has quietly released more than $100 million in military assistance to Lebanon after months of unexplained delay, the Associated Press reports.
The White House has yet to offer any explanation for the delay, despite repeated queries from Congress. Officials familiar with the matter told the Associated Press that, unlike Ukraine, there has been no suggestion that President Donald Trump is seeking “a favor” from Lebanon in exchange for the aid.
Democrats have released a list of witnesses for Wednesday’s hearing to review the evidence for impeaching the president, The Hill’s Olivia Beavers reports:
Georgia’s Republican governor is ignoring Donald Trump’s preference and appointing a financial services executive, Kelly Loeffler, to fill the senate seat left vacant when Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson retires for health reasons at the end of the year, according to news reports.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which broke the story, has more background on Loeffler, a multimillionaire with a history of donating to Democratic politicians.
Loeffler, the female CEO of a bitcoin business, is not beloved by more conservative Republican politicians in Georgia. But political analysts in the state see her as potentially “able to bring back suburban women who have left the Republican Party during the Trump administration,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Her personal wealth is also seen as a useful asset in funding the special election campaign to fill Isakson’s seat over the longer term.
In her application for the open senate job, Loeffler wrote that she would be a staunch ally of Trump, something conservatives have said they doubt.
“If chosen, I will stand with President Trump…to Keep America Great,” Loeffler wrote, according to Politico. “Together, we will grow jobs, strengthen the border, shutdown drug cartels and human traffickers, lower health care costs, and protect our national interests — at home and abroad.”
Trump wanted Georgia’s Republican governor to appoint Rep. Doug Collins, who is currently the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, who “could have been a potentially critical juror in any Senate impeachment trial,” Politico reported.
Isakson, 74, has been struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
At a court hearing in Manhattan, a federal prosecutor said there will “likely” be additional charges in the case against two associates of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Bloomberg News reports.
The two men pleaded not guilty in October to charges that they used foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions to politicians and committees to advance their business interests.
This is Lois Beckett, taking over our live politics coverage from our West Coast bureau.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom will travel to Iowa to campaign for Sen. Kamala Harris in mid-December as she tries to rebound amid a critical stretch in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Associated Press reports.
Harris has staked her campaign on a strong showing in Iowa and recently spent six days over the Thanksgiving holiday campaigning in the state. But she’s still stuck in single digits in most polls, far from the top of the pack that includes former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.