The Roundup: September 26 – October 2
This week, we learned that Trump’s breach of American national security for his personal gain is far more pervasive than the whistleblower complaint or the transcript of his call with the president of Ukraine revealed.
In addition to illegally pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, we now know that Trump has repeatedly reached out to foreign governments — including Australia, Italy, and the United Kingdom — to ask them to investigate U.S. government agencies in an effort to discredit the origins of the Mueller investigation. This is a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that Mueller’s two year probe found that Trump welcomed an attack on our democracy to sway the outcome of the 2016 election in his favor, then obstructed justice at least 10 times to cover it up.
And while all of the new revelations highlight how unfit Trump is to hold the highest office in the land, it’s important not to lose sight of the the high crime the House of Representatives is focused on: Threatening to withhold critical military aid from Ukraine unless they provided dirt on his potential 2020 challenger alone is an impeachable offense. These new revelations merely add to the totality of evidence that Trump should be removed from office.
Congress is on recess for the next two weeks, but the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into Trump is still unfolding at lightning speed.
The House is calling witnesses to testify behind closed doors, including the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, and they have subpoenaed Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for key documents related to Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine.
The drumbeat for impeachment is growing stronger by the day. This week, we even saw a few high-profile Republicans speak out in support of the inquiry — a sign that more conservative lawmakers might choose country over party in the coming weeks.
As always, the news is moving fast. Keep up with everything you need to know:
CBS News: Majority of Americans and Democrats approve of Trump impeachment inquiry
More than half of Americans — and an overwhelming number of Democrats — say they approve of the fact that Congress has opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The New York Times: Trump Pressed Australian Leader to Help Barr Investigate Mueller Inquiry’s Origins
Like [the Ukraine] call, Trump’s discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia shows him using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests. The discussion with Morrison shows the extent to which Trump views the attorney general as a crucial partner: Trump is using federal law enforcement powers to aid his political prospects, settle scores with his perceived “deep state” enemies, and show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt, partisan origins.
The Washington Post: Barr personally asked foreign officials to aid inquiry into CIA, FBI activities in 2016
The direct involvement of the nation’s top law enforcement official shows the priority Barr places on the investigation being conducted by John Durham, who has been assigned the sensitive task of reviewing U.S. intelligence work surrounding the 2016 election and its aftermath. Barr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter.
HuffPost: Mike Pompeo Confirms He Was On Trump’s Ukraine Call
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported Pompeo was on the call, central to the House impeachment proceedings against Trump. Pompeo was previously evasive about his involvement. He told ABC News host Martha Raddatz on Sept. 22 that he knew no specifics when asked about the whistleblower complaint revealing Trump’s behavior on the call.
NBC News: Former Ukraine envoy Volker to testify in impeachment inquiry on Thursday
Volker resigned his post on Friday, after he was named in the whistleblower complaint and after Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told reporters that Volker had encouraged him to speak to Ukrainian officials regarding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
USA Today: Democrats subpoena Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for Ukraine documents
In a letter to Giuliani, three House committee chairmen said a “growing public record” indicates that Trump, Giuliani and others appear to have “pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically-motivated investigations.”
The New York Times: House Threatens to Subpoena White House for Ukraine Records
“I do not take this step lightly,” Rep. Elijiah Cummings wrote. “Over the past several weeks, the committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — the committees.”
The Washington Post: Two Republican governors say they support impeachment inquiry of Trump
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, both outspoken critics of Trump from the Northeast, said Thursday they favored the investigation.