Wikipedia Exposed Media - WEM www.wikipediaexposed.org

FREEDOM TO PROVIDE FACTS, INFORMATION, OPINION AND DEBATE WIKIPEDIA EXPOSED MEDIA - TRUTHFUL NEWS MEDIA, ENCOURAGE OPEN DEBATE

Marie Yovanovitch, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine  returns for additional questioning after a break while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee

Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York. Parnas, a close associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has provided a trove of text

Who is Marie Yovanovitch?
Yovanovitch has served as ambassador under six different administrations.
By Stephanie Ebbs and Conor Finnegan
15 November 2019

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/marie-yovanovitch/story?id=67010459

Trump impeachment hearing key moments: D

ay 2Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee


Her friends and colleagues all know her as "Masha."
But to most of the rest of the world, she's Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat caught up in the blizzard of headlines about Ukraine and President Donald Trump's possible impeachment.
Until a few months ago, she was the tough-minded U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, living in the embassy in Kyiv with her mother Nadia and her dog Scout, she said in a 2017 interview.

Then, her whole world changed.
Now, she's telling her story about being smeared and threatened to millions of Americans watching the House impeachment hearings on television.
Yovanovitch has served under the past six administrations -- both Republican and Democrat -- and won high praise, including the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award six times and the State Department's Superior Honor Award five times. She was nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia by George W. Bush and to Ukraine by Barack Obama.
But earlier this year, Yovanovitch was attacked in conservative media and by Ukraine's former public prosecutor, who accused her of giving him a "do not prosecute" list and blocking him from traveling to the U.S. to investigate Democrats after she publicly criticized the country's lack of progress in tackling corruption.

The State Department and U.S. embassy went on record to deny the allegations, and the prosecutor later recanted them. But Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have repeated them, and they may have influenced Trump's decision to recall Yovanovitch early from her post in May.
She learned only in late September, when the White House released a memo of Trump's now infamous July 25 with Ukraine's president, that the president called her "bad news," saying she was "going to go through some things."

Since then, Yovanovitch, who just turned 61, indeed, has been going through "some things."
Still an active Foreign Service officer, she's been teaching at Georgetown University while the scandal unfolded across Washington -- her name, her photo, and the accusations, coming up repeatedly in news accounts and on television.

She was heralded as a hero when she complied with a House subpoena in defiance of the White House -- the first current administration official to do so -- marching to Capitol Hill on Oct. 11 to speak to House impeachment investigators behind closed doors.
She learned about being a survivor from her parents, whom she credits as teaching her the values of "freedom and democracy the U.S. represents."
They emigrated to North America in the 1940s -- fleeing Nazi and communist regimes in Europe. Young Masha grew up in Kent, Connecticut, according to The Middletown Press, where her parents taught foreign languages at a private boarding school.
"My parents survived poverty, war, and displacement," she said at her confirmation hearing in 2016. "They finally arrived in the United States with me in tow in search of freedom, accountability, and opportunity, the very values that Ukrainians demanded in the revolution of dignity."
She told a Connecticut newspaper in 2005 that she first thought about working abroad when she was in school but didn't pursue it until years later, after studying in Moscow and working in advertising in New York. She joined the Foreign Service in 1986.
Yovanovitch previously worked at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine as the second-in-command, serving as deputy chief of mission in the early 2000s, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe.

In her confirmation hearing to head back to Kyiv as ambassador, she said she has actively promoted human rights and democracy throughout her career. In fact, she's received multiple awards for doing so, including a Diplomacy for Human Rights Award, for working to free political prisoners in Armenia in 2008. She also advocated to free an imprisoned whistleblower in Armenia in 2011.
Former Ambassador to Bulgaria Nancy McEldowney has described Yovanovitch as a "professional of impeccable integrity, someone with a stellar career that has never had the slightest suggestion of impropriety."

In 2017, Yovanovitch told The News-Times in Danbury, Connecticut, she was simply doing what she loved.
"I am biased, of course, but I think that working for the State Department is so rewarding. There really isn't a higher purpose than to represent the United States abroad," she said.


(MORE: Former Ukraine ambassador felt threatened, told to 'watch my back': Deposition)

(MORE: Former Ukraine ambassador felt threatened, told to 'watch my back': Deposition)

(MORE: Former ambassador to Ukraine says Trump had her removed based on 'false claims')

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell arrives at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington.Alex Wong/Getty Images

"On December 18th the House of Representatives impeached the president of the United States — an impeachment that would last forever," Speaker Pelosi says ahead of announcing impeachment trial managers. https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN

Mike Pompe-Secretary of State answers questions on stage during an event at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Jan. 13, 2020

​Philip Pacheco/AFP via Getty Images

Chuck Schumer Senate Minority Leader holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Dec. 16, 2019, in Washington, DC.Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Exclusive: Trump speaks to Maria amid Senate impeachment trial
Fox News

Rep. Val Demings questions Intelligence Committee Minority Counsel Stephen Castor and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman during the House impeachment inquiry hearings, Dec. 9, 2019 in Washington.Doug Mills/Pool/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump addresses the nation on Jan. 8, 2020 in Washington.

Sipa USA via USA Today Network, FILE

Trump Attorneys Consider Retooling Arguments After Bolton Revelations

President Trump ousted National Security Adviser John Bolton Tuesday noting that he "disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions." WSJ's Gerald F. Seib highlights six key disagreements they had. Photo: Bloomberg (Originally published Sept. 10, 2019)

Articles of impeachment delivered to Senate, triggering historic trial of President Trump
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House was holding the president "accountable."
By Benjamin Siegel, John Parkinson and  Stephanie Ebbs - 15 January 2020, 
15 January 2020, 

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-impeachment-live-updates-house-votes-send-articles/story?id=68277959


House sends articles of impeachment to SenateHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally set in motion the process of sending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-impeachment-live-updates-house-votes-send-articles/story?id=68277959

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday formally set in motion the process of sending the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, triggering a historic trial set to begin on Thursday.
At an "engrossment" signing ceremony for the House resolution naming the seven impeachment managers -- the lawmakers who will present the House case as prosecutors at the trial -- Pelosi said the House was doing its "constitutional duty."


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks before she signs the resolution to transmit the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Susan Walsh/AP

"Today, we will make history," she said, "when we walk down -- when the managers walk the hall, they will cross a threshold in history, delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House."

The two U.S House of Representatives articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump await the signature of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before an engrossment ceremony at the U.S.... more
The two U.S House of Representatives articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump await the signature of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before an engrossment ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Leah Millis/Reuters
"This president will be held accountable," she said.
ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics


BREAKING: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ahead of signing resolution sending articles of impeachment to the Senate: "Today we will make history."
"As we make that history, we will be making progress for the American people." https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN
10:24 PM - Jan 15, 2020

After signing the resolution, she handed out the pens she used to the managers.
House Managers walk to the US Senate to deliver the Articles of Impeachment against US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington, DC.


Then, marking the somber nature of the occasion, the managers silently walked the articles, in two blue folders, across the Capitol from the House to the Senate, where the House clerk announced their arrival. The Senate will formally accept them on Thursday.
ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics
"Mr. President, I have been directed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate the House has passed H.Res.798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers for the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, president of the United States." https://abcn.ws/3agvKd
10:42 PM - Jan 15, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would convene at noon after which the managers will read the articles aloud, Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in and he, in turn, will swear in senators to serve as jurors in the case.
ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "This is a difficult time for our country—but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate. I'm confident this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever, and serve the long-term best interests of our nation."
10:52 PM - Jan 15, 2020
"Let me close with this," McConnell said. "This is a difficult time for our country. But this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate. I am confident this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever and serve the long-term best interests of our nation.
"We can do this. And we must," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 228-193 to formally send the impeachment charges against President Trump to the Senate to begin the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.
The House resolution officially appoints the seven managers, named by Pelosi Wednesday morning.
MORE: House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

In the morning, shortly after being named an impeachment manager, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler submitted the text of a resolution that spells out the managers’ duties.
The House of Representatives discusses the resolution to transmit articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.
The House of Representatives discusses the resolution to transmit articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.ABC News
During the short floor debate before the vote, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took aim at the managers appointed by Pelosi, as they sat in front of him, listening.

"By selecting this particular batch of managers, the speaker has further proven she's not interested in winning the minds, the hearts, or even following the Constitution," he said, calling out Nadler, and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, specifically.
ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy slams Democrats as they debate impeachment resolution to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate: "Back when this national nightmare began, Speaker Pelosi laid bare her intentions and purely partisan agenda." https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN

6:28 PM - Jan 15, 2020
He criticized Pelosi's comments this morning about Trump being impeached "forever," accusing her of playing politics.
"The speaker said, 'The President is impeached forever.' Is this what this is all about?" he said. Pelosi pumped her fist in the air as McCarthy quoted her.
There were about 140 members of the public watching from the galleries.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives as lawmakers take up a resolution to transmit impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the U.S.... more

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives as lawmakers take up a resolution to transmit impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate, in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.ABC News
When it was her turn, Pelosi, standing next to a poster showing the American flag and a quote from the Pledge of Allegiance, ended debate by denouncing Trump's actions and defending the timing of the impeachment proceedings in the House.

"It is a fact that once somebody is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased. I know you don't like hearing that," Pelosi said to McCarthy.
Trump, she said, "gave us no choice" on impeachment.
"They would have liked us to send this over on Christmas Eve so they could dismiss it. Perhaps they don't know that dismissal is a cover-up."
ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "When the president of the United States has said Article Two says I can do whatever I want—that's a monarchy. That is not a republic that we pledge our allegiance to." https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN
6:15 PM - Jan 15, 2020

President Trump, participating in a signing ceremony of an agreement between the United States and China at the White House, observed some Republicans in the audience and directed them to go vote against the resolution.

"It's on the impeachment hoax," Trump said of the resolution. "It's not going to matter 'cause it's going very well, but I'd rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you. They have a hoax going on over there, let's take care of it."

"Resolved, That Mr. Schiff, Mr. Nadler, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Jeffries, Mrs. Demings, Mr. Crow, and Ms. Garcia of Texas are appointed managers to conduct the impeachment trial against Donald John Trump, President of the United States, that a message be sent to the Senate to inform the Senate of these appointments, and that the managers so appointed may, in connection with the preparation and the conduct of the trial, exhibit the articles of impeachment to the Senate and take all other actions necessary…," the resolution states, formally naming each impeachment manager.
The resolution goes on to authorize "employing legal, clerical, and other necessary assistants and incurring such other expenses as may be necessary, to be paid from amounts available to the Committee on the Judiciary under applicable expense resolutions or from the applicable accounts of the House of Representatives."
In other words, the costs of the House participation in the Senate trial will be covered by the Judiciary Committee.

The measure also authorizes "sending for persons and papers, and filing with the Secretary of the Senate, on the part of the House of Representatives, any pleadings, in conjunction with or subsequent to, the exhibition of the articles of impeachment that the managers consider necessary."
Pelosi will sign the bill at a 5 p.m. engrossing ceremony in the Capitol, before the managers carry out the ritual of marching across the Capitol to present the bill to the Senate secretary.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.Susan Walsh/AP
Earlier, as she named the managers, Pelosi, with Schiff and Nadler at her side, began by saying "an impeachment will last forever."
Schiff and Nadler will be two of the mangers, Schiff designated by Pelosi as the lead manager.
ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics

"On December 18th the House of Representatives impeached the president of the United States — an impeachment that would last forever," Speaker Pelosi says ahead of announcing impeachment trial managers. https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN
3:18 PM - Jan 15, 2020

"This is a very important day for us," she said.

"Time has been our friend in all this," she added, noting what she called the new "incriminating" evidence that has surfaced in the month since the House impeachment vote on Dec. 18, including new documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

Schiff said that bombshell new evidence, revealed by the House just Tuesday night, must be considered by the Senate.

ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics

Rep. Adam Schiff says delay in transmitting impeachment articles put pressure on senators for a "fair trial": "Do they want a fair trial—one that's fair to the president but also fair to the American people—or are they going to participate in a cover-up?" https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN

3:34 PM - Jan 15, 2020

Schiff added that documents will be just as important as any witnesses, citing a letter Giuliani sent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and what it said about his having Trump's blessing.

"If the Senate wants to see the evidence, they should demand to see the documents," he said.
Democrats further pushed back on the comparison to the Clinton trial precedent, pointing to the fact that during Clinton, the Senate had the full record thanks to the Starr investigation and the House investigation.
Nadler also batted down the early suggestion from Republicans that former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, should be called, saying he wouldn't be considered a relevant witness.
"It's important for the president to know and Vladimir Putin to know that the American voters decide who are president is. We wouldn't be in this situation had we not waited and insist that there be witnesses and we see documentation," Pelosi said.

Other managers Pelosi named were Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren of California, Sylvia Garcia of Texas and Jason Crow of Colorado.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announces impeachment managers for the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announces impeachment managers for the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Pelosi said she chose members of Congress with experience as litigators who are comfortable in a courtroom setting and making a strong, evidence-based case.
"The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people," she said.

ABC News Politics✔@ABCPolitics
BREAKING: Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces impeachment managers for Senate trial: "The emphasis is on litigators. The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution." https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN
3:23 PM - Jan 15, 2020
When asked about the delay in transferring the articles, Schiff said the extra time helped Democrats make the case for a trial in the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially said he would support efforts to dismiss the case.

"If McConnell makes this the first trial in history without witnesses it will be exposed for what it is and that's an effort to cover up for the president," Schiff said.
"Dismissal is cover-up," Pelosi added.
"It is essential we bring this impeachment to stop the president from rigging the next election," Nadler said.

Pelosi ended the announcement by warning that should the Senate fall short of a full trial, it wouldn't overshadow the House's impeachment vote - just the third in American history.
"He has been held accountable. He has been impeached forever. They can never erase that," Pelosi said.
There have been 20 presidential impeachment managers in American history; all of them have been white men

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the House of Representatives managers for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump during a news conference at the U.S.... more
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the House of Representatives managers for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Pelosi's team has three women: Demings, Lofgren and Sylvia Garcia.

There are two freshman lawmakers on the team: Crow, a former Army Ranger and lawyer, and Garcia.

Crow helped write the pivotal Washington Post op-ed with other freshman in September in favor of impeachment that was seen as turning the tide in favor of impeachment in the caucus. He's the only manager who is not a member of the Judiciary or Intelligence Committees. Demings, the former police chief of Orlando, is on both panels.

Lofgren is a veteran of three impeachments: She was a Judiciary Committee staffer during Watergate, and served on the panel during Clinton's impeachment.
Though the House voted to impeach Trump in December, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Pelosi withheld delivering the charges to the Senate, saying she wanted McConnell to first outline the rules of the trial and commit to bringing key witnesses before the Senate to testify, including former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.

While McConnell resisted Pelosi's pressure campaign, a number of Senate Republicans have expressed interest in voting to hear from witnesses after the initial opening arguments. And McConnell has ruled out dismissing the charges against Trump at the start of proceedings, a move that Democrats feared would circumvent an airing of the charges against the president.
"The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial," Pelosi wrote in a statement released on Tuesday.
Shortly after word came about the planned House vote, McConnell took to the Senate floor to lambaste what he called an "arbitrary" month-long delay in sending over the articles.
The delay has impacted the plans of the several Senate Democrats running for president, forcing them to adjust their campaign schedules leading up to the Iowa caucuses early next month.

McConnell said arguments in the Senate trial are expected to begin next Tuesday.

Removal from office would require 67 senators voting in favor of conviction, constituting a simple majority of the body. That means at least 20 Republicans would need to turn against the president, assuming all Democrats vote to convict.

MORE: House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

MORE: Trump assembles impeachment legal team as Senate trial nears

Giuliani associate Parnas texted with Trump campaign donors, including about Ukraine efforts
“It was all about 2020 ... another four years,” Lev Parnas said.
By Soo Rin Kim and Olivia Rubin - 19 January 2020


https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/giuliani-associate-parnas-texted-trump-campaign-donors-including/story?id=68358361


Parnas has said he would willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.


Lev Parnas says Trump knew about Ukraine pressure campaign

This comes as the articles of impeachment were delivered to the Senate. ABC News’ Megan Tevrizian reports.

Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas was in contact with at least two major Trump campaign donors-- one with an official role in the Republican National Committee-- during his efforts to pressure Ukraine into opening politically motivated investigations, documents released by the House Intelligence committee this week revealed.

Parnas' interactions with the two men, Harry Sargeant III and Tommy Hicks Jr. -- who have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fundraising vehicles for the president -- provides more fuel to assertions by the president’s critics that political motives – and not the nation’s foreign policy goals -- drove the efforts in Ukraine.

In an interview on CNN on Thursday, Parnas confirmed his work in Ukraine was all about ensuring President Trump remained in office.

“It was all about 2020, to make sure he had another four years,” Parnas said. “That was the way everybody viewed it. That was the most important thing, for him to stay on for another four years and keep the fight going. I mean, there was no other reason for doing it.”

Lev Parnas arrives at Federal Court on Dec.17, 2019 in New York City.

Lev Parnas arrives at Federal Court on Dec.17, 2019 in New York City.Stephanie Keith/Getty Images, FILE

A friend with a jet

The identity of those financing the work by Guiliani and Parnas during the months they spent traveling to Ukraine, Austria, and elsewhere, has remained largely opaque. Giuliani at one point told Reuters that the president was not paying for any of their efforts to see Biden investigated in Ukraine.

“Nobody pays my expenses,” Giuliani said in a Reuters interview in September. “What does it matter if I’m getting paid for it. Isn’t the real story whether he (Biden) sold out the vice presidency of the United States, not whether I got paid for it?”

The messages released on Wednesday suggest that Parnas was receiving at least some support from Sargeant, a Florida-based oil executive and former state Republican Party’s finance chairman, who was funding at least some of Parnas' flights as he assisted Giuliani's efforts abroad.

In a message dated April 10, Parnas asks Sargeant about a trip that "just got canceled, adding that "we have people scheduled to meet on Saturday in Vienna."

"Just becoming expensive flying u guys everywhere LEV," Sargeant replied.

Parnas subsequently told Sargeant that "we" are paying him back for the flights and that he was “never expecting [Sargeant] to pay for it." According to House investigators, Parnas flew to Ukraine four days after this conversation.

In another message, Parnas asks Sargeant to “approve” for his associate named Dave “to pay for car service on cc [credit card],” saying he got a “deal” from “Rudy’s guys” on lodging and taxis. Sargeant – an ultra-wealthy energy mogul -- replies, “Don’t bother w this stuff pls.”

It also remains unclear how involved Sargeant was in directing Parnas’s efforts, though text messages between the two men suggest Sargeant was aware of Parnas’s activities. At one point, Parnas invited Sargeant to meet him in Ukraine, to which Sargeant responded, “I could leave Thur and be there Friday maybe.” Parnas then said, “I think first Vienna and than Ukraine.” At another point, Parnas sent Sargeant a photo he described as a “Team trump dinner celebration” and wrote: “I’m official part of team trump tomorrow big day my brother I’ll call you tomorrow.”

MORE: Witness Giuliani? What the latest evidence tells us about Trump's lawyer

The two also exchanged articles about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, and about the then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, with Parnas telling Sargeant he has some “juicy stuff” and that a “bomb is dropping.” When Yovanovitch is recalled to Washington in May, Sargeant texted Parnas with his reaction: "Perfect."


Sargeant's attorney Chris Kise told ABC News his client has not been to Ukraine in over a decade for any purpose. In a statement, Kise denied Sargeant had any involvement in any plan to remove Yovanovitch and said Sargeant loaned money for Parnas' air travel, but never offered to pay for it outright.

"As is evident from the texts, Mr. Sargeant loaned Lev Parnas small sums for travel expenses because Mr. Parnas claimed, perhaps falsely, he was broke, and promised to pay the funds back," Kise said. "But despite repeated requests by Mr. Sargeant, and continual promises of repayment by Lev Parnas, Mr. Parnas never repaid these expenses.”

Sargeant's name has also surfaced in news reports and impeachment inquiry witnesses' testimonies related to Parnas and Fruman’s to attempts to reshape the leadership of Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz in pursuit of natural gas business in Ukraine. Sargeant’s lawyer at that time denied his client’s involvement in any Ukraine energy ventures.

“Power Breakfast”

Other material released by the House this week shows Parnas in contact with several people who play prominent roles in the president’s fundraising and re-election effort. Those includes texts between Parnas and Hicks Jr., a friend of Donald Trump Jr., who is the co-chairman of the RNC and chairman of pro-Trump super PAC American First Action.

Parnas and Hicks were in contact for at least four months, messages show, as the scheme to oust then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yavnovotich and pressure Ukraine to announce political investigations unfolded. At times, Hicks and Parnas exchanged articles about the Biden campaign and Ukranian election meddling conspiracy theories. Hicks appeared to offer Parnas guidance.

"Editor and owner of Daily Caller is a friend," Hicks told Parnas in a message alongside an article about Nellie Ohr and Fusion GPS. "We should let him know what we know at the right time," he suggested.

"100%," Parnas replied.

The messages also suggest the two joined conference calls to discuss the efforts.

"Great job on the conference call!," Parnas praised Hicks in one exchange. "Thanks," Hicks replied. "Short and sweet!"

Hicks at times appeared to want to keep his distance from Parnas, stating he wanted to "keep [his] hands clean" when Parnas asked him to retweet a since-deleted Sean Hannity tweet.

MORE: Ukraine police investigating possible surveillance of Yovanovitch, Russian hacking

But Parnas kept Hicks up to date on the status of his efforts in Ukraine, informing Hicks in March that something was going to "break tomorrow.” In May, Parnas told Hicks the ambassador "just got recalled."

Just a few weeks later, Parnas posted a photo on Facebook showing him at a breakfast with Hicks, alongside Donald Trump Jr. and fellow Giuliani associate Igor Fruman.

Parnas referred to the meeting as a "Power breakfast."

ABC News made attempts to reach Hicks by phone at his home and at the RNC but was not able to reach him for comment

“Have jr retweeted it”?

Parnas also kept in touch with America First Action's director of development Joseph Ahearn, who kept Donald Trump Jr. updated on Ukraine matters, messages released by House committees this week show.
In a message dated March 20, 2019, Ahearn asks Parnas, "What should I send don to tweet" and Parnas sends a series of tweets and articles related to Ukraine officials' probe into U.S. elections. Parnas then asks Ahearn, "Have jr retweeted it" and Ahearn replies, "Sent."
Donald Trump Jr. retweeted one of the articles Parnas sent to Ahearn around the same time.

In another series of messages, Parnas also sent Ahearn a New York Times article from May that links Parnas to Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine for the first time, to which Ahearn says, "They started naming you here. Are you okay?"
Shortly after Parnas and Fruman were named as part of the House impeachment inquiry, the two were indicted in a separate campaign finance violation case in the Southern District of New York on charges related to alleged illegal straw contributions and foreign contributions. They both pleaded not guilty. Among Parnas' donations mentioned in the indictment is a $325,000 contribution to America First Action. Prosecutors accuse Parnas and Fruman of falsely reporting the origin of the payment as under the name of “Global Energy Producers.”

Of numerous outside groups raising and spending money to support President Trump’s re-election bid, America First Action is the sole outside group the president has officially endorsed and approved as the “trusted supporter of President Trump’s policies and agendas.”
ABC News reached out to America First Action for comment but received no response.


Parnas’s expanded political outreach
As an ardent supporter of Trump since the early days of his 2016 campaign, Parnas’s contact with wealthy Trump donors stretched far beyond his activities in Ukraine this year. But his donation to America First Action in early 2018 afforded him a new level of access to exclusive high-dollar events.
MORE: As impeachment inquiry goes public, federal prosecutors quietly investigate Giuliani

Parnas has since acquainted himself with a host of President Trump’s wealthy supporters at close-door donor events, and then touted those very connections to pursue his personal business interests as well as political interests. During an interview on CNN, Parnas said he had so many photos of himself with Trump-world insiders hanging in his house, his wife thought it looked like a “shrine” to the President.

In 2018, Parnas cultivated a relationship and secured a $500,000 loan from New York-based lawyer and Trump donor Charles Gucciardo, his attorney told ABC News. Gucciardo's lawyer Randy Zelin said his client then gave the money to Giuliani, which kicked off the business relationship between the two in the fall of 2018. No apparent connection has been made between Gucciardo’s loan and Parnas's specific efforts in Ukraine.
Zelin told ABC News that his client made the payment as a "passive investor" in Parnas and Fruman’s company, called Fraud Guarantee, and that he decided to invest in the company because of an endorsement from Giuliani.

"Mr. Gucciardo invested because he believed that Mr. Giuliani – the former Mayor of New York City; former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and, the first name in cybersecurity -- was in front of, behind, and alongside the Company which would catapult the Company into the world of cybersecurity and investor protection," Zelin said in an email.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement this week the additional documents corroborate a matter central to the congressional impeachment against the president: Parnas' alleged scheme to "coerce Ukraine into helping cheat him in the next election."
"The additional documents and information about potential witnesses that have become available over the last several weeks only underscore the importance of a fair trial and a Senate that is open to hearing all of the evidence," Schiff said in the statement.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also stressed the importance of calling witnesses in the upcoming Senate trial in a statement to ABC News.
"This is how criminal conspiracies work: Everyone is committing crimes and eventually those implementing the crimes turn in those who ordered it from the top," Murphy said in the statement. "Everything Lev Parnas has said thus far lines up with what we've heard throughout the House investigation, but if the White House and Republicans believe differently, they should actually call witnesses and additional documents so we can hold a real trial."

Parnas has said he would willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.

MORE: Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas speaks again: 'It was all about 2020'

Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas speaks again: 'It was all about 2020'
The statement from Lev Parnas came on his second night of TV interviews.
By Olivia Rubin and Soo Rin Kim - 17 January 2020, 


https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/giulianis-associate-lev-parnas-speaks-2020/story?id=68340258

17 January 2020,

Trump impeachment trial launches in SenateA critical confrontation is shaping up between Republican and Democratic senators over whether any witnesses will be called.


Trump impeachment trial launches in SenateA critical confrontation is shaping up between Republican and Democratic senators over whether any witnesses will be called.Seth Wenig/AP, File
Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani’s former business associate, said on CNN Thursday night that his view of his and Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine was that “it was all about 2020, to make sure [Trump] had another four years.”
“That’s the way everybody viewed it,” Parnas said. "There was no other reason for doing it."
The statement came during Parnas’s second night of back-to-back television interviews, during which he implicated President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Devin Nunes, and the Trump legal team in activities central to the House impeachment investigation and Trump's Senate trial.

In Parnas ' second night appearing on MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show" Thursday, he alleged that former Energy Secretary Rick Perry also played a direct role in the plan to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into opening an investigation into former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Parnas said that Perry called Giuliani when Perry was on his way to Zelenskiy 's inauguration "to ask him what to discuss, and Rudy told him to make sure to give [Zelenskiy] the message" that Zelenskiy should announce the opening of an investigation into Biden.

Perry then called Giuliani after the inauguration to confirm "that he spoke to Zelenskiy, and Zelenskiy's going to do it,” Parnas alleged.


In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York. Parnas, a close associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has provided a trove of text... more
In this Dec. 2, 2019, file photo, Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York. Parnas, a close associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has provided a trove of text messages and photos to the House committee leading the impeachment inquiry.Seth Wenig/AP, File
The effort did lead Zelesnkiy to make a general announcement about investigating corruption -- but when it didn't mention Biden, "Giuliani blew his lid," Parnas said.
It “wasn't supposed to be a corruption announcement," Parnas said. "It had to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma.”
Parnas said that this happened on several occasions. "Every time somebody would meet Zelenskiy" to press him to announce a Biden investigation, Parnas said, Zelenskiy would "agree -- and then [he] would walk it back."

Perry, who has been described by colleagues as one of the "three amigos" in the Trump administration's policy on Ukraine, has insisted that he's "extremely comfortable" that there was no quid pro quo, saying he had only been focused on addressing corruption in Ukraine and encouraging American companies to do business there.
He said that, at the time, he encouraged the president to call Zelenskiy "multiple times" during a press conference in Lithuania, but said that he never encouraged Trump to talk about the Biden family.
"Not once, as God as my witness, not once was a Biden name -- not the former vice president, not his son -- ever mentioned," Perry said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in October.
Parnas, during Thursday's CNN interview, also stressed that he would be “very willing” to testify at the Senate impeachment trial and that he would be the “best witness.”
"I should be their No. 1 witness, because I'm the one that got all the dirt," Parnas said. "Why do they need Biden? Call me."

When asked why he hasn't been asked to testify, Parnas said, "I think they're afraid of me."

Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In this file photo dated Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.Andrew Harnik/AP, File

During both the CNN and MSNBC interviews, Parnas detailed a specific conversation he said he had with the president about then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Parnas said he recalled sitting with Trump at a super PAC dinner and saying something negative about Yovanovitch to Trump, saying that prompted Trump to immediately turn to an adviser and say, "fire her.”
Parnas said Pompeo and then-National Security Adviser John Bolton refused to fire Yovanovitch despite being repeatedly pushed by the president. Parnas said he thought it was becoming “comical.”

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Friday morning, Pompeo said he hadn't heard about a purported surveillance of Yovanovitch that came to public attention after a series of messages released by House committees showed Parnas and his associate Robert Hyde discussing security details of the former ambassador.
"Until this story broke, I had, to the best of my recollection, had never heard of this at all," Pompeo said asked if he was aware of the surveillance. Also asked if he knew Parnas, Pompeo said, "Never met him."
In another interview with radio host Tony Katz, Pompeo said the State Department will look into the alleged surveillance on Yovanovitch.
"We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there," Pompeo said. "I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as Secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate."

Parnas’ interview appearances have touched off a new round of debate among lawmakers over the need for witnesses at the impeachment trial. Democrats argue that Parnas' first-hand account would be important testimony, while Republicans have remained largely unmoved.

During his first appearance with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Parnas said he believes "President Trump knew exactly what was going on" with Parnas' activities in Ukraine, including his efforts to have Yovanovich removed from her post as the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv.
"[President Trump] was aware of all of my movements," Parnas said. "I wouldn’t do anything without the help of Rudy Giuliani or the president."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answers questions on stage during an event at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Jan. 13, 2020.
Pressed on the president’s insistence that he does not know him, Parnas said, "He lied."

Reactions to Parnas’ claims differed sharply.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, in a statement Thursday morning, attacked Parnas' credibility and dismissed his claims by insisting the president did nothing wrong.

"These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison," Grisham said in the statement. "The facts haven’t changed -- the President did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats, has been a sham from the start."

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, however, said that Parnas’ claims raised “lots of serious questions,” and Sen. Chris Murphy said Parnas’ statements “fit neatly into what we’ve already heard.”

Separate from the House impeachment probe, Parnas last year was charged in the Southern District of New York with circumventing campaign finance laws to channel foreign money into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. He has pleaded not guilty.


MORE: Articles of impeachment delivered to Senate, triggering historic trial of President Trump

MORE: Bolton emerges as impeachment trial wild-card, putting pressure on GOP to allow witnesses: ANALYSIS

MORE: Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he’s confident there was no 'quid pro quo' in Ukraine

​MORE: Articles of impeachment delivered to Senate, triggering historic trial of President Trump

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy slams Democrats as they debate impeachment resolution to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate: "Back when this national nightmare began, Speaker Pelosi laid bare her intentions and purely partisan agenda." https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN

BREAKING: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ahead of signing resolution sending articles of impeachment to the Senate: "Today we will make history."
"As we make that history, we will be making progress for the American people." https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN

File photos of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, Nov. 15, 2019, in Washington.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi House Speaker of Calif., speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

Susan Walsh/AP

​​​HIGHLIGHTS of The Impeachment Trial of President Trump 
​The Wall Street Journal

Jan 25, 2020 at 2:15 pm ET
Updated Main Story: Defense Begins Its Argument in a Shortened Saturday Session
President Trump’s legal team accused Democrats of failing to make a case for removing the president from office, arguing at Saturday’s session of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial that his interactions with Ukraine were in the national interest.
Trump’s Defense Addresses Democrats’ Charges
The president’s legal team opened its defense on the Senate floor in a truncated session that members of the team said will offer a preview of next week’s more comprehensive arguments.

READ FULL ARTICLE
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-defense-set-to-address-democrats-charges-11579948201?mod=livecoverage_web

Rep. Adam Schiff says delay in transmitting impeachment articles put pressure on senators for a "fair trial": "Do they want a fair trial—one that's fair to the president but also fair to the American people—or are they going to participate in a cover-up?" https://abcn.ws/3agvKdN

Jeffrey Epstein Death: 2 Guards Slept Through Checks and Falsified Records

 Lev Parnas, Ukrainian-American businessman, an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, exits after a bail hearing at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, Dec. 17, 2019.Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters, FILE

USA President Donald John Trump and John Bolton

​Trump Attorneys Consider Retooling Arguments After Bolton Revelations

Follow our live analysis of President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, where he faces allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Wall Street Journal

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/trump-impeachment-trial/card/1580136862

Inside the White House, President Trump’s attorneys were considering retooling their arguments to address the question of whether the Senate should seek testimony from John Bolton and others, according to people familiar with the planning.
Among other lines, they may argue that the Justice Department quickly disputed Mr. Bolton’s account of sharing concerns about the Ukraine matter with Attorney General William Barr, and that the Senate should focus on evidence already vetted in the House’s impeachment process, the people said.
White House officials said they heard from concerned senators and their aides throughout Sunday evening about Mr. Bolton’s book. Some of those administration officials predicted the uproar would subside in the coming days. Many Trump administration officials are accustomed to shocking headlines related to the White House that bring intense bursts of pressure only to fade as other issues arise.
On Twitter, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said: "If there is a desire and decision by the Senate to call Democratic witnesses, then at a minimum the Senate should allow President Trump to call all relevant witnesses he has requested."
-- Michael C. Bender
​​


White House former national security adviser John Bolton delivers remarks on North Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Sept. 30, 2019.
White House former national security adviser John Bolton delivers remarks on North Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Sept. 30, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE

Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, reacts while testifying before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announces impeachment managers for the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney departs after the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump ended for the day in Washington, Jan. 25, 2020.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Donald Trump_USA President_QU Poll: 75% of Voters allow witnesses in Senate impeachment | FOX 61

Senator Lamar Alexander at the Capitol on Thursday. He was one of four Republicans considered critical to the question of whether to call witnesses.Credit...Doug Mills-The New York Times

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks before she signs the resolution to transmit the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Susan Walsh/AP

House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and House Clerk Cheryl Johnson carry two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump during a procession with the seven House impeachment managers through the Rotunda of the Capitol to the Senate in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Joshua Roberts/Reuters, FILE

Tommy Hicks Jr. speaks at the National Council of Young Israel Gala in New York City, March 31, 2019.

Sopa Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

News Now Stream 01/29/20 (FNN)

Fox News Live-USA President Donald John Trump News Impeachment Live-

Fox News

Republicans Show Approval of Video Highlighting Use of 'Presumed'
Jan 25, 2020 at 11:41 am ET

Republicans appeared swayed by an argument from President Trump's defense team that any tie between aid to Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky agreeing to open an investigation into the Bidens was a presumptive leap that isn't proven by actual evidence.
As the defense played a clip of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland saying he "presumed" aid was tied to Ukrainian actions, but that President Trump had told him there was no quid pro quo, Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) nodded. Several other Republicans jotted down notes and smiled, including Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) and Steve Daines (R., Mont.).
Gabriel Rubin

HIGHLIGHTS of The Impeachment Trial of President Trump 
​The Wall Street Journal

As Trial Continues, Some Senators Share Cough Drops
MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES

The long hours of the trial appear to be taking a toll on some senators. Many yawned throughout the presentations, and Sens. Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Michael Bennet (D., Co.) wiped and blew their noses frequently. Mr. Bennet was offered cough drops by his neighbors Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) and Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) took out a wad of napkins to clean his glasses, ate a breath mint, and stretched out his arms to remain alert, before returning to note-taking.
Mr. Sanders, who is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for president this year, is scheduled to fly to Iowa after today's proceedings for a campaign rally in Ames with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), filmmaker Michael Moore, and rock band Portugal. The Man.

Trump Impeachment Briefing- New York Times -30th January, 2020
By Noah Weiland
Welcome back to the Impeachment Briefing. After hearing from a crucial senator, we’re heading to the end of impeachment.

What happened today
The fate of President Trump’s impeachment trial is likely sealed. Moments ago, Senator Lamar Alexander, seen as the deciding vote on whether new witnesses would be heard in the trial, said he would vote against the measure. The announcement dealt what was widely seen as fatal blow to Democrats, who needed four Republicans to sign on to the idea.
· “I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense,” Mr. Alexander said in a statement.
· Senator Susan Collins, another key Republican vote, announced tonight that she would vote to support hearing from witnesses, joining Senator Mitt Romney. Even if Senator Lisa Murkowski, another moderate, were to form a trio with them, Democrats wouldn’t have the votes they need: A 50-50 tie in an impeachment trial means a motion fails. Chief Justice John Roberts could decide to break that tie — while impeachment rules are vague, there is some precedent — but it’s unlikely he would do it.
· Democrats responded today with defiance and some limited resolve. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if the Senate refused to call new witnesses, an acquittal would not be legitimate. Representative Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, tried to rebuff the idea that witnesses would substantially prolong the trial by suggesting limiting depositions to one week, the same length of time used during the Clinton impeachment trial.
Read our full story on the day and some key takeaways.
The questions, continue
Mr. Alexander’s statement came just minutes after the conclusion of the second and final day of senators’ questions, which touched on whether it’s acceptable for a president to accept dirt from a foreign country and the nature of a “political crime,” among many other topics. There were even several bipartisan questions. Here’s a sampling of what the senators inquired about.
Ms. Collins asked if there was there a proper way to ask the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens. Mr. Schiff said that under a mutual legal assistance treaty, the Justice Department can request Ukraine’s help with investigations.
In the first bipartisan question of the trial, four senators from both parties asked about whether Mr. Trump would pledge that private citizens not be directed to conduct foreign policy without being formally designated by the president and the State Department — an implicit condemnation of Rudy Giuliani. Patrick Philbin, a deputy counsel to Mr. Trump, denied anything like that had taken place.
“Does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?” Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, asked the House managers. Mr. Schiff said that Chief Justice Roberts had “presided admirably” over the proceedings.
Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, went after the Trump legal team’s assertion that it was acceptable for the president to seek derogatory information about Joe Biden from Ukraine. Mr. Philbin argued that what Mr. Trump sought from Ukraine did not come close to a campaign finance violation.
Given that the actions of any president are inherently political, Ms. Murkowski and Brian Schatz, a Democrat, asked, how should senators distinguish between permissible political actions and impeachable ones? Mr. Philbin said trying to discern a politician’s motive “is very dangerous.” Mr. Schiff countered that impeachment was the appropriate “political punishment for a political crime” involving corrupt activity.
Tomorrow will be a maze of activity. Here’s what to expect.
Friday’s session could be definitive, reaching an unofficial conclusion with the vote on whether to consider new witnesses and evidence. But the trial doesn’t end there, and after the vote things could get a little messy. My colleague Nick Fandos, who was on Capitol Hill today, walked me through what to expect tomorrow.
The trial will resume at 1 p.m., but with a new shape: There will be 4 hours of debate, split between the House managers and Mr. Trump’s lawyers, on the question of witnesses. We’ll most likely hear Mr. Schiff talking one more time about why they need to hear from Mr. Bolton and others. The president’s lawyers will say that if you go down that path, it will open up a Pandora’s box and keep the trial going for weeks more.
After the conclusion of that debate, something unusual could happen: Senators could move into a private deliberation, where they close the doors, kick reporters out of the Senate press gallery and turn off cameras. But that’s unlikely, mostly because we already know how Republicans will vote.
Then, in the late afternoon or early evening, the vote on whether to consider witnesses and documents will take place. Remember: It’s a vote about whether they even want to allow the Senate to consider calling witnesses, not a vote on the witnesses themselves. If the vote fails, the trial is, for all intents and purposes, heading toward a conclusion.
If the Senate does vote to consider witnesses — a big “if,” considering we pretty much know the votes — then we’ll be in an uncertain period where the two legal teams can offer motions on specific people and documents, and each one will get a vote. It would open up a free-for-all in which Democrats could keep demanding votes. The president’s lawyers could demand votes, too, on witnesses like Hunter Biden.

Regardless of how the vote turns out, Senate leaders will likely break to discuss what to do next.

The dinnertime hours could be when things get really messy. The next big step, assuming the witness motion fails, is a vote on each of the impeachment articles. But there are a lot of high jinks Senate Democrats could pull between the witness vote and the verdict, including forcing a bunch of procedural votes. But it’s hard to say exactly what they could do, because they’re still figuring that out. The session could go deep into the night.
If Republicans had their choice, they would vote to acquit Mr. Trump by the end of the night. But that’s going to be hard: Senators may want, as they did during the Clinton impeachment, to take some amount of time to deliberate about final votes, which are expected by Monday.
What else we’re reading
Anticipating the debate over witnesses that will occur in the trial tomorrow, my colleague Carl Hulse spelled out the various Republican rationales for why witnesses were unnecessary, and the counterarguments Democrats have for them.
There’s been plenty of attention on the few moderate Republicans who might break ranks by voting to hear from witnesses. But my colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg points out that Democrats have their own list of possible defectors who could vote to acquit Mr. Trump.

In a political stunt during the question session today, Senator Rand Paul attempted to identify the whistle-blower whose complaint prompted the impeachment inquiry. Chief Justice Roberts rejected Mr. Paul’s question, which featured the name of the person widely believed to be the whistle-blower. Mr. Paul then rushed to a news studio in the Capitol, where he read the question in front of television cameras.

Mitt Romney is something of a man alone. As one of two Republican senators calling for witnesses in the impeachment trial, his colleagues are going after him, branding him “Jeff Flake on steroids.” His resistance to the pressures of his own party have made him an unlikely hero to Democrats like Senator Amy Klobuchar, who called this Mr. Romney’s “moment to shine.”
We mentioned in yesterday’s briefing an astonishingly broad definition of executive power that one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, argued for in the trial. His ideas prompted a backlash, and he said he was misinterpreted.

Alexander, Conceding Case Against Trump, Announces Vote to Block Witnesses
The Tennessee Republican said House Democrats proved that the president withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival, but that it was not impeachable.


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/us/politics/trump-senate-impeachment-trial.html?te=1&nl=impeachment-briefing&emc=edit_ib_20200131&campaign_id=140&instance_id=15624&segment_id=20847&user_id=63d5933dfe45b40fe893856b67f830ab®i_id=10855930020200131


By Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane and Patricia Mazzei
Published Jan. 30, 2020


WASHINGTON — Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said late Thursday that although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that President Trump acted “inappropriately” in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial.
Mr. Alexander’s statement was a strong indication that Republicans have lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents on Friday and press toward a quick acquittal in the third presidential impeachment trial in history. His opposition was a significant victory for the White House and Republican leaders
A Brief Guide to the Trump Impeachment Trial
Where are we in the process?
The Senate is holding a trial to determine whether to acquit President Trump or convict and remove him from office. It is the third such trial of a president in American history.


Who is presiding over the trial?
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is presiding in a mostly ceremonial role.

What is President Trump accused of doing?
He is accused of pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rivals — including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election — in exchange for military aid and access to the White House.
How did we get here?
In August, a whistle-blower’s complaint said that White House officials believed they had witnessed Mr. Trump abuse his power for political gain during a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
What is the role of the House of Representatives?
After beginning an inquiry, the House voted in December to impeach Mr. Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, prompting a Senate trial.

Who is on both sides of the case in the trial?

Seven House Democrats are serving as impeachment managers, presenting the case gathered during the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Trump has a team of lawyers arguing in his defense.


Read our full story on the day and some key takeaways.
Continue reading the main story​

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/us/politics/trump-senate-impeachment-trial.html?te=1&nl=impeachment-briefing&emc=edit_ib_20200131&campaign_id=140&instance_id=15624&segment_id=20847&user_id=63d5933dfe45b40fe893856b67f830ab&regi_id=10855930020200131

Charles S. Gucciardo attends an event at The Pierre Hotel on April 5, 2016, in New York City, with Karen King.

Steve Zak Photography/Getty Images, FILE

U.S. businessman Harry Sargeant III speaks to Reuters at his home in Gulf Stream, Fla., Feb. 7, 2019.Joe Skipper/Reuters, FILE

​​​​HIGHLIGHTS of The Impeachment Trial of President Trump 
​The Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Defense Says Democrats Have Failed to Make Impeachment Case
White House counsel Pat Cipollone told senators that the party is asking them to ‘overturn the results of the last election’
By Rebecca Ballhaus
Jan. 25, 2020 2:56 pm ET


WASHINGTON—President Trump’s legal team said Democrats had failed to make a case for removing the president from office, arguing at his impeachment trial Saturday that there was no evidence he pushed Ukraine’s president for an investigation of his political rival in exchange for aid.
In their first chance to address the Senate after three days of arguments by Democratic House impeachment managers, the president’s lawyers sought to undercut the Democrats’
Read Full article in the Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-defense-set-to-address-democrats-charges-11579948201?mod=livecoverage_web

Trump Attorneys Consider Retooling Arguments After Bolton Revelations

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/trump-impeachment-trial/card/1580136862


What would happen if Trump exerted executive privilege over Bolton testimony?

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic Democratic political rivals, especially 2020 election candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’
“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul,” one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers said at the first hearing after he committed suicide in jail.

.Sarah Ransome, left, and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, appeared in a federal courtroom on Tuesday along with more than a dozen other accusers.
By Ali Watkins, Benjamin Weiser and Amy Julia Harris
Published Aug. 27, 2019Updated Aug. 30, 2019

One woman was an aspiring model from a small town. Another invoked her own daughters in her remarks. Another said she had struggled with relationships because of her experience.
One by one, the women told a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday how Jeffrey Epstein had sexually abused them and used his power and wealth to silence them, sometimes for years. For many, it was their first time speaking about it in public.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-hearing-victims.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article%C2%AEion=Footer


Jeffrey Epstein Death: 2 Guards Slept Through Checks and Falsified Records
The guards did not check on him for three hours, officials said. The disclosures came as the guards and the warden at the jail were removed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/13/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-jail-officers.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer

House Managers walk to the US Senate to deliver the Articles of Impeachment against US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill,

Jan. 15, 2020, in Washington, DC. - Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch-former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill,.

BREAKING NEWS:

President Trump’s direct role in the Ukraine pressure campaign was earlier than known: President Trump told John Bolton in May to help, Mr. Bolton’s book says.
Friday, January 31, 2020

Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense. Trump Told Bolton to Help His Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Book Says
The president asked his national security adviser last spring in front of other senior advisers to pave the way for a meeting between Rudolph Giuliani and Ukraine’s new leader. Read the latest:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/politics/trump-bolton-ukraine.html?emc=edit_na_20200131&ref=cta&nl=breaking-news&campaign_id=60&instance_id=0&segment_id=20871&user_id=63d5933dfe45b40fe893856b67f830ab%C2%AEi_id=108559300

White House Says John Bolton’s Manuscript Can’t Be Published As Is
National Security Council says the former Trump adviser’s book contains ‘significant amounts’ of classified information that must be cut

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-says-john-boltons-manuscript-cant-be-published-as-is-11580332992?mod=cx_politics&cx_navSource=cx_politics&cx_tag=collabctx&cx_artPos=1#cxrecs_s
Click here to listen to the 

Recording Appears to Show Trump Calling for Ambassador's Firing- 0:00 / 1:26

The Recording Appears to Show Trump Calling for Ambassador's Firing
A recording from 2018 appears to show President Trump discussing the ouster of the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Photo: Still from video.
By  Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and  Rebecca Ballhaus - Jan. 29, 2020 6:33 pm ET
Donald_Trump_Sectret_Recording_A recording from 2018 appears to show President Trump discussing the ouster of the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
The National Security Council said the manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book contains “significant amounts” of classified information and can’t be published in its current form, according to a letter the council sent to Mr. Bolton’s lawyer.
“Under federal law and the nondisclosure agreements your client signed as a condition for gaining access to classified information, the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,” said...
TO READ THE FULL STORY
https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-says-john-boltons-manuscript-cant-be-published-as-is-11580332992?mod=cx_politics&cx_navSource=cx_politics&cx_tag=collabctx&cx_artPos=1#cxrecs_s

Marie Yovanovitch U.S. Ambassador to Ukrain, center, takes part in the gay pride march in central Kyiv, Ukraine, June 17, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for President Donald Trump,, center, and Ukraine, Lev Parnas,, Soviet born businessman who served as Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, , left, arrive for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington on Dec. 5, 2018.Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Trump's Impeachment Trial—Live Analysis
Jan 30, 2020 

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/trump-impeachment-trial/card/1580136862

In this May photo, then-national security adviser John Bolton listens while President Trump speaks.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Follow our live analysis of President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, where he faces allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Inside the White House, President Trump’s attorneys were considering retooling their arguments to address the question of whether the Senate should seek testimony from John Bolton and others, according to people familiar with the planning.

Among other lines, they may argue that the Justice Department quickly disputed Mr. Bolton’s account of sharing concerns about the Ukraine matter with Attorney General William Barr, and that the Senate should focus on evidence already vetted in the House’s impeachment process, the people said.

White House officials said they heard from concerned senators and their aides throughout Sunday evening about Mr. Bolton’s book. Some of those administration officials predicted the uproar would subside in the coming days. Many Trump administration officials are accustomed to shocking headlines related to the White House that bring intense bursts of pressure only to fade as other issues arise.

On Twitter, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said: "If there is a desire and decision by the Senate to call Democratic witnesses, then at a minimum the Senate should allow President Trump to call all relevant witnesses he has requested."
-- Michael C. Bender
Jan 27, 2020

Happening Today in the Impeachment Trial
At 1 p.m. ET, the trial resumes with President Trump's defense team set to hold its second day of arguments.
The defense team is expected to go for several hours but will likely wrap up by around 8 p.m.
Among those likely arguing on the president's behalf are constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz and former independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-bolton-represents-a-big-wild-card-in-impeachment-11580132947?mod=article_inline&mod=livecoverage_web



Sen. Mitch McConnell: "This is a difficult time for our country—but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created theSenate ...... 

I'm confident this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever, and serve the long-term best interests of our nation."

JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) used a post-trial new conference to try to refute many of the president's lawyers' opening arguments.

The House of Representatives discusses the resolution to transmit articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.ABC News

Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) -Democratic Reps.  used a post-trial new conference to try to refute many of the president's lawyers' opening arguments. -JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Trump Attorneys Consider Retooling Arguments After Bolton Revelations
Why Bolton Represents a Big Wild Card in Impeachment
Trump’s former national security adviser has had a career-long tendency to speak his mind—no matter what


https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-bolton-represents-a-big-wild-card-in-impeachment-11580132947?mod=article_inline&mod=livecoverage_web
President Trump ousted National Security Adviser John Bolton Tuesday noting that he "disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions." 

WSJ's Gerald F. Seib highlights six key disagreements they had.
Photo: Bloomberg (Originally published Sept. 10, 2019)
Six Disagreements Between President Trump and John Bolton
President Trump ousted National Security Adviser John Bolton Tuesday noting that he "disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions." WSJ's Gerald F. Seib highlights six key disagreements they had. Photo: Bloomberg (Originally published Sept. 10, 2019)

A leak from a forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton is scrambling the equation in the impeachment trial of President Trump. But if you really want to know why Mr. Bolton represents such a wild card in this process, it is instructive to look back at the title of a previous book.
“Surrender Is Not an Option” is a book Mr. Bolton wrote in 2008, after serving in the George W. Bush administration. That title aptly describes Mr. Bolton’s attitude in his long career in Government and Public Service and the public eye, in which he has been unafraid of making enemies, willing to take unpopular stands on and prepared to fall on his sword over his principles.
President Trump’s supporters have long known Mr. Bolton represented the X factor in their push to get a quick acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial over charges the president abused power by coercing Ukraine to open investigations of Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Mr. Bolton was inside the White House when the Ukraine maneuvering took place, then left on unhappy terms and made clear along the way he disagreed with how the president handled Ukraine.

Leaked emails on Ukraine aid freeze bolster case for witnesses at Senate trial: Schumer
One unredacted email says the aid freeze was at "the clear direction of POTUS."
By Anne Flaherty
2 January 2020, 


https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/leaked-emails-ukraine-aid-freeze-bolster-cases-witnesses/story?id=68034806
News headlines today: Jan. 31, 2020Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.Mark Wilson/Getty Images


Democrats on Thursday quickly seized on freshly leaked emails in which a White House budget official told the Pentagon last August that it would keep its freeze in U.S. assistance to Ukraine at the “clear direction from POTUS,” despite repeated warnings by the Defense Department that the move could violate the law.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer insisted that the new evidence bolsters his case that the White House should fork over witnesses in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
Schumer’s comments are at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has called for a swift trial without witnesses, at least not until other evidence has been presented.
“The newly-revealed unredacted emails are a devastating blow to Senator McConnell’s push to have a trial without the documents and witnesses we’ve requested," Schumer said in a statement.
"These emails further expose the serious concerns raised by Trump administration officials about the propriety and legality of the president’s decision to cut off aid to Ukraine to benefit himself," he added.

The leaked emails expand on public understanding of what the White House told the Pentagon and State Department about a freeze on nearly $400 million in assistance to Ukraine, which continues to fend off Russian troops at its border. Congress had approved the money, and it was signed by the president into law. But witnesses testifying before the House this fall told lawmakers that they were told Trump had put a hold on the aid in mid-July. The unredacted emails between the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon were sent from June until Sept. 11, when the aid was finally released.

Questions have remained, however, as to why Trump was insisting on the hold when both the Pentagon and State Department had cleared the aid because Ukraine had met the necessary anti-corruption benchmarks. While acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has said the hold was because Trump was not a “fan” of foreign aid, the president in his July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president asked the foreign power to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and Biden’s son, Hunter.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who led the inquiry leading to the partisan vote in favor of President Donald Trump’s impeachment, said the emails undermine the White House argument that the aid was held for a legitimate reason. The law provides for narrow exemptions for the executive branch to withhold spending so long as the administration informs Congress of those decisions.

“But the documents show a compelling desire to prevent Congress from finding out,” Schiff wrote in a statement he tweeted. “If there was a legitimate reason to place the hold and there was no concern about violating the law, they would have told Congress. But of course they did not, since the whole point of the aide freeze was to coerce Ukraine into interfering in our election to help the president.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and McConnell's office declined.

Last month, the Center for Public Integrity obtained emails between OMB and the Pentagon through the Freedom of Information Act, but the documents were heavily redacted at the time, including the reference to “clear direction from POTUS.” On Thursday, the left-leaning watchdog group Just Security reported obtaining the contents of the email exchanges, including repeated warnings from acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker that the White House hold would violate the law, which requires the executive branch to spend money approved by Congress.

At one point, Michael Duffey – a political appointee overseeing national security spending at OMB – told the Pentagon’s McCusker: “Clear direction from POTUS to hold.” The email, dated Aug. 30, according to Just Security, was the same day following Trump's meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The New York Times reported that State Department Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, along with national security adviser John Bolton, advocated in late August for the aid to be released.

Schumer said this reference to Trump – POTUS refers to the president of the United States – “only further implicates President Trump and underscores the need for the Senate to subpoena the witnesses and documents we’ve requested at the onset of a trial.”

The White House has declined to cooperate with the House Democratic inquiry, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won't send over articles of impeachment to the Senate until she knows what the trial would look like. On Thursday, following the Just Security post, Pelosi accused Trump of engaging in "unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress, hiding these emails, all other documents, and his top aides from the American people.

"His excuse was a phony complaint about the House process. What’s the excuse now? Why won’t Trump & McConnell allow a fair trial?" she tweeted.
Nancy Pelosi✔@SpeakerPelosi

Trump engaged in unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress, hiding these emails, all other documents, and his top aides from the American people.
His excuse was a phony complaint about the House process.


What’s the excuse now?

Why won’t Trump & McConnell allow a fair trial?

https://twitter.com/just_security/status/1212734147803975681 …
Just Security@just_security
EXCLUSIVE: @just_security has obtained unredacted versions of Trump administration emails about Ukraine aid.

They show the Pentagon repeatedly sounded the alarm that the freeze on funding was in violation of the law.

@K8brannen reports:


https://www.justsecurity.org/67863/exclusive-unredacted-ukraine-documents-reveal-extent-of-pentagons-legal-concerns/ …

8:17 PM - Jan 2, 202
Following the House impeachment vote, the Senate Republican leader accused House Democrats of “partisan rage” that will create a “toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future.”
"For the very first time in modern history we have seen a political faction in Congress promise from the moment a presidential election ended that they would find some way to overturn it," McConnell said last month.

___ ABC News' Elizabeth McLaughlin, Sarah Kolinovsky and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

(MORE: Donald Trump becomes 3rd president in US history to be impeached)

(MORE: After impeachment vote, Trump-district Democrats enter uncharted political territory)

(MORE: McConnell says he and Democrats 'at an impasse' over Senate impeachment trial)

​​​​HIGHLIGHTS of The Impeachment Trial of President Trump 

​The Wall Street Journal
Jan 27, 2020 at 9:16 am ET

Live Coverage of the Trump Impeachment

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/trump-impeachment-trial/card/1580136862

Trump Defense Team to Present Arguments Following Bolton’s ‘800-Pound Gorilla’

President Trump’s defense team will seek to rebut the Democratic case for removing the president from office in its second session on Monday, on terrain that has shifted substantially after allegations by former national security adviser John Bolton reported in a leaked manuscript contradicted key elements of the White House’s argument.

Mr. Bolton wrote in a draft of his forthcoming book that the president told him in August that he wanted to freeze foreign aid to Ukraine until the country aided investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Mr. Bolton’s claim goes to the heart of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and contradicts the White House’s argument that the decision to hold up nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine wasn’t related to the president’s push for investigations there. Democrats have said the president abused his power by leveraging aid approved by Congress to get a foreign leader to undertake actions that would benefit him politically.

Mr. Trump early Monday denied Mr. Bolton’s allegations.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” the president wrote on Twitter shortly after midnight. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”


READ FULL ARTICLE

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-defense-team-to-present-arguments-following-boltons-800-pound-gorilla-11580132745?mod=hp_lead_pos3&mod=livecoverage_web

Volodymyr Zelensky President of Ukraine speaks during a plenary session of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22, 2020.Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA via Shutterstock

Ukraine police investigating possible surveillance of Yovanovitch, Russian hacking
The investigation comes after the release of text messages from Lev Parnas.
By  Patrick Reevell -16 January 2020, 

https://abcnews.go.com/International/ukraine-opens-criminal-investigation-surveillance-marie-yovanovitch/story?id=68324113

Articles of impeachment hand-delivered to the SenateHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi named a team of lawmakers who will prosecute the case against President Trump.Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Ukrainian police are now investigating two major cases related to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, one around possible illegal surveillance of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and the other around a suspected attack by Russian military hackers targeting a company where the son of former Vice President Joe Biden sat on the board.

On the Yovanovitch case, the interior ministry said in a statement Thursday that police had opened a criminal investigation in light of text messages released by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee this week between two associates of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
On the alleged hacking case, Ukrainian police said Thursday they were now investigating a suspected attack by Russian military hackers that targeted Burisma, the Ukraine-based energy company that employed Hunter Biden.
Earlier this week, cyber-security firm Area 1 said it had discovered that hackers who appeared to be from Russia's military agency, the GRU, had mounted a concerted phishing campaign against Burisma employees, trying to break into their emails and collect data.

The attacks occurred at the height of the impeachment hearings in November, and Area 1 speculated that the Russian hackers were searching for material that could be damaging to the Bidens that could then be leaked, following a model they had used in the 2016 election against the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.

Ukraine's cyber police said it believed the attack -- which also targeted Kvartal 95, the production company that produced President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's TV show before the former actor was elected -- was "probably committed by the Russian special services" and they were in the process of identifying the people involved. It said Ukraine had also asked the FBI to join the investigation.

Meanwhile, in the text messages released by the House committee this week, Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde appeared to suggest to Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman now at the center of the impeachment controversy, that he had people following Ambassador Yovanovitch's movements in Ukraine.

Ukrainian police are now looking to see if there was surveillance and, if so, whether it had violated Ukrainian law or international conventions obliging host countries to protect foreign diplomats there, the ministry said.

"Ukraine's position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America. However, the published records contain the fact of possible violation of the legislation of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat in the territory of another country," the ministry's statement said.

"After analyzing these materials, the National Police of Ukraine upon their publication started criminal proceedings under part 2 of Art. 163 (Violation of the secrecy of correspondence, telephone conversations, telegraph or other correspondence) and part 1 of Art. 182 (Unlawful collection, storage, use of confidential information about a person, violation of privacy) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine," the statement continues.

The ministry said investigators were examining whether any laws had been broken or if the messages had simply been "bravado and fake in an informal conversation between two US citizens." Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has requested the U.S.' assistance in the investigation, it said.

The allegations that the Giuliani associates may have been spying on a U.S. diplomat are potentially explosive for Trump, coming as the trial for his impeachment begins in the Senate.

Parnas, a Soviet-born businessperson based in Florida, took part in Giuliani's campaign to press the Ukrainian government to open investigations into Biden.

Parnas has said he and Giuliani were seeking to have Yovanovitch removed as ambassador at the same time, having deemed her an obstacle to their effort. Yovanovitch was recalled abruptly by Trump before the end of her term last year and has testified in the impeachment inquiry that she believed she was the victim of a deliberate smear campaign.

In the messages from March and April released by the House Committee, Hyde, a supporter of Trump, and Parnas also discuss their desire to have Trump fire Yovanovitch, lamenting that she had not yet been removed. In the course of those messages, Hyde then gave a series of updates on Yovanovitch that suggested he or others were watching her in Kyiv and perhaps monitoring her communications.

"She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Her computer is off," Hyde wrote in one message.
In others, Hyde, who referred to Yovanovitch as a "b----," noted Yovanovitch's heavy security, and in another said, "We have a person inside."
Several of Hyde's messages suggested had other people in Kyiv tracking the ambassador.
"My contacts are asking what are the next steps because they cannot keep going to check people will start to ask questions," he wrote.
Hyde repeatedly asked Parnas what "next steps" were, saying that the unidentified people were "willing to help if we/you would like a price," and "guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money ... is what I was told."

Parnas texted back: "lol."
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch returns for additional questioning after a break while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office... more

Since the messages' release, Hyde has dismissed them as joking around with Parnas.

"I was never in Kiev," he wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "For them to take some texts my buddy's [sic] and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable."
Yovanovitch through her lawyer has called the text messages between Parnas and Hyde "disturbing" and called for them to be investigated.
"We trust that the appropriate authorities will conduct an investigation to determine what happened," Lawrence S. Robbins, Yovanovitch's attorney, said in a statement.

In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Parnas apologized to Yovanovitch for the smear and disinformation campaign against her. In the explosive interview, he also claimed that Trump had been aware of all he and Giuliani's efforts.
"He was aware of all of my movements," Parnas said. "I wouldn't do anything without the help of Rudy Giuliani or the president."
Parnas has suggested he would be willing to be called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial. He and his fellow Soviet-born business partner, Igor Fruman, last year were indicted on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records, in a case where prosecutors allege the made large campaign donations to Republican candidates after receiving millions of dollars originating from Russia. Both men have denied the charges.

Democrats have condemned the possibility that Yovanovitch was being spied on and promised to investigate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday called the situation "outrageous."

"This must be fully investigated as the Senate conducts the impeachment trial," he tweeted. "We have a responsibility to hold this lawless administration to account."

The developments once again thrust Ukraine into U.S. politics, a place its leadership under President Zelenskiy, has been at pains to try to avoid.


MORE: Who is Marie Yovanovitch?

MORE: House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

MORE: Robert Hyde, a new character in impeachment drama, is a Trump devotee with checkered past

MORE: House Intelligence Committee in possession of video, audio recordings from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas

MORE: 5 key takeaways from testimony by former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

MORE: Giuliani associate Parnas: ‘Trump knew exactly what was going on’ in Ukraine

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally set in motion the process of sending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate

Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York on Dec. 2, 2019.Seth Wenig/AP, FILE

Lev Parnas implicated President Trump directly in the alleged Ukraine pressure campaign, saying that the president "was aware of all my movements."
Seth Wenig/AP, FILE

John Bolton -President Trump ousted National Security Adviser 

BREAKING  News:

The evidence revealed since Trump's impeachment but still in question at Senate trial
New evidence since Dec. 18 has not been formally admitted at the Senate trial.
By Shoshana Dubnow
28 January 2020, 00:22


https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/evidence-revealed-trumps-impeachment-question-senate-trial/story?id=68457351

Democrats zero in on Trump’s timeline during impeachment trial
The Democratic prosecutors said Trump didn’t start pushing a Ukraine investigation to Joe Biden until polls showed the former vice president was his biggest threat.Joshua Roberts/Reuters, FILE


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held on to the articles of impeachment for almost a month before delivering them to the Senate -- a decision that Republicans blasted as inconsistent with her claim it was urgent to remove President Donald Trump to protect the integrity of the 2020 election.

House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and House Clerk Cheryl Johnson carry two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump during a procession with the seven House impeachment... more
House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and House Clerk Cheryl Johnson carry two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump during a procession with the seven House impeachment managers through the Rotunda of the Capitol to the Senate in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Joshua Roberts/Reuters, FILE
While critics argue she undercut the House case with that delay, both Pelosi and House impeachment managers point to the significance of the evidence that's surfaced since the House passed the articles of impeachment Dec. 18.
"Time has been our friend in all this," Pelosi has said, calling the new evidence "incriminating."

Democrats have talked extensively about some of the newly emerged evidence in making their arguments at the Senate trial, but it hasn't yet been formally admitted as they demanded. On a party-line vote, the GOP-led Senate voted to consider whether it should be allowed only later in the trial, after all arguments are made and senators ask written questions. Democrats called that exactly backwards.


Bolton bombshell: Manuscript reportedly says Trump personally tied Ukraine aid to Biden investigation
The New York Times reported Jan. 27 that former national security adviser John Bolton claims Trump told him he was withholding the Ukrainian aid until Ukraine agreed to investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Bolton reportedly detailed the August 2019 conversation in an unpublished manuscript for an upcoming book. The manuscript was given to the White House for a standard pre-publication review.

Trump denied the report saying, “if John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the...
5:18 AM - Jan 27, 2020


The revelation appeared to undercut the Trump team's legal argument that there is “simply no evidence anywhere that President Trump ever linked security assistance to investigations.”
The report added fuel to the Democrats’ call for witnesses. Four Republicans would need to break ranks and vote with Democrats in order for witnesses to be heard in the Senate trial.
“John Bolton has the evidence,” Schumer tweeted Sunday night. “It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, [acting chief of staff] Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial.”
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is one of four GOP moderates Democrats have targeted in hopes of getting their support for witnesses. He said Monday it’s “important” senators hear Bolton’s account.
“It’s pretty fair to say that John Bolton has relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice,” he said.

Sen. Mitt Romney departs after the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump ended for the day in Washington, Jan. 25, 2020.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Shortly after Romney spoke to reporters, GOP Sen. Susan Collins, issued a statement on Twitter, saying the reports on Bolton’s book “strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.”
“I’ve always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial,” she said in the tweet.
Bolton says he's willing to testify if subpoenaed
Bolton released a statement on Jan. 6 saying he was willing to testify in the Senate trial if subpoenaed.
Bolton was one of the four individuals Schumer demanded the Senate call as witnesses, noting his attorney previously told House lawyers Bolton was “personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far.”

White House former national security adviser John Bolton delivers remarks on North Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Sept. 30, 2019.

White House former national security adviser John Bolton delivers remarks on North Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, Sept. 30, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE

Schumer called Bolton's statement "momentum for uncovering the truth."
"Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover up," he said.

Pelosi echoed Schumer on Twitter.
"The President & Sen. McConnell have run out of excuses. They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves," she said.
91 minutes between Ukraine phone call and withholding of aid

On Dec. 22, documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity revealed White House officials requested almost $400 million in aid to Ukraine be held 91 minutes after Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.


According to a record of the call released by the White House, the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy took place between 9:03 a.m. and 9:33 a.m.
At 11:04 a.m., Mike Duffey, an official with the White House’s budget office, sent an email to Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist, the chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the Pentagon's chief financial officer. In that email, he instructed them to put a hold on the aid.

A spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget responded to the revelation by saying, “to pull a line out of one email and fail to address the context is misleading and inaccurate.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the new evidence "explosive," pushing his case for Duffey and other key players to be called as witnesses at the Senate trial.
"A top administration official, one that we've requested, is saying 'stop the aid' 91 minutes after Trump called Zelenskiy, and said 'keep it hush-hush," Schumer said. "What more do you need to request a witness?"

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a plenary session of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22, 2020.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a plenary session of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22, 2020.Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA via Shutterstock
Unredacted email says aid freeze was at 'clear direction of POTUS'

On Jan. 2, an unredacted version of an email disclosed Duffey ordered the Pentagon to keep the freeze in U.S. assistance to Ukraine at the “clear direction from the POTUS.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead House prosecutor in the Senate impeachment trial, said these emails undermined the White House’s argument that the aid was held for a legitimate reason. U.S. law provides exemptions for the executive branch to withhold spending if the administration informs Congress of such decisions on a timely basis, which was not the case with the Ukranian aid.

"The documents show a compelling desire to prevent Congress from finding out,” Schiff said in a statement. “If there was a legitimate reason to place the hold and there was no concern about violating the law, they would have told Congress. But of course they did not, since the whole point of the aide freeze was to coerce Ukraine into interfering in our election to help the president.”
Despite Democrats' call for witnesses, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressed for a swift trial without them. The Senate ultimately rejected Schumer's proposed amendment to the Senate trial rules, which would have subpoenaed testimony from Duffey. The amendment failed along party lines.

In a tweet, Pelosi said the emails showed an “unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress” by the president.
Nancy Pelosi✔@SpeakerPelosi

Trump engaged in unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress, hiding these emails, all other documents, and his top aides from the American people.
His excuse was a phony complaint about the House process.
What’s the excuse now? Why won’t Trump & McConnell allow a fair trial? https://twitter.com/just_security/status/1212734147803975681 …
Just Security@just_security
EXCLUSIVE: @just_security has obtained unredacted versions of Trump administration emails about Ukraine aid.
They show the Pentagon repeatedly sounded the alarm that the freeze on funding was in violation of the law.@K8brannen reports:https://www.justsecurity.org/67863/exclusive-unredacted-ukraine-documents-reveal-extent-of-pentagons-legal-concerns/ …
8:17 PM - Jan 2, 2020

Parnas says ‘Trump knew exactly what was going on’ with Ukraine
In an interview on MSNBC’s “"The Rachel Maddow Show",” Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, claimed President Trump was fully aware of Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine.
In an interview on CNN the following evening, Parnas said both his and Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine were “all about 2020, to make sure [Trump] had another four years.”


Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, arrives for a bail hearing at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, Dec. 17, 2019.Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters, FILE


Parnas participated in the first of these interviews on Jan. 15, the same day Pelosi officially began the process to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Shortly after delivering the articles, the House Intelligence Committee published new records gathered from Parnas as part of a subpoena request from September. The records included voicemails, photographs, videos and messages further linking Giuliani to his involvement in Ukraine -- a key part being the efforts to dismiss former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.


Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, reacts while testifying before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2019.Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE

In one text exchange from March 2019, a Connecticut man and a Trump donor named Robert F. Hyde texted Parnas: "Wow. Can't believe Trump hasn't fired that bitch. I'll get right in that."
The texts came one month before Yovanovitch was fired from her post, but Parnas and Hyde dismissed the exchange as not serious.
The president adamantly denied ever knowing much about Parnas and what he was up to with Giuliani, to which Parnas responded he was “lying.”
'Take her out': Recording appears to capture Trump telling associates to fire Yovanovitch

ABC News obtained a recording that appeared to capture Trump telling associates at an intimate dinner he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired.
Sources familiar with the recording said it was made during a dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2018. Attendees at the dinner included Parnas and Igor Fruman, e both former business associates of Rudy Giuliani.
“Get rid of her!” the voice that appears to be Trump is heard saying. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

Before the comment is made, Parnas appears to say: “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She’s still left over from the Clinton administration. She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.”

A year later, in April 2019, Yovanovitch was recalled from her position. She said the decision was based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives” that she was disloyal to Trump.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied any wrongdoing by the president.
“Every president in our history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within the Administration,” she said.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump addresses the nation on Jan. 8, 2020 in Washington.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as President Donald Trump addresses the nation on Jan. 8, 2020 in Washington.Sipa USA via USA Today Network, FILE

A copy of the recording is now in custody of the federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District. They declined to comment to ABC News.


MORE: Bolton manuscript says Trump personally tied Ukraine aid to Biden investigation: Report

MORE: 'Take her out': Recording appears to capture Trump at private dinner saying he wants Ukraine ambassador fired

MORE: House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

MORE: Leaked emails on Ukraine aid freeze bolster case for witnesses at Senate trial: Schumer

MORE: Trump's impeachment trial: How we got here, what happens next and what to watch

MORE: White House official ordered aid to Ukraine be withheld 91 minutes after Trump call with Ukraine president, documents show

MORE: Bolton manuscript says Trump personally tied Ukraine aid to Biden investigation: Report

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, arrives for a bail hearing at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, Dec. 17, 2019.
Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, arrives for a bail hearing at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, Dec. 17, 2019.Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters, FILE

Marie Yovanovitch-former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine  testified before the House Intelligence Committee.

​.NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE

Giuliani associate Parnas: 'Trump knew exactly what was going on' about Ukraine
Parnas’ interview on MSNBC landed on a historic day in Washington.
By Lucien Bruggeman, Soo Rin Kim and Olivia Rubin - 16 January 2020


https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/giuliani-associate-parnas-trump-knew-ukraine/story?id=68314794

Former associate of Rudy Giuliani blasts Trump


Lev Parnas implicated President Trump directly in the alleged Ukraine pressure campaign, saying that the president "was aware of all my movements."

Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born associate of the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, made dramatic claims Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s awareness of activities central to the House impeachment investigation and his Senate trial.
"President Trump knew exactly what was going on" with his activities in Ukraine, Parnas told MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Parnas said that included his efforts in spring 2019 to have Ambassador Marie Yovanovich removed from her post as the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv.
"[President Trump] was aware of all of my movements," Parnas said. "I wouldn’t do anything without the help of Rudy Giuliani or the president."

Pressed on the president’s insistence that he does not know him, Parnas said, "He lied."

Parnas pointed to his constant contacts with Ukrainian officials as evidence he was close to the president.

"Why would President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy's inner circle or minister -- or [former Ukraine] President [Petro] Poroshenko meet with me -- Who am I?" Parnas asked. "They were told to meet with me. That's the secret they were trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work."

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, in a statement Thursday morning, attacked Parnas' credibility while not offering an explicit, direct denial of his claim that the president was aware of all of his movements. She dismissed Parnas' claims by insisting the president did nothing wrong.

"These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison. The facts haven’t changed - the President did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start," Grisham said in the statement.

Grisham then went on "Fox and Friends" later Thursday morning, again seeking to distance the president from Parnas.

"The president has said he did not know him, and I've got to say, just to say 'Rudy told me these things' doesn't mean that it has anything to do with the president and it certainly doesn't mean that the president was directing him to do anything. We stand by exactly what we've been saying the president did nothing wrong,” Grisham said.

 

 

Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York on Dec. 2, 2019.

Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York on Dec. 2, 2019.Seth Wenig/AP, FILE

Giuliani has previously said he would testify in the Senate trial and that he’d love to try the case himself. When asked again about that Wednesday night, Giuliani texted ABC News: "I am bound by attorney client privilege so it’s not just my decision."

Parnas said he and the president were by no means friends, but that the president had to have known exactly who he was.

"I was with Rudy four or five times a week," Parnas said.

Parnas’ appearance on the cable network landed on a historic day in Washington.

On Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially triggered the process to send two articles impeachment to the Senate, where senators will be sworn in on Thursday and House managers, acting as prosecutors, will read the articles aloud before make opening arguments next week.

Shortly after delivering the impeachment articles, the House Intelligence Committee published new records gathered from Parnas as part of a subpoena request dating back to September connected to the House impeachment inquiry. Over the weekend, Parnas' counsel announced he had handed over records to the committees.

Trump has repeatedly attempted to distance himself from Parnas’ activities. In October, Trump told reporters, "I don't know those gentlemen," referring to Parnas and another associate.

"That is possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody -- I have a picture with everybody here. But somebody said there may be a picture with -- at a fundraiser or somewhere so, but I have pictures with everybody. I don't know if there's anybody I don't have pictures with. I don't know them," Trump said.

Documents released Wednesday by the committee appear to confirm Parnas’ position. In a calendar entry from September, Parnas wrote, "Breakfast with President Trump in NYC," the documents showed.

The new records made public on Wednesday include voicemails, photographs, videos and messages that shed further light on the activities Giuliani undertook in Ukraine that ultimately led to the impeachment inquiry in Congress – including efforts to have Yovanovitch dismissed.

MORE: House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

On May 3, 2019, for example, Giuliani boasted to Parnas about his efforts to have Yovanovitch recalled from Kyiv.

"Boy I'm so powerful I can intimidate the entire Ukrainian government," Giuliani wrote. "Please don't tell anyone I can't get the crooked Ambassador fired or I did three times and she's still there."

Parnas also said former national security adviser John Bolton was "definitely involved" in Vice President Mike Pence's mission to secure an agreement with Ukraine.

"I know Mr. Bolton was definitely involved in the loop because of the firing of Maria Yovanovitch," Parnas said.

The vice president's office in a statement Thursday morning said that Parnas' claims of the vice president's knowledge and involvement contradicts testimony of witnesses in the House inquiry.

"Democrat witnesses have testified under oath in direct contradiction to Lev Parnas statements last night," the vice president's chief of staff Marc Short said in a statement. "This is very simple: Lev Parnas is under a multi-count indictment and will say anything to anybody who will listen in hopes of staying out of prison. It’s no surprise that only the liberal media is listening to him."

The new statement is consistent with Pence and his office's previous statements that the vice president had any knowledge or involvement in a scheme to pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation into Biden.

Lawyer for President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, center, and Soviet born businessman who served as Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, Lev Parnas, left, arrive for the funeral of former president George... more

Lawyer for President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, center, and Soviet born businessman who served as Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, Lev Parnas, left, arrive for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington on Dec. 5, 2018.Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Parnas and Giuliani also communicated about their efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader to have former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, investigated. Those efforts led to the impeachment inquiry in Congress.
On the day after Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy on July 25, Giuliani sent Parnas about "good news on Zelensky." Three days later, on July 29, Giuliani wrote to Parnas again, "on way to WH," referring to the White House.
Giuliani then wrote to Parnas on Aug. 1, "I want their commitment that they will support a real, full investigation."
"I full (sic) agree," Lev replied.
At one point in Parnas’ communications, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, was invoked.
After an exchange that suggested she was to meet with President Trump, Victoria Toensing, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer, wrote to Parnas that "POTUS stood us up and sent Ivanka to speak in his stead."
Parnas confirmed: "That's what Rudy said."
Toensing did not reply to a request for comment. The White House has not directly addressed Parnas’ accusations that the president lied.

Separate from the House impeachment probe, Parnas was charged in a criminal campaign finance case in the Southern District of New York. Accused of allegedly circumventing campaign finance laws against straw donations and foreign contributions, Parnas pleaded not guilty.

ABC News' Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

MORE: How Giuliani's associates, promoting a foreign agenda, used Trump-friendly media to get a US ambassador removed

MORE: Witness Giuliani? What the latest evidence tells us about Trump's lawyer

​MORE: Articles of impeachment delivered to Senate, triggering historic trial of President Trump

Donald Trump on Impeachment, Greta, Iran and Boris Johnson in blistering Davos Q&A
The Sun - Published on Jan 22, 2020
Bullish Donald Trump remained as defiant as ever as he answered numerous questions ahead of his departure from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. No subject was off the table as the US President responded in typical fashion when quizzed on his impeachment trial in the Senate, Greta Thunberg, Iran, trade and Boris Johnson. From Brexit breaking news to HD movie trailers, The Sun newspaper brings you the latest news videos and explainers from the UK and around the world. 

Exclusive: Trump speaks to Maria amid Senate impeachment trial
Fox News

Sarah Ransome, left, and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse, appeared in a federal courtroom on Tuesday along with more than a dozen other accusers.Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

President Donald Trump walks toward Marine One prior to his departure for a campaign event in Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 18, 2019, at the White House in Washington.Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Impeachment Trial More Likely to See Witnesses After Bolton Allegations
POLITICS
Some Republican senators say manuscript bolsters case for further testimony
By 
Rebecca Ballhaus and Siobhan Hughes
Updated Jan. 27, 2020 11:03 pm ET

WASHINGTON—Chances of the Senate impeachment trial hearing new testimony appeared to mount on Monday in the wake of new allegations about President Trump’s motivation for freezing aid to Ukraine, as the president’s defense team argued that he was justified in pushing Kyiv to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son.
Former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in a draft of his forthcoming book that Mr. Trump told him in August that he wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until the country aided investigations into Democrats,…

Read Full article in the Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-defense-team-to-present-arguments-following-boltons-800-pound-gorilla-11580132745?mod=hp_lead_pos3&mod=livecoverage_web

Lev Parnas arrives at Federal Court on Dec.17, 2019 in New York City.Stephanie Keith/Getty Images, FILE

Marie Yovanovitch,- Ambassador to Ukraine, center, sits during her meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine, March 6, 2019

​Mikhail Palinchak/AP, FILE

The two U.S House of Representatives articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump await the signature of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before an engrossment ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Leah Millis/Reuters

Schiff, Nadler Address Defense's Points About Burden-Sharing and 2020 Election
Jan 25, 2020 at 1:59 pm ET
JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) used a post-trial new conference to try to refute many of the president's lawyers' opening arguments.
In particular, Mr. Schiff noted the lawyers' argument that the call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky was about burden-sharing. If Mr. Trump had truly wanted European allies to provide more aid to Ukraine, Mr. Schiff said, he should have told Mr. Zelensky to talk to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not to Mr. Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Mr. Nadler took a crack at the argument that impeachment was an attempt to pre-emptively interfere with the 2020 election by removing Mr. Trump from office and from the ballot. He said that "impeachments are a safeguard" and that they are the only protection the Constitution provides against a president who abuses their office between presidential elections.
Mr. Schiff also dismissed complaints by some Republican senators on Friday, including ones Democrats need to support their case for witnesses, that his rhetoric about Mr. Trump pressuring senators to stick with him went too far. "That's pretty thin gruel," Mr. Schiff said of the complaints, arguing that all he had done was reference a publicly available news report from CBS News.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said shortly after Saturday’s session that White House lawyers made a “compelling case” for witnesses and more documents to be included in the trial. “I thank the president’s lawyers for one thing: they made our case even stronger,” he said.

Republicans didn’t share that assessment.
"I don't think there will be any need for witnesses at all," Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) said. "The sooner we can conclude this, the better."

Trump impeachment trial: Democrat says ‘country’s fate hanging’ on outcome
House manager says case against Trump ‘overwhelming’
Schiff says Trump’s comment about him intended as a threat


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/26/trump-impeachment-trial-showdown-senate-democrats



 Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic Democratic political rivals, especially 2020 election candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

One of the prosecutors in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial insisted on Sunday that “the country’s fate is hanging” on the outcome of the showdown now taking place in the US Senate, in which she declared the case against the president regarding his conduct with Ukraine to be “overwhelming”.

Zoe Lofgren, a California congresswoman and one of the senior Democrats presenting the evidence against the president for abuse of power and obstructing Congress, said senators trying the case needed to agree this week to hear additional witnesses and evidence in order to provide the “impartial justice” that America depends upon.

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic Democratic political rivals, especially 2020 election candidate and former Vice-President Joe Biden, and has refused to allow his most senior aides to testify in the process, despite court challenges by the Democrats in the House, who initiated the impeachment process last September.

“It’s for the senators to find out all the information I think they would want,” Lofgren told CNN’s State of the Union politics program on Sunday morning.

“But here’s the thing, the chief justice of the United States [John Roberts] presiding over this trial, if he signs a subpoena for a witness to come, we’re going to get that witness … promptly. We’re not going to be in court for three or four years.

“We have a great hope that the senators will do the duty that they are obliged to do, that they’ll take the oath that they took seriously, that they will do impartial justice. That’s what our hope is and I think the country’s fate is hanging on it.”

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, has fiercely resisted calls for witnesses to appear at the Senate trial, including John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser who has called the meddling of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine matters, seemingly at the president’s orders, as “a drug deal”.

Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff said Republican senators were terrified of hearing fresh, direct testimony in the trial.

“I think they’re deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say and so their whole strategy has been deprive the public of a fair trial,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

House Democrats accuse Trump of orchestrating a corrupt scheme in Ukraine to assist his re-election campaign. The president’s defence team decries the impeachment on principle and accuses Democrats, in turn, of using it as a tactic to “interfere” in the 2020 election.

Schiff added on Sunday: “What was so striking to me was that they basically acknowledge the scheme, they don’t really contest the president’s scheme. They just try to make the case that you don’t need a fair trial here, you can make this go away.”

Meanwhile, Lofgren defended comments by Schiff after he was blasted by Trump in a tweet on Sunday, where Schiff had quoted a CBS report claiming that Republicans’ heads could be “on a pike” if they went against the White House and voted for witnesses – a move that enraged moderate Republicans that Democrats had been hoping would support them in the push for more witnesses.

Lofgren said, “I can’t believe the president’s misbehavior would be ignored because of something like that.”

Schiff added that he considered Trump’s comment that Schiff has not “paid the price, yet, for what he has done to the country”, a threat. “I think it was intended to be,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press.

Trump also went on Twitter early on Sunday to repeat his complaint that: “The Impeachment Hoax is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before.” The tweet castigated his accusers as “Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats”.

Trump’s legal team opened an aggressive defence of the president in the Senate on Saturday, laying out their case that he broke no laws, and insisting that the trial was merely an attempt to reverse the 2016 election.

“They’re asking you not only to turn over the results of the last election but they’re asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that’s occurring in approximately nine months,” said White House counsel Pat Cipollone. “They’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history.”

Democrats say Trump abused his power to strong-arm Ukraine into conducting an investigation against Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in November’s election, and obstructed Congress by withholding testimony and documents from their inquiry.

Trump’s lawyers will resume their arguments on Monday.

Trump ally and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures program that he planned when the impeachment trial is over to investigate freshly the activities of Joe Biden in relation to his son Hunter Biden’s past employment on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

“We will do oversight of the Bidens to give the vice-president the scrutiny the president has had,” he said, despite theories of corruption relating to the Bidens and Ukraine having previously been debunked.

The US temporarily withheld $400m in military aid to Ukraine, while Trump was pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his rivals. The aid was released in September, in a sequence of events that followed an intelligence community whistleblower formally complaining about Trump’s conduct involving the aid and interactions with Zelenskiy.

Marie Yovanovitch , former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine -Friday, Nov. 15, 2019,  testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the House of Representatives managers for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York on Dec. 2, 2019.Seth Wenig/AP, FILE

WATCH LIVE | Impeachment Trial of President Trump continues in Senate
#trumpimpeachmenttrial - Washington Post
The House managers wrapped up their arguments against President Trump on Jan. 24. Trump’s team, including lawyers Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, now has 24 hours to present their case. After Trump’s lawyers conclude their presentation, senators will have an opportunity to submit questions to both sides in writing. Following that, debate will turn to whether to call witnesses and subpoena documents.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives as lawmakers take up a resolution to transmit impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate, in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020.ABC News

'Take her out': Recording appears to capture Trump saying he wants Ukraine ambassador fired

recording reviewed by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired.
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/recording-appears-capture-trump-private-dinner-ukraine-ambassador/story?id=68506437

A recording obtained by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired while speaking at a small gathering that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman -- two former business associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who have since been indicted in New York.

The recording appears to contradict statements by Trump and support the narrative that has been offered by Parnas during broadcast interviews in recent days. Sources familiar with the recording said the recording was made during an intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not know Parnas, a Soviet-born American who has emerged as a wild card in Trump’s impeachment trial, especially in the days since Trump was impeached.
"Get rid of her!" is what the voice that appears to be Trump’s is heard saying. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."

On the recording, it appears the two Giuliani associates are telling Trump that the U.S. ambassador has been bad-mouthing him, which leads directly to the apparent remarks by the president. The recording was made by Fruman, according to sources familiar with the tape.

"Every president in our history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within his Administration," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

During the conversation, several of the participants can be heard laughing with the president. At another point, the recording appears to capture Trump praising his new choice of secretary of state, saying emphatically: "[Mike] Pompeo is the best." But the most striking moment comes when Parnas and the president discuss the dismissal of his ambassador to Ukraine.

Parnas appears to say: "The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She's still left over from the Clinton administration," Parnas can be heard telling Trump. "She's basically walking around telling everybody 'Wait, he's gonna get impeached, just wait." (Yovanovitch actually had served in the State Department since the Reagan administration.)

It was not until a year later that Yovanovitch was recalled from her position -- in April 2019. She said the decision was based on "unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives" that she was disloyal to Trump.

MORE: Giuliani associate Parnas: 'Trump knew exactly what was going on' about Ukraine

MORE: Giuliani associate Parnas texted with Trump campaign donors, including about Ukraine efforts

House investigators have been attempting to document – in part with text messages supplied by Parnas -- an almost year-long effort on the part of Parnas and Giuliani to get Yovanovitch removed from her post. At times, the messages made public by the House Intelligence Committee show Giuliani referencing his repeated efforts to have Yovanovitch recalled from Kyiv, a push that was initially unsuccessful.

"Boy I'm so powerful I can intimidate the entire Ukrainian government," Giuliani messaged Parnas in May 2019. "Please don't tell anyone I can't get the crooked Ambassador fired or I did three times and she's still there."

The identities of others participating in the recorded conversation are unclear. During an early portion of the recording where video can be seen, Donald Trump Jr. appears on the recording posing for pictures with others. Sources say they were attending a larger event happening at the hotel that night for a super PAC that supports the president.

Another clip seen on the recording, according to the sources, is of individuals entering what appears to be a suite at the Trump Hotel for the intimate dinner. The phone that was recording the Trump conversation appears to be placed down on a table with the audio still recording the conversation between the commander-in-chief and other guests, according to the sources. The image of the president does not appear on the video reviewed by ABC News.

In a recent interview with MSNBC, Parnas publicly recounted his memories of the scene at the dinner and said that Trump turned to John [DeStefano], who was his deputy chief of staff at the time, and said "Fire her," he claimed. Sources familiar with the closed-door meeting corroborate that DeStefano was in attendance.

"We all, there was a silence in the room. He responded to him, said Mr. President, we can't do that right now because [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo hasn't been confirmed yet, that Pompeo is not confirmed yet and we don't have -- this is when [former Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson was gone, but Pompeo was confirmed, so they go, wait until -- so several conversations he mentioned it again."

However, Pompeo had been confirmed and privately sworn in days earlier.

A copy of the recording is now in the custody of federal prosecutors in New York's Southern District, who declined to comment to ABC News.

MORE: House Intelligence Committee in possession of video, audio recordings from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas

Trump’s supporters have maintained that no evidence has been put forward directly linking Trump to any of the alleged impeachable actions. And Trump has maintained that removing Yovanovitch was within his right.

Trump has distanced himself from Parnas, who is under federal indictment in New York in a campaign finance case, and the president’s supporters have questioned his credibility and motives.

"I don't know him," the president said just last week when asked about Parnas. "I don't know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people, including people today that I didn't meet. But I just met him. I don't know him at all. Don't know what he's about, don't know where he comes from, know nothing about him. I can only tell you this thing is a big hoax."

As ABC News previously reported, Parnas, who cooperated with the House impeachment probe of Trump, began providing materials that were in his custody to congressional investigators late last year.

Just last week, Parnas' attorney transferred more materials after a series of rulings from the judge in his criminal case, granting him permission to share records obtained by the government with House impeachment investigators to comply with a subpoena, including documents seized from Parnas’ home and the complete extraction of Parnas’ iPhone 11 and Samsung phone, seized from him upon his arrest in October 2019.

Joseph A. Bondy, Parnas' attorney, tweeted at the time that the materials were brought to House investigators "despite every stumbling block placed in our path" since his client's arrest.
The records, which were mostly WhatsApp messages, also included 59 pages of emails and handwritten letters that appear to describe Giuliani's attempts to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and an effort to remove Yovanovitch from her post.

One email exchange appears to suggest Parnas and his associates had Yovanovitch "under physical surveillance in Kyiv," according to the committee’s cover letter.

During her congressional testimony, Yovanovitch said she received a call from the State Department that "there were concerns about my security."
Giuliani is a subject of the probe being led by the New York prosecutors, sources said. Parnas' cohort, Fruman was also arrested at the same time and faces similar charges though he is not cooperating with the congressional investigations.

Parnas and Fruman were indicted by the Southern District of New York on charges including conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud, false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records as part of an alleged scheme to circumvent federal campaign finance laws against straw donations and foreign contributions. Both have pleaded not guilty.

MORE: Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas speaks again: 'It was all about 2020'
MORE: The evidence revealed since Trump's impeachment but still in question at Senate trial

Donald Trump on Impeachment, Greta, Iran and Boris Johnson in blistering Davos Q&A
The Sun - Published on Jan 22, 2020

​Bullish Donald Trump remained as defiant as ever as he answered numerous questions ahead of his departure from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. No subject was off the table as the US President responded in typical fashion when quizzed on his impeachment trial in the Senate, Greta Thunberg, Iran, trade and Boris Johnson. From Brexit breaking news to HD movie trailers, The Sun newspaper brings you the latest news videos and explainers from the UK and around the world.