The latest news on the impeachment inquiry
- The House is set to vote on a resolution establishing the procedures for the impeachment inquiry’s next phase, the first time lawmakers will vote on the probe.
- Debate in the House is underway with a full vote expected by midday. The full proceedings can be watched in the player above.
- On Wednesday, House Democrats asked for former national security adviser John Bolton, who is said to have opposed external efforts to pressure Ukraine, to appear before the impeachment committee.
- On the July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump urged Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
Washington— House lawmakers are debating a resolution establishing the framework for the next steps in the impeachment inquiry, the first vote by the full House as the probe approaches a new phase of public hearings.
“I doubt anybody in this place, or anybody that you know, comes to Congress to take the oath of office, comes to Congress to impeach the president of the United States, unless his actions are jeopardizing our honoring our oath of office,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the floor.
The measure directs “certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.”
It sets the parameters for public hearings led by the House Intelligence Committee, which will craft a report to the Judiciary Committee. That report will form the basis for proceedings in Judiciary, where the president and his counsel will be allowed to cross examine witnesses and request testimony. The Judiciary Committee will decide whether to adopt articles of impeachment to send to the full House.
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Tim Morrison, the senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, arrived to testify before the committees. Morrison featured prominently in testimony by Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in the U.S. embassy in Kiev. Morrison is leaving his White House post, officials said Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Democrats on the impeachment committees summoned former national security adviser John Bolton to be appear before lawmakers, in addition to two White House lawyers involved in the Ukraine affair, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Other witnesses have testified that Bolton was furious over efforts by Rudy Giuliani and others to pressure Ukraine, at one point calling the demand for investigations a “drug deal.” He resigned from the White House in September before the impeachment inquiry.
Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, told CBS News that Bolton “is not willing to appear voluntarily, but I stand ready at all times to accept service of a subpoena on his behalf.”
House holding procedural vote before vote on final passage
10:58 a.m.: Lawmakers are currently voting on a procedural measure before voting on final passage of the resolution. — Stefan Becket
Pelosi will preside over impeachment resolution vote
10:40 a.m.: Pelosi will preside over the impeachment resolution vote, CBS News has learned. Having the speaker of the House preside over a vote is very unusual, and conveys the gravity of the situation.
Pelosi said during her weekly press conference that the decision to move forward with actual articles of impeachment has “not yet been made.”
“As the inquiry proceeds, we’ll decide whether we’ll go forward with impeachment. That decision has not yet been made,” Pelosi said. — Rebecca Kaplan and Grace Segers
Scalise decries “Soviet-style” impeachment proceedings
10:32 a.m.: GOP Whip Steve Scalise stepped onto the House floor with props, standing next to a poster decrying “37 days of Soviet-style impeachment hearings.”
“This is unprecedented. It’s not only unprecedented,” Scalise said. This is Soviet-style rules. Maybe in the Soviet Union you do things like this where only you make the rules.”
Scalise went on to call the process a “sham” and “tainted,” and was cheered by his Republican colleagues. — Kathryn Watson
Pelosi says “nothing less than our democracy” at stake
10:19 a.m.: Pelosi, appearing next to a poster-sized American flag, took to the floor and read from the preamble to the Constitution to lay out the stakes of the impeachment inquiry.
“This is something that is very solemn, that is prayerful,” Pelosi said. “I doubt anybody in this place, or anybody that you know, comes to Congress to take the oath of office, comes to Congress to impeach the president of the United States, unless his actions are jeopardizing our honoring our oath of office.”
“Today the House takes the next step forward as we establish the procedures for open hearings,” she said. “What is at stake is nothing less than our democracy.” — Stefan Becket
Witnesses scheduled to testify next week
9:49 a.m.: An official working on the impeachment inquiry confirmed the following witnesses are expected to testify in closed session on Monday, November 4:
- John Eisenberg, deputy counsel to the president for national security affairs and legal adviser to the National Security Council
- Robert Blair, assistant to the president and senior adviser to the acting chief of staff
- Michael Ellis, senior associate counsel to the president and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council
- Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources, energy and science at the Office of Management and Budget
Blair was originally expected to testify on Friday, November 1. — Rebecca Kaplan
Meadows would “be surprised” if Morrison testimony leaked
9:21 a.m.: Republican Congressman Mark Meadows told reporters he did not expect Morrison’s opening statement to be leaked by Democrats, indicating it did not contain information damaging to the president.
“I don’t think you’ll get leaks from the opening testimony,” Meadows said, adding he would “be surprised” if the statement came out. — Grace Segers
Democratic holdout to vote for impeachment resolution
9:16 a.m.: Congressman Anthony Brindisi, one of the last Democratic holdouts on supporting an impeachment inquiry, has said he will vote in favor of the impeachment resolution on Thursday.
“I think the vote will allow a fair and open process and will finally let Americans judge for themselves,” Brindisi told Syracuse.com.
Brindisi joins fellow Democratic Representatives Kendra Horn and Joe Cunningham in announcing his late support for the impeachment resolution. — Grace Segers
House begins debate on impeachment resolution
9:09 a.m.: The House has begun debate on the resolution outlining the rules for the ongoing impeachment proceedings, with members getting a chance to make their points on the House floor. Republicans and Democrats get equal time to speak.
The debate can be watched in the live player above.
Votes on the impeachment resolution are expected to begin around 10:30 a.m., although there will likely be two votes on procedural matters ahead of the final vote on the resolution itself.
It remains to be seen whether any Republicans will vote for the resolution, which allies of the president are describing as too little, too late.
Meanwhile, the president is at the White House with no events on his public schedule, tweeting his congratulations to Fox News for their ratings over other cable networks. — Kathryn Watson
Morrison appearing under subpoena
8:53 a.m.: Morrison is appearing before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry under subpoena, according to an official working on the inquiry.
“In light of an attempt by the White House to direct Timothy Morrison not to appear for his scheduled deposition, and efforts to also limit any testimony that does occur, the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel his testimony this morning. As is required of him, Mr. Morrison is complying with the subpoena and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican Members and staff,” the official said.
The total number of subpoenas issued in the inquiry now stands at 23. — Rebecca Kaplan
Jordan: impeachment vote is “Democrats’ attempt to put a ribbon on this whole sham process”
8:24 a.m.: Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, one of the most outspoken opponents of the impeachment inquiry, told reporters that the vote on the impeachment resolution on Thursday was “”Democrats’ attempt to put a ribbon on this whole sham process.”
“We have the resolution on the floor which is the Democrats’ attempt to put a ribbon on this whole sham process. Because it doesn’t really change anything, they still have all the power, and no rights are extended to the White House or to the minority. It obviously keeps Chairman Schiff in complete control so that he can continue to run this unfair and partisan process,” Jordan said, referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
The resolution also gives the top Republican on the Intelligence committee, ranking member Devin Nunes, the ability to submit requests for witnesses with “a detailed written justification of the relevance of the testimony” by each witness. Schiff would be able to decline Nunes’ request, with Nunes able to refer the request to the full committee for a vote. The resolution also gives Nunes the authority to issue subpoenas to compel testimony from his witnesses, and Schiff the authority to release transcripts of closed-door depositions.
Jordan also said he hoped Schiff would not block Morrison from answering Republicans’ questions, a reference to disputes earlier this week when Schiff tried to stop Republicans from asking questions designed to reveal the name of the whistleblower, which Republicans have disputed they were trying to do. — Rebecca Kaplan and Grace Segers
Tim Morrison arrives at the Capitol
7:43 a.m.: National Security Council official Tim Morrison has arrived at the Capitol to testify before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.
Horn and Golden both say they will support impeachment inquiry resolution
6:00 a.m.: Congresswoman Kendra Horn, who flipped a pro-Trump district in Oklahoma City in 2018, told The Oklahoman that she will vote for the impeachment inquiry resolution.
“A transparent, public process is a move out of the closed-door hearings that gives everybody the same rules,” the Democrat said in an interview. “This is not saying I have made a determination [about impeachment] or not. But for me, it is about ensuring that our systems work.”
Horn’s support came just hours after Congressman Jared Golden of Maine said he would vote for Thursday’s impeachment inquiry resolution.
With Horn and Golden’s support, there are only three Democrats who have not publicly expressed support for the resolution.
Those three Democrats are: Anthony Brindisi of upstate New York, Jeff Van Drew of southern New Jersey and Collin Peterson of western Minnesota.
Wednesday, October 30
Key witness in Ukraine investigation leaving White House
6:12 p.m.: A White House official who has emerged as a central witness in the Ukraine scandal is leaving his post, senior administration officials tell CBS News.
Tim Morrison, the senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, is scheduled to testify before the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry on Thursday.
Morrison’s departure was first reported by NPR. An official said the departure has been in the works “for some time” and that he is leaving of his own accord.
“After more than a year of service at the National Security Council, Mr. Morrison has decided to pursue other opportunities — and has been considering doing so for some time,” the official said. “We wish him well.”
Morrison’s testimony on Thursday is highly anticipated, as he was repeatedly mentioned by Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Kiev, during a closed-door interview with the committees last week. — Grace Segers
Read the full story here.
Democrats schedule testimony for Bolton and White House lawyers
3:48 p.m.: House Democrats have set dates for appearances by two figures at the center of the impeachment inquiry: former national security adviser John Bolton and top White House lawyer John Eisenberg, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Michael Ellis, a special assistant to the president and Eisenberg’s deputy, was also summoned to testify.
Other witnesses have testified that Bolton was furious over efforts by Rudy Giuliani and others to pressure Ukraine, at one point calling the demand for investigations a “drug deal.” Eisenberg, a deputy assistant to the president and National Security Council legal adviser, ordered a summary of the president’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine moved to more secure server, severely restricting who could access it.
Bolton’s interview before the committees is set for November 7, and Eisenberg and Ellis were both told to appear on November 4. Bolton resigned as national security adviser in September before the whistleblower complaint became public. — Olivia Gazis and Rebecca Kaplan
House Rules Committee debates impeachment resolution
3:30 p.m.: Members of the House Rules Committee are meeting to “mark up” the proposed resolution before bringing it to the full House for a vote on Thursday. Watch a live stream of the hearing here.
Gaetz files ethics complaint against Schiff
1:58 p.m.: Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is filing a formal ethics complaint against Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, over what he calls Schiff’s “unconstitutional and secret handling” of the impeachment inquiry.
“Chairman Schiff has abused his authority and seems to believe that the rules of the House of Representatives do not apply to him,” Gaetz said. “We cannot have a multi-tiered justice system in the United States or in the Congress. His egregious behavior must change immediately.”
Gaetz’s action comes a week after he led a group of Republicans into the secure room where closed hearings were being held by the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry to protest the proceedings. — Grace Segers
McConnell says Democrats setting “a new low” on impeachment
12:53 p.m.: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced House Democrats earlier on the Senate floor, criticizing them for denying the president “basic due process rights” in their upcoming resolution.
“Any such inquiry must be conducted by the highest standards of fairness and due process, but thus far this time around instead of setting a high bar, House Democrats seem determined to set a new low,” McConnell said. “‘No due process now, maybe some later, but only if we feel like it’ is not a standard that should ever be applied to any American and it should not be applied here to the president of the United States.” — John Nolen
John Sullivan questioned by lawmakers about ouster of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine
11:28 a.m. At Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan’s confirmation hearing to succeed Jon Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to Russia, he was asked a series of pointed questions by the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez.
The New Jersey senator asked Sullivan about his role in the recall of former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Sullivan was the State Department official who informed Yovanovitch that she was being recalled from Ukraine early.
Sullivan said he believed Yovanovitch served the country admirably, and he personally did not think she had done anything wrong. He said he asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo why she was being recalled, and Pompeo simply told him the president had lost confidence in her.
Menendez asked if Sullivan had asked Pompeo why the president had lost confidence, and Sullivan said he had, but he was given no explanation.
Menendez asked why he didn’t push back, and Sullivan replied there had been an ongoing conversation for months and Pompeo had pushed back, but at the end of the day, if a president has lost confidence in an ambassador for any reason — “right or wrong” — the ambassador has to come home.
Menendez asked Sullivan if he had been aware of the Giuliani-led smearing of Yovanovitch. Sullivan said he did, and called it a “campaign against the ambassador to Ukraine.”
The testimony is notable because most of the interviews with knowledgeable individuals have taken place behind closed doors. This hearing, which will go on for several more hours, gives the public a rare public opportunity to hear from an individual who was directly involved in the controversy. — Nancy Cordes
State Department official says Bolton warned of Giuliani’s influence on Ukraine
9:41 a.m.: Christopher Anderson, a career foreign service officer in the State Department, will testify that former national security adviser John Bolton believed Rudy Giuliani was an obstacle in increasing cooperation between the White House and Ukraine. Giuliani is Mr. Trump’s personal attorney.
According to his opening statement, which was obtained by CBS News, Anderson will say that Bolton “cautioned that Mr. Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement” in a June 13 meeting.
Anderson’s attorney, Mark MacDougall, will testify the White House told Anderson he could not participate in the impeachment inquiry, but Anderson is appearing because he was served with a valid subpoena. MacDougall will also say Anderson is not the whistleblower whose complaint kicked off the impeachment inquiry. — Grace Segers
State official testifies on pressure to oust Yovanovitch
9:00 a.m. Catherine Croft, the State Department employee who worked on Ukraine issues at the National Security Council and then for special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, wrote in her testimony to Congress that she had received numerous calls to oust Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from lobbyist Robert Livingston. According to Croft, Livingston frequently referred to Yovanovitch as an “Obama holdover” and associated with George Soros.
Livingston is a former Republican congressman who abruptly resigned as Republicans were preparing to impeach President Clinton due to a scandal over an extramarital affair.
“It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch. I documented these calls and told my boss, Fiona Hill, and George Kent, who was in Kyiv at the time. I am not aware of any action that was taken in response,” Croft wrote in her testimony.
Croft also wrote in her testimony that she participated in a meeting prior to President Trump’s July 25 call where an OMB official reported that Mick Mulvaney had placed “an informal hold on security assistance to Ukraine. The only reason given was that the order came at the direction of the President.”
Croft arrived for her deposition at the Capitol at approximately 8:48 a.m. — Emily Tillett and Grace Segers