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Donald Trump’s trial begins: Senate hears impeachment articles

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THE IMPEACHMENT TIMETABLE

Here’s what happens on the first full day of ceremonies leading up to the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

12:00 PM: Democratic House managers for the Senate trial, announced by Pelosi Wednesday, arrive 

12.10PM: Adam Schiff the lead impeachment manager, reads the articles of impeachment

12:30 PM: The Democratic Caucus will hold a luncheon

2:00 PM: Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn by Senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate floor. Roberts will then swear in all 100 senators who will act as jurors in the impeachment trial.

After that: The Senate is expected to spend part of the afternoon discussing details of the scheduling and set-up of the Senate Floor for when the trial commences on Tuesday. 

Tuesday: Senators will debate the rules of the trial. How long that debate lasts has not yet become clear. Mitch McConnell could use procedural rules to force through rules with no Democratic votes which would allow the trial to begin that day. Democratic impeachment managers will have 24 hours over four days to make their case

Wednesday to Friday: Democratic case continues 

Saturday 25 January: The earliest possible day for Donald Trump’s defense to begin their 24 hours, spread over four days, making his case to be cleared

Thursday January 30: The earliest possible day for a vote on impeaching and removing Trump, or acquitting him 

Tuesday February 4: Trump is due to give the State of the Union address

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial began Thursday in high ceremony and amid vicious political division – as outside the Senate a series of new bombshells exploded in the Ukraine scandal.

At 12.05pm, five minutes late, the seven House Democratic impeachment managers arrived at the Senate to formally read the articles of impeachment – and kick off President Trump’s trial. 

Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore of the Senate – the longest-serving member – called the chamber to order and asked the managers to be invited in.

The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: ‘Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.’

Then Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager, began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches ‘Donald John Trump.’ 

The first article of impeachment accuses Trump of an ‘abuse of power’ while the second says he obstructed Congress.  

‘President Trump put his own personal interests above the national interests, Schiff said. ”And if not stopped, he will do it again.’ ‘

The appropriate remedy, indeed the only remedy, is the conviction and removal from office of Pres. Donald Trump,’ Schiff urged. 

Upon the reading of the second article, obstruction of Congress, Schiff reminded his audience that, ‘In the history of the Republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry, or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively, the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate high crimes and misdemeanors.’ 

The Senate was silent as Schiff stood in the well of the chamber. Every senator was present; from now until the end of the trial they must be in the Senate for every minute of the trial.

Later Thursday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive at the chamber and be sworn in so he can preside over the trial, which will being in earnest on Tuesday, once Congress returns from the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. 

Roberts will then swear in members of the Senate as jurors. 

Trump’s impeachment trial begins as the president can tout back-to-back victories on trade. On Wednesday he signed phase one of a trade deal with China. On Thursday, before the House impeachment managers arrived, the Senate voted to approve his U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal in a bipartisan way.  

That deal’s passage in the House was also overshadowed by impeachment, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling an impeachment vote on December 18 and the trade deal vote one day later. 

But the trial also starts with new bombshells outside the chamber. On Thursday morning, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office ruled that holding aid to Ukraine was illegal, because the White House Office of Management and Budget defied Congress to do so. 

And new evidence prompts Ukrainian police to open a formal investigation into whether U.S. Amb. Marie Yovanovitch was being surveilled while holding the top diplomatic post in the country. 

That evidence came courtesy of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas, who turned over messages to House Democrats before they transmitted the articles of impeachment over to the Senate. 

Those messages included ones Parnas received from pro-Trump Congressional candidate Robert Hyde that insinuated he had men watching Yovanovitch’s movements. ‘They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,’ the message said. 

Parnas told MSNBC he didn’t believe Hyde had people actually spying on Yovanovitch and said he didn’t think the ambassador was in harm’s way. Still, it got a reaction from Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, which runs the police. 

‘Our goal is to investigate whether there actually was a violation of Ukrainian and international law, which could be the subject for proper reaction. Or whether it is just bravado and fake information in the informal conversation between two U.S. citizens,’ the ministry said in a statement Thursday. 

Ceremony: Adam Schiff reads the articles of impeachment of Donald John Trump to the Senate, the formal start of his impeachment trial, only the third ever to take place of a president

Ceremony: Adam Schiff reads the articles of impeachment of Donald John Trump to the Senate, the formal start of his impeachment trial, only the third ever to take place of a president

Ceremony: Adam Schiff reads the articles of impeachment of Donald John Trump to the Senate, the formal start of his impeachment trial, only the third ever to take place of a president

Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches 'Donald John Trump.'

Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches 'Donald John Trump.'

Adam Schiff, the lead Democratic impeachment manager began to read the resolution from Congress which impeaches ‘Donald John Trump.’

The articles: This is the document read by Adam Schiff in the well of the Senate

The articles: This is the document read by Adam Schiff in the well of the Senate

The articles: This is the document read by Adam Schiff in the well of the Senate

On their way: The Democratic impeachment managers are led from the House to the Senate in procession by the House Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving 

Setting: House Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving leads the seven Democratic impeachment managers through Statuary Hall, from the House to the Senate

Setting: House Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving leads the seven Democratic impeachment managers through Statuary Hall, from the House to the Senate

Setting: House Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving leads the seven Democratic impeachment managers through Statuary Hall, from the House to the Senate

Moment of history: The Senate' sergeant-at-arms, James Mathers, leads the Democratic impeachment managers to the well of the Senate, with Adam Schiff, the lead manager directly behind him, and Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee beside him

Moment of history: The Senate' sergeant-at-arms, James Mathers, leads the Democratic impeachment managers to the well of the Senate, with Adam Schiff, the lead manager directly behind him, and Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee beside him

Moment of history: The Senate’ sergeant-at-arms, James Mathers, leads the Democratic impeachment managers to the well of the Senate, with Adam Schiff, the lead manager directly behind him, and Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee beside him

 

Start of proceedings: Just after noon, the president pro tempore, Chuck Grassley, called the Senate to order to begin the trial.

Start of proceedings: Just after noon, the president pro tempore, Chuck Grassley, called the Senate to order to begin the trial.

The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: 'Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.'

The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: 'Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.'

Start of proceedings: Just after noon, the president pro tempore, Chuck Grassley, called the Senate to order to begin the trial. The Senate Sergeant at Arms James Mathers proclaimed: ‘Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment.’

Filing out: It took just 15 minutes for the trial to formally begin, with the Democratic senators leaving so the Senate could move on to the next order of business, dispatching senators to the Supreme Court to summon the Chief Justice

Filing out: It took just 15 minutes for the trial to formally begin, with the Democratic senators leaving so the Senate could move on to the next order of business, dispatching senators to the Supreme Court to summon the Chief Justice

Filing out: It took just 15 minutes for the trial to formally begin, with the Democratic senators leaving so the Senate could move on to the next order of business, dispatching senators to the Supreme Court to summon the Chief Justice

Leaving: THe Democratic impeachment managers file out after Adam Schiff delivered the articles of impeachment

Leaving: THe Democratic impeachment managers file out after Adam Schiff delivered the articles of impeachment

Leaving: THe Democratic impeachment managers file out after Adam Schiff delivered the articles of impeachment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor Thursday, as the House impeachment managers are due in his chamber in several hours

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor Thursday, as the House impeachment managers are due in his chamber in several hours

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor Thursday, as the House impeachment managers are due in his chamber in several hours 

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Thursday as he prepares to preside over the impeachment hearing in the Senate

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Thursday as he prepares to preside over the impeachment hearing in the Senate

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Thursday as he prepares to preside over the impeachment hearing in the Senate 

READ THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP

In 1,414 words, the articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday lay out two charges against President Donald Trump.

Article I: Abuse of Power

Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.

He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.

President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations.

President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.’

Article II: Obstruction of Congress

As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.

In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.

 

Another drawback for the president was the non-partisan Government Accountability Office’s assessment, released Thursday, that said he broke the law when he withheld the Ukraine aid. 

‘Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for thos that Congress has enacted into law,’ the opinion read. ‘[The Office of Management and Budget] withheld funds for a policy reason … not a programmatic delay. Therefore we conclude that the OMB violated the [Impoundment Control Act].’

Trump’s impeachment revolves around the accusation that he held up $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the country’s new president to announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden and the origins of the 2016 Russia probe. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden is one of the leading 2020 Democratic candidates. 

During his usual flurry of morning tweets Thursday, the president retweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, who pointed out that four of the Senate jurors were also aiming to be Trump’s 2020 rival. 

‘[Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet] are spending millions of dollars to defeat [President Trump], and we’re supposed to believe they will be impartial during the trial?’ Blackburn wrote. ‘They should recuse themselves.’  

On Thursday, Republicans were also taking issue with Pelosi’s sunny demeanor.  

‘After weeks of delay, the Speaker of the House decided yesterday that a trial could finally go forward. She signed the impeachment papers,’ McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday. ‘That took place, at a table with a political slogan stuck onto it. And they posed afterwards for smiling photos. And the Speaker distributed souvenir pens to her own colleagues, emblazoned with her own golden signature, that literally came in on silver platters. Golden pens on silver platters.’

‘ A souvenir to celebrate the moment,’ McConnell remarked with disgust. 

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway told reporters at the White House that House Democrats handed the articles of impeachment over to the Senate ‘complete with fist bumps, commemorate pens, high fives.’ 

She smiled and gave out autographed pens during Wednesday evening’s Engrossment Ceremony, in which she signed the articles of impeachment.  

‘When the managers walk down the hall, we will cross a threshold in history,’ she said. ‘Delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House.’ 

The job of the delivery fell onto Pelosi’s chosen seven, which she announced earlier Wednesday:  Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia and Jason Crow. 

The Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson carried the impeachment articles in two blue folders, escorted by House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and the seven Democratic impeachment managers, through Statuary Hall, into the ornate rotunda with its paintings depicting scenes from American history, under the Dome, and to the Senate side of the Capitol. 

The procession was solemn and no one spoke as Johnson carefully held the articles during the march. 

President Trump retweeted Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn who suggested Democratic hopefuls shouldn't serve as jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial

President Trump retweeted Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn who suggested Democratic hopefuls shouldn't serve as jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial

President Trump retweeted Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn who suggested Democratic hopefuls shouldn’t serve as jurors in President Trump’s impeachment trial 

Trump (pictured at the White House on Wednesday) is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate

Trump (pictured at the White House on Wednesday) is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate

Trump (pictured at the White House on Wednesday) is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday, her first since House Democrats delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday, her first since House Democrats delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday, her first since House Democrats delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate 

The clerk, sergeant and arms and seven impeachment managers walk through Statuary Hall, which used to serve as the House chamber, in the Capitol

The clerk, sergeant and arms and seven impeachment managers walk through Statuary Hall, which used to serve as the House chamber, in the Capitol

The clerk, sergeant and arms and seven impeachment managers walk through Statuary Hall, which used to serve as the House chamber, in the Capitol

Shortly thereafter McConnell explained what the schedule would be for Thursday, and said that the trial would officially begin Tuesday. 

Trump is due in Davos, Switzerland the same day to again deliver an address at the World Economic Forum. He attended the event in 2018, though skipped it in 2019 due to the ongoing government shutdown.         

McConnell says there will be a vote after opening arguments to decide if the Senate should call witnesses to testify in the hearing that will decide if the president will be removed from office.

None of the Senate’s 53 Republicans have voiced support for ousting Trump, a step that would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member chamber.

Though the ultimate outcome is not in doubt, the trial could deliver some moments of drama. 

Democrats are pressing to call Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness, which could prove damaging to Trump. Other witnesses in the impeachment inquiry said Bolton was a vocal critic of the effort to pressure Ukraine.

McConnell, however, has resisted the idea of calling witnesses at all. He claims his chamber should only consider evidence that has already been dug up by the House.

But other Republicans and Trump himself have said they would like to call witnesses of their own – including Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma from 2014-2019. 

 

 

Message revelations: A cache of messages from Lev Parnas' devices revealed him receiving apparent updates on surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch

Message revelations: A cache of messages from Lev Parnas' devices revealed him receiving apparent updates on surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch

Message revelations: A cache of messages from Lev Parnas' devices revealed him receiving apparent updates on surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch

Message revelations: A cache of messages from Lev Parnas' devices revealed him receiving apparent updates on surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch

Message revelations: A cache of messages from Lev Parnas’ devices revealed him receiving apparent updates on surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch

Robert Hyde, a congressional candidate in Connecticut, brushed off new messages that appear to show him monitoring the movements of a U.S. ambassador. ‘For them to take some texts my buddy’s 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,’ wrote Hyde, seen here with President Trump in an image posted on Hyde’s Instagram account

 White House’s hold on military aid to Ukraine broke the law because Donald Trump cannot override Congress, nonpartisan watchdog rules hours before Senate is sworn in for his trial

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office has concluded that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated a budgeting law by withholding millions of aid the Congress had directed to Ukraine.

The government watchdog released its scathing conclusions Thursday morning, just minutes before 100 U.S. senators were to be sworn in for the commencement of an impeachment trial of president Trump that hinges on his and his associates conduct toward Ukraine.

The administration held back, but ultimately released, $391 million in aid that had been designated for Ukraine, which is countering Russia after its neighbor seized Crimea. The funds were enacted in appropriations legislation. 

‘Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA),’ the GAO wrote.

‘The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA,’ according to the report. 

The report says the president may not 'substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law'

The report says the president may not 'substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law'

The report says the president may not ‘substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law’

Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland called it a 'bombshell legal opinion'

Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland called it a 'bombshell legal opinion'

Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland called it a ‘bombshell legal opinion’

The report notes that the OMB withheld $214 million appropriated to the Defense Department for security assistance to Ukraine, as part of a larger overall package. The Department was required to inform Congress Ukraine had taken “substantial actions” on “defense institutional reforms” before it got the aid, which was to include anti-tank weapons of particular use in countering Moscow amid fighting. 

The aid was earmarked in a law passed by both houses of Congress and signed by Trump.

‘An appropriations act is a law like any other; therefore, unless Congress has enacted a law providing otherwise, the President must take care to ensure that appropriations are prudently obligated during their period of availability,’ according to the report. 

‘The Constitution grants the President no unilateral authority to withhold funds from obligation,’ it notes. 

The watchdog adds that ‘The President may temporarily withhold funds from obligation—but not beyond the end of the fiscal year in which the President transmits the special message—by proposing a “deferral.”

He also can cancel funds by proposing a ‘rescission’ – but in this case must transmit information to Congress in a special message.

‘There is no assertion or other indication here that OMB intended to propose a rescission,’ GAO found.

‘Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,’ according to the report. 

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland requested the report – and linked it to Democrats’ calls for the Senate to hear from witnesses during the Trump impeachment trial, which kicks off in earnest next week.

‘This bombshell legal opinion from the independent Government Accountability Office demonstrates, without a doubt, that the Trump Administration illegally withheld security assistance from Ukraine,’ he said in a statement. 

‘The publicly available evidence also shows that the President himself ordered this illegal act. This violation of the law reflects a contempt for the Constitution and was a key part of his corrupt scheme to abuse the power of the presidency for his personal political purposes. The GAO’s independent findings reinforce the need for the Senate to obtain all relevant documents and hear from key fact witnesses in order to have a fair trial.’

The GAO lawyers note that OMB ‘asserts’ that its actions are subject to the Impoundment Control Act ‘because they constitute a programmatic delay’ and calls a policy development a ‘fundamental part of program implementation.’

‘OMB’s assertions have no basis in law,’ the congressional watchdog concluded. 

The report concludes with some potential headaches for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the withholding of funds earmarked for Foreign Military Financing. The report cites back-and-forth letters with the agency and $26.5 million that got held up.

‘OMB and State have failed, as of yet, to provide the information we need to fulfill our duties under the ICA regarding potential impoundments of FMF funds. We will continue to pursue this matter and will provide our decision to the Congress after we have received the necessary information,’ the report says.

‘All federal officials and employees take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and its core tenets, including the congressional power of the purse. We trust that State and OMB will provide the information needed,’ it concludes. The report is signed by Thomas Armstrong, general counsel for the GAO.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed to the report’s findings in remarks to reporters and accused the Trump administration of deception.

‘This reinforces again the need of documents and eyewitnesses in the Senate,’ she said.

‘When i was in grade school there was a sign on the wall in one of the corridors that said: “What a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.” You see this more and more and more in and of this, this tangled web to deceive that administration is engaged in.’

Ukraine police probe whether Donald Trump’s allies put U.S. ambassador to Kiev Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance after messages reveal one asking Lev Parnas ‘if you want her out’

Ukrainian police said Thursday they have opened an investigation into the possibility that the former U.S. ambassador came under illegal surveillance from Donald Trump’s allies before she was recalled from her post.

The announcement came two days after Democratic lawmakers in the United States released a trove of documents that showed Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, communicating about the removal of Marie Yovanovitch as the ambassador to Ukraine.

The messages showed Parnas exchanging encrypted WhatsApp messages with Robert Hyde, a former Marine who is running for Congress and who has repeatedly posed with Trump, about Yovanovitch. One asks ‘if you want her out.’

They are among evidence sent to the Senate on Wednesday with the articles of impeachment. Yovanovitch’s attorney has asked for a U.S. investigation already.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry, which runs the police forces, said in a statement that Ukrainian police ‘are not interfering in the internal political affairs of the United States.’

‘However, the published messages contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats on the territory of another state,’ the statement continued.

‘Our goal is to investigate whether there actually was a violation of Ukrainian and international law, which could be the subject for proper reaction. Or whether it is just bravado and fake information in the informal conversation between two U.S. citizens,’ the ministry said.

The Interior Ministry also said it has requested the FBI provide relevant materials. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov ‘suggested that the U.S. side take part in the investigation,’ the statement said.

And the Ukraine ministry said it was opening an investigation into reports that Russian hackers gained access to computers of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

Booster: Robert Hyde has repeatedly posed with Donald Trump and suggested he is a member of Mar-a-Lago

Booster: Robert Hyde has repeatedly posed with Donald Trump and suggested he is a member of Mar-a-Lago

Booster: Robert Hyde has repeatedly posed with Donald Trump and suggested he is a member of Mar-a-Lago

Hunter Biden, the son of Trump opponent and former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, was on the board of that company. It has asked the FBI to help that probe too. 

The development came as the Senate prepared to formally begin Trump’s impeachment trial, on a day when House impeachment managers were to walk two impeachment articles across the Capitol and senators get sworn in to uphold their solemn oaths as jurors in the proceedings.

Ironically, the heart of the heart of the impeachment matter that goes to a Senate trial next week is a push by Trump and his allies for Ukraine to conduct an investigation – of the Bidens and Burisma. Among the documents revealed this week was a notation by Parnas on Vienna Ritz Carlton stationary saying: ‘Get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated,’ in reference to President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

On MSNBC on Thursday night Parnas pushed back on the messages, saying that Hyde was a drunken hanger-on and not to be believed.

“He was always drunk,’ said Parnas, calling Hyde a ‘weird character.’ Hyde has been defending himself on Twitter and attacking House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff. He denied being in Kiev and said he was drinking when he wrote messages to Parnas. He also penned a message, regarding Yovanovitch, saying ‘f*** that b****’ that turned up in the document production.

The Intelligence committee released a string of WhatsApps between Parnas and Hyde, who Parnas said he met at the bar in the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C.

‘She under heavy protection outside Kiev,’ Hyde wrote in a March 23 message to Parnas, who was born in the former Soviet Union and who was indicted on campaign finance allegations, and who turned over information to the House Intelligence committee with his lawyer. 

‘I know crazy s***’ Parnas responds. ‘My guy thinks maybe FSB,’ responds Hyde, referencing Russian internal security. 

Two days later, he wrote: ”They are moving her tomorrow.’ Then he added: ‘The guys over there asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them.’ 

‘Private security. Been there since Thursday,’ he wrote in another message. ‘They will let me know when she’s on the move.’ 

‘They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,’ Hyde added in another message that day. 

‘Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money … what I was told,’ he wrote.

He also levels insults at Yovanovitch, a longtime foreign service officer who Ukrainian officials working with Giuliani considered a threat. ‘Wow. Can’t believe Trump hasn’t fired this b****. I’ll get right in that.’ 

A March 26 message states: ‘If you want her out they need to make contact with security forces.’

Hyde responded on twitter and then in an interview with Eric Bolling.

He did not dispute the validity of the texts, which show detailed monitoring of the physical location of fired U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post last year amidst an intense lobbying push by Giuliani and his associates.

But Hyde blasted Trump nemesis Rep. Adam Schiff and claimed he sent the texts to ‘some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks.’  

Hyde also told NBC News he was drinking when he sent the messages that the House released hours before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment managers for a coming Senate trial on two articles against President Trump. 

‘How low can liddle Adam Bull Schiff go? I was never in Kiev,’ Hyde tweeted Tuesday night. ‘For them to take some texts my buddy’s 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. Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy.’   

President Trump also disparaged Yovanovitch in his infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he asked for a ‘favor’ that included probing the Bidens and a Ukrainian energy firm linked to Hunter Biden. 

‘Well, she’s going to go through some things,’ Trump said of Yovanovitch.

Yovanovitch’s lawyer Lawrence Robbins called for an investigation and said ‘the notion that American citizens and others were monitoring Ambassador Yovanovitch’s movements for unknown purposes is disturbing.’     

Hyde makes reference to drinking in other social media posts, where he also has shown an affinity for spycraft. In one tweet where he tags conservative commentator Dan Bongino, he writes: ‘Shaken not stirred? @dbongino,’ making a James Bond reference.

In another, he mocks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding up impeachment articles.

‘Who else thinks Hayes and Pelosi got drunk and lost the articles of impeachment,’ he wrote over an image of Pelosi and Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes, whom he is seeking to unseat. 

Hyde claims to be an Iraq war veteran and is running for the Republican nomination for Connecticut’s fifth district. The chair of the state party demanded that he stand down.  

THE IMPEACHMENT MANAGERS: MEET THE SEVEN DEMOCRATS PROSECUTING DONALD TRUMP

Adam Schiff of California: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, 59, led the impeachment process against Donald Trump. He became a frequent target of Trump’s fury: the president called him ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff and made fun of his neck. But Schiff won praise for his leadership during witnesses hearings. Schiff served in the California State Assembly and was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years. He oversaw the prosecution of Richard Miller, the first FBI agent ever to be indicted for espionage. Elected to Congress in 2012. 

Jerry Nadler of New York: The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, 72, led the series of hearings that developed the two articles of impeachment against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of justice. He’s in his 15th term in Congress and was a New York State Assembly man before joining Capitol Hill. He was in law school when he was first elected to state office and completed his J.D. while serving in Albany. He and Schiff were expected to be named. Elected to Congress in 1992.

Zoe Lofgren of California: A close Nancy Pelosi ally and a long time friend of the speaker, Lofgren, 72, has the unique experience of playing a role in three presidential impeachment proceedings: as a Judiciary Committee staffer during Richard Nixon’s in 1974, as a Judiciary Committee Member during Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment, and now in President Trump’s. Additionally, she heads the Committee on House Administration, a position that has the moniker ‘Mayor of Capitol Hill’ given the panel’s jurisdiction over the everyday running of the Capitol, including members’ allowance, office space, and rules of the House. Elected to Congress in 1994.

Hakeem Jeffries of New York: Jeffries, 49, was a litigator in private practice before running for elected office. He worked in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before becoming assistant litigator for Viacom and CBS, where he worked on litigation stemming from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, when Janet Jackson’s breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a second, in what was later referred to as a ‘wardrobe malfunction’. The Federal Election Commission fined CBS $550,000 after a long legal case. The Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Jeffries serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Before Congress, he was in the New York State Assembly for six years. Elected to Congress in 2012 and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Val Demings of Florida: Demings, 62, served in the Orlando Police Department for 27 years, including serving as the city’s first female chief of police. She is one of seven children born in poverty – her father worked in Florida orange groves and her mother was a housekeeper. She was the first member of her family graduate from college. She worked as a social worker before joining the Orlando police department. A member of the House Intelligence panel and the Judiciary Committee, Demings won plaudits for her careful questioning of witnesses during the impeachment hearings. She wrote on Twitter in December, during the impeachment process: ‘I am a descendant of slaves, who knew that they would not make it, but dreamed and prayed that one day I would make it. So despite America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution. I’ve enforced the laws, and now I write the laws. Nobody is above the law.’ She spends her free time riding her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle. Elected to Congress in 2016.

Jason Crow of Colorado: Crow, 40, was an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served three tours and was awarded a Bronze Star. He was a private litigator with the Holland and Hart Law Firm before running for Congress. He was elected to Congress in 2018 and serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

Sylvia Garcia of Texas: Garcia, 69, has a strong judicial background. She was the director and presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System and was elected city controller. She was also the first Hispanic and first woman to be elected in her own right to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court. Elected to Congress in 2018, she serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

DailyMail Online


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