Four potentially devastating witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry will follow White House orders and will refuse to testify.
The White House told the administration officials they cannot testify Monday in closed-door depositions as lawmakers investigate President Donald Trump’s scheme to withhold aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Two White House lawyers, John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis, had been scheduled to give depositions Monday, along with Brian McCormick, a deputy official in the Office of Management and Budget, and Robert Blair, a presidential assistant and senior adviser to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Eisenberg was identified by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as the White House official who suggested moving a transcript of Trump’s controversial phone call to a classified server, which violated longstanding official protocol.
Blair listened to the call as it took place July 25, and was also advised of the decision-making process for withholding congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine as leverage to announce an investigation of Joe Biden.
It’s not yet clear how Democrats will respond to the White House block, but a federal judge is already considering whether former Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman can be forced to testify.
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Watch: Trump Brags About Obstructing Congress During Remarks About His Impeachment Trial for Obstructing Congress
President Donald Trump is now bragging about his blatant obstruction of Congress – while discussing his impeachment trial for obstruction of Congress. Speaking to reporters at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland Trump boasted about having all the documents – and that the House has none – because he’s blocked them from being released.
Trump is being impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He has refused to hand over to Congress hundreds if not thousands of documents, has blocked at least nine administration officials from testifying, and even refused to comply with lawful House subpoenas.
First, Trump lied about releasing the “transcript” of his call with Ukraine President Zelensky. He has not released the transcript. He has released a call summary, which even says it is not a transcript. He told reporters that “all hell broke loose” among Democrats when he released the “transcript,” which is also false. The call summary was what convinced even those Democrats who had been unwilling to support impeachment to support impeachment.
After praising his impeachment attorneys, who lied over and over again while speaking before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during Tuesday’s Senate impeachment trial, Trump moved on to bragging about obstruction.
“But honestly we have all the material,” Trump proclaimed. “They don’t have the material,” he said, referring to House prosecutors.
Trump admits to obstruction of Congress — one of the impeachment charges against him.
— Minh Ngo (@minhtngo) January 22, 2020
McConnell Forced to Change Egregious Impeachment Rules Resolution After Even GOP Senators Balked at How Extreme It Was
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell early Tuesday afternoon was forced to change the resolution outlining the rules that will govern the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, after even Republican Senators balked at how extreme the rules were.
GOP SOURCE: Multiple Republican senators raised concerns about the original McConnell resolution.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) January 21, 2020
Over recent years Leader McConnell has been accused of stealing a U.S. Supreme Court seat, flooding the federal bench with extremist and even unqualified judges, forcing the confirmation of a judge accused of sexual assault to the nation’s top court, and now, orchestrating an illegitimate impeachment trial.
Tuesday afternoon, McConnell quietly let it be known that the most extreme and restrictive rules that appeared in his original resolution had changed.
The resolution now will allow all evidence that the House presented will be included in the Senate trial. The original resolution required that votes be taken on whether or not to allow the evidence to be submitted.
The other resolution many found egregious was an attempt to hold the hearings under cover of darkness, even well past midnight. Originally the arguments would have been compressed in to two 12-hour days, That has been changed to three 8-hour days.
Am told Sen. Susan Collins and others specifically pushed back at the 2-day time limit as well as the evidence block.
That they want this to stay as close to Clinton rules as possible.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) January 21, 2020
Regardless, little chance remains critical Trump administration witnesses, like former National Security Advisor John Bolton, will ever be allowed to testify.
House Republicans Stonewalling Impeachment by Forcing Sham Votes
House Republicans know that there are far more votes than they had hoped to pass Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump but that is not stopping them from taking a stand to stonewall the reason Wednesday’s session was gaveled in at 9 AM.
On Tuesday the Rules Committee agreed to six hours of debate, but Republicans began the day today by forcing sham votes they know have no chance of passing. Their goal is apparent: delay the impeachment vote into the dark of night – perhaps midnight – so they can further condemn what the majority of Americans believe is the correct course of action.
Republicans have already forced a vote to adjourn, which did not succeed – except to eat up time. Next up: a vote to formally condemn the top two Committee chairs who have managed the impeachment inquiry: Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
That motion also failed, 226-191:
226-191: House tabled GOP Leader McCarthy’s privileged resolution “disapproving the manner Intel Chair Schiff and Judiciary Chair Nadler have conducted committee action during the impeachment inquiry of President Trump” on near party line vote. pic.twitter.com/CALib5oshz
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) December 18, 2019
These spurious motions have already stolen an hour of the House’s time: currently 431 Members of Congress, plus their staffs, and of course, the entire nation, many of whom are watching today’s historic events.
Next up: a debate on a rule setting terms of today’s debate, and then, finally, the six allotted hours of debate, which will in real time be closer to eight or more hours.
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