This week in impeachment
Articles of impeachment move to the full House: The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines on Friday to move the articles of impeachment out of the committee for a full House vote sometime next week. The historic vote followed the announcement of the two articles earlier this week — obstruction of Congress and abuse of power — which notably kept a narrow focus on the Ukraine pressure scheme and didn’t include anything glaringly pulled out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Rudy’s peddling new, fake dirt on Biden: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani returned from Kyiv this week and has been pushing a new conspiracy theory about former Vice President Joe Biden, claiming Biden pushed former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to divert billions of dollars in U.S. aid away from Ukraine. Trump has reportedly directed Giuliani to share his conspiracy with Republicans senators as well as Attorney General Bill Barr. Giuliani was spotted at the White House on Friday, just as the House Judiciary was taking its impeachment vote.
Trump wants a long Senate trial: President Trump hinted that he wants the Senate to take its time conducting an impeachment trial, pending, of course, that the House approves sending the articles of impeachment to the House next week. Trump claims that he, in part, wants to see the whistleblower exposed. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made it clear that any whiff of a fair trial in the Senate would be a charade. McConnell told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday evening that a trial in the Senate would be conducted exactly how the White House wants it done.
In other news
DOJ IG report on launch of Russia probe released: The Justice Department inspector general on Monday released his report into the launch of the Russia probe, concluding that there was sufficient evidence to start the probe and there was no political bias that informed the direction or scope of the investigation. The probe also debunked several Republican “deep state” conspiracy theories about the FBI. Additionally, Michael Horowitz concluded there were “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the process followed to obtain a warrant to surveil Trump campaign member Carter Page, which Republicans seized on to spin the overall conclusions of the report.
Barr and the investigator he’s appointed to probe the origins of the Russia probe for the DOJ both issued statements disagreeing with Horowitz’s findings. FBI Director Christopher Wray earned a public lashing from Trump for accepting Horowitz’s findings. During a highly partisan hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Horowitz refused to use Barr and Trump’s “spying” characterizations of surveillance and also outlined why it was abnormal for Barr to criticize his report.
Meanwhile, Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer dragged into the center of conservative allegations of “deep state” political bias against Trump, sued the Justice Department and the FBI one day after the report was released. Horowitz essentially cleared Lisa Page of having a political bias that impacted the direction of the probe.
Gates unlikely to get jail time: Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates asked a judge for probation instead of jail time and federal prosecutors backed up the request, citing Gates’ “extraordinary” cooperation with other ongoing investigations.
Trump paid up: The President agreed to comply with a court order forcing him to pay a $2 million settlement after the court found the Trump Foundation had misused charitable funds.
DOJ won’t be allowed to slow roll census case: A federal judge tossed out the Justice Department’s request to delay the case involving the House Oversight Committee’s census subpoena lawsuit. The Justice Department wanted the federal court to wait until an appeals court makes a decision in the case involving the subpoena of former White House Don McGahn for testimony.
Prosecutors want Parnas in jail until trial: Manhattan federal prosecutors would like to punish Giuliani pal Lev Parnas for misleading the government about the extent of his financial assets by putting him in custody until a trial. Prosecutors apparently believe that Parnas might be a flight risk.