This week in impeachment
Senate standoff: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remain at an impasse over how they want to handle an impeachment trial in the upper chamber. The Washington Post reported this week that the two didn’t talk once over the holidays about how to conduct a trial and the division burst out into the open on Friday morning when both made speeches from the Senate floor outlining their disdain for the other’s approach. While McConnell may not budge on Schumer’s interest in bringing new witnesses to the chamber to testify, members of his caucus appear to not be quite so opposed. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), considered a key swing vote on impeachment in the Senate, indicated this week that she would be open to hearing new witnesses’ testimony.
House Intelligence Committee will get more impeachment docs: A judge on Friday allowed Rudy Giuliani pal Lev Parnas to share the contents of his cell phone and other documents with the House Intelligence Committee, which led the charge on the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Parnas is currently facing campaign finance charges and worked to help Giuliani establish contacts in Ukraine as part of Giuliani’s scheme to pressure the government to investigate the Biden family.
Ukraine aid freeze: New leaked emails from the Pentagon further implicate President Trump’s personal involvement in ordering hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine to be withheld, allegedly as part of his pressure campaign to get the country to probe his political rival. Additionally on the aid front, the New York Times reported this week that key Trump officials Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, then-National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper tried to convince Trump to release the aid early on.
Biden bungles response to testimony: Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic contender Joe Biden was asked last weekend if he wouldn’t comply with a congressional subpoena for his testimony in a possible Senate impeachment trial because it would take the focus off of President Trump’s alleged crimes. He later walked back those remarks at a town hall discussion in Iowa, saying he would “obey any subpoena” that’s sent his way. But he wouldn’t be happy about it.
In other news
More Mueller memos: A trove of memos tied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation were released this week. The documents provided new evidence associated with Mueller’s interviews with key White House officials like Stephen Miller and the imprisoned Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.
McGahn testimony update: The Justice Department argued in federal court this week that Congress’ dispute with the White House over the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn shouldn’t be decided by the courts. Read more here.