Live updates: Trump returns to the campaign trail as another poll shows support for his ouster is growing
President Trump heads to Minneapolis on Thursday for his first campaign rally since House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry as yet another poll shows growing support for removing him from office.
Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks at a “Keep America Great” rally where he is expected to echo his contention in recent days that the inquiry sparked by a whistleblower’s complaint is tainted by political bias.
Meanwhile, a Fox News poll released Wednesday night shows 51 percent of voters would like to see Trump impeached and removed from office, an uptick since the House launched the inquiry focused on Trump’s July call in which he pressed the leader of Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Amid what they call stonewalling from the White House, Democrats are hopeful that Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, will appear as planned for a deposition on Friday.
● Trump’s Syria decision tests the bounds of Republican support as he demands solidarity on impeachment.
● Trump’s broad claims of executive immunity lead to criticism he is acting above the law.
● Whistleblower’s lawyers say their client is not politically motivated.
8:30 a.m.: Omar re-ups impeachment call ahead of Trump rally in her distri ct
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) went on Twitter on Thursday morning to preempt an expected attack on her at Trump’s Minneapolis rally and to remind voters that she has called for impeaching the president.
Omar, a a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Somalia, has been in Trump’s crosshairs for months and was the subject of a “send her back” chant at a Trump rally in North Carolina in July.
“Trump will see his rally in my district today as an opportunity to attack me,” Omar tweeted Thursdy morning, hours before Trump was scheduled to depart the White House. “But no smear will ever stop me from working toward what I’m in Congress to do.”
She listed several of her priorities, ending with “Impeach Trump.”
7 a.m.: Trump hits campaign trail for first time since inquiry opened
Ahead of his planned campaign rally in Minneapolis, Trump posted a video on Twitter on Wednesday night that features a montage of photos from past events with large crowds of enthusiastic supporters.
The two-minute video is set to the renowned Queen song, “We Will Rock You.”
Thursday night’s rally will be the first since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the impeachment inquiry against Trump on Sept. 24.
It marks a rare campaign appearance in a state that Trump did not carry in 2016. His campaign, however, is pouring significant resources into Minnesota in hopes of putting it into play next year.
6 a.m.: George Conway and other prominent conservatives call for ‘expeditious’ impeachment probe
More than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers, including George T. Conway III, offered their legal reasoning for an “expeditious” impeachment probe into Trump, creating a document they hope will be read by Republicans who continue to stand by the president.
The 16 attorneys, many of whom worked in Republican administrations, wrote in a joint statement released Thursday morning that Trump’s now infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the text messages between diplomats and Trump’s public call for China to investigate a political opponent are “undisputed” events that amount to Trump violating his oath of office.
“We have not just a political candidate open to receiving foreign assistance to better his chances at winning an election, but a current president openly and privately calling on foreign governments to actively interfere in the most sacred of U.S. democratic processes, our elections,” they wrote.
Read more here.
5:45 a.m.: Biden campaign slams New York Times for op-ed by conservative author behind Ukraine claims
As Trump has lobbed unsubstantiated and false claims of international corruption at Biden and his son, he’s often turned to one source for ammunition: conservative author Peter Schweizer.
So when the New York Times ran an op-ed on Wednesday written by Schweizer about Biden and his son Hunter Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign cried foul.
In a letter sent to New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, Biden’s campaign called Schweizer a “discredited right-wing polemicist” and suggested the op-ed was part of a larger pattern of “journalistic malpractice.”
“Are you truly blind to what you got wrong in 2016, or are you deliberately continuing policies that distort reality for the sake of controversy and the clicks that accompany it?” Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, wrote in the Wednesday letter.
Read more here.
— Tim Elfrink
6:30 a.m.: 51 percent of voters want Trump removed from office, Fox News poll finds
A Fox News poll is the latest to show growing support for ousting Trump.
Fifty-one percent of voters want Trump impeached and removed from office, according to the poll released Wednesday night.
That number has risen from 42 percent in a July poll by the network.
Fox noted that support for impeachment has risen since July among several of Trump’s key constituencies, including white evangelical Christians (up five percentage points), white men without a college degree (up eight points) and rural whites (up 10 points).
Support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office has ranged from 43 percent to 48 percent in other independent national polls released this week.
5 a.m.: Ousted Ukraine envoy expected to testify in impeachment probe despite White House vow not to cooperate, congressional aides say
Congressional investigators expect that Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, will appear as planned for a Friday deposition in the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry, despite the White House’s emphatic pledge not to cooperate with Democrats’ efforts to investigate Trump, according to congressional officials involved with the process.
Yovanovitch and her lawyer are “on board,” according to a senior congressional aide, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. State Department officials would not address questions about the matter, and efforts to contact Yovanovitch on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
White House lawyer Pat Cipollone issued a letter to Democrats on Tuesday outlining the Trump administration’s objections to the impeachment inquiry, calling it unconstitutional and vowing to reject congressional requests to cooperate.
So far, House Democrats have deposed only Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who resigned his post late last month and then provided the committees with copies of text messages he exchanged with other diplomats, Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Read more here.
— Karoun Demirjian and Carol Morello