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Live updates: Trump to stage another campaign rally as impeachment inquiry rolls on with scheduled Yovanovitch testimony

libadmin October 11, 2019

Her appearance follows a dramatic day of developments, including the arrests on campaign finance charges of two associates of Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani who had helped him investigate former vice president Joe Biden.

The impeachment inquiry focuses on Trump’s efforts to press the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden at a time when U.S. military aid to Ukraine was being withheld.

● Two business associates of Trump personal lawyer Giuliani arrested at airport as they tried to leave United States.

8:50 a.m.: Sondland to appear for deposition next week, lawyers say

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will appear for a deposition next week under subpoena in the House’s impeachment inquiry but cannot turn over documents requested by investigators, his lawyers said Friday.

The State Department blocked Sondland from appearing before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees on Tuesday with an overnight order not to show. Democrats subsequently issued a subpoena for his testimony, and later that day the White House informed Democratic leaders they had no intention of cooperating with the investigation.

“Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees’ subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday,” Sondland’s lawyers said in a statement. “Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States. He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

The lawyers, Robert Luskin and Kwame Manley, said that State Department regulations prohibit Sondland from producing documents concerning his official responsibilities and that the department has the “sole authority” to do so.

“Ambassador Sondland hopes the materials will be shared with the Committees in advance of his Thursday testimony,” they added.

Sondland was one of a handful of U.S. diplomats who facilitated Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian leaders, according to a trove of text messages that former U.S. special envoy Kurt Volker provided to House investigators last week. Messages that were released publicly show that the administration sought a promise from Ukrainian leaders to investigate the 2016 election and the energy firm, Burisma, that had paid Hunter Biden to sit on its board.

— Karoun Demirjian

8 a.m.: Trump heading to another campaign rally on Friday night

Trump is scheduled to leave the White House shortly after 4 p.m. and head to Lake Charles, La., where thousands of supporters are expected for another campaign rally on Friday night.

During a rally Thursday night in Minneapolis, Trump leveled some of his most personal attacks yet against Biden and his family, highlighting unsubstantiated claims about his potential 2020 rival’s son and using profanity to describe Biden’s tenure as vice president.

Among other things, Trump mocked Hunter Biden’s personal problems, including his discharge from the Navy after he tested positive for cocaine use.

“Hunter, you know nothing about energy, you know nothing about China, you know nothing about anything, frankly,” Trump said to a near-capacity crowd. “Hunter, you’re a loser.”

Joe Biden went on Twitter after the rally, referring to his appearance at a town hall hosted by the Human Rights Campaign and CNN on LGBTQ issues.

“I spent my night at the HRC forum talking about the fundamental respect every human being deserves,” Biden tweeted. “You spent yours showing how little respect for anyone else you have. America is so much stronger than your weakness, @realDonaldTrump.”

Before leaving Washington Friday afternoon, Trump is scheduled to have photos taken with Little League championship baseball and softball teams and meet with Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng.

7 a.m.: Former ambassador to Ukraine scheduled for deposition Friday morning

Yovanovitch is expected to be deposed at 10 a.m. by House investigators Friday as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, despite the White House’s stated objections and refusal to cooperate with the Democratic-led proceedings.

Yovanovitch was confirmed as ambassador to Ukraine in August 2016, but recalled in May, after conservative activists — including Giuliani — accused her of being biased against Trump. State Department officials have said the accusations against the career diplomat are baseless.

She is one of several current and former diplomats that the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees have identified as witnesses in their probe into whether Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals.

The panels have issued subpoenas to the White House, Giuliani and two business associates, and several Cabinet-level officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell T. Vought, requesting materials related to the administration’s interactions with Ukraine.

But to date, the panels have recorded only one deposition — with former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who quit his post hours after he was requested to appear for a deposition.

— Karoun Demirjian

6:45 a.m.: New revelations about Trump test Pelosi’s narrow impeachment strategy

Recent revelations about Trump’s conduct are testing the limits of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s narrow impeachment strategy, leading some Democrats to wonder whether the probe should be expanded beyond the Ukraine scandal.

Since House Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry just over two weeks ago, Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants have coalesced around a plan to focus on Trump’s pressure on the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate, and his son Hunter.

The episode, Democrats argue, is clear-cut, easy for Americans to understand and doesn’t require further proof as the White House has released a rough transcript of the call.

But a spate of allegations about other possible abuses have led some Democrats to rethink the strategy.

— Rachael Bade

6:40 a.m.: George Conway takes shot at Giuliani

George Conway, the conservative lawyer and spouse of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, took a shot at Giuliani on Friday, referring to the arrests this week of two of his associates on charges they schemed to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians while trying to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.

“Rudy 1986 would have indicted Rudy 2019 in a New York minute,” Conway tweeted.

In 1986, Giuliani was a federal prosecutor, serving as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

His two associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who had been helping Giuliani investigate Biden, were arrested Wednesday evening at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, where they had one-way tickets on a flight out of the country, officials said.



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