Live updates: Top Democrat warns White House ‘we’re not fooling around’ on impeachment inquiry – The Washington Post

Trump was tweeting as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Schiff held a news conference, and the president planned one of his own Wednesday afternoon.

The State Department’s inspector general is also expected to meet with staff of key committees on Capitol Hill in the afternoon to share documents related to Ukraine.

●Impeachment inquiry erupts into battle between executive, legislative branches

●Key federal agencies increasingly compelled to benefit Trump

●Impeachment inquiry puts new focus on Giuliani’s work for prominent figures in Ukraine

Read the whistleblower complaint | The rough transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky | Related coverage and analysis of the Trump impeachment inquiry

11:30 a.m. Schiff says ‘we’re not fooling around here’

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) warned the White House on Wednesday that stonewalling could lead to an additional article of impeachment on obstruction of justice.

“We’re not fooling around here,” Schiff said as he appeared at a news conference on Capitol Hill with Pelosi.

11:20 a.m.: Trump accuses Democrats of trying to hurt the country

Trump asserted Wednesday that the stock market was going down because of the impeachment inquiry and accused House Democrats of trying to deliberately hurt the county.

He latest tweet came as Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) held a news conference on Capitol Hill.

“All of this impeachment nonsense, which is going nowhere, is driving the Stock Market, and your 401K’s, down,” Trump tweeted. “But that is exactly what the Democrats want to do. They are willing to hurt the Country, with only the 2020 Election in mind!”

10:35 a.m.: Trump attacks Democrats ahead of Pelosi news conference

Trump went on Twitter to attack House Democrats shortly before Pelosi was scheduled to hold a news conference on Capitol Hill with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.).

In a pair of tweets, Trump renewed his call for Schiff to resign and attacked Democrats more broadly as “Do Nothing Democrats.”

At a hearing last week, Schiff presented an embellished version of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky. He later said it was meant as a parody and said that should have been apparent to Trump.

“Congressman Adam Schiff should resign for the Crime of, after reading a transcript of my conversation with the President of Ukraine (it was perfect), fraudulently fabricating a statement of the President of the United States and reading it to Congress, as though mine! He is sick!” Trump tweeted.

He also shared a quote from Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College in New York state, who had appeared as a guest on Fox News.

“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats haven’t met the standards of impeachment. They have to be very careful here,” read the quote.

10:30 a.m.: House Democrats to subpoena White House for documents in its impeachment inquiry focused on Ukraine

In a memo issued Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said that the White House’s “flagrant disregard of multiple voluntary requests for documents — combined with stark and urgent warnings from the Inspector General about the gravity of these allegations — have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena.”

The subpoena will be issued Friday, according to Cummings’s memo.

The memo said the subpoena will seek documents that the committee first requested on Sept. 9.

9:30 a.m.: Eric Trump cites Republican fundraising as he taunts Democrats

The president’s son Eric Trump went on Twitter on Wednesday morning to taunt Democrats for their impeachment inquiry.

In a tweet, he attached an Associated Press news story about Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee having raised a record $125 million in the third quarter of the year.

“This is what happens when you manufacture nonsense… the American people see right through it. Keep it up @SpeakerPelosi,” Eric Trump wrote.

9:15 a.m.: State Department’s inspector general headed to Capitol Hill for afternoon meeting

Steve Linick, the State Department’s inspector general, plans to meet with staffers of key House and Senate committees Wednesday at 3 p.m. at his request.

The committees were notified Tuesday that Linick wants “to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine,” according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The offer by Linick’s office, which operates mostly independently from the State Department and is responsible for investigating abuse and mismanagement, comes amid a standoff between Pompeo and House Democrats, who are demanding documents and testimony on Ukraine-related matters for their impeachment inquiry.

Linick’s office “obtained the documents from the acting legal adviser of the Department of State,” the letter said. The inspector general doesn’t have to seek Pompeo’s approval to approach Congress with information, especially if it is not classified.

It is unclear exactly what Linick will provide the committees, which include the panels in charge of foreign relations, intelligence, appropriations and oversight in the House and Senate. But the demand for any credible information related to Ukraine and the State Department is at a fever pitch as Democrats seek to build the case for Trump’s ouster based on his dealings with Ukraine’s leadership.

— Karoun Demirjian and John Hudson

9 a.m.: Trump focuses on other issues in first tweets of the day

Unlike previous days, impeachment did not dominate Trump’s early activity on Twitter on Wednesday.

He instead turned to other topics, including his promised border wall and a federal judge’s order to block a California law that would require Trump to release his tax returns for access to the state’s primary election ballot.

“I won the right to be a presidential candidate in California, in a major Court decision handed down yesterday,” Trump wrote. “It was filed against me by the Radical Left Governor of that State to tremendous Media hoopla. The VICTORY, however, was barely covered by the Fake News. No surprise!”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the state would appeal the ruling.

In early tweets, Trump also urged Louisiana voters to pick a Republican candidate in the state’s gubernatorial primary on Oct. 12. Candidates from both parties compete in the state’s “jungle primary.”

8:15 a.m.: Former staff members say it’s unusual for a secretary of state to listen in on a call with leader of small nation

Former staff members who worked on foreign leader calls said it is very unusual for a secretary of state to listen in on calls with leaders from a country as small as Ukraine.

Partly it is because the secretary of state’s schedule is very busy and rarely aligns with the president’s schedule of routine calls to heads of state, so they arrange only to be on major foreign leader conversations.

When Rex Tillerson was secretary of state, for example, he would coordinate plans to listen in on Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The former staffers on the National Security Council said Pompeo’s presence on this call suggests the subject or the purpose of the call had high importance to the president, and thus to him. The former staffers spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak more candidly.

— Carol D. Leonnig

7:15 a.m.: Pompeo confirms he was on Trump’s July call with Zelensky

Pompeo acknowledged publicly for the first time Wednesday that he was on the July call between Trump and the leader of Ukraine.

Asked about the episode during a news conference in Rome, Pompeo said, “I was on the phone call.”

In response to a multipart question, he did not say whether he was comfortable with Trump’s pressing of Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.

Pompeo said the call focused on issues such as the threat that Russia poses to Ukraine and the need for Ukraine to root out corruption.

He said the United States would consider to pursue those issues “even while all this noise is going on.”

During a Sept. 22 appearance on ABC News’s “This Week,” Pompeo was asked what he knew about Trump’s conversation with Zelensky following an initial Wall Street Journal report that the call was part of a whistleblower complaint.

Pompeo responded by saying he hadn’t seen the whistleblower report. He later said he had seen a statement from the Ukrainian foreign minister that there was no pressure applied on Zelensky. Pompeo made no mention of being on the call.

During his news conference Wednesday, Pompeo also repeated his claims from a letter on Tuesday that House Democratic staffers have been seeking to intimidate State Department officials in their efforts to learn more about Trump’s call with Zelensky.

“We won’t tolerate folks on Capitol Hill bullying, intimidating State Department employees. That’s unacceptable, and it’s not something that I’m going to permit to happen.” Pompeo said.

6:30 a.m.: Country to hear directly from Trump, Pelosi on Wednesday

The country will hear directly from the two leading figures in the impeachment drama — Trump and Pelosi — at separately scheduled news conferences on Wednesday.

Pelosi plans to hold a news conference on Capitol Hill at 10:45 a.m. She will be accompanied by Schiff, who has become the public face for Democrats in the impeachment inquiry.

Trump, meanwhile, has a 2 p.m. joint news conference scheduled with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who is visiting the White House on Wednesday. Trump is certain to get questions from U.S. journalists about the impeachment drive.

6:15 a.m.: Critics blast Trump for calling his impeachment inquiry a ‘COUP’

Trump claimed he was a victim of a coup d’etat on Tuesday night, continuing his dramatic rhetoric that has drawn fierce pushback from legal scholars and Democrats since the House impeachment inquiry began last week.

“As I learn more and more each day,” he wrote on Twitter, “I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of the United States of America!”

Critics disputed the president’s tweet by pointing to basic definitions of a coup d’etat, a violent illegal overthrow of the government by an opposing group, and impeachment, a legal process laid out in the Constitution. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), a presidential hopeful, even suggested Trump should not be allowed to make such a remark on Twitter, sharing his “COUP” tweet with CEO Jack Dorsey.

Read more here.

— Meagan Flynn

6 a.m.: Giuliani suggests suing Democrats over Ukraine probe

On Tuesday night, Rudolph W. Giuliani proposed an unusual legal strategy in response to the ongoing investigation into President Trump’s dealings in Ukraine: suing Democratic members of Congress.

Speaking on the Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump’s personal attorney said that he “had a couple of talks” with attorneys amid the accelerating impeachment probe and a House subpoena for his own personal records concerning Ukraine. Their recommendation, Giuliani said, was “that we should bring a lawsuit on behalf of the president and several people in the administration, maybe even myself as a lawyer, against the members of Congress individually for violating constitutional rights, violating civil rights.”

Host Laura Ingraham noted that Giuliani’s suggestion was “novel,” and that congressional immunity prevents House members from being sued for anything they say on the floor. But outside those parameters, Giuliani argued, they could be held liable for forming a “conspiracy” to deprive the president of his constitutional rights.

Read more here.

— Antonia Noori Farzan


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