Donald Trump appearing with Attorney General William Barr in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 11, 2019Photo: Alex Wong (Getty)
Donald Trump, at the urging of his top law enforcement official, Attorney General William Barr, pressured Australia’s prime minister to help him debunk the report on 2016 election shenanigans done by special counsel Robert Mueller.
That’s according to the New York Times, which cites sources telling the news site that Trump made the ask during a recent phone call.
Neither the White House nor the Justice Department, which Barr leads, had any comment for the Times.
However, as the Times explains, the reported episode involving Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison seems to show the level of comfort Trump has about using his office for his personal gain—especially coming on the heels of Trump’s own admissions about seeking the president of Ukraine’s help in digging up dirt on Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter.
The latest Times report also shines a new spotlight on the Mueller report, in which Mueller said he found much evidence of Russian interference in the election that put Trump into the Oval Office, but left it up to Congress to decide whether Trump obstructed justice or committed a crime.
According to the Times, White House officials tried to obscure evidence of Trump’s Australia call in much the same way as the White House did with Trump’s call with Ukraine—by restricting access to the call’s transcript to a small group of Trump aides.
In addition, according to the news site, Trump’s call to Australia’s Morrison was made “only weeks after Mr. Trump seemed to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky doing him the ‘favor’ of helping Mr. Barr with his work.”
The Australia conversation was apparently part of a continuum in Trump’s attempts to “discredit” the damning Mueller report, the Times notes.
As the Times explains, concerns about Russian interference in the 2016 election—and Trump’s potential collusion—got their start after Australian authorities told the FBI that Russia had contacted the Trump campaign about giving the Trump team dirt on Hillary Clinton. Australian officials, according to the Times:
shared that information after its top official in Britain met in London in May 2016 with George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who told the Australian about the Russian dirt on Mrs. Clinton.
And for anyone who may not recall, Papadopoulos was one of the first of Trump’s circle to get swept up in Russia-gate. He eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia dealings and was sentenced to 14 days in jail.
After their United Airlines plane departed from Denver headed to Orlando early Sunday morning, passengers aboard Flight 293 looked out their window to a frightening sight: an engine cover had broken loose and was flapping around, leaving the engine exposed.
Half an hour after taking off, pilots asked air traffic controllers at the Denver International Airport to return to the airport, saying that, “an engine panel has become detached from the airplane.”
Passengers said they were relieved and grateful for what they said was the pilots’ quick response.
“The pilot really took some heroic action,” Kahlin Grant said. “He made a big decision to turn us around quickly, he essentially saved some lives.”
In a statement, United said that the flight “returned to the airport due to a mechanical issue with one of the engines.” According to experts, the purpose of the engine cover is mostly aerodynamic and does not necessarily affect the operation of an engine.
This is not the first time a flight has been diverted by a problem with an engine cover coming loose. Last November, a Frontier flight returned to the airport in a similar incident.
In another incident last year involving a United jet, an entire engine cover was ripped off in mid-air on flight to Hawaii.
The Democratic National Committee has been hit with a Federal Election Commission complaint that accuses a former DNC contractor of acting improperly to gather information on Paul Manafort and Donald Trump in the 2016 election, according to a copy of the complaint given to Fox News.
The complaint, filed by the pro-Trump Committee to Defend the President, hinges on the work of Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor hired by the DNC during the 2016 election. The DNC, the complaint alleges, “tasked Chalupa with obtaining incriminating or derogatory information about Donald Trump … [and] Paul Manfort.”
In May, Fox News reported that the UkrainianEembassy confirmed that Chalupa had pushed for Ukrainian officials to publicly mention Manafort’s financial and political ties to the country. The disgraced former lobbyist is currently serving more than seven years in prison for financial fraud related to his work in Ukraine.
Chalupa, according to the complaint, sought to have the Ukrainian government provide her information about Manafort’s work in the country. She was encouraged by the DNC to meet with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to gain insight that would theoretically boost Hillary Clinton’s bid for president.
“The White House has been pushing this narrative to distract from Donald Trump’s gross abuse of power in pressuring a foreign country to interfere in our elections. No one is buying it.”
— Adrienne Watson – Democratic National Committee
“The embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington, D.C., and not in her DNC capacity,” said former Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly in a statement. “We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause.”
Ken Vogel, a New York Times reporter who wrote about the story for Politico in 2017, tweeted that Chalupa wasn’t representing the DNC during her meetings with Ukrainian officials. That point is overlooked in the complaint, which alleges that acquiring something of value in a political campaign from a foreign government is a violation of campaign finance.
“The White House has been pushing this narrative to distract from Donald Trump’s gross abuse of power in pressuring a foreign country to interfere in our elections,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the DNC. “No one is buying it.”
The complaint is signed by Dan Backer, a lawyer well-known in conservative circles for his legal work around campaign finance – often against Democrats. This year, he’s filed FEC complaints against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Joaquin Castro, D-Texas. Previously, he’s founded political action committees against Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“It really comes down to the hypocrisy of the Democrats. It’s the same thing they’ve been doing year in and year out. … It’s that kind of hypocrisy that I think really frustrates Americans.”
— Dan Backer – Committee to Defend the President
Backer is listed as the treasurer for the Committee to Defend the President PAC, the organization behind the complaint, on the Federal Election Commission website. Backer said the Chalupa complaint has been on his radar for some time, and this seemed a good time to file – given the recent impeachment inquiry against Trump undertaken by House Democrats.
“It really comes down to the hypocrisy of the Democrats,” Backer said. “It’s the same thing they’ve been doing year in and year out. … It’s that kind of hypocrisy that I think really frustrates Americans.”
The complaint, like his others, will likely be stuck in limbo for the foreseeable future as the FEC doesn’t currently have enough commissioners to legally meet – rendering it toothless. After the resignation of former Vice Chairman Matthew S. Petersen in August, the agency is left with just three commissioners, one short of a quorum and three short of a full roster.
“It’s abundantly clear that they only care about breaking the rules when they can point their fingers at somebody else that they think is doing it,” said Backer.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General William Barr participates in a presentation ceremony of the Medal of Valor and heroic commendations to civilians and police officers who responded to mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr has met overseas with foreign intelligence officials to seek their help in a Justice Department inquiry into the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
The Post said Barr had made overtures to British intelligence officials and last week traveled to Italy, where he and John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut who in reviewing U.S. intelligence work surrounding the 2016 election, met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham.
The Post said Barr’s involvement was likely to spur further criticism by Democrats who are pursuing an inquiry into impeachment of Republican President Donald Trump.
Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Grant McCool
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Ever since the whistleblower complaint focused on President Donald Trump Ukraine call was released to the public, he and his allies have repeatedly questioned how the intelligence community handled the matter — trying to discredit the account because it’s based on second-hand information — not direct, first-hand knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and the president’s other defenders claimed on weekend news shows that rules requiring a whistleblower have first-hand knowledge were changed in August — just before the complaint was filed — and Trump did so himself on Monday.
“WHO CHANGED THE LONG STANDING WHISTLEBLOWER RULES JUST BEFORE SUBMITTAL OF THE FAKE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT? DRAIN THE SWAMP!,” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
WHO CHANGED THE LONG STANDING WHISTLEBLOWER RULES JUST BEFORE SUBMITTAL OF THE FAKE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT? DRAIN THE SWAMP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
The complaint, which prompted an impeachment inquiry, was based on second-hand knowledge said to be gained from other U.S. government officials and alleged that Trump abused his office in the July 25 call by repeatedly pressuring Ukraine’s president to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The president’s supporters have claimed that, in August, prior to the whistleblower filing his complaint about Trump and the July call, the intelligence community changed a rule that required that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings.
In making the claim, Trump and his supporters referred to a change made on the “Disclosure of Urgent Concern” form, which previously asked if the whistleblower had direct or indirect knowledge.
However, national security lawyers who specialize in whistleblower complaints told ABC News that whistleblowers have never been required to have direct knowledge of alleged wrongdoing in order to file a complaint.
“In no way, shape or form was anything changed as a matter of law,” said national security lawyer Brad Moss. “The law has never said that a whistleblower couldn’t have second information because that would unnecessarily restrict an inordinate amount of whistleblowing allegations coming forward because most people don’t have the first-hand information.”
Irvin McCullough, national security analyst for Government Accountability Project, said that the change was made by the intelligence community’s chief watchdog Michael Attkinson in an attempt to revamp and simplify the form, carried no legal and did not change any whistleblower laws or protections.
Moss agreed, saying that the previous form caused some confusion for whistleblowers who did not have legal counsel about whether they themselves had to have first-hand knowledge. He agreed as well that changing the form didn’t change the law that clearly allows whistleblower to file a complaint with second-hand information.
“The changed form didn’t change anything as a matter of law, nor could they change the law with just a form,” Moss said. “If they wanted to revise the evidentiary threshold that the ICIG [intelligence community inspector general) had to meet, then Congress had to change the law — it couldn’t be done through a form.
McCullough explained that to file a complaint a whistleblower is required only to have “reasonable belief” of wrongdoing and that, once the complaint is filed, it is up to the inspector general to acquire first-hand information and whether to deem the complaint credible.
“What the old form purported to explain to the whistleblowers was that the ICIG could not find their information credible unless they obtained first hand knowledge of the wrongdoing,” McCullough said.
The uncertain terrain of an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump only 13 months out from the 2020 elections injects a new series of challenges into the presidential contest. But on the campaign trail, Democratic contenders are finding steady ground as their core base of supporters laud party leaders for moving forward with a formal investigation, despite its political risks.
In interviews at various Democratic campaign stops over the weekend across the early nominating states, attendees embraced impeachment proceedings — a move that often divides a partisan electorate along party lines in early polling.
‘No one’s above the law’
In New Hampshire, some voters signaled an intense urgency for action, suggesting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry should have been more expeditious.
“No one’s above the law, especially not the president of the United States, and the fact that he gets away with all these things and then it was just put off, put off, put off,” Angelica Castro Andrade, a resident of Manchester, New Hampshire, told ABC News at a town hall hosted by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Hollis. “I think it’s good that it’s happening. … But it definitely should have happened sooner.”
Castro Andrade wasn’t the only potential voter to question the timeline.
“I felt all along that this president has made a mockery out of our Oval Office and I think this process should’ve started a long time ago,” Rigo Tostado, a supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden from Colorado, said in Las Vegas. “I know that there is a process they have to go through and go through the evidence and bring the facts upfront, but I do believe this was coming.”
At the crux of the inquiry is a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, according to a memo released by the White House.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe Trump’s encouragement of a foreign leader to investigate a political rival and his family is a serious problem, but only 17% said they were surprised by the president’s actions, according to a ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.
Recent polling also shows a growing shift in support of impeachment. A new Quinnipiac poll, released Monday, found that voters are evenly split on impeaching and removing Trump — 47% approving and 47% disapproving — closing a 20-point gap from a week ago when voters said the president should not be impeached.
Democrats navigate new territory on the trail
While some strategists may say it’s too early to tell if this will be a campaign issue or affect the 2020 presidential race, one Democratic strategist cast Pelosi’s decision as an “opportunistic” moment.
“Impeachment was a pretty divisive issue, even amongst the Democratic caucus,” the strategist told ABC News. “[But] because we waited, and were deliberate and didn’t rush to judgment, the signal that cast for people is this wasn’t an opportunistic move. This was something that people came to reluctantly. This is a question of national security.”
Since the onset of the 2020 race, the Democratic candidates have labored to push the presidential campaign beyond the political drama consuming Washington. But now, as the party braces for a protracted battle with the White House, some in the field spent the weekend more focused on the bread-and-butter issues at the core of their stump speeches, and framing the impeachment investigation as not partisan.
“We have a lot of things to talk about, and I’ve certainly talked about impeachment,” Warren told reporters in South Carolina Saturday. “There are a whole lot of issues that people want to talk about out here. They want to talk about health care. They want to talk about education. They want to talk about foreign policy. This the chance to hear from them about what they want to talk about, and that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m glad to have a chance to do it.”
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has tried to keep the main focus on several issues in his campaign stops, as well.
“Yes, what’s going on in Washington is grave, it is important, but in my view, it’s also not something that ought to be about partisan politics,” Buttigieg said in Sacramento, California, Sunday. “We’re also going to undertake a campaign that’s focused on everyday lives and how people’s everyday lives will be better under my presidency than under the current president. We can and must do those two things at once.”
Even Biden, who sits at the center of the president’s attacks, continued to convey the central message of his campaign — his electability in a matchup against Trump — despite his candidacy potentially being made more complicated by the investigation.
“It’s not about me, we’ll overcome this,” Biden said at a campaign event in Las Vegas Friday. “My family will handle this. But I’m worried about all the families, and all the lives that are at stake in this election because of his failure as a president in terms of the substance of what needs to be done. He wants to hijack this election so that we’re not going to focus on your lives.”
“I’m going to make sure that Donald Trump loses and you win,” he added.
Voters on the risks ahead
Beyond their approval of opening impeachment proceedings, attendees at the campaign stops appeared to also be more trained on defeating Trump in 2020. But between relief, wariness and uncertainty, some raised their concerns with the prospect of the impeachment investigation consuming the 2020 race — and energizing the president’s staunchly loyal base.
“I’m for impeachment but here’s the thing, Democrats have to really be careful,” said Casey McCoure, an entrepreneur, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. “One wrong move and it could be all over and the Republicans could rally against us and rally around him some more.”
Some potential voters have also questioned the repercussions of the timing.
“I agree that he should be impeached,” Alissandra Rodriguez-Murray, from Manchester, said. “But I think this is bad timing. I think it should have been done way before because now this is so close to the election and I feel like it’s just going to martyr him for his followers.”
Janie Billings, who was not at a campaign event, but in Las Vegas, warned of the dangers of impeachment on an already divided country, despite being moved to support the inquiry after reports of Trump’s actions tied to Ukraine.
“It’s just tearing the country apart,” the Illinois native told ABC News. “It was torn apart before, but it’s just going to make it worse because there is such a divide amongst the people. They are either for him or against him.”
In a similar outlook, Bonnieta Kraft, a resident of Keene, New Hampshire, said that while Pelosi’s decision is “good news” she doesn’t know “what will come of it” — underscoring the unpredictability this new dynamic brings to an already unsettled race.
“I think there’ll be a lot of pushback,” she said. “[But] my feeling was that they wouldn’t be taking this step if they really didn’t feel like they can move forward with it.”
As a part of his review of the origins of the investigation into members of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Attorney General William Barr asked President Trump on several occasions to initiate introductions between him and the leaders of Australia and Italy, among other countries, a Department of Justice official with direct knowledge of the calls told ABC News on Monday.
The official told ABC News that Barr’s visit to Italy last week was related to that review, but did not further characterize who Barr met with or why he would personally travel to a foreign country as a part of the review. According to public readouts released by the White House, Trump last spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sep. 5.
The official would not say what other countries Barr has asked for the president’s assistance in initiating contact with, but downplayed the requests as common and disputed any notion that Barr would want the president to pressure foreign leaders.
Barr has characterized his review as looking into the origins of the counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign in 2016, and in May announced he had tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to oversee the review.
“As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
“At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” she said.
President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has played a key role in the Ukraine whistleblower affair that’s now become the focus of an impeachment investigation, was subpoenaed for Ukraine-related documents, the Democratic chairmen of three House committees announced on Monday.
Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Elijah Cummings said that Giuliani had “admitted on national television that, while serving as the president’s personal attorney, he asked the government of Ukraine to target former Vice President Joe Biden.”
“In addition to this stark admission, you stated more recently that you are in possession of evidence—in the form of text messages, phone records, and other communications—indicating that you were not acting alone and that other Trump Administration officials may have been involved in this scheme,” the chairmen wrote.
The subpoena calls on Giuliani to produce the documents by Oct. 15. Giuliani, who made several trips as a private citizen to Ukraine to confer with Ukrainian officials and urge them to investigate Biden, has denied any wrongdoing, claiming he was defending President Trump.
Schiff chairs the House Intelligence Committee, Nadler the House Judiciary Committee and Cummings the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, when ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Giuliani whether he will cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee that Schiff chairs, Giuliani initially said he wouldn’t cooperate with Schiff. But when pressed said he would “consider it” if his client, the president, signed off.
“I’m a lawyer. It’s his privilege, not mine,” he responded. “If he decides that he wants me to testify, of course I’ll testify, even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman. He has already prejudged the case.”
They three chairmen also sent separate letters seeking documents and noticing depositions with three of Giuliani’s business associates.
“A growing public record indicates that the President, his agent Rudy Giuliani, and others appear to have pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically-motivated investigations,” the chairmen wrote to the three associates. “The Committees have reason to believe that you have information and documents relevant to these matters.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday the Senate would have “no choice” but to also take up articles of impeachment if the House were to vote in favor of the move against President Donald Trump.
“The Senate impeachment rules are very clear,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in an interview with CNBC. “The Senate would have to take up an impeachment resolution if it came over from the House.”
“Under the Senate rules we are required to take it up,” McConnell reiterated in the interview. “If the House goes down that path, we will follow the Senate rules.”
His statement puts to rest any speculation that McConnell would ignore the House if it passed articles of impeachment against the president.
McConnell also added that he would likely not have the 67 votes he would need to change the Senate rules related to impeachment.
“It is a Senate rule related to impeachment that would take 67 votes to change. I would have no choice but to take it up,” he said. “How long you’re on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up, based on a Senate rule on impeachment.”
In a historic move last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that House Democrats were moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry into Trump.
“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said. “Therefore, today I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said. “The president must be held accountable.”
Pelosi likely has the votes to impeach Trump, but two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict and remove Trump from office. As it stands now, with Republicans in control of the Senate, that is not likely to happen.
The fast-moving developments came amid new questions about whether Trump had made millions in military aid to Ukraine contingent on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreeing to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Trump, who said previously he was concerned about sending aid to Ukraine because of his allegations of corruption, gave a new explanation Tuesday, saying he had ordered the aid frozen — before the call — because he was unhappy with how much European countries were contributing to Ukraine.
He has always said there was nothing wrong with the call he made to Zelenskiy.
In her formal announcement late Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi said the Trump administration blocking the whistleblower complaint from being sent to Congress was a “violation of the law” and said Trump calling on a foreign leader to interfere in a U.S. election was “a breach of his constitutional responsibilities.”
2020 Democrats push impeachment
Conservative talk radio host Brian Thomas and progressive talk radio host Robert Patillo weigh in on where 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls stand on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he would have “no choice” but to take up articles of impeachment against President Trump should the House of Representatives approve them following their formal impeachment inquiry.
In an interview with CNBC, McConnell, R-Ky., was asked whether he would bring articles of impeachment for a vote should they reach the Senate.
IMPEACHMENT PROBE RAPIDLY WIDENS AS DEMS FIRE OFF SUBPOENAS, SET TESTIMONY
“I would have no choice but to take it up,” he said. “How long you’re on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up based on [the] Senate rule on impeachment.”
The comments affirm that McConnell, even as he blasts Democratic tactics from the floor, would not let impeachment articles languish. Depending on how the House proceeds, this raises the possibility of a Senate trial just as the Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses are set to begin in early 2020 — though Trump still enjoys broad support among Senate Republicans and would have to suffer enormous party defections to actually be ousted from office.
Earlier this year, McConnell gave a similar assessment to NPR, saying that if impeachment “were to happen, the Senate has no choice. If the House were to act, the Senate immediately goes to trial.”
But last week, before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the formal impeachment inquiry in the House, McConnell said he was “not going to address all of these…hypotheticals.”
“I think all of that is premature,” he said.
THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: HOW DOES REMOVING A PRESIDENT WORK?
McConnell has now cleared the air on the heels of Pelosi’s launch of an impeachment inquiry.
The timetable for House action remains unclear, though Democrat-led committees are moving quickly to investigate allegations, first raised in a whistleblower complaint, that Trump improperly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. A transcript of that call shows Trump sought an investigation, but he denies wrongdoing and denies tying the request to U.S. aid.
House Democrats, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., have vowed to work expeditiously on the inquiry, with some reports indicating that Democrats could even be prepared to introduce formal articles of impeachment against Trump later this fall.
Should the House introduce articles of impeachment, all that is needed to impeach Trump is a simple majority vote by those lawmakers present and voting. But at that point, removal from the Oval Office is hardly a certainty. The Senate, as McConnell indicated, would have to hold a “trial.”
During such a trial, House lawmakers serve as so-called “managers,” who basically fill the role that prosecutors would in a criminal trial and present evidence against the president. The president would be represented by his own counsel.
The chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial and the Senate acts as the jury – listening to the arguments from both sides before deliberating and voting on whether to remove the president from office.
But it takes a two-thirds vote to convict a president and remove him from office.
While some Senate Republicans have voiced concerns about Trump’s actions, impeachment does not at this stage appear to have enough support in the Senate to threaten Trump in the long run. Most GOP senators have stopped short of condemning the president for his controversial phone call, while others have outright defended him.
“This seems to me like a political setup,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “It’s all hearsay. You can’t get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay. The whistleblower didn’t hear the phone call.”
The whistleblower acknowledged that the complaint was based on second-hand information.
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Last week, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire called the accusations in the complaint “hearsay.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.