The Democrats said they considered the move to be “obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,” while President Trump sought to justify it by calling the House committees investigating him a “kangaroo court.”
Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he would invite Giuliani to appear before his panel to testify about “corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine” — a prospect that Senate Democrats said they would welcome.
●Poll: Majority of Americans say they endorse opening of House impeachment inquiry of Trump.
4:30 p.m.: Pelosi tells Dems: ‘The President will be held accountable’
In a letter to the House Democratic Caucus, Pelosi urged her members to address the impeachment inquiry they’re undertaking “somberly and prayerfully.”
“The actions taken by the President over the past two weeks show a defiance of our Founders, with a total disregard for their wisdom and the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi wrote.
Then, mocking a phrase he used to describe himself in a tweet, she wrote, “In his ‘great and unmatched wisdom,’ President Trump must know that no one is above the law. The President will be held accountable. When it comes to impeachment, it is just about the facts and the Constitution.”
Pelosi also accused Trump of “obstructing justice, abusing power and diminishing the office of the presidency,” which she said makes it all the more important that the legislative branch of government perform its role.
4 p.m.: No comment from Sondland’s attorney on subpoena
Robert Luskin, Sondland’s attorney, said he had no additional comment to make about Democrats’ plans to subpoena his client for testimony on Capitol Hill. Sondland’s legal team will review any subpoena when it is served, he added.
3:40 p.m.: Clinton to Trump: ‘Don’t tempt me.’
Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, responded to Trump’s suggestion that she could win the nomination next year over Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“Don’t tempt me. Do your job,” Clinton tweeted.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump had mused that Clinton “should enter the race to try to steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren.”
Clinton is currently on a book promotion tour with her daughter and co-author Cheslea Clinton.
3:30 p.m.: House panel asks court to enforce Mueller-related subpoenas, a step toward possible impeachment
Justice Department lawyers urged a federal judge Tuesday to deny a House Judiciary Committee request for grand jury materials in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, arguing that in hindsight, courts in 1974 should not have given Congress the Watergate grand jury “road map” that led to President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington, D.C., expressed astonishment at the position, calling it one of several “extraordinary” stances taken by Trump administration lawyers to oppose House subpoenas and witness testimony in a gathering impeachment investigation.
The debate centers on the 1974 decision in Haldeman v. Sirica, ultimately upheld by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which found that a congressional impeachment investigation and trial satisfy an exception to grand jury secrecy rules provided for a “judicial proceeding.”
3:15 p.m.: Pocan says individual who blocked Sondland testimony may have broken the law
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday requesting information on who instructed Sondland not to testify.
Pocan cited Section 713 of Division D of Public Law 116-6, which prohibits the payment of salary to any “officer or employee of the Federal Government who prohibits or prevents … any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from … communication or contact with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress.”
“I believe the person prohibiting Ambassador Sondland from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee is in violation of this statute, and that their salary should be withheld until Ambassador Sondland appears before Congress,” Pocan wrote.
3 p.m.: Former State Dept. attorney says White House can’t legally block Yovanovitch from testifying.
Harold Koh, a former State Department legal adviser and current Yale Law School professor, said he sees “no basis to legally block” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from testifying Friday.
But Trump, through Pompeo, could say “you’ll never work for the U.S. government again,” in which case she could potentially suffer other consequences. He noted how FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired just hours before he was set to retire with full benefits.
If she receives some kind of letter asking her not to testify, but does so anyway, she could be further instructed by that letter not to answer questions that would violate executive privilege or that require recitation of classified material, Koh said in an email to The Post. A claim of violation of classification laws could expose her to prosecution under the Espionage Act and other laws, he said.
“Presumably Ambassador Yovanovitch would just say, ‘I don’t want to testify about privileged and classified matters’ and then go on to testify truthfully and at length about other conversations” — particularly, he said, text chains with other officials similar to the text disclosed to Congress by former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker last week.
2:45 p.m.: Career diplomats tell Pompeo to defend Yovanovitch
More than two dozen career and political diplomats who at one time worked with Yovanovitch wrote to Pompeo asking him to defend attacks on Yovanovitch.
Yovanovitch, they wrote, “represents the finest in the Foreign Service,” and described her work as “exemplary.”
Which is why, they said, they were so disturbed to learn that during Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, he disparaged her and said, “she’s going to go through some things.”
Yovanovitch, who was called back early from her Ukraine post, is scheduled to meet with congressional investigators on Friday.
“Ambassador Yovanovitch deserves your unstinting support, as do other career diplomats who may become ensnared in the upcoming Congressional investigation and impeachment process,” they wrote. “All employees of the Department — Foreign Service officers, civil servants, and political appointees — need to know that you have their backs against scurrilous political attacks and smears.”
Those who signed include ambassadors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations.
2:35 p.m.: Trump ‘must stop stonewalling,’ Biden says
Former vice president Joe Biden responded to the Trump administration’s efforts to block Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from testifying by arguing that the president should cooperate with lawmakers.
“President Trump must stop stonewalling Congress and fully cooperate with the investigations,” Biden said in a tweet. “The American people deserve the truth.”
1:45 p.m.: Schumer says Giuliani must be under oath if he testifies
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that if Giuliani appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his testimony must be under oath.
“We welcome Mr. Giuliani testifying,” Schumer tweeted. “Given the apparent depth of his involvement in the president’s effort to convince foreign governments to investigate a political rival, he must testify under oath.”
Schumer was referring to Trump’s effort to persuade the leader of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
1:30 p.m.: Giuliani says he won’t testify in House, ‘can’t imagine’ others will
Giuliani said Tuesday that he would not testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee and that he “can’t imagine” that anyone from the Trump administration would appear before the panel led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) either.
“The position I’m stating is now the position of the administration,” Giuliani said in an interview in which he revealed that the administration has written a letter that will be released soon saying that Schiff’s committee is illegitimate.
“I wouldn’t testify in front of that committee until there is a vote of Congress and he [Schiff] is removed,” Giuliani said, referring to Republican calls for a full House vote on an impeachment inquiry and the removal of Schiff as the committee’s chairman.
“Let them hold me in contempt. We’ll go to court. We’ll challenge the contempt,” Giuliani added.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on Giuliani’s remarks.
Giuliani, meanwhile, said that he is “very interested” in accepting Graham’s officer to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee but that “there are a lot of legal issues to consider.”
“Graham wants me to lay out in one place, in one time the Ukrainian collusion and the Biden corruption,” Giuliani said, adding that the idea for him to testify was not his. “I appreciate Lindsey offering the opportunity to lay the whole case out.”
It’s unclear how public Giuliani’s testimony would be, if it even occurs. A spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee said it has yet to be determined whether Giuliani’s appearance would be open or closed to the public. The committee also has not decided whether senators or staff would question Giuliani, she said.
— Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim
1 p.m.: Jimmy Carter says Trump is stonewalling, advises him ‘to tell the truth’
Former president Jimmy Carter reacted Tuesday to the Trump administration’s decision to block Sondland from testifying, calling it “a departure from custom and what American people expect.”
“I think that’s going to be another item of evidence used against him if he continues to stonewall and prevent evidence to be put forward to the House and Senate to consider,” Carter said during an appearance on MSNBC.
“My advice to him would be to tell the truth and also to cut back on his Twitter feeds,” Carter told host Andrea Mitchell. “And give the House of Representatives, and also the Senate and the general public, the evidence that we need to form a case either for or against him.”
12:20 p.m.: Harris, Feinstein say they have questions for Giuliani
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) on Tuesday highlighted a potential dilemma for Giuliani as he decides whether he wants to take up Graham’s offer to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In a tweet, Harris responded to Graham’s announcement on Twitter that he asked Giuliani to share his concerns “about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”
“Good. I have questions,” tweeted Harris, who has earned a reputation for her aggressive questioning of witnesses before the committee, including now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
While testifying would offer Giuliani a chance to advance Trump’s unproven contention that Biden and his son were involved in corruption, it would also provide the opportunity for Harris and other Senate Democrats to probe Giuliani’s role in pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, made that clear in a statement shortly after Harris’s tweet.
“I welcome the opportunity to question Rudy Giuliani under oath about his role in seeking the Ukrainian government’s assistance to investigate one of the president’s political rivals,” she said. “Democratic members have plenty of questions for Mr. Giuliani and this would give us an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction for the American people.”
12:10 p.m.: Trump takes another shot at Schiff
Trump lashed out anew at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who he has previously said should be removed from office.
“Hasn’t Adam Schiff been fully discredited by now?” Trump tweeted. “Do we have to continue listening to his lies?”
The president didn’t spell out what he considered to be lies by Schiff.
11:40 a.m.: House committees to issue subpoena to Gordon Sondland
Three House committee chairmen announced that they would issue a subpoena to compel testimony from Sondland, hours after learning he had declined to appear for a deposition at the direction of the State Department.
“We consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,” the three committee chairmen said in a statement Tuesday. “We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents.”
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the statement after Sondland was a no-show on Capitol Hill.
Schiff said that the Trump administration had also directed Sondland not to share text messages relevant to the inquiry, which focuses on a July phone call in which Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
11 a.m.: Jeffries sends a pointed warning to Trump on Twitter
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a key member of the House Democratic leadership team, sent a blunt warning to Trump on Twitter late Tuesday morning.
“Obstruction of a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry is a high crime and misdemeanor,” Jeffries wrote, referring to the standard for impeachment of a president
His tweet came about two hours after news reports that the Trump administration was blocking Sondland from appearing before three House committees.
10:20 a.m.: Trump campaign manager welcomes Giuliani testimony
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale took to Twitter shortly after Graham announced his invitation for Giuliani to testify, seemingly voicing his approval.
“Open up Pandora’s box! Let the Democrats dirty secrets out,” Parscale tweeted.
10:15 a.m.: Graham say he’ll invite Giuliani to testify on Ukraine corruption
Graham said Tuesday that he would invite Giuliani to testify before his panel about “corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”
Giuliani has pressed Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, and the firing of the prosecutor who had investigated it.
“Have heard on numerous occasions disturbing allegations by @RudyGiuliani about corruption in Ukraine and the many improprieties surrounding the firing of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin,” Graham wrote on Twitter.
Graham knocked the “behavior” of the Democratic-led House and said “it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”
“Therefore I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to inform the committee of his concerns,” Graham said.
10:10 a.m.: Trump seeks to put focus on Hillary Clinton
Amid the back-and-forth over his impeachment inquiry, Trump on Tuesday sought to put a spotlight back on the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
He suggested that Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, could win the nomination next year over Warren.
“I think that Crooked Hillary Clinton should enter the race to try and steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren,” Trump tweeted. “Only one condition. The Crooked one must explain all of her high crimes and misdemeanors including how & why she deleted 33,000 Emails.”
The Justice Department declined to prosecute Clinton following an FBI investigation into her email practices.
9:50 a.m.: Trump’s Republican allies defend administration, attack Schiff
Five of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress defended the administration’s decision to block the deposition of Sondland and accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) of conducting an unfair investigation.
“This is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who joined his colleagues in speaking to reporters after Schiff made a statement on Tuesday morning.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), another defender of the president, called the House inquiry “a political charade” and “a clown show.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asserted that the American people “have a right to know who the whistleblower is,” but added he has no plans to force their unmasking.
9:35 a.m.: Schiff says Sondland’s failure to appear ‘strong evidence’ of obstruction
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said the decision to block Sondland’s appearance is “strong evidence” of obstruction of Congress, potentially another article of impeachment against Trump.
Speaking to reporters, Schiff said that the State Department not only blocked Sondland’s appearance but is preventing him from turning over text messages relevant to the impeachment inquiry.
“The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a coequal branch of government,” Schiff said. “The president and secretary of state are taking actions that prevent us from getting the facts needed to protect the nation’s security.”
Schiff did not take questions from reporters.
9:25 a.m.: Trump says Sondland would have faced a ‘kangaroo court’
Trump said blocking Sondland’s appearance was justified because he was scheduled to be deposed by “a totally compromised kangaroo court.”
“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see,” Trump said in a tweet.
9:10 a.m.: State Dept. order to Sondland draws condemnation from Democrats
The State Department’s move to block Sondland from appearing before congressional committees on Tuesday drew swift condemnation from Democrats.
“This is part of the obstructionism of the White House that has been taking place since the beginning of the year,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a Judiciary Committee member, said in an interview. “We have a lawless, runaway executive branch of government, and the president has ordered wholesale defiance of the lawful demands of Congress.”
Raskin said that the administration’s actions “can be reduced to an article of impeachment.”
“In a certain sense they are digging their own impeachment pit if they thumb their nose at the people’s representatives,” Raskin said.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said blocking Sondland amounted to “obstruction.”
“Sondland is a key witness to the President’s attempts to seek campaign interference from Ukraine,” he said in a tweet. “The President is obviously terrified of what Sondland might tell Congress.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said the Trump administration’s move showed “consciousness of guilt.”
“An innocent president allows his team to be interviewed. But a guilty one blocks testimony,” Swalwell tweeted.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) planned to address reporters about the issue at 9:30 a.m.
8:50 a.m.: White House blocks Sondland deposition
The Trump administration on Tuesday blocked a planned deposition by Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who has emerged as a central figure in the impeachment inquiry.
Sondland was scheduled to be deposed by lawmakers about his activities as Trump urged Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter.
Text messages made public last week show that Sondland, whose portfolio does not include U.S.-Ukraine relations, inserted himself into the effort to obtain a commitment from Ukraine to launch the investigations. At the time, the government in Kiev was eagerly awaiting the release of nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid and the arrangement of a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Zelensky.
In one text message, Sondland wrote that Trump “really wants the deliverable,” apparently referring to a clear demonstration from Ukraine that it would undertake the investigations.
Sondland worked closely with Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, to shape U.S. foreign policy around Trump’s desire to investigate Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, as well as an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 presidential election to undermine Trump’s candidacy.
7:45 a.m.: Murphy seeks to simplify the case for impeachment
With Republicans laboring to undermine the impeachment inquiry, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) sought to simplify the story line on Tuesday.
“Morning all,” Murphy wrote in a morning tweet. “1. The President tried to conspire with a foreign country to destroy his political opponents. 2. He sent out a transcript verifying this. 3. His aide released text messages detailing the conspiracy. 4. This isn’t allowed in a democracy. Have a great day.”
7:15 a.m.: Leading Republicans resurrect May video of Rep. Al Green
Leading Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), have resurrected a video clip of Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) expressing concerns that Trump will be reelected if he’s not impeached.
In a tweet on Monday night, McCarthy shared the video from an appearance by Green on MSNBC, quoting him saying, “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.”
“Here’s what it looks like when Democrats are being honest,” McCarthy wrote.
McCarthy made no mention of the fact that the clip was from May, long before the controversy over Trump’s call with Zelensky ignited.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also shared the video clip of Green on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
Green has been an advocate of Trump’s impeachment since 2017.
6 a.m.: In new poll, majority of Americans say they endorse opening of House impeachment inquiry of Trump
A majority of Americans say they endorse the decision by House Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry of Trump, and nearly half of all adults also say the House should take the additional step and recommend that the president be removed from office, according to a poll.
The findings in the Washington Post-Schar School poll indicate that public opinion has shifted quickly against the president and in favor of impeachment proceedings in recent weeks as information has been released about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian government officials to undertake an investigation into Biden, a potential 2020 campaign rival, and Biden’s son Hunter.
Previous Post-Schar School or Post-ABC News polls taken at different points throughout this year found majorities of Americans opposing the start of an impeachment proceeding, with 37 percent to 41 percent saying they favored such a step. The recent revelations appear to have prompted many Americans to rethink their position.
— Dan Balz and Scott Clement
5 a.m.: Trump continues push for Schiff to be ‘Impeached!’
Amid a spate of tweets and retweets that continued past midnight, Trump renewed his call for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) to be removed from office.
In one tweet, Trump shared a video of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) saying he supports a resolution censuring Schiff for his handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Trump and other Republicans have seized on an opening statement by Schiff at a hearing in which he provided an embellished version of Trump’s call with Zelensky. Schiff later said his statement was partly parody and that Trump should have recognized that.
“Adam should be Impeached!” Trump wrote in his tweet.
While House members can be expelled from the chamber, they cannot be impeached.