Impeachment Liveblog: Key Figures in Ukraine Scandal Indicted

Here’s the latest.

Mother Jones illustration; Getty, White House/ZUMA

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House Democrats are planning to issue another round of subpoenas after the White House on Tuesday formally announced its refusal to cooperate with Democrats’ demands for interviews and documents related to the Ukraine scandal. Those new subpoenas could come as early as today. Meanwhile, two of Rudy Giuliani’s associates who helped him in Ukraine were arrested on campaign finance violations. 

Follow along below:

8:28 p.m. ET: And here’s a video of Rudy, Lev, and Igor, in happier times:

8:07 p.m. ET: 

7:04 p.m. ET: Before and after President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens in July, several national security officials “raised concerns with a White House lawyer,” the Washington Post reported Thursday night. 

The Post reported

Those concerns soared in the call’s aftermath, officials said. Within minutes, senior officials including national security adviser John Bolton were being pinged by subordinates about problems with what the president had said to his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. Bolton and others scrambled to obtain a rough transcript that was already being “locked down” on a highly classified computer network.

“When people were listening to this in real time there were significant concerns about what was going on — alarm bells were kind of ringing,” said one person familiar with the sequence of events inside the White House, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. “People were trying to figure out what to do, how to get a grasp on the situation.”

It is unclear whether some or all of the officials who complained to Eisenberg are also the ones who later spoke to the whistleblower.

4:25 p.m. ET: House Democrats subpoena Energy Secretary Rick Perry for documents related to the impeachment inquiry.

4:12 p.m. ET: Read analysis from Mother Jones Washington, D.C. bureau chief David Corn on the indictments of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

3:07 p.m. ET: This video explains, in damning terms, the “illegal straw donor scheme” Giuliani’s allies are alleged to have taken part in:

 

2:15 p.m. ET: Some details on Giuliani’s pals from US SDNY Attorney Geoff Berman’s press conference:

1:00 p.m. ET: Trump’s refusal to cooperate with House Democrats is all but guaranteeing that the impeachment inquiry is headed for the Supreme Court. Pema Levy explains why that’s a win for the president:

In almost every scenario, the president can expect victory. Even if he loses these cases at the Supreme Court, it may only be after a long judicial process that could run out the clock on impeachment, perhaps even past the 2020 elections. Even better for Trump would be if the court, guided by Chief Justice John Roberts, creates new precedent protecting the president, or decides the judicial branch shouldn’t get involved in impeachment decisions—a win by default that would allow Trump to continue to stonewall.

12:20 p.m. ET: House Democrats subpoena Giuliani’s associates. “They may not defy congressional subpoenas merely because President Donald Trump has chosen the path of denial, defiance, and obstruction.”

10:50 a.m. ET: Giuliani is unusually tight-lipped today.

9:45 a.m. ET: Here’s a stunning new development, broken by the WSJ:

Two foreign-born donors to a pro- Trump fundraising committee who helped Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Democrat Joe Biden were arrested late Wednesday on criminal charges of violating campaign finance rules and are expected to appear in court on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Florida businessmen, have been under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, and are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia later on Thursday, the people said. The men’s nationalities were unclear, though both were believed to have been born in former Soviet republics.

Mother Jones‘ Dan Friedman has some more background on Parnas and Furman, two key figures in the Ukraine scandal, as well as a look into Giuliani’s shady history with Ukraine.

9:10 a.m. ET: “Whoever their Pollster is, they suck,” Trump is now whining, after a Fox News poll on Wednesday showed a “record” 51 percent of voters now support his impeachment and removal from office. 

8:45 a.m. ET: Trump might play a big game on Twitter, but privately, he’s been frantically calling up Senate Majority Mitch McConnell to make sure Republicans in Congress stick by him, according to CNN. Those reported phone calls happen as often as three times a day.

8:00 a.m. ET: A group of prominent conservative lawyers, including George Conway, have written a statement calling for Trump’s impeachment. The Washington Post has a preview of that document, which quotes the group saying: “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.”

7:30 a.m. ET: “There was no blackmail; it was not the subject of our conversation,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters at a press event on Thursday. 

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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