Hillary Clinton

The Pronk Pops Show 1409, March 9, 2020, Pronk Pops Show 1368 December 4, 2019  Story 1: President Trump and Cornavirus Task Force Addresses The American People — Senior Citizens Over Age 60 With Serious Underlining Existing Medical Conditions Including High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes Are At Higher Risk For COVID -19 — Overall Risk Is Still Low For All Others — Videos — Story 2: Progressive Pandemic Propaganda Panic Pushers — High Blood Pressure Is A Risk Factor Along With Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes — Videos — Story 3: People of Italy Go Into Quarantine — Videos — Story 4: Stock Market Crashes With Biggest One Day Loss Ever — Nearing 20% Drop Ending Bull Market — Economy Keeps  Growing Despite Progressive Pandemic Propaganda People Panic — Betrayed By Big Government Parties and Big Lie Media Mob — American People Outraged — Videos — Story 5: Hillary Clinton Wants to Be Vice-President To Replace Biden When He Goes Full Dementia — One Problem — President Trump Wins Second Term With Landslide Victory — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump and Coronavirus Task Force Addresses The American People — Senior Citizens Over Age 60 With Serious Underlining Existing Medical Conditions Including High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Cancer, Decreased White Cells, Diabetes Are At Higher Risk For COVID -19– Overall Risk Is Still Low For All Others — Videos

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WATCH LIVE: President Trump and coronavirus task force hold briefing as outbreak widens – 3/9/2020

 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

Get Ready for COVID-19 Now
  • Have supplies on hand
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
    • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Take everyday precautions
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Take everyday preventive actions
      • Clean your hands often
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
      • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
      • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
      • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
      • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
      • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
      • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
  • If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
    • Stay home as much as possible.
      • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
  • Have a plan for if you get sick:
    • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
    • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
    • Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

What to Do if You Get Sick
  • Stay home and call your doctor
  • Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
  • Know when to get emergency help
  • Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs listed above.

What Others can do to Support Older Adults
Community Support for Older Adults
  • Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
    • Many of these individuals live in the community, and many depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
  • Long-term care facilities should be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19. Information for long-term care facilities can be found here.
Family and Caregiver Support
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
handwashing icon
Prevention and Treatment
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Get Your Household Ready

Story 2: Progressive Pandemic Propaganda Panic Pushers — High Blood Pressure Is A Risk Factor Along With Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes — Videos —

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Coronavirus: Doctor says high blood pressure a major death risk

Of a group of 170 patients who died in January in Wuhan about 50% had hypertension

 

blood pressure (BP)


While there’s been no published research yet explaining why, Chinese doctors working in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged, have noticed that infected patients with that underlying illness are more likely to slip into severe distress and die.

Of a group of 170 patients who died in January in Wuhan – the first wave of casualties caused by a pathogen that’s now raced around the world – nearly half had hypertension.

“That’s a very high ratio,” said Du Bin, director of the intensive care unit at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, in an interview with Bloomberg over the phone from Wuhan. He was among a team of top doctors sent to the devastated city two months ago to help treat patients there.

ALSO READ

“From what I was told by other doctors and the data I can see myself, among all the underlying diseases, hypertension is a key dangerous factor,” said Du, one of the most respected critical care experts in China. “Though there is no research published on that yet, we believe hypertension could be an important factor in causing patients to deteriorate, leading to a bad prognosis.”

As the outbreak picks up speed in Europe and the US, plunging countries like Italy into crisis, doctors are struggling to treat the highly-infectious pathogen that’s infected over 108,000 people globally in just three months.

Understanding the course of the disease and identifying individuals at greatest risk are critical for optimizing care for a global contagion that’s killed more than 3,700 people since emerging in China in December.

ALSO READ

Answers may lie in studying the large pool of patients in China, where more than 15,000 remain hospitalized although new infections have slowed dramatically. The disease turns critical in 6% of patients and deterioration can happen very quickly.

“We’ll keep an eye on old people and those with high blood pressure. They are the key focus,” said Du.

Besides the hypertension factor, Du’s other insights into treating the disease are:

Move aggressively to ventilate

Du said that doctors should not hesitate to escalate measures for patients facing respiratory distress, as organ failure can set in quickly after. That means doctors should intervene aggressively with invasive ventilation measures – inserting a tube into a patient’s throat or cutting the throat open to create an airway – when low blood oxygen levels can’t be improved by less invasive measures.

Almost half of the patients who require invasive mechanical ventilation end up dying, but most of those who recover are those who were put on invasive ventilation early, said Du.

“Patients need to use invasive ventilation as early as possible, there’s no point of doing it late,” he said.

Respiratory therapists – doctors that specialise in ventilation and oxygen treatment – are becoming all the more important in treating patients critically ill with Covid-19 as they are more knowledgeable and can fine-tune ventilators to suit patient conditions.

No ‘Magic Bullets’ in drugs

There is growing anticipation over drugs being developed to treat the virus, with investors adding billions to the market value of pharmaceutical companies testing treatments now. But Du said drugs alone cannot save patients, especially those in severe condition.

The experience of SARS, the epidemic 17 years ago that sickened almost 8,000 people, showed that most patients can be cured without a specific anti-viral drug, said Du. And the abundance of antibiotics has not prevented deaths by bacterial infections, he added.

“When there’s a virus infection, we hope there’s a drug that can kill the virus and change the clinical outcome. But there’s no magic bullet.”

Instead, teamwork among specialists and nurses in intensive care units can be more crucial in keeping patients alive, he said. “An ICU doctor should work like a conductor in an orchestra to provide life-sustaining treatment while taking into consideration different specialist views,” he said.

Threat of re-infection

Reports that people who have recovered and been discharged from hospital later test positive again – and even die from the disease – have ignited fears that the virus can somehow re-emerge.

Du said that patients becoming re-infected again within days of leaving the hospital makes no sense “theoretically” as the anti-bodies in their bloodstream generated from fighting the disease do not disappear so quickly, although they don’t necessarily stay forever.

“What we need to look at in terms of those who tested positive again is concerns over the authenticity of their negative results,” he said. For example, samples taken from different areas of the same patient could test differently depending on where the virus resides.

Test kits made by different manufacturers could also have inconsistencies that impact test results, he said.

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/coronavirus-doctor-says-high-blood-pressure-a-major-death-risk-1.1583772143148

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Stock market index

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A comparison of three major U.S. stock indices: the NASDAQ CompositeDow Jones Industrial Average, and S&P 500 Index. All three have the same height at March 2000. The NASDAQ spiked during the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, a result of the large number of technology companies on that index.

stock index or stock market index is an index that measures a stock market, or a subset of the stock market, that helps investors compare current price levels with past prices to calculate market performance.[1] It is computed from the prices of selected stocks (typically a weighted arithmetic mean).

Two of the primary criteria of an index are that it is investable and transparent:[2] The method of its construction are specified. Investors can invest in a stock market index by buying an index fund, which are structured as either a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund, and “track” an index. The difference between an index fund’s performance and the index, if any, is called tracking error. For a list of major stock market indices, see List of stock market indices.

Types of indices

Stock market indices may be classified in many ways. A ‘world’ or ‘global’ stock market index — such as the MSCI World or the S&P Global 100 — includes stocks from multiple regions. Regions may be defined geographically (e.g., Europe, Asia) or by levels of industrialization or income (e.g., Developed Markets, Frontier Markets).

A ‘national’ index represents the performance of the stock market of a given nation—and by proxy, reflects investor sentiment on the state of its economy. The most regularly quoted market indices are national indices composed of the stocks of large companies listed on a nation’s largest stock exchanges, such as the S&P 500 Index in the United States, the Nikkei 225 in Japan, the NIFTY 50 in India, and the FTSE 100 in the United Kingdom.

Many indices are regional, such as the FTSE Developed Europe Index or the FTSE Developed Asia Pacific Index. Indexes may be based on exchange, such as the NASDAQ-100 or groups of exchanges, such as the Euronext 100 or OMX Nordic 40.

The concept may be extended well beyond an exchange. The Wilshire 5000 Index, the original total market index, includes the stocks of nearly every public company in the United States, including all U.S. stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (but not ADRs or limited partnerships), NASDAQ and American Stock Exchange. The FTSE Global Equity Index Series includes over 16,000 companies.[3]

Indices exist that track the performance of specific sectors of the market. Some examples include the Wilshire US REIT Index which tracks more than 80 real estate investment trusts and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index which consists of approximately 200 firms in the biotechnology industry. Other indices may track companies of a certain size, a certain type of management, or more specialized criteria such as in fundamentally based indexes.

Ethical stock market indices

Several indices are based on ethical investing, and include only companies that meet certain ecological or social criteria, such as the Calvert Social IndexDomini 400 Social IndexFTSE4Good IndexDow Jones Sustainability Index, STOXX Global ESG Leaders Index, several Standard Ethics Aei indices, and the Wilderhill Clean Energy Index.[4]

In 2010, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation announced the initiation of a stock index that complies with Sharia‘s ban on alcohol, tobacco and gambling.[5]

Strict mechanical criteria for inclusion and exclusion exist to prevent market domination, such as in Canada when Nortel was permitted to rise to over 30% of the TSE 300 index value.

Ethical indices have a particular interest in mechanical criteria, seeking to avoid accusations of ideological bias in selection, and have pioneered techniques for inclusion and exclusion of stocks based on complex criteria.

Another means of mechanical selection is mark-to-future methods that exploit scenarios produced by multiple analysts weighted according to probability, to determine which stocks have become too risky to hold in the index of concern.

Critics of such initiatives argue that many firms satisfy mechanical “ethical criteria”, e.g. regarding board composition or hiring practices, but fail to perform ethically with respect to shareholders, e.g. Enron. Indeed, the seeming “seal of approval” of an ethical index may put investors more at ease, enabling scams. One response to these criticisms is that trust in the corporate management, index criteria, fund or index manager, and securities regulator, can never be replaced by mechanical means, so “market transparency” and “disclosure” are the only long-term-effective paths to fair markets. From a financial perspective, it is not obvious whether ethical indices or ethical funds will out-perform their more conventional counterparts. Theory might suggest that returns would be lower since the investible universe is artificially reduced and with it portfolio efficiency. On the other hand, companies with good social performances might be better run, have more committed workers and customers, and be less likely to suffer reputation damage from incidents (oil spillages, industrial tribunals, etc.) and this might result in lower share price volatility.[6] The empirical evidence on the performance of ethical funds and of ethical firms versus their mainstream comparators is very mixed for both stock[7][8] and debt markets.[9]

Presentation of index returns

Some indices, such as the S&P 500 Index, have returns shown calculated with different methods.[10] These versions can differ based on how the index components are weighted and on how dividends are accounted. For example, there are three versions of the S&P 500 Index: price return, which only considers the price of the components, total return, which accounts for dividend reinvestment, and net total return, which accounts for dividend reinvestment after the deduction of a withholding tax.[11]

The Wilshire 4500 and Wilshire 5000 indices have five versions each: full capitalization total return, full capitalization price, float-adjusted total return, float-adjusted price, and equal weight. The difference between the full capitalization, float-adjusted, and equal weight versions is in how index components are weighted.[12][13]

Weighting of stocks within an index

An index may also be classified according to the method used to determine its price. In a price-weighted index such as the Dow Jones Industrial AverageNYSE Arca Major Market Index, and the NYSE Arca Tech 100 Index, the share price of each component stock is the only consideration when determining the value of the index. Thus, price movement of even a single security will heavily influence the value of the index even though the dollar shift is less significant in a relatively highly valued issue, and moreover ignoring the relative size of the company as a whole. In contrast, a Capitalization-weighted index (also called market-value-weighted) such as the S&P 500 Index or Hang Seng Index factors in the size of the company. Thus, a relatively small shift in the price of a large company will heavily influence the value of the index.

Capitalization- or share-weighted indices have a full weighting, i.e. all outstanding shares were included. Many indices are based on a free float-adjusted weighting.

An equal-weighted index is one in which all components are assigned the same value.[14] For example, the Barron’s 400 Index assigns an equal value of 0.25% to each of the 400 stocks included in the index, which together add up to the 100% whole.[15]

modified capitalization-weighted index is a hybrid between capitalization weighting and equal weighting. It is similar to a capitalization weighting with one main difference: the largest stocks are capped to a percent of the weight of the total stock index and the excess weight will be redistributed equally amongst the stocks under that cap. In 2005, Standard & Poor’s introduced the S&P Pure Growth Style Index and S&P Pure Value Style Index which was attribute-weighted. That is, a stock’s weight in the index is decided by the score it gets relative to the value attributes that define the criteria of a specific index, the same measure used to select the stocks in the first place. For these two indexes, a score is calculated for every stock, be it their growth score or the value score (a stock cannot be both) and accordingly they are weighted for the index.[16]

Criticism of capitalization-weighting

One argument for capitalization weighting is that investors must, in aggregate, hold a capitalization-weighted portfolio anyway. This then gives the average return for all investors; if some investors do worse, other investors must do better (excluding costs).[17]

Investors use theories such as modern portfolio theory to determine allocations. This considers risk and return and does not consider weights relative to the entire market. This may result in overweighting assets such as value or small-cap stocks, if they are believed to have a better return for risk profile. These investors believe that they can get a better result because other investors are not very good. The capital asset pricing model says that all investors are highly intelligent, and it is impossible to do better than the market portfolio, the capitalization-weighted portfolio of all assets. However, empirical tests conclude that market indices are not efficient.[citation needed] This can be explained by the fact that these indices do not include all assets or by the fact that the theory does not hold. The practical conclusion is that using capitalization-weighted portfolios is not necessarily the optimal method.

As a consequence, capitalization-weighting has been subject to severe criticism (see e.g. Haugen and Baker 1991, Amenc, Goltz, and Le Sourd 2006, or Hsu 2006), pointing out that the mechanics of capitalization-weighting lead to trend following strategies that provide an inefficient risk-return trade-off.

Other stock market index weighting schemes

While capitalization-weighting is the standard in equity index construction, different weighting schemes exist. While most indices use capitalization-weighting, additional criteria are often taken into account, such as sales/revenue and net income, as in the Dow Jones Global Titan 50 Index.

As an answer to the critiques of capitalization-weighting, equity indices with different weighting schemes have emerged, such as “wealth”-weighted (Morris, 1996), Fundamentally based indexes (Robert D. Arnott, Hsu and Moore 2005), “diversity”-weighted (Fernholz, Garvy, and Hannon 1998) or equal-weighted indices.[18]

Indices and passive investment management

Passive management is an investing strategy involving investing in index funds, which are structured as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that track market indices.[19] The SPIVA (S&P Indices vs. Active) annual “U.S. Scorecard”, which measures the performance of indices versus actively managed mutual funds, finds the vast majority of active management mutual funds underperform their benchmarks, such as the S&P 500 Index, after fees.[20][21] Since index funds attempt to replicate the holdings of an index, they eliminate the need for — and thus many costs of — the research entailed in active management, and have a lower churn rate (the turnover of securities, which can result in transaction costs and capital gains taxes).

Unlike a mutual fund, which is priced daily, an exchange-traded fund is priced continuously, is optionable, and can be sold short.[22]

Lists

References

  1. ^ Caplinger, Dan (January 18, 2020). “What Is a Stock Market Index?”The Motley Fool.
  2. ^ Lo, Andrew W. (2016). “What Is an Index?”. Journal of Portfolio Management42 (2): 21–36. doi:10.3905/jpm.2016.42.2.021.
  3. ^ “FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS)”FTSE Russell.
  4. ^ Divine, John (February 15, 2019). “7 of the Best Socially Responsible Funds”U.S. News & World Report.
  5. ^ Haris, Anwar (November 25, 2010). “Muslim-Majority Nations Plan Stock Index to Spur Trade: Islamic Finance”Bloomberg L.P.
  6. ^ Oikonomou, Ioannis; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2012). “The impact of corporate social performance on financial risk and utility: a longitudinal analysis” (PDF)Financial Management41 (2): 483–515. doi:10.1111/j.1755-053X.2012.01190.xISSN 1755-053X.
  7. ^ Brammer, Stephen; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2009). “The stock performance of America’s 100 best corporate citizens” (PDF)The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance49 (3): 1065–1080. doi:10.1016/j.qref.2009.04.001ISSN 1062-9769.
  8. ^ Brammer, Stephen; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2006). “Corporate social performance and stock returns: UK evidence from disaggregate measures” (PDF)Financial Management35 (3): 97–116. doi:10.1111/j.1755-053X.2006.tb00149.xISSN 1755-053X.
  9. ^ Oikonomou, Ioannis; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2014). “The effects of corporate social performance on the cost of corporate debt and credit ratings” (PDF)Financial Review49 (1): 49–75. doi:10.1111/fire.12025ISSN 1540-6288.
  10. ^ “Index Literacy”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  11. ^ “Methodology Matters”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  12. ^ “Indexes”Wilshire Associates.
  13. ^ “Dow Jones Wilshire > DJ Wilshire 5000/4500 Indexes > Methodology”Wilshire Associates.
  14. ^ Edwards, Tim; Lazzara, Craig J. (May 2014). “Equal-Weight Benchmarking: Raising the Monkey Bars” (PDF)S&P Global.
  15. ^ Fabian, David (November 14, 2014). “Checking In On Equal-Weight ETFs This Year”Benzinga.
  16. ^ S&P methodology via Wikinvest
  17. ^ Sharpe, William F. (May 2010). “Adaptive Asset Allocation Policies”CFA Institute.
  18. ^ “Practice Essentials – Equal Weight Indexing” (PDF)S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  19. ^ Schramm, Michael (September 27, 2019). “What Is Passive Investing?”Morningstar, Inc.
  20. ^ “SPIVA U.S. Score Card”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  21. ^ THUNE, KENT (July 3, 2019). “Why Index Funds Beat Actively Managed Funds”Dotdash.
  22. ^ Chang, Ellen (May 21, 2019). “How to Choose Between ETFs and Mutual Funds”U.S. News & World Report.

External links

 Media related to Stock market indexes at Wikimedia Commons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_market_index

 

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U.S. Influenza Surveillance System: Purpose and Methods

The Influenza Division at CDC collects, compiles and analyzes information on influenza activity year-round in the United States. FluView, a weekly influenza surveillance report, and FluView Interactive, an online application which allows for more in-depth exploration of influenza surveillance data, are updated each week. The data presented each week are preliminary and may change as more data is received.

The U.S. influenza surveillance system is a collaborative effort between CDC and its many partners in state, local, and territorial health departments, public health and clinical laboratories, vital statistics offices, healthcare providers, clinics, and emergency departments. Information in five categories is collected from eight data sources in order to:

  • Find out when and where influenza activity is occurring;
  • Determine what influenza viruses are circulating;
  • Detect changes in influenza viruses; and
  • Measure the impact influenza is having on outpatient illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

It is important to maintain a comprehensive system for influenza surveillance for the following reasons:

  • Influenza viruses are constantly changing (referred to as antigenic drift), and thus ongoing data collection and characterization of the viruses are required;
  • Influenza viruses can also undergo an abrupt, major change (referred to as antigenic shift) that results in a virus that is different than currently circulating influenza viruses; surveillance of viruses will detect these changes and inform the public health response;
  • Vaccines must be administered annually and are updated regularly based on surveillance findings;
  • Treatment for influenza is guided by laboratory surveillance for antiviral resistance; and
  • Influenza surveillance and targeted research studies are used to monitor the impact of influenza on different segments of the population (e.g. age groups, underlying medical conditions).

Surveillance System Components

1. Virologic Surveillance

U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Laboratories System and the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) – Approximately 100 public health and over 300 clinical laboratories located throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia participate in virologic surveillance for influenza through either the U.S. WHO Collaborating Laboratories System or NREVSS.  Influenza testing practices differ in public health and clinical laboratories and each source provides valuable information for monitoring influenza activity.  Clinical laboratories primarily test respiratory specimens for diagnostic purposes and data from these laboratories provide useful information on the timing and intensity of influenza activity.  Public health laboratories primarily test specimens for surveillance purposes to understand what influenza virus types, subtypes, and lineages are circulating and the age groups being affected.

All public health and clinical laboratories report each week to CDC the total number of respiratory specimens tested for influenza and the number positive for influenza viruses, along with age or age group of the person, if available.  Data presented from clinical laboratories include the weekly total number of specimens tested, the number of positive influenza tests, and the percent positive by influenza virus type.  Data presented from public health laboratories include the weekly total number of specimens tested and the number positive by influenza virus type and subtype/lineage.  In order to obtain specimens in an efficient manner, public health laboratories often receive samples that have already tested positive for an influenza virus at a clinical laboratory.  As a result, monitoring the percent of specimens testing positive for an influenza virus in a public health laboratory is less useful (i.e., we expect a higher percent positive). In order to use each data source most appropriately and to avoid duplication, reports from public health and clinical laboratories are presented separately in both FluView and FluView Interactive.

The age distribution of influenza positive specimens reported from public health laboratories is visualized in FluView Interactive.  The number and proportion of influenza virus-positive specimens by influenza A subtype and influenza B lineage are presented by age group (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-64 years, and ≥65 years) each week and cumulative totals are provided for the season.

Additional laboratory data for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive.

Virus Characterization – Most U.S. viruses submitted for virus characterization come from state and local public health laboratories. Due to Right Size Roadmapexternal icon considerations, specimen submission guidance to public health laboratories for the 2019-2020 season is that, if available, 2 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, 3 influenza A(H3N2), and 2 influenza B viruses be submitted every other week. Therefore, the numbers of each virus type/subtype characterized should be more balanced across subtypes/lineages but will not reflect the actual proportion of circulating viruses. The goal of antigenic and genetic characterization is to compare how similar the currently circulating influenza viruses are to the reference viruses representing viruses contained in the current influenza vaccines and to monitor evolutionary changes that continually occur in influenza viruses circulating in humans. For genetic characterization, all influenza-positive surveillance samples received at CDC undergo next-generation sequencing to determine the genetic identity of circulating influenza viruses and to monitor the evolutionary trajectory of viruses circulating in our population. Virus gene segments are classified into genetic clades/subclades based on phylogenetic analysis. However, genetic changes that classify the clades/subclades do not always result in antigenic changes. “Antigenic drift” is a term used to describe gradual antigenic change that occurs as viruses evolve to escape host immune pressure. Antigenic drift is evaluated using hemagglutination inhibition and/or neutralization based focus reduction assays to compare antigenic properties of cell-propagated reference viruses representing currently recommended vaccine components with those of cell-propagated circulating viruses.

CDC also tests a subset of the influenza viruses collected by public health laboratories for susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitor antivirals (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir) and the PA cap-dependent endonuclease inhibitor (baloxavir). Susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitors is assessed using next-generation sequencing analysis and/or a functional assay. Neuraminidase sequences of viruses are inspected to detect the presence of amino acid substitutions, previously associated with reduced or highly reduced inhibition by any of three neuraminidase inhibitorspdf iconexternal icon. In addition, a subset of viruses is tested using the neuraminidase inhibition assay with three neuraminidase inhibitors. The level of neuraminidase activity inhibition is reported using the thresholds recommended by the World Health Organization Expert Working Group of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS)pdf iconexternal icon. These samples are routinely obtained for surveillance purposes rather than for diagnostic testing of patients suspected to be infected with an antiviral-resistant virus. Susceptibility to baloxavir is assessed using next-generation sequencing analysis to identify PA protein changes previously associated with reduced susceptibility to this medication; a subset of representative viruses is also tested phenotypically using a high-content imaging neutralization test.

Results of the antigenic and genetic characterization and antiviral susceptibility testing are presented in the virus characterization and antiviral resistance sections of the FluView report.

Surveillance for Novel Influenza A Viruses – In 2007, human infection with a novel influenza A virus became a nationally notifiable condition. Novel influenza A virus infections include all human infections with influenza A viruses that are different from currently circulating human seasonal influenza H1 and H3 viruses. These viruses include those that are subtyped as nonhuman in origin and those that cannot be subtyped with standard laboratory methods and reagents.  Rapid detection and reporting of human infections with novel influenza A viruses – viruses against which there is often little to no pre-existing immunity – is important to facilitate prompt awareness and characterization of influenza A viruses with pandemic potential and accelerate the implementation of public health responses to limit the transmission and impact of these viruses.

Newly reported cases of human infections with novel influenza A viruses are reported in FluView and additional information, including case counts by geographic location, virus subtype, and calendar year, are available on FluView Interactive.

2. Outpatient Illness Surveillance

Information on outpatient visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness is collected through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet). ILINet consists of outpatient healthcare providers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands reporting approximately 60 million patient visits during the 2018-19 season. Each week, approximately 2,600 outpatient healthcare providers around the country report data to CDC on the total number of patients seen for any reason and the number of those patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) by age group (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-49 years, 50-64 years, and ≥65 years). For this system, ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and a cough and/or a sore throat without a known cause other than influenza. Sites with electronic health records use an equivalent definition as determined by public health authorities.

Additional data on medically attended visits for ILI for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, HHS region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive.

The national percentage of patient visits to healthcare providers for ILI reported each week is calculated by combining state-specific data weighted by state population. This percentage is compared each week with the national baseline of 2.4% for the 2019-2020 influenza season. The baseline is developed by calculating the mean percentage of patient visits for ILI during non-influenza weeks for the previous three seasons and adding two standard deviations. A non-influenza week is defined as periods of two or more consecutive weeks in which each week accounted for less than 2% of the season’s total number of specimens that tested positive for influenza in public health laboratories.  Due to wide variability in regional level data, it is not appropriate to apply the national baseline to regional data; therefore, region-specific baselines are calculated using the same methodology.

Regional baselines for the 2019-2020 influenza season are:

Region 1 — 1.9%
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

Region 2 — 3.2%
New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Region 3 — 1.9%
Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

Region 4 — 2.4%
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Region 5 — 1.9%
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin

Region 6 — 3.8%
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Region 7 — 1.7%
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska

Region 8 — 2.7%
Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming

Region 9 — 2.4%
Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada

Region 10— 1.5%
Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington

ILI Activity Indicator Map: — Data collected in ILINet are also used to produce a measure of ILI activity for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and New York City. Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits due to ILI in a jurisdiction compared with the average percent of ILI visits that occur during weeks with little or no influenza virus circulation (i.e., non-influenza weeks) in that jurisdiction.  The number of sites reporting each week is variable, therefore baselines are adjusted each week based on which sites within each jurisdiction provide data. To perform this adjustment, provider level baseline ratios are calculated for those that have a sufficient reporting history.  Providers that do not have the required reporting history are assigned the baseline ratio for their practice type.  The jurisdiction level baseline is then calculated using a weighted sum of the baseline ratios for each contributing provider.

The activity levels compare the mean reported percent of visits due to ILI for the current week to the mean reported percent of visits due to ILI for non-influenza weeks.  The 10 activity levels correspond to the number of standard deviations below, at or above the mean for the current week compared with the mean of the non-influenza weeks.  There are 10 activity levels classified as minimal (levels 1-3), low (levels 4-5), moderate (levels 6-7), and high (levels 8-10).  An activity level of 1 corresponds to values that are below the mean, level 2 corresponds to an ILI percentage less than 1 standard deviation above the mean, level 3 corresponds to ILI more than 1, but less than 2 standard deviations above the mean, and so on, with an activity level of 10 corresponding to ILI 8 or more standard deviations above the mean.

The ILI Activity Indicator map reflects the level of ILI activity, not the extent of geographic spread of flu, within a jurisdiction. Therefore, outbreaks occurring in a single city could cause the state to display high activity levels. In addition, data collected in ILINet may disproportionally represent certain populations within a state, and therefore, may not accurately depict the full picture of influenza activity for the whole state. Differences in the data presented here by CDC and independently by some state health departments likely represent differing levels of data completeness with data presented by the state likely being the more complete.

The ILI Activity Indicator Map displays state-specific activity levels for multiple seasons and allows a visual representation of relative activity from state to state.  More information is available on FluView Interactive.

3. Summary of the Geographic Spread of Influenza

State and territorial health departments report the estimated level of geographic spread of influenza activity in their jurisdictions each week through the State and Territorial Epidemiologists Report. This level does not measure the severity of influenza activity; low levels of influenza activity occurring throughout a jurisdiction would result in a classification of “widespread”.  Jurisdictions classify geographic spread as follows:

  • No Activity: No laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and no reported increase in the number of cases of ILI.
  • Sporadic: Small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak has been reported, but there is no increase in cases of ILI.
  • Local: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state.
  • Regional: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI and recent laboratory confirmed influenza in at least two but less than half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.
  • Widespread: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.

Additional data displaying the influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists for the current and past seasons are available on FluView Interactive.

4. Hospitalization Surveillance

Laboratory confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations in children and adults are monitored through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET). FluSurv-NET conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in children younger than 18 years of age (since the 2003-2004 influenza season) and adults (since the 2005-2006 influenza season). The network includes more than 70 counties in the 10 Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states (CA, CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, and TN) and additional Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states. The IHSP began during the 2009-2010 season to enhance surveillance during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. IHSP sites included IA, ID, MI, OK and SD during the 2009-2010 season; ID, MI, OH, OK, RI, and UT during the 2010-2011 season; MI, OH, RI, and UT during the 2011-2012 season; IA, MI, OH, RI, and UT during the 2012-2013 season; and MI, OH, and UT during the 2013-2014 through 2019-20 seasons.

Cases are identified by reviewing hospital laboratory and admission databases and infection control logs for patients hospitalized during the influenza season with a documented positive influenza test (i.e., viral culture, direct/indirect fluorescent antibody assay (DFA/IFA), rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT), or molecular assays including reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)). Data gathered are used to estimate age-specific hospitalization rates on a weekly basis and describe characteristics of persons hospitalized with influenza illness. The rates provided are likely to be an underestimate as influenza-related hospitalizations can be missed if testing is not performed.

Patient charts are reviewed to determine if any of the following categories of high-risk medical conditions are recorded in the chart at the time of hospitalization:

  • Asthma/reactive airway disease;
  • Blood disorder/hemoglobinopathy;
  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Chronic lung disease;
  • Chronic metabolic disease;
  • Gastrointestinal/liver disease;
  • Immunocompromised condition;
  • Neurologic disorder;
  • Neuromuscular disorder;
  • Obesity;
  • Pregnancy status;
  • Prematurity (pediatric cases only);
  • Renal disease; and
  • Rheumatologic/autoimmune/inflammatory conditions.

During the 2017-18 season, seven FluSurv-NET sites (CA, GA, MN, NM, NYA, OH, OR) conducted random sampling to select cases ≥50 years for medical chart abstraction, while still performing full chart abstractions of all cases <50 years. During the 2018-19 season, six sites (CA, GA, NM, NYA, OH, OR) conducted random sampling of cases ≥65 years for medical chart abstraction. All other sites performed full chart abstractions on all cases. Data on age, sex, admission date, in-hospital death, and influenza test results were collected for all cases. For each season going forward, including 2019-20, sampling for medical chart abstraction may be considered in cases ≥50 years. In early January of each season, observed case counts across all FluSurv-NET sites will be compared against predetermined thresholds to determine whether sampling will be implemented for the season.

Additional FluSurv-NET data including hospitalization rates for multiple seasons and different age groups and data on patient characteristics (such as virus, type, demographic, and clinical information) are available on FluView Interactive.

5. Mortality Surveillance

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data – NCHS collects death certificate data from state vital statistics offices for all deaths occurring in the United States. Pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths are identified based on ICD-10 multiple cause of death codes.  NCHS surveillance data are aggregated by the week of death occurrence.  To allow for collection of enough data to produce a stable P&I percentage, NCHS surveillance data are released one week after the week of death.  The NCHS surveillance data are used to calculate the percent of all deaths occurring in a given week that had pneumonia and/or influenza listed as a cause of death. The P&I percentage for earlier weeks are continually revised and may increase or decrease as new and updated death certificate data are received from the states by NCHS.  The P&I percentage is compared to a seasonal baseline of P&I deaths that is calculated using a periodic regression model incorporating a robust regression procedure applied to data from the previous five years.  An increase of 1.645 standard deviations above the seasonal baseline of P&I deaths is considered the “epidemic threshold,” i.e., the point at which the observed proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia or influenza was significantly higher than would be expected at that time of the year in the absence of substantial influenza-related mortality.

Additional pneumonia and influenza mortality data for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, HHS region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive. Data displayed on the regional and state-level are aggregated by the state of residence of the decedent.

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System — Influenza-associated deaths in children (persons less than 18 years of age) was added as a nationally notifiable condition in 2004. An influenza-associated pediatric death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory diagnostic test. There should be no period of complete recovery between the illness and death.  Demographic and clinical information are collected on each case and are transmitted to CDC.

Additional information on influenza-associated pediatric deaths including basic demographics, underlying conditions, bacterial co-infections, and place of death for the current and past seasons, is available on FluView Interactive.

Influenza Surveillance Considerations

It is important to remember the following about influenza surveillance in the United States.

  • All influenza activity reporting by public health partners and health-care providers is voluntary.
  • The reported information answers the questions of where, when, and what influenza viruses are circulating.  It can be used to determine if influenza activity is increasing or decreasing but does not directly report the number of influenza illnesses.  For more information regarding how CDC classifies influenza severity and the disease burden of influenza, please see Disease Burden of Influenza.
  • The system consists of eight complementary surveillance components in five categories. These components include reports from more than 350 laboratories, approximately 2,600 outpatient health care providers, the National Center for Health Statistics, research and healthcare personnel at the FluSurv-NET sites, and influenza surveillance coordinators and state epidemiologists from all state, local and territorial health departments.
  • Influenza surveillance data collection is based on a reporting week that starts on Sunday and ends on the following Saturday.  Each surveillance participant is requested to summarize weekly data and submit it to CDC by Tuesday afternoon of the following week. The data are then downloaded, compiled, and analyzed at CDC. FluView and FluView Interactive are updated weekly each Friday.

    For CDC/Influenza Division influenza surveillance purposes, the reporting period for each influenza season begins during Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) week 40 and ends week 39 of the following year. MMWR weeks pdf icon[65 KB, 2 Pages]refer to the sequential numbering of weeks (Sunday through Saturday) during a calendar year. This means that the exact start of the influenza reporting period varies slightly from season to season. The 2019-2020 influenza season began on September 29, 2019 and will end on September 26, 2020.

  • “Flu season” — as determined by elevated flu activity – also varies from season to season. During most seasons, activity begins to increase in October, most often peaks between December and February and can remain elevated into May. The flu season is said to have started after consecutive weeks of elevated flu activity is registered in the various CDC influenza surveillance systems.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/overview.htm

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The Pronk Pops Show 1393, February 6, 2020, Story 1: President Trump Speaks At National Prayer Breakfast — Slams Pelosi and Romney For Using Their Faith To Justify Their Actions — Faith Based Adoption — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Acquitted Forever By Senate Takes A Well Deserved Victory Lap Over Failed Coup Attempts By Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Nobody Including Democrats Are Above The Law — American People Demanding The Indictments of The Conspirators — The Trump Way — Videos — Story 3: DNC Chair Demands Iowa Recheck The Vote Count and Bernie Sanders Won By More Than 8,000 — Videos

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Story 2: President Trump Acquitted Forever By Senate Takes A Well Deserved Victory Lap Over Failed Coup Attempts By Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Nobody Including Democrats Are Above The Law — American People Demanding The Indictments of The Conspirators — The Trump Way — Videos —

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President Trump Delivers Remarks

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Triumphant Trump lashes out ‘horrible person’ Pelosi and attacks ‘dirty cops’ in wild post-acquittal speech as he slams ‘Mueller top scum’ Russia probe and ‘evil’ impeachment as ‘all bulls**t’

  • President Trump gathered his political allies in the White House’s East Room Thursday to celebrate being acquitted on impeachment charges
  • Trump held up a copy of the Washington Post that said ‘Trump Acquitted’ in large font, saying it’s the ‘only good headline I’ve ever had in the Washington Post’ 
  • At the top of his speech, Trump called out the ‘leakers and liars’ and then name-dropped former FBI Director James Comey 
  • He bad-mouthed a number of individuals including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff 
  • He again went after FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, while also slamming Hunter Biden and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe
  • Then Trump went around the room and complimented the Republicans who supported him, giving brief remarks about each one 
  • Trump spoke for more than an hour and didn’t use a teleprompter, though used swear words more than once 
  • ‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ Trump told the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation 

President Trump celebrated his Senate acquittal on Thursday with a freewheeling speech at the White House where he blasted the ‘vicious and mean’ Democrats, attacked ‘evil and dirty’ cops, thanked his ‘very good friends’ for their support and apologized to his family for what he put them through.

‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ he told a packed room of about 200 supporters in the East Room of the White House.

The president spoke – without the use of a teleprompter – for a little more than hour that veered back and forth between thanking his allies and blasting his enemies.

He began his remarks with his favorite hit term on the investigations into him and his presidency: ‘witch hunt.’

‘We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it,’ he said.

And he ended with an apology to his family, including young son Barron.

‘I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people,’ he said. ‘And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy.’

Ivanka left her seat in the audience to come up to the podium and hug her father after his apology. First lady Melania Trump did the same.

‘I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal,’ the president said.

Trump also name-dropped those he blamed for impeaching him, re-upping his litany of attacks against the same people he has blamed since the first investigation of his presidency started.

Former FBI Director James Comey was the first opponent who came up.

‘Had I not fired James Comey – who was a disaster, by the way – it’s possible I may not have even been standing here right now,’ Trump said. ‘When I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out,’ he later added.

He blamed the top FBI officials for his problems. ‘It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum,’ he said.

The president also had choice words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, Sen. Mitt Romney, Hunter Biden, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe – and the FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ TRUMP’S FREEWHEELING SPEECH IN FULL 

President Trump hoisted up a copy of the Washington Post in the East Room Thursday, marveling at the paper's good headline

President Trump hugs his daughter Ivanka Trump at his victory speech in the White House's East Room Thursday

President Trump hugs his daughter Ivanka Trump at his victory speech in the White House’s East Room Thursday

First lady Melania Trump (left) kisses President Trump (right) at the end of his speech Thursday in the East Room

First lady Melania Trump (left) kisses President Trump (right) at the end of his speech Thursday in the East Room

The president, showing off the 'Trump acquitted' headline, said he might even frame this copy of the Washington Post

President Trump addressed a crowd of allies at the White House Thursday after being acquitted by the U.S. Senate

President Trump was surrounded by his political allies at the White House Thursday as he took a victory lap on being acquitted on impeachment charges by the GOP-led Senate

President Trump went around the room and complimented his political allies, while describing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as 'vicious' and 'horrible' x

President Trump (left) had first lady Melania Trump (right) come onstage at the conclusion of his hour-long, free-wheeling speech where he talked about impeachment

Ivanka Trump (right) listens to her father President Trump (left) speak a day after the conclusion of the Senate's impeachment trial

Comey’s May 2017 firing led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who took over the Russian interference probe.

The president referred to the Russia probe as ‘all bulls***’ to the East Room crowd.

That investigation wasn’t directly related to why Trump was impeached – over a scheme to hold up around $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the president to announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Trump attacked the former vice president’s son for his work on the board of a Ukrainian gas company and for a Chinese hedge fund. He also reiterated his argument his July 25 phone call with newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was perfect.

‘He’s a new president, seems like a very nice person, by the way. His whole thing was corruption. He’s going to stop corruption. We have a treaty, a signed treaty that we will work together to root out corruption in Ukraine. I probably have a legal obligation … to report corruption. They don’t even think a corrupt way son who made no money, that got thrown out of the military, that had no money at all, is working for $3 million upfront, $83,000 a month. And that’s only Ukraine. Then goes to China, picks up $1.5 billion. Then goes to Romania, I hear, and many other countries. They think that’s okay. Because, if it is, Ivanka in the audience? Boy, my kids could make a fortune,’ he said.

The East Room was filled with the president’s Republican Congressional and political allies. Lawmakers like Doug Collins, Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik and Matt Gaetz, who all vocally defended the president during the House impeachment investigation. GOP senators who voted to acquit him were there too, including Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump had personalized shout outs for many of them:

  • Mitch McConnell: ‘Great guy. Great guy. He’s a tough guy to read. I’m good at reading people. A tough guy to read.’
  • Jim Jordan: ‘When I first got to know Jim I said, “Huh, never wears a jacket. What the hell is going on?” He’s obviously very proud of his body. And they say where he works out with the congressmen, senators, they say when Jim works out, even though he’s not as young as he was, when he works out, the machine starts burning.’
  • Steve Scalise: ‘He got whacked, my Steve. Right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night. Right, honey? We saw a man who was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. The doctor — I told him, his wife, I said, “She loves you.” “Why did you say that?” Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.’ 
  • Elise Stefanik: ‘I didn’t realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise! You were killing them!’
  • John Ratcliffe: ‘If we were doing a remake of “Perry Mason,” the man I get — there is nobody in Hollywood like this.’ 
  • Matt Gaetz: ‘Sometimes controversial, but actually he’s not controversial. He’s solid as a rock and a friend of mine.’ 

The president’s impeachment legal team came in the room before Trump and was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience and shouts of ‘Bravo!’ 

Trump, too, was greeted by a crowd on its feet.

He held up a copy of the Washington Post in triumph as his supporters cheered him on.

‘It was the only good headline I’ve ever had in the Washington Post,’ Trump said, showing off a newspaper with the words ‘Trump acquitted’ in large typeface across the front. Trump said he might even frame it.

President Trump and Melania Trump leaving after his remarks

IN THE AUDIENCE: Reps. Doug Collins (center) and Elise Stefanik (right) were invited to attend Thursday's White House address by President Trump. Both lawmakers defended him during the impeachement saga

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at President Trump's East Room address Thursday

During the speech, the president praised certain Republican lawmakers who defended him, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York

Rep. Matt Gaetz is seen entering the Whtie House's East Room Thursday prior to President Trump addressing the nation on his impeachment acquittal

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands as he is acknowledged by President Trump during a speech that lasted longer than an hour

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands as he is acknowledged by President Trump during a speech that lasted longer than an hour

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham (center) greets Rep. Matt Gaetz (left) in the White House's East Room on Thursday

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who loudly defended President Trump during the impeachment hearings, wore a 'Quit, Mitt' button to the White House Thursday

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway chats with White House guests before President Trump appeared in the East Room Thursday

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is photographed in the East Room before the president delivered remarks

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is photographed in the East Room before the president delivered remarks

Republican political allies filed the White House's audience Thursday including (from left) Rep. Mark Meadows, Sen. Bill Cassidy, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Devin Nunes. Nunes is Rep. Adam Schiff's GOP counterpart in the House Intelligence Committee

First daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump reacts to her father's speech in the White House's East Room Thursday

Attendees of President Trump's East Room speech included (from left) second lady Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Bill Barr

Attendees of President Trump’s East Room speech included (from left) second lady Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Bill Barr

 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham previewed the president's remarks on Fox News Channel Thursday morning

He had nicer things to say about those in the room.

TRUMP SHOUT OUTS

The president offered his thanks to many people during his remarks:

Melania Trump

Ivanka Trump

His sons and specifically Barron

Attorneys Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow

Sen. Tim Scott

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Elise Stefanik

Rep. Mark Meadows

Rep. Doug Collins

Sen. Kelly Loeffler

Sen. Josh Hawley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Sen. Mike Braun

Sen. Bill Cassidy

Sen. John Barasso

Sen. Mike Lee

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy

Sen. Kelly Armstrong

Rep. Jim Banks

Rep. Andy Biggs

Abraham Lincoln

Rep. Matt Gaetz

Rep. Debbie Lesko

Gov. Ron DeSantis

Rep. Mike Johnson

Rep. Devin Nunes

Rep. John Ratliffe

Rep. Steve Scalise

Matt Schlapp

Rep. Bradley Byrne

Rep. Scott Perry

Lee, a Republican senator from Utah, got some attention from the president, in part because Lee’s counterpart, Sen. Mitt Romney, had voted alongside Democrats on voting in support of one article of impeachment.

Trump told Lee to deliver a message to the people of Utah: ‘Tell them I’m sorry about Mitt Romney.’

‘We can say, by far, Mike Lee is the most popular senator in the state,’ Trump said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who also loudly backed the president during impeachment hearings, was spotted wearing a ‘quit Mitt’ button to the White House event.

Trump complimented another Judiciary Committee member, Rep. John Ratcliffe, for being straight out of Central Casting.

‘If we’re doing a remake of Perry Mason,’ he said, nodding at Ratcliffe. ‘There’s nobody in Hollywood like this.’

The president also suggested that Rep. Steve Scalise became more attractive after recovering from a gun shot wound.

‘You weren’t that good looking,’ Trump said. ‘You look good now.’

The president also talked of Scalise’s wife’s devotion to the Louisiana Republican, as Trump had met her when her husband was in the emergency room.

‘A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn,’ Trump remarked.

Trump also made colorful comments about Rep. Jim Jordan, another prominent defender.

‘When I first got to know Jim I said, heh, he never wears a jacket, he’s obviously very proud of his body,’ the president said.

Jordan was a collegiate wrestling champion and later a college-level coach.

The Ohio Republican did wear a jacket to Trump’s speech Thursday.

Trump also asked lawmakers to stand up if they had something to say.

That prompted retiring Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, to briefly stand and say, ‘This reflection today is a small reflection of the support you have.’

‘We got your back,’ Meadows said.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told a Fox News Channel audience Thursday what to expect from his remarks – that the president had previewed himself when he slammed Pelosi and Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

‘He is going to be honest,’ Grisham told Fox News, ‘going to speak with honesty and with humility and he and the family went through a lot. I think he’s also going to talk about just how horribly he was treated and, you know, that maybe people should pay for that.’

PEOPLE DONALD TRUMP CRITICIZED

The president also criticized many people in his speech:

Sen. Mitt Romney

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Adam Schiff

Rep. Jerry Nadler

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Former FBI director James Comey

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill

Hunter Biden

Lisa Page

Peter Strzok

Andrew McCabe

Christopher Steele

Bob Mueller

Sen. Chuck Schumer

Hillary Clinton

‘People should be held accountable,’ she added.

The president went after Pelosi and Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment process during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

And, in his remarks later that day in the East Wing, he stood by what he said at the breakfast.

‘I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things that a lot of people wouldn’t have said, but I meant everything. I meant every word of it,’ he said.

At the breakfast, the president did not mention the two by name but his meaning was clear.

‘I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say I pray for you when they know that’s not so. So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on. I will be discussing that a little bit later at the White House,’ he said.

Romney was the lone Republican to find Trump guilty on one article of impeachment: abuse of power. He said in his remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday that it was his faith – Romney is a devout Mormon – that led him to that decision.

Pelosi, a devout Catholic, has repeatedly said she prays for the president. She was seated at the head table during Trump’s remarks and shook her head at one point during them. She pursed her lips a few times as he spoke. The speaker launched the impeachment inquiry into the president in September.

Back at the White House, Trump had no problem uttering Pelosi’s name. He called her a ‘vicious horrible person’ and said that Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the Democrats’ House impeachment managers, was a ‘horrible person.’

‘She may pray, but she prays for the opposite,’ Trump said of the speaker.

At the prayer breakfast, the president admitted he was having trouble liking his political enemies now that his impeachment trial is over.

‘We are grateful to the people of this room for the lovely show to religion, not one religion, but many religions. They are brave, they are brilliant, they are fighters, they like people and sometimes they hate people. I’m sorry. I apologize. I am trying to learn. Not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, and you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy, folks. I do my best,’ he said.

Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment trial and inquiry

Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment trial and inquiry

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the opposite of the head table from President Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the opposite of the head table from President Trump

Speaker Pelosi sat grimed during President Trump's remarks

Speaker Pelosi sat grimed during President Trump’s remarks

President Trump addressed impeachment at the top of his remarks

Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment by the Senate on Wednesday, bringing to a close the fourth month, contentious process that led to a new level of bitter relations between the White House and congressional Democrats.

Harvard professor Arthur Brooks, in his key note address at the breakfast, urged those present not to hold political enemies in contempt, but to do as Jesus preached and ‘love your enemies.

‘I don’t know if I agree with you,’ Trump said to Brooks when it was his turn to speak. And then he proceeded to launch his attacks on Pelosi and Romney.

The president addressed the impeachment inquiry at the top of his remarks and, earlier, had triumphantly held up newspaper headlines announcing his acquittal. The audience cheered his move.

‘My family, our great country and your president has been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation,’ Trump said.

‘They know what they are doing is wrong but they put themselves far ahead of our great country. Weeks ago and again yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude, and strength to do what everyone knows was right,’ he added.

The president and the speaker were meeting for the first time since the impeachment verdict at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

Trump walked to the head table to applause and held up the front pages of USA Today and The Washington Post with their oversized headlines proclaiming his acquittal by the Senate.

‘Acquitted’ read USA Today. ‘Trump Acquitted’ was the Washington Post’s headline.

Pelosi stood and clapped as President Trump entered the room. She simply looked on as he displayed the newspapers declaring him acquitted.

President Trump waved around a USA Today headline proclaiming his acquittal on impeachment

President Trump waved around a USA Today headline proclaiming his acquittal on impeachment

He also waved the Washington Post front page

Speaker Pelosi spoke before President Trump at the breakfast

Speaker Pelosi led a prayer for the poor

Both the president and the speaker were seated at the head table but on opposite sides of the podium.

They did not interact.

Trump shook hands with his side of the head table when he entered the 68th Annual National Prayer Breakfast and did not walk over to the other side of the podium, where the vice president and the speaker were seated.

Pelosi spoke first, leading a prayer for the poor. The president head bowed during her prayer. He did not applaud when she was done.

Vice President Mike Pence, when he arrived ahead of the president, shook hands with the speaker and sat a few chairs down from her.

Several members of Congress and members of the president’s Cabinet attended the annual breakfast.

‘The lord works in mysterious ways. I do not think he could have picked a better day to bring us all together,’ House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in his prayer.

The president thanked McCarthy and the breakfast hosts in his opening remarks.

Mitt Romney cited his faith as the reason for his guilty vote on Trump

‘Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,’ the president tweeted.

Romney cited his faith as one of the reasons for his guilty vote. He voted to acquit the president on the second charge: obstruction of Congress.

‘The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a senator juror, I swore an oath before god to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before god as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced,’ Romney said.

And the Republican senator from Utah acknowledged he expected to feel the president’s wrath for his decision.

‘I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before god demanded it of me?,’ he said.

It was also the first time Trump and Pelosi met since Tuesday’s State of the Union address when Trump refused to shake her hand at its beginning and she ripped up the text of his remarks at its conclusion.

After the president finished giving his annual address Tuesday night, Pelosi stood up and ripped the pages in half, dropping them on her desk.

The extraordinary clash between the two started when with Trump snubbed Pelosi’s outstretched hand after he came into the House chamber.

Trump handed Pelosi a copy of his speech when he reached the speaker’s dais – the same place she presided over his impeachment vote two months ago – but simply turned away as the Speaker took her copy of his speech, then stood in front of a chamber which echoed with cries of ‘four more years’ from Republicans – and where Democrats sat stone-faced.

Pelosi was visibly taken aback after Trump turned away from her offer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped apart her copy of President Trump's State of the Union address after he finished speaking on Tuesday night

Earlier, Trump delivered an astonishing snub to Nancy Pelosi as he started his State of the Union speech Tuesday, ignoring her as she offered him a handshake

Earlier, Trump delivered an astonishing snub to Nancy Pelosi as he started his State of the Union speech Tuesday, ignoring her as she offered him a handshake

After the Senate acquitted the president on Wednesday, Pelosi said after the vote that the president remains a ‘threat’ that the House will continue to combat through its lawsuits against the administration and with the public.

‘Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to. The House will continue to protect and defend the checks and balances in the Constitution that safeguard our Republic, both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion,’ she said in a statement.

DONALD TRUMP REMARKS ON IMPEACHMENT ACQUITTAL

Well, thank you very much.

Thank you. Thank you.

Wow.

Well, thank you very much, everybody. Wow. We’ve all been through a lot together. And we probably deserved that hand for all of us, because it’s been a very unfair situation. I invited some of our very good friends, and we have limited room, but everybody wanted to come. Kept it down to a minimum. Believe it or not, this is a minimum. But a tremendous thing was done over the last number of months. Really, if you go back to it, over the last number of years. We had the witch hunt, it started from the day we came down the elevator. Myself and our future first lady, who is with us right now.

Thank you, Melania.

And it never really stopped. We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it. Some people said no, they wouldn’t have. But I can tell you, at a minimum, you have to focus on this because it can get away very quickly, no matter who you have with you. It can get away very quickly. It was a disgrace. Had I not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now. We caught him in the act. Dirty cops. Bad people. If this happened to President Obama, a lot of people would have been in jail for a long time already. Many, many years. I want to start by thanking some of — I call them friends because, you know, you develop friendships and relationships when you are in battle and in war, much more so than, “Gee, let’s have a normal situation.” With all we’ve gone through, I think we’ve done more than any president in any administration. Really, I say, for the most part, Republican congressmen and congresswomen and Republican senators — we’ve done more than any administration in the first few years. You look at all the things we’ve done. I watched this morning as they tried to take credit for the stock market.

Think of that. Let me tell you, if we didn’t win, the stock market would have crashed. The market was going up a lot before the election because it was looking like we had a good chance to win. It went up tremendously from the time we won the election to the time we took office, which was November 8th until January 20th. That’s our credit, that’s all our credit. Leading up to that point was our credit, because there was hope. One of the reasons the stock market has gone up so much in the last few days is people think we are doing so well. They liked the state of the union speech.

It really is, it’s a true honor. Making the state of the union speech, I was with some people who have been around. They’ve been all over the world. One of them is a highly sophisticated person. They said, “You know, no matter where you go in the world, it doesn’t make any difference. There is nothing like what I witnessed tonight. The beauty, the majesty of the chamber. The power of the United States. The power of the people in this room.” Really, amazing. I don’t think there’s anything like that anywhere in the world. You can go to any other country, any other location, any other place. It’s the beauty of everything. It’s what it represents, and how it represents our country. I want to start by introducing some of the people that are here. I know some are going to be left out, but they work so hard. And this is really not a news conference, it’s not a speech. It’s not anything, it’s just — we are sort of — it’s a celebration. Because we have something that just worked out. I mean, it worked out. We went through hell unfairly, did nothing wrong.

Did nothing wrong. I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit.

Not purposely, but I’ve done things wrong. This is what the end result is.

So… [holds up front page of The Washington Post] You can take that home. Honey, maybe we’ll frame it. The only good headline I’ve ever had on “The Washington post.”

But every paper is the same. Does anybody have those papers does anybody have them? They are like that. So I appreciate that. But some of the people here have been incredible warriors. They are warriors. There’s nothing from a legal standpoint — this is a political thing. Every time I say, “This is unfair, let’s go to court,” they say, “Sir, you can’t go to court, this is politics.” We were treated unbelievably unfairly. You have to understand, we first went through “Russia, Russia, Russia.” It was all bullshit.

We then went through the Mueller report. And they should have come back one day later. They didn’t, they came back two years later after lives were ruined. After people went bankrupt. After people lost all their money. People went to Washington to help other people. Bright eyed and bushy tail, they say they came, one or two or three people in particular. But many people, we had a rough campaign.

It was nasty. One of the nastiest, they say. They say Andrew Jackson was always the nastiest campaign. They actually said we topped it. It was nasty both in the primaries and in the election. But you see, we thought after the election it would stop. But it didn’t stop, it just started. Tremendous corruption. Tremendous corruption. So, we had a campaign — little did we know we were running against some very, very bad and evil people with fake dossiers, with all of these horrible, dirty cops that took these dossiers and did bad things. They knew all about it. The FISA courts, should be ashamed of themselves. It’s a very tough thing. And we ended up winning on the “Russia, Russia, Russia.” It should have taken the one day, it took years. Then Bob Mueller testified. That didn’t work out so well for the oversight.

But they should have said that first week, because it came out. Is that right, Jim Jordan? They knew the first two days, actually. Is that right? They knew we were totally innocent. But they kept it going, mark. The kept it going forever. Because they wanted to inflict political pain on somebody that — I had just won an election, a lot of people were surprised. We had polls that said we were going to win. We have the “Los Angeles times” were going to win. But it was going to be close. We did win. It was one of the greatest wins of all time. And they said, “Okay, he won.” I wrote this down because that was where a thing called an insurance policy — to me, when I saw the insurance policy, and that was done long before the election.

It was done when we thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. By the way, Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for millions. Millions of dollars, the fake dossier. Now Christopher Steele admits that it’s a fake. Because he got sued by rich people. I should have sued him, too. But when you are president, people don’t like suing. I want to thank my legal team, by the way.

Not for that advice, but for other.

Pat, Jay, you guys, stand up.

Great job. Right at the beginning, they said, “Sir, you have nothing to worry about. All of the facts on your side.” I said, “You don’t understand, that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter.” And that was really true. They made up facts. A corrupt politician named Adam Schiff made up my statement to the Ukrainian president. He brought it out of thin air, just made it up. They say he’s a screenwriter, a failed screenwriter. Unfortunately he went into politics after that.

Remember, he said the statement? “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” I didn’t say that. Fortunately for all of us here today and for our country, we had transcripts. We had transcribers, professional transcribers. Then they said, “Oh, well, maybe the transcription is not correct.” But Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother, right? We had some people, really amazing. But we did everything. We said, “What’s wrong with that,” they didn’t at this word or that word. It didn’t matter. “At it.

They’re probably wrong, but added ” now everybody agrees they were perfectly accurate. Tim Scott — I don’t know if Tim is here, but he said, “Are –” he was the first want to call me. “Sir, I read the transcript. You did nothing wrong.” And, Mitch, he stayed there right from the beginning. He never changed. Mitch Mcconnell, I want to tell you. You did a fantastic job.

Somebody said, “You know, Mitch is quiet.” I said, “He’s not quiet. He’s not quite.”

He doesn’t want people to know him. And they said, “Is Mitch smart?” And I said, “Well, let’s put it this way. For many, many years, a lot of very smart — bad, in many cases, sometimes good — people have been trying to take his place. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never even heard the subject come up, because they’ve been wiped out so fast.”

This guy is great and I appreciate Mitch. He has also given us 191, now. 191 federal judges. Two supreme court judges. Up to 191. Great guy. Great guy. He’s a tough guy to read. I’m good at reading people. A tough guy to read. I told him – my wife would say, “How do you do with Mitch?” And I’d say, “Uh, I don’t know.”

That’s what makes them good, when you can read somebody. Fantastic job. He understood right from the beginning this was crooked politics. This was crooked politics. How about all these people? They are running for office. They are saying the worst things about me, like eight senators on the democratic side. Most of them got wiped out. They got 1% or less. Most of them got less. They decided to go home. “Let’s go back to California. Let’s go back to –” wherever they came from. “Go back to New York.” How about that? Our New York Senator, Gillibrand. “Let’s go back to New York.” After they get nothing. Then they take an oath that they will be fair, that they will be reasonable come all the different things. They are not fair. But here’s the beauty, we have four left. They are saying the most horrendous things about me. It’s okay, it’s politics. And then they are supposed to vote! On me! They are trying to replace me, and then they are supposed to be voting. So I think — I mean, I think it’s incredible. So, Mitch, I want to thank you very much. Incredible. We have some of your folks here, they are incredible people. They’ve been great from the beginning. Again, you are out of session, unfortunately. I only told these folks, “Let’s do this today.” We did a prayer breakfast this morning. I thought that was really good. In fact, it was so good, it wiped us out. By the time we finished, this will wipe that one outcome of those statements.

I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things that a lot of people wouldn’t have said, but I meant everything.

I meant every word of it. We have some of the folks that are going to be leaving right after this. They work hard, and they did work hard. Though Bill Cassidy, senator, stand up, Bill. What a guy.

Great man. When I need to know about health insurance and pre-existing conditions and individual mandates, I called Bill.

Or I call Barrasso. Those two guys, they know more than anybody. A man who just became a senator. He’s a little bit like me. We have a couple of them. Very successful guy in business, and he said, “What the hell? I’ll run for the senate,” from Indiana. And he ran. I saw him on television, destroying his opponent in a debate. I said, “This guy could win.” I got behind him, and Mike Braun, you have done some great job. Thank you very much.

Tough! A man who got James Comey to choke. And he was just talking in his regular voice. He’s the roughest man — she’s actually an unbelievable — and I appreciate the letter you sent me today. I just got it. He’s got this voice that scares people.

You know, people from Iowa can be very tough. We are doing very well in Iowa, but I tell you, Chuck Grassley. “You tell me, what did you say,” he wasn’t being rough, that’s just the way he talked.

That’s when — I think that’s when Comey announced he was leaking, lying and everything else. He choked! Because he never heard anybody talk like that. I wish you got angry, you could have gotten the whole ball game. He would have said, “I give up!” Chuck Grassley is an incredible guy.

And a man who — you know, he was running against a tough, smart campaigner. We learned how good she was, right? She was a great campaigner. In fact, by the end of the campaign, I thought she was more for me than you were, Josh.

I was worried. She was saying the greatest things about me. You know I’m talking about I went to a great place, Missouri. And I said, “Who do you have to beat her?” And they said, “Well, we have four people.” I said, “Let me see them.” Can you imagine can make I’m interviewing people for the United States senate, this is what I do. Where have I gone? But I love it. We get great people. The first when I met with Josh Hawley. After about 10 minutes and said to the people, “Don’t show me anybody else, this is the guy.” He was the attorney general, ditto phenomenal job in the state. Highly respected. And Claire Mccaskill. The theory was you couldn’t beat her. Great campaign-the art. Remember last campaign, she was always going be taken up. People say, “How did that happen chemicals go it didn’t happen with him. I’m putting this in the archives is 1 of the best ads I’ve ever made. She tried to convince people we are best friends, but Josh ended up winning by five or six points. You are unbelievable, you were tough, and you are something. One of the greatest supporters of the impeachment hoax with Josh Hawley. He was incensed, actually. He was incensed at what they were doing and what they were doing. I had some who said, “I wish you didn’t make a call,” and that’s okay. If they need that. It’s incorrect. It’s totally incorrect. And you have some who used religion as a crutch. They never used it before… An article written today, “Never heard him use it before.” But today, it’s one of those things. It’s a failed presidential candidate, so things can happen when you fail so badly running for president.

But Josh Hawley, I want to thank you. You were right from the beginning. Man, did I make a good choice. Thank you, Josh. Tremendous future. A man who is brilliant, and who actually was deceived, to an extent. Comes from a great state, Utah, where my poll numbers have gone through the roof. And one of the senators’ poll numbers — not this one — went down big.

You saw that, Mike? Mike Lee is a brilliant guy. He’s difficult.

Whenever — we do sign a lot of legislation, it’s big and it’s powerful, but it sort of — everybody has to approve it. I see 99 to one. 99 to one. I say, “Don’t tell me who’s the one.”

“Is it Mike?” “Yes.”

And he always has a good reason for it, too come by the way but he is, he’s incredible. Right at the beginning, he knew we were right, Mike. I appreciate it very much. Fantastic. Say hello to the people of Utah, and tell them I’m sorry about Mitt Romney. I’m sorry. Okay?

We can say that Mike Lee is by far the most popular senator from the state. But you’ve done a fantastic job, Mike. In many ways. In many ways. A young woman who I didn’t know at all, but she has been so supportive. And I’ve had great support from other people in that state. She has been so supportive, and she has been downright nasty and mean about the unfairness to the president. Kelly Loeffler, I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

She started very early on. We have — I don’t know if we have other senators here, but we’ve got a hell of a lot of congressmen. I will go over them quickly. They’ve also been — it helped when we won, 197 to nothing. That’s got to be a first, Kevin, right? Is that, like, a first? Republicans have this image. I say Democrats are lousy politicians because they have lousy policy. Open borders, sanctuary cities. They have horrible policy. Who the hell can — oh, the new policy is raise taxes. They want to raise taxes. All my life, I wasn’t in politics, but I would say if you are a politician you say you want to lower taxes. They want to raise taxes. They have open borders, sanctuary cities, Reeser and Brady’s taxes, get rid of everybody’s health care, 180 million people in the United States — and they are really happy. And we are going to give you health care the cost more money if the country could make in 30 years if it does really well. That’s one year. I always said, they are. They do two things. They are vicious and mean. Vicious. These people are vicious. Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. And she wanted to impeach a long time ago. When she said, “I pray for the president, I prefer the president.” She doesn’t pray. She may pray, but pray for the opposite.

They don’t pray at all. They do vicious — they stick to give it prehistorically. I’m not talking about now. They stick together like glue. That’s how they impeached, because they had whatever the numbers — 220 people. So they don’t lose anybody. They will be able to impeach anybody. You could be George Washington, you could have just won the war, and they would say, “Let’s get him out of office.

“They stuck together and they are vicious as hell. And they will probably come back for more, but they may not, because the Republican party’s poll numbers, Mitch, have now gone up more than any time, I think, since 2004 or 2005. You know what happened then. But in normal times, decades, you would call it — that was an unusual time. It was for a very short period. The Republican party’s poll numbers — and Donald Trump’s poll numbers of the highest I’ve ever had.

It’s no way to get your poll numbers up. Because from my family’s standpoint, it’s been very unfair for my family. It’s been very unfair to the country. Think of it. A phone call. A very good phone call. I know bad phone calls. This is a phone call where Merritt don’t like many people

— I think Mike Pompeo was probably on the call. Many people were on the call. They even have “Apprenti come” bring up a favorite word of my current apprentice. They have apprenti on this call. There many people. In the case of Ukraine, he’s a new president, seems like a very nice person, by the way. His whole thing was corruption. He’s going to stop corruption. We have a treaty, a signed treaty that we will work together to root out corruption in Ukraine. I probably have a legal obligation, Mr. Attorney, to report corruption. They don’t even think a corrupt way son who made no money, that got thrown out of the military, that had no money at all, is working for $3 million upfront, $83,000 a month. And that’s only Ukraine.

Then goes to China, picks up $1.5 billion. Then goes to Romania, I hear, and many other countries. They think that’s okay. Because, if it is, Ivanka in the audience? Boy, my kids could make a fortune.

It’s corrupt. But it’s not even that, it’s just general corruption. The other thing is mentioned in the call. Something I’ve told Mike Pence, our great vice president. I would tell him all the time, and I told him when he went on the trip. Because he was over there. He never mentioned anything about this, when you hide your meeting. It’s a terrible thing. I told Mike, I said, “Mike, we are giving them money, and you are always torn about that because we have our country to build. We have our cities to build and our roads to fix. But we are giving the money. Tell me, why isn’t Germany paying money? Why isn’t Frantz? Why isn’t the United Kingdom paying money? What aren’t they paying money? Why are we paying money? Is that the correct statement to find out what the hell is going on.” I told that all my people come on B. Asked that question. Why isn’t Germany paying? Why is the United States always the sucker?” Because we are a bunch of suckers. But that’s turning around fast. But it makes it harder when stuff like this happens. Because you want to focus, and you want to focus perfectly. Think we could have done, if the same energy was put into infrastructure, prescription drug prices. Think of what we could have done. And I’m now talking both sides. Think of what we could have done if we had the same genus. Because it’s genius. I will say, it’s genius on the other side. Maybe even more so, because they took nothing and brought me to a final vote of impeachment.

That’s a very ugly word to me. It’s a very dark word, very ugly. They took nothing. They took that phone call that was a totally appropriate call — I call it a perfect call, because it was — and they brought me to the final stages of impeachment. But now we have that gorgeous word. I never thought a word would sound so good. It’s called, “Total acquittal.” Total acquittal.

So, I want to come if I could real fast , just introduce a few of the people. I have to start with Kevin. Man, did you do a job. Lucky you are there. It wouldn’t have worked out. If you don’t have the right people, I tell you, Kevin McCarthy has done an incredible job. He loves his job, he loves his country. I’ll tell you what, Mitch and Kevin, they love what they do. Mitch wouldn’t even tell you he liked it.

Mitch, do you like it? “I don’t know.”

He’s the greatest poker player, right? And Kevin would say, “I love it.” Right? And I will say, you are going to be Speake of the house because of this impeachment hoax. And I’m going to work hard on it.

I’m going to try to get out to those trump areas that we won by a lot. You know, in ’18, we didn’t win back. We just won two seats in North Carolina. Two wonderful seats in North Carolina that were not supposed to be won. But I went and I made speeches, and we had rallies, and we did a great job and we won. We took two seats, nobody writes about that.

If we had lost them they would have been the biggest stories of the year. We are going to go, we are going to do a job, and we are going to enact a lot of seats. People are very angry that Nancy Pelosi and all of these guys — Nadler, I’ve known and much of my life. He has fought me in New York for 25 years. I always beat him. I had to beat him another time, and I will probably have to beat him again. If they find I happened to walk across the street and maybe go against the light or something, “Let’s impeach him!”

So I’ll probably have to do it again, because these people have gone stone cold crazy. But I’ve beaten him all my life and I will beat him again if I have to.

But what they are doing is very unfair. Very unfair. So, Kevin McCarthy has been great. So, a few names, right? If you want, you can raise and I will say, “Great, love to have you, wonderful.” But we will do the best we can. I have Mike evident but my cabin is different, I appoint them. I didn’t see all of them helping so much. They were running there, various bureaucracies. My cabinet is great and they are all here, but today is the day to celebrate these great warriors. They are great warriors, they really fought hard with us. Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota. Kelly, thank you, great job.

Jim Banks of Indiana. Jim, thank you, great job.

Andy Biggs. Where is Andy? Boy, oh, boy, Andy.

There’s a guy. He’s tough. I hear we are doing well in Arizona, huh? Going good, yeah? I saw a poll that was very good. For me. I think Martha is going to do — we have some states that are going to be not easy, but Arizona has been great and we are stopping illegal aliens from coming in.

We are putting up walls. New Mexico, too, the state that’s never been in play for Republicans, is totally in play. Nevada is really looking good. We are doing well. We are going to have a great — there is more spirit. I will say this, there is more spirit now for the Republican Party, by far, than the Democrats. Mike pence just got back from a place, a beautiful place that Chuck Grassley knows well. Iowa. And he was talking about this fiasco, the Democrats — they can’t count some simple votes, and yet they want to take over your health care system. Think of that. We also had an election out there, we got 98% of the vote. Have two people running, you know. I guess to consider them nonpeople, but they are running. One of them was the governor. One was a congressman. They are running. We’ve got 98% of the vote, and everybody from the media was saying, “Who are those crowds over there?” They expected to be competitive for everybody’s running because they want to enact. And it was Trump. Right, Mark Meadows? It was Trump. This was the trump crowd. Actually, a lot of my guys went there. They went to Iowa, and a lot of friends went there. They say the spirit for the Republican party right now is stronger, I think, than it’s ever been in the history of our country.

I think it’s stronger than it’s ever been. And that includes honest Abe Lincoln. A lot of people forget, Abe Lincoln — I wish you were here, I give him one hell of an introduction.

But he was a Republican. Abe Lincoln, honest Abe. Bradley Byrne, Alabama. What a great place.

Thank you, Bradley. A man who has been an unbelievable friend of mine and spokesman, and somebody who I really like.

And I know, Kelly, you are going to end up liking him a lot. Something’s going to happen that’s very good, I don’t know. I haven’t figured out yet. But Doug Collins. Where is he?

You have been so great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Really, an amazing job. A young man who is born with a great gene, because I know his father and how great a politician he was. He’s from Florida. Sometimes controversial, but actually he’s not controversial. He’s solid as a rock and a friend of mine, Matt Gaetz. Thank you, Matt.

Great job. All right. This guy. So, he is the NCAA wrestling champion when he was in college a couple years ago. That’s a big deal. That means in all of college, you are a champ. You the best. His record was ridiculous, nobody could beat him. I see it, every time I see it. When I first get to know him, Jim Jordan, when I first got to know Jim I said, “Huh, never wears a jacket. What the hell is going on?”

He’s obviously very proud of his body.

And they say where he works out with the congressmen, senators, they say when Jim works out, even though he’s not as young as he was, when he works out, the machine starts burning. It’s a different form of a workout event us, right, sonny? There he is, look at that guy. One day and looking, he looks tough. I’m looking at those years. And I say, “Those years have something going on there.” I said, “Did you ever wrestle?” “I did.” He doesn’t talk, but I checked. This guy was a champion top wrestler.

When I had the top — I had all of the teams. By the way, your super bowl champions are coming. I think next week, or soon. Very soon. Every one of them want to be here. The coach loves us. The coach is great. Andy Reid.

Every one of them want to be here. People love it. But we had all of the NCAA championship teams here. They had the golf, the basketball, they had every team here. And one of the teams was wrestling. The wrestling team. Was that Penn state? And Penn state won the title, they have a great team. I walked up with Jim, and it’s like I didn’t exist.

Those wrestlers, they grabbed him, they love Jim Jordan, and we love you, too. Because you are some warrior.

A woman who became — we have a couple of women that became stars. You two. I always like the name, Lesko.” I so that face, I had the cards, seven opponents. You have no idea how much the public appreciates how smart, how sharp you are. This, I can’t tell. They just said, “You know, she’s really good, she’s really talented.” I said, “Let’s go.” We worked with her, she won her race. Tough race. It’s no longer tough. What she does out there is incredible. Arizona loves her. But you are so incredible, representing — I don’t see me, representing our country and getting us out of this impeachment hoax. We did was incredible. So, Debbie, please stand up. Debbie Lesko.

A man who I became very friendly with. I don’t know why. You ever have it where — I’ll ask the media. Certain people call, you take the calls. Other people call, if they don’t have information, they won’t take anybody’s call. Both are people call, and this is a guy who — he’s just a very special guy. His wife, I actually like better than him, to be honest.

Because he doesn’t know that I know that he didn’t actually support me right from the beginning, but she did.

And on my worst day — right? On my worst day, my worst, I won’t tell you why it’s my worst day, she got a bus, got many of the buses, and women all over well, Mark was sort of semi-supporting another candidate. Which he ended up leaving very quickly. I don’t think he had a choice, because of your wife. So thank her. Mark Meadows is an extra ordinary guy. The only problem is I guess he’s announcing that she would only win by 40 points, but he is announcing that he is not running this time. You have somebody good to run? Is somebody going to win your district by at least 20 points, please? Okay. But he’s a tremendously talented man. Not just as a politician, as a human being is incredible. And during these horrible times

— the way he worked, and Jim, and all of you guys, the way they worked was so — it was like their life was at stake. So many. Ron DeSantis is another one. He worked so hard. He called me, he said, “Sir, I would like to run for governor.” I said, “Governor? I don’t want you to run. I like you –” “No, I want to run for governor.” I said, “Well, if I have to. How can I support you, you are at three.” He had no money. Somebody else had $22 million in cash. I said, “If it’s important, I’ll do it.” These and great warrior. By the way, he ran, I endorsed him, his numbers went through the roof. The men who he beat, who was expected to win back easily, called me after the race. He said, “You endorsed him and it was like a nuclear bomb went off. There was nothing I could do.” He never even spent his money, he saved it. But Ron DeSantis is another one. And now he’s the governor of Florida. By the way, he’s a great governor. He is a very popular governor. His numbers are in the 70s, and he’s done a great job. But, mark, I want to thank you very much.

Fantastic job, thank you very much. Mark Meadows.

And Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Where’s Mike? Central casting, what a job. You can represent me any time. You can represent me anytime. Thank you. What a job you’ve done. Thank you, Mike. And a man nobody’s ever heard of except the other side. He’s the other side’s worst nightmare. This guy goes down into dungeons and basements, he will find a document no matter what. He’s the most legitimate human being, he’s the hardest worker. He’s unbelievable. He took tremendous abuse. The media, and the other side, the bad ones, the leakers, the liars, the dirty cops they, they want to destroy him. They tried, but he wouldn’t let it happen. In a certain way, he was the first one. Wouldn’t you say? This was the first guide. Came out of nowhere. He’s saying, “These people are corrupt.” He is still saying it. He was unbelievable. Devin Nunes. Unbelievable.

That’s so true, Devin. He would come in and say — I didn’t even know them. I just heard there was this congressman who just kept going into a basement come into files. He knew something was wrong. You felt it, right? Now we know a lot more than we knew then, right? You never thought it was as bad as it is, and hopefully we are going to take care of things, because we can never, ever allow this to happen again.

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Scott, thank you. Thank you, Scott. Really great. I’m doing very well over there, by the way. Just so you — a man who is — central casting, if I’m going to pick Perry mason, I’m going to do a remake of “Perry mason.” Other than Bill Barr, I would pick the sky. But I would pick Barr first. John Ratcliffe. If we were doing a remake of “Perry mason,” the man I get — there is nobody in Hollywood like this. John Ratcliff.

Such a great lawyer. Incredible guy, incredible talent. Just a great lawyer. We appreciate it. He gets on that screen and everybody says, “I agree.” The other side folds up so fast, we’ll probably be using a lot of you in the next year. We’ve been fantastic, John. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. I meant it was braver than me and braver than all of us in this room. He got whacked. He got whacked, my Steve. Right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night. Right, honey? We saw a man who was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. The doctor — I told him, his wife, I said, “She loves you.” “Why did you say that?” Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.

I would say, “How is he doing?” ?” She couldn’t even talk, she was inconsolable. “Not good.” “I’m going home now.”

She was a total mess. She was really devastated. It really looked like he had a 20, 25% chance — I think you set a record for blood loss. And Steve Scalise, actually — honestly, I think you’re a better looking, more handsome now. You weren’t that good looking, you look good now

He looks better now, can you believe it? I don’t know what the hell that is.

Better now.

What a guy. And he was practicing for the baseball game against the Democrats, right? And this whack job started shooting. Hurt Roger. I don’t know if Roger is here. Heard a heard a number of people. Steve was the second baseman. He went down, and it was terrible. I mean, I saw the whole thing, and it was terrible. Fortunately, you had to cope brave policeman with you because of your high position in congress. You had to policeman and they were amazing. A man and woman. They came in, they didn’t have rifles. They were supposedly against a pretty good sharpshooter with rifles, good equipment. All they had was a gun. They started coming in from the outfield, shooting. They are so far away, that a handgun is not preferred. This guy has a rifle, he’s hitting people, and he was going to move up, and there was no out. If he had been able to move up, there was no way to get out. The entrance was a single entrance way on the other side where he was. So everyone went into the dugout, ran into the dugout. But Steve was really hit badly in the stomach. With a bullet that rips you apart. It was supposed to do that, it rips you apart. These two people came, charging forward. Boom, boom, boom. And one of them — you know who? One of them, him, got the shooter. Hit him. And then got him.

Killed him. From long distance. It was amazing. If you didn’t have those two people, you could imagine. Right? You could imagine what would happen. Melania and I went to the hospital that night, and he was in such bad shape. He’s been working ever since, so hard. Six months ago, they had a baseball game at the national — I’m watching. It’s on television. It’s just. It’s a game, you want to win it. Right? Steve is second base. The poor guy can’t even walk. Do you remember Bobby Richardson for the New York Yankees? He was known for range, Louis. He had the greatest range. If the ball at the shortstop, Bobby Richardson is the second baseman. Bobby Richardson would feel the ball. If it went to first base, he was sure which first base and paint had unbelievable range. This was not Steve Scalise.

Steve had no range.

1 foot, and he has to fall down. Right? He was trying to get better. I don’t know who the hell put you on the field.

And this is a true story. The game starts, and the first pitch, Steve is standing there at second base and the guy is really in bad shape. And I said, “This is terrible.” A ground ball, shot, is hit to second. And Steve, I didn’t have time to think through much, but I said, “This is not good. That ball is going toward him.” And this guy stopped that ball, caught the ball. He’s now laying down. He throws the ball to first base, he gets them out. I said — it’s the most incredible thing. I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Right? And he gets him out, and they then took him out of the game. Which was a very wise thing.

Because you could ever do that again in a million years.

But you aren’t going to let that all go through — I don’t care if it was hit by the greatest of all time. Right? That ball is not going through you, because you are a warrior. Steve is fantastic. You are fantastic. You and Liz, Kevin, what a group. I mean, what a group. I got lucky. Because you need the right people. I fired the wrong people, it may be a different story. Maybe we’d be celebrating something else. But I really want to thank you. Steve Scalise. And Elise, you — I just read this story. Most incredible, what’s going on with you, Elise. I even said — I was up campaigning, helping. I thought, “She looks good, she looks like good talent.” But I didn’t realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise! You were killing them!

Elise, and there’s a big story in “The New York Post.” I love “The New York Post.” They treat me well. There aren’t many of you do, but today they are treating you well. I even had a great headline. “New York Times,” “Washington post.” I had all these great headlines. Maybe we should just send it right there. We had a great story yesterday in the post that people from all over the country are contributing to her campaign. They were so enthralled with the way you handled yourself. What you said, the way you said it. I’ll always be your friend. It’s really an amazing story. What a great future you have. What a great future, thank you.

The first lady agrees, by the way. The first lady agrees. And Michael turner, you can represent me any time. Where is Michael? Where is he? You can represent me. How good were you?

There’s another “Perry mason” type, I think.

What do you think, John? Michael, you are fantastic, and we appreciate it. Brad Wenstrup. Where is Brad?

Brad. Great, great job. It’s a big day. All the lawyers stayed behind. Lee Zeldin, how good are you?

How good are you? Man. And Louis, your name — they didn’t give me your name. If I didn’t announce Louie — whoever the hill made this list, I’ve got to get rid of them. If I wouldn’t have announced Louie, it might have been the end of the presidency. Louie, you have been so great. So tough and so smart. I got it. But Louie has been amazing. He’s a tough guy, a smart guy. He’s streetwise like crazy. We love Texas. We are with you all the way, Louie. We are with you all the way. Thank you very much.

So that’s the story. We have a great group of warriors, and there are others left. I guess, probably — I’m sure I didn’t mention a few. I apologize if that’s the case. How is CPAC doing, good? Stand up, will you? He’s the one who said, “You should run.”

Right? Matt said — it’s like five years ago, six years ago. I made a speech, and then they do some kind of a straw poll. Who made the best speech? And he said I made the best speech, out of all these professionals — I hate to say this, with all these professional politicians, they voted that by far the best speech was trump. He calls me and said, “We should run for politics.” I said, what do I know about politics,” we learned quickly at our country has ever done better than it’s doing right now.

But thank you, Matt.

So that’s the story. Even treated very unfairly. Fortunately we have great men and women that came to our defense. If we didn’t, this would have been a horrific incident for our country. When you have Lisa and Peter, the lovers, the FBI lovers.

I want to believe the path you threw out for deputy director Andrew McCabe. That’s the office. There’s no way he gets elected, meaning me. “There’s no way he gets elected.” This is Peter to Lisa. He’s probably trying to impress her, for obvious reasons.

“There’s no way he gets elected. But I’m afraid we can’t take the risk.” Think of this. In other words, if I get elected, they can’t — they, two lowlifes, they can’t take the risk. Think of it. That’s where it came up. The greatest word of all, “Insurance policy.” But he says, “I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. She may lose.” “It’s like an insurance policy, in the unlikely event you die before your 40. In other words, if I won, they were going to do exactly what they did to us. They were going to try and overthrow the government of the United States. A duly elected president. If I didn’t fire James Comey, we would have never found this stuff. Because when I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out. They were ratting on each other, they were running for the hills. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens. It’s in the hands of some very talented people. We are going to have to see what happens.

But I can tell you, in my opinion, these are the crooked-est, most dishonest, dirtiest people, I’ve seen. They said — this is Strzok — “God, who were he should win, 100 million to one.” This is about me. This is an agent from the FBI. Look how they let her off. 33,000 emails, deleted. Nothing happens to her. Nothing happens. It’s unbelievable. But think of that read “God, Hillary should win.” These guys are investigating Hillary. They go to work for Mueller, the two of them. And when Mueller found out that everybody knew that they were 100% this way, he let them go. But they deleted all of their emails and text messages. So when we got the phone, they were all deleted. Could you imagine the treasure trove? Of the illegally deleted so they left, Bob Mueller, he had to look but he didn’t have a lot of other things. Always had to look. Mr. G-man. I love the FBI and the FBI loves me, 100%. It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum. So think of that, 100 million, he’s investigating me. And then, “God, trump is a loathsome human being, isn’t he?” These are the people looking at me. I’m really not a bad person. And Page said , “Yes, he’s awful.” How would you like to have that? This is the good stuff. This stuff, there’s stuff 100 times worse than that. These are all dirty people. And now I just heard that they are suing the United States of America. Because they were interfered with.

Just not going to let it happen “We cannot let this happen to our country.

So, I’m going to leave now. I don’t know if any of you have anything to say. You could say it, but this is sort of a day of celebration, because we went through hell. I’m sure that Pelosi and Crying Chuck — the only time I ever saw him cry was when it was appropriate. I’ve known them for a long time. Crying Chuck. I’m sure they will try and cook up other things that go through the state of New York. Other places. They will do whatever they can. Instead of wanting to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do, in my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country. We can’t let it happen. Jim Jordan, did you want to say something cannot go ahead. Mark Meadows? Huh? My?

[Mark Meadows comment: I just want to say that this reflection today is a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country.]

This was a highly partisan situation. Pelosi said — I copied it down exactly. Before the impeachment. She wanted to impeach from day one, by the way. Don’t let it fool you. “No, impeachment is a very serious thing.” I said, “She wants to impeach, watch.” “The impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan.” Bipartisan? It was 170 to nothing. The one failed presidential candidate, and I call that half of the vote because he actually voted for us on the other one.

But we had one failed presidential candidate. That’s the only half of what we lost. So, we had almost 53 to nothing. We had 197 to nothing. And the only one that voted against was a guy that can’t stand the fact that he ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the presidency. But she said, “It has to be something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan.” “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” She was right about that. “And it’s just not worth it.” That was Nancy Pelosi a year ago. I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame. As I said, if we can put this genius to work on roads and highways and bridges and all of the things we can do, prescription drugs. You know, we had — secretary Azar is here, and I want to thank you for this — we had the first time in 51 years where drug prices actually came down last year. First time in 51 years. We can do working with both parties in congress would be unbelievable. It would be unbelievable. All we can do. I know Chuck Grassley is working very hard on it, and Mitch is working very hard on it. We can do is incredible. What we can do just generally. We’ve done so much without it. We rebuilt our military, we’ve cut regulations at a level that nobody thought possible. We will always protect our second amendment, we all know that. I just want to tell you that it’s an honor to be with you all.

I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people. And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy. Stand up, honey. Ivanka, thank you, honey.

I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal. I was going to run for president, and if I won, I was going to do a great job. I didn’t know I was going to run and then when I got in I was going to have to run again and again and again. Every week, I had to run again. That wasn’t the deal, but they stuck with me. I’m so glad I did it, because we are making progress and doing things for our great people that everybody said couldn’t be done. Our country is thriving, our country is just respected again. And it’s an honor to be with the people in this room. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7974859/Trump-goes-leakers-liars-acquitted.html

Story 3: DNC Chair Demands Iowa Recheck The Vote Count and Bernie Sanders Won By More Than 8,000 — Videos

DNC chair calls for Iowa to recanvass caucus vote, says ‘enough is enough’

The results of Monday’s Iowa caucuses were delayed after there were problems with a smartphone app.
Image: Tom Perez

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks on stage ahead of the fourth Democratic primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2019. Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file.Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file

By Phil Helsel

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez is calling on Iowa Democratic officials to immediately recanvass Monday’s caucus vote after days of uncertainty and growing concerns about “inconsistencies” found in the data.

“Enough is enough,” Perez said in a tweet. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”

A recanvass is essentially a double-checking of the vote. Iowa officials would have to hand -audit the caucus worksheets and reporting forms to ensure that they were correctly calculated and reported.

In a statement released later Thursday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price did not address the request from Perez and instead said that the party would take on a recanvass if any of the presidential campaigns request it.

“We owe it to the thousands of Iowa Democratic volunteers and caucusgoers to remain focused on collecting and reviewing incoming results,” Price said, noting that officials “identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors. This is an ongoing process in close coordination with precinct chairs, and we are working diligently to report the final 54 precincts to get as close to final reporting as possible.”

As of Thursday morning, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was clinging to the narrowest of leads in Iowa over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 97 percent of the caucus vote released.

Buttigieg was at 26.2 percent and Sanders had 26 percent, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., running behind the pair of leaders at 18.2 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 15.8 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., at 12.2 percent and other candidates were in low single digits.

Sanders told reporters Thursday that he is not concerned about the DNC’s call for a recanvassing.

“We won an 8-person election by some 6,000 votes,” Sanders said. “That is not going to change.”

Klobuchar told NBC News on Thursday that she supported the process.

“You have to make sure that every single vote was counted,” she said. “Sometimes in caucuses things can be close.”

Iowa Democratic caucus results are not actual votes cast. The percentages, based on partial returns of the estimated number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs.

The totals were put out by the Iowa Democratic Party over the past two days after chaos over the caucuses Monday night. More data may be released Thursday.

NBC News has not called a winner in the first-in-the-nation contest.

In addition to the estimates of convention delegates, the Iowa Democratic Party also released two other numbers:

In voters’ initial candidate preference at the caucuses, Sanders had 24.7 percent, or 42,672 votes, and Buttigieg took 21.3 percent, or 36,718 votes.

In voters’ reallocated preference, Sanders had 26.5 percent, or 44,753 votes, and Buttigieg had 25 percent, or 42,235 votes. The reallocated preference is the raw tally taken after the caucus process known as realignment. If a caucusgoer’s initial candidate preference did not receive enough support to meet the precinct location’s viability threshold (15 percent in most caucus locations), the caucusgoer is allowed to shift his or her support — or realign — to another candidate who did attain viability.

Results from the contest were delayed by what organizers said was a problem with a smartphone app. Final tallies had been expected that evening, but instead, partial results were released Tuesday and the remainder Wednesday.

Nevada’s Democratic Party, which had planned to use the app for its Feb. 22 caucus, said a day after the fiasco in Iowa that it would not use the app after all. The state’s Democratic Party said Tuesday that it had previously developed backup plans for its reporting systems and was in the process of “evaluating the best path forward.”

Cybersecurity experts who examined a public version of the smartphone app told NBC News it contained technical and design flaws and appeared to have been rushed into use.

Caucusgoers gathered Monday at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa to tally support for their preferred candidates. As the delay stretched on into Tuesday, candidates came out to give speeches that sounded a lot like declarations of victory despite no numbers to support or refute them.

The state has 41 pledged delegates up for grabs, and the high-stakes contest traditionally plays a major role in determining who is a legitimate contender in the race.

Even with only a little more than 90 percent reporting in Iowa, Buttigieg on Wednesday night continued to tout the caucus as a win, telling a New York fundraiser that “we remain in the lead.”

“There is just no question that Monday in Iowa represents an astonishing victory for our vision, for our candidacy and for this country,” the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said according to a pool report.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/buttigieg-sanders-neck-neck-iowa-nearly-all-votes-reported-n1131261

Story 4: Americans Satifaction With Life Highest in Forty Years and With Economy Highest in 20 Years — Gallup Poll — Videos

New High of 90% of Americans Satisfied With Personal Life

New High of 90% of Americans Satisfied With Personal Life

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Americans’ satisfaction with personal life highest in four-decade trend
  • Two in three Americans say they are very satisfied, also a new high
  • High-income households, Republicans, married adults the most satisfied

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nine in 10 Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life, a new high in Gallup’s four-decade trend. The latest figure bests the previous high of 88% recorded in 2003.

Line graph. Americans’ satisfaction with their personal lives, 1979-2020.

These results are from Gallup’s Mood of the Nation poll, conducted Jan. 2-15, which also recorded a 20-year high in Americans’ confidence in the U.S. economy. The percentage of Americans who report being satisfied with their personal life is similar to the 86% who said in December that they were very or fairly happy — though the happiness figure, while high, is on the low end of what Gallup has measured historically for that question.

Despite some variation, solid majorities of Americans have reported being satisfied with their personal life over the past few decades, with an average of 83% satisfied since 1979. The historical low of 73% was recorded in July 1979, as the effects of that year’s oil crisis took a toll on U.S. motorists. During that poll’s fielding dates, then-President Jimmy Carter delivered his “malaise speech,” which was interpreted by some as placing blame on Americans themselves for the rough economic spot the country was in.

2019 survey on 10 aspects of Americans’ lives found that they are most satisfied with their family life, their education and the way they spend their leisure time — and least satisfied with the amount of leisure time they have, their household income and their job.

Two in Three ‘Very’ Satisfied With Direction of Personal Life

Gallup has asked a follow-up question since 2001 to measure the extent to which Americans are satisfied or dissatisfied with their personal life. The 65% of U.S. adults who are currently “very satisfied” marks a new high in the two-decade trend.

The more nuanced satisfaction ratings reveal that the relatively small four-percentage-point drop in personal satisfaction from 2007 to 2008 — as the global economic crisis unfolded — obscured greater movement (12 points) in the percentage “very” versus “somewhat” satisfied.

Line graph. Americans’ level of satisfaction with their personal life, 2001-2020.

Income, Political Party, Marital Status the Biggest Factors in Satisfaction

Household income, political party affiliation and marital status are associated with the largest subgroup differences in Americans’ satisfaction with their personal life.

Roughly 95% of Americans who live in high-income households, who identify as Republicans and who are married say they are satisfied with their personal life — and about three in four among each of these groups are very satisfied.

Meanwhile, adults in low-income households are the least likely to say they are satisfied with their life, followed by Democrats and unmarried adults. Among each of these groups, small majorities report being very satisfied. Low-income Americans hold the distinction of having the lowest percentage very satisfied.

Smaller differences in personal satisfaction are seen by race and gender. Whites are a bit more likely than nonwhites to say they are satisfied (92% vs. 86%, respectively) or very satisfied (67% vs. 59%) with their personal life. And men report slightly higher levels of satisfaction than do women.

U.S. Satisfaction With Personal Life, by Subgroup
Ranked by % Satisfied
Satisfied Very satisfied
% %
$100,000+ 96 76
Republicans 93 80
Married 93 74
College graduate only 93 71
Men 92 67
Postgraduate 92 66
Age 18-34 92 62
$40,000-<$100,000 92 66
Whites 92 67
Age 55+ 90 67
Have children under 18 90 68
Have no children under 18 89 64
Some college 89 63
Independents 89 60
Age 35-54 87 63
High school or less 87 62
Women 87 63
Nonwhites 86 59
Unmarried 86 56
Democrats 86 56
<$40,000 80 54
GALLUP, JAN. 2-15, 2020

Bottom Line

It’s likely no coincidence that Americans’ heightened satisfaction with their personal life comes as confidence in the U.S. economy and their personal finances are also at long-term or record highs. That two in three Americans are very satisfied is reflective of this upbeat moment in time, and whether these sentiments carry through the coming decade will be something to watch.

The vast majority of Americans in all major demographic and political subgroups are content with the way their lives are going, but the additional question on how satisfied they are provides more insight. Some groups — wealthier households, Republicans, married people — report especially high levels of satisfaction, while lower-income Americans, Democrats and those who are unmarried report more tepid satisfaction.

View complete question responses and trends.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/284285/new-high-americans-satisfied-personal-life.aspx

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1386, January 28, 2020, Story 1: President Trump’s Legal Defense Team Destroys Democrat Case For Impeachment — Big Lie Media Mob on Bolton Book Bombshell Another Big Dud — Democrat Corruption in Ukraine By Hunter and Joe Biden Not Debunked By Democrats Far From It — Trump Should Be Acquitted By 55 Plus Votes in Favor of Not Guilty Verdict — President Trump Should Win November 2020 Election With Majority and 70 Million Votes and 330 Electoral College Votes in Landslide Victory — The Impeachment’s Unintended Consequences — Videos

Posted on January 29, 2020. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Benghazi, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Fast and Furious, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Military Spending, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Trump’s Legal Defense Team Destroys Democrat Case For Impeachment — Big Lie Media Mob on Bolton Book Bombshell Another Big Dud — Democrat Corruption in Ukraine By Hunter and Joe Biden Not Debunked By Democrats Far From It — Trump Should Be Acquitted By 55 Plus Votes in Favor of Not Guilty Verdict — President Trump Should Win November 2020 Election With Majority and 70 Million Votes and 330 Electoral College Votes in Landslide Victory — The Impeachment’s Unintended Consequences — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageImage result for cartoons hunter and joe biden ukraine corruption

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: President Trump’s Legal Team Destroys Democrat Case For Impeachment, Bolton Book Details and Biden Appearance of Corruption Examined — Trump Should Be Acquitted or Found Not Guitly By At Least 55 Votes —  Videos

MUST WATCH: Jim Jordan SLAMS John Bolton Book Details

Day six impeachment trial highlights as Republicans continue their defence of President Donald Trump

Trump team continues defense in Senate impeachment trial | Day 6

Trump defense continues arguments in Senate impeachment trial Day 6

WATCH: Pam Bondi argues Biden corruption concerns are legitimate | Trump impeachment trial

WATCH: Herschmann suggests Hunter Biden sought to profit from Burisma board position

Eric Herschmann, a member of Trump’s legal team, argued before the Senate on Jan. 27 that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars serving on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father was serving as vice president, profiting off of his last name. Herschmann cast doubt on Hunter’s previous statements that he joined the board of Burisma to enforce corporate governance and transparency in Ukraine and criticized Democrats for dismissing the issue: “Can you imagine what House manager Schiff would say if it was one of the President Trump’s children who was on an oligarch’s payroll?” he asked. President Donald Trump’s defense team is presenting their arguments as part of the Senate impeachment trial. Trump’s trial has entered a pivotal week as his defense team resumes its case and senators face a critical vote on whether to hear witnesses or proceed directly to a vote that is widely expected to end in his acquittal. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House of Representatives impeached the president in December on those two counts.

WATCH: Dershowitz says charges against Trump are ‘outside’ of impeachment offenses

MUST WATCH: Jim Jordan SLAMS John Bolton Book Details

Jim Jordan: Bolton report doesn’t alter the facts in impeachment trial

WATCH LIVE: Senate Democrats, GOP respond to Bolton revelation as Trump impeachment trial continues

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The Pronk Pops Show 1379, January 16, 2020, Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: President Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement With Communist China — Will It Be Fully Enforceable? — Time Will Tell — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s  United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Bill Passes Senate — On It Way For President Trump’s Signature  — Big Win For Trump and American People — Videos — Story 3: REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist) Show Trial In House is Over — An American Fair Trial Begins Next Tuesday in Senate — Acquittal of President Trump Expected In 30 Days or Less —  Videos — Story 4: Capitalism vs. Socialism or Trump vs. Sanders Not Lying Loser Warren — Capitalism and Trump Winners — Videos

Posted on January 16, 2020. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Amy Klobuchar, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bernie Sander, Bernie Sanders, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Canada, Cartoons, China, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Coal, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Diet, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, Euro, European History, European Union, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Food, Food, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Joe Biden, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Medicare, Mexico, Middle East, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Nuclear, Nuclear, Obama, Oil, Oil, Overweight, People, Pete Buttigieg, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Treason, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to ChinaSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

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Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: President Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement With Communist China — Will It Be Fully Enforceable? — Time Will Tell — Videos

Trump speaks before signing “Phase One” of China trade deal

Larry Kudlow breaks down the implications of the US-China trade deal

Trump signs phase one of US-China trade deal

Trump signs partial trade deal with China l ABC News

Mnuchin: US won’t lift China tariffs until phase two of trade deal

Jamie Dimon praises Trump economy, China trade deal in exclusive interview

US Trade Rep. Lighthizer on historic ‘phase-one’ China trade deal

Wilbur Ross: China trade deal, USMCA total $2 trillion in trade

 

Donald Trump signs ‘phase one’ of trade deal with China which ends escalation of his trade war—and complains about the ‘impeachment hoax’ at White House ceremony with Xi Jinping’s deputy looking on

  • Donald Trump took a victory lap as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House – as his impeachment sped ahead at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue
  • He touted his economy and launched attack after attack on his enemies at packed East Room ceremony, railing against the ‘impeachment hoax’
  • Trump has vowed that he would ink a trade deal with China for more than two years and imposed steep tariffs to bring Beijing to the table
  • Signing is for ‘phase one’ and the White House promises more segments in the future
  • Xi Jinping didn’t come for the signing but sent a lower-level official, vice-premier Liu He and Trump said he will go back to China soon to ‘reciprocate’
  • It’s unclear what he’s reciprocating for, since Xi didn’t come 
  • East Room press credentials didn’t have a date printed on them, suggesting the White House wasn’t confident the event would happen on schedule
  • President urged House members in the audience to leave early if they needed to cast a vote on sending impeachment articles to the Senate 

Donald Trump took a victory lap on Wednesday as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House as his impeachment sped towards the Senate on Capitol Hill.

He boasted to an audience of dignitaries that a new trade deal with China will bring ‘a future of fair and reciprocal trade,’ then complained about the ‘impeachment hoax,’ and praised a string of Republican senators who he needs to vote for his acquittal.

The president has long complained about a massive trade deficit between Washington and Beijing. He pledged during the 2016 campaign to come down hard on China.

‘We are righting the wrongs of the past,’ he said Wednesday, observing that ‘our negotiations were tough, honest, open and respectful.’

‘This is the biggest deal anyone’s ever seen,’ he said, because ‘China has 1.5 billion people.’

The president spent nearly a half-hour acknowledging business leaders and lawmakers who crowded into the East Room to watch. And he noted that some House members might have to leave early in order to vote on a motion to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

Some of the congressmen may have a vote—it’s on the impeachment hoax—so if you want, you go out and vote. … It’s not going to matter becausae it’s gone very well. But I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you, okay?’ he said with a grin.

‘They have a hoax going on over there. Let’s take care of it.’

Trump was not accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sent Vice Premier Liu He in his place. Xi’s absence left some with the impression that Washington wants the deal more than Beijing does.

Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to China

Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to China

Signed, sealed, delivered: China's vice-premier Liu He and Donald Trump show their signatures in the completed phase one trade deal

Signed, sealed, delivered: China’s vice-premier Liu He and Donald Trump show their signatures in the completed phase one trade deal

East room ceremony: Donald Trump hosted the Chinese vice-premier Liu He in the East Wing in front of an audience of Republican senators and Congressmen and figures from the American business world - almost all of whom he named

East room ceremony: Donald Trump hosted the Chinese vice-premier Liu He in the East Wing in front of an audience of Republican senators and Congressmen and figures from the American business world – almost all of whom he named

President Donald Trump stood alongside China's vice premier Liu He, not its president Xi Jinping, when he signed a landmark trade deal on Wednesday

President Donald Trump stood alongside China’s vice premier Liu He, not its president Xi Jinping, when he signed a landmark trade deal on Wednesday

Awkward exchange: Donald Trump moved to shake hands with China's vice-premier Liu He, who extended his left hand instead

Awkward exchange: Donald Trump moved to shake hands with China’s vice-premier Liu He, who extended his left hand instead

Unusual handshake: After Liu He extended his left hand, Donald Trump grasped two of his fingers in an attempt to shake his hand

The president announced that he will ‘be going back to China in the not-too-distant future to reciprocate,’ but it’s unclear what he would be reciprocating for.

Vice President Mike Pence said the deal would guarantee $40-50 billion in Chinese purchases of American agriculture products.

And Trump said China will stop forcing American companies to share proprietary technologies with Chinese partners. ‘You don’t have to give up anything anymore. Just be strong,’ he said to business leaders in the room.

The White House’s guests included top executives from UPS, Boeing, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Mastercard, VISA, Citibank, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, eBay and Ford Motor Company; casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who aims to see markets opened to him in China; television commentator Lou Dobbs; and Trump’s ambassador in Beijing, Terry Branstad.

Second time lucky: After Liu He spoke through a translator, the two succeeded in shaking hands

Second time lucky: After Liu He spoke through a translator, the two succeeded in shaking hands

Trump acknowledged lawmakers and businessmen in the East Room including casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson

Trump acknowledged lawmakers and businessmen in the East Room including casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson

Chinese representative: President Xi Jinping sent vice-premier Liu He, who spoke through a translator (left)

Chinese representative: President Xi Jinping sent vice-premier Liu He, who spoke through a translator (left)

Packed: The East Room was fool for the invited audience of business leaders, White House aides and congressional Republicans

Packed: The East Room was fool for the invited audience of business leaders, White House aides and congressional Republicans

Everyone gets a mention: Chuck Grassley, the Iowa senator was asked to stand, while Trump claimed that Grassley had 'made [James] Comey choke like a dog'

Official delegation:Donald Trump is flanked by as Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer

First daughter: Ivanka Trump was followed into the East Room by Robert O'Brien, the National Security Advisor

Branstad, a longtime Iowa governor before coming to Washington, got the job because of his deep ties to global agriculture.

While Wall Street will carefully examine the fine print, the trade deal will allow businesses around the globe to breathe a sigh of relief.

After a nearly two-year battle, the signing could give Trump an election-year boost as well. Still, tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in imports remain in place, leaving many Americans to foot the bill.

Reporters covering the East Room event on Wednesday wore White House credentials with no date printed on them. That unusual feature suggests Trump’s trade negotiators weren’t certain whether the event would happen as scheduled.

Journalists shoot shoulder-to-shoulder, including a contingent of dozens from Chinese media outlets.

The ‘phase one’ agreement—which includes pledges from China to beef up purchases of American crops and other exports—also comes just as Trump faces an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, giving him a victory to trumpet at least in the short term.

As he is about the face an impeachment trial, President Donald Trump will be able to tout a trade deal with China

It's unclear which country will get the better end of the deal, but Trump has trumpeted every development that is favorable to the United States

It’s unclear which country will get the better end of the deal, but Trump has trumpeted every development that is favorable to the United States

China-US trade has diminished in both directions since Trump began venting about an imbalance of hundreds of billions of dollars wach year

The easing of US-China trade frictions has boosted stock markets worldwide in recent weeks, as it takes the threat of new tariffs off the table for now.

And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump’s negotiating stance led to a ‘fully enforceable deal’ which could bring additional tariffs.

If China fails to abide by the agreement, ‘the president has the ability to put on additional tariffs,’ Mnuchin said on CNBC Wednesday as part of a media blitz promoting the new pact.

However, the most difficult issues remain to be dealt with in ‘phase two’ negotiations, including massive subsidies for state industry and forced technology transfer.

But Mnuchin said the deal puts pressure on Beijing to stay at the negotiating table and make further commitments, including on cyber-security and other services to win relief from the tariffs that remain in place.

‘In phase two there will be additional roll backs,’ Mnuchin said. ‘This gives China a big incentive to get back to the table and agree to the additional issues that are still unresolved.’

Still, elements of the deal the administration has touted as achievements effectively take the relationship between the two powers back to where it was before Trump took office.

The US-China phase-one deal is essentially a trade truce, with large state-directed purchases attached,’ economist Mary Lovely said in an analysis.

Even so, ‘The truce is good news for the U.S. and the world economy.’

Still, the trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, cautioned that ‘we will continue to see the impact of this in slower investment and higher business costs.’

U.S. officials have said they will release details of the agreement set to be signed at a White House ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

After announcing the deal December 13, the U.S. canceled a damaging round of new tariffs that were due to kick in two days later and promised to slash in half the 15 percent tariffs on $120 billion imposed September 1 on consumer goods like clothing.

Mnuchin dismissed a Bloomberg report that the initial agreement could include provisions to roll back more tariffs on China after the election.

‘The tariffs will stay in place until there is a phase two. If the president gets phase two quickly, he will consider releasing tariffs. If not, there won’t be any tariff relief,’ Mnuchin said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV.

‘It has nothing to do with the election or anything else.’

Washington said Beijing agreed to import, over two years, $200 billion of U.S. products above the levels in 2017, before Trump launched his offensive.

Trump has repeatedly touted the trade pact as a boon for American farmers, saying China will buy $40 to $50 billion in agricultural goods.

U.S. farmers were hit hard by the tariff war—notably on soybeans which saw exports to China plunge to just $3 billion from more than $12 billion in 2017. The Trump administration paid out $28 billion in aid to farmers in the last two years.

But many economists question whether they have the capacity to meet that demand.

And Lovely raised a question about the wisdom on relying so heavily on the Chinese market.

‘It also means Chinese retaliation could be reinstated, dampening farmers’ willingness to invest to meet the very hard export targets in the deal.’

U.S. and Chinese officials say the agreement includes protections for intellectual property and addresses financial services and foreign exchange while including a pr.ovision for dispute resolution, which Mnuchin said will be binding for the first time.

Trump in August formally accused China of manipulating its currency to gain an advantage in trade and offset the impact of the tariffs.

The label, which had no real practical impact, was removed earlier this week.

The deal also restores a twice-yearly dialogue process that previous administrations conducted regularly but that Trump scrapped.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7889301/US-China-set-sign-vital-trade-truce.html

 

U.S. and China tiptoe around holes in new trade agreement

by Reuters
Thursday, 16 January 2020 00:46 GMT

By Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The United States and China signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of U.S. products, defusing an 18-month row between the world’s two largest economies but leaving a number of sore spots unresolved.

Beijing and Washington touted the “Phase 1” agreement as a step forward after months of start-and-stop talks, and investors greeted the news with relief. Even so, there was skepticism the U.S.-China trade relationship was now firmly on the mend.

The deal fails to address structural economic issues that led to the trade conflict, does not fully eliminate the tariffs that have slowed the global economy, and sets hard-to-achieve purchase targets, analysts and industry leaders said.

While acknowledging the need for further negotiations with China to solve a host of other problems, President Donald Trump hailed the agreement as a win for the U.S. economy and his administration’s trade policies.

“Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families,” Trump said in rambling remarks at the White House alongside U.S. and Chinese officials.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He read a letter from President Xi Jinping in which the Chinese leader praised the deal as a sign the two countries could resolve their differences with dialogue.

The centerpiece of the deal is a pledge by China to purchase at least an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. farm products and other goods and services over two years, above a baseline of $186 billion in purchases in 2017, the White House said.

Commitments include $54 billion in additional energy purchases, $78 billion in additional manufacturing purchases, $32 billion more in farm products, and $38 billion in services, according to a deal document released by the White House.

Liu said Chinese companies would buy $40 billion in U.S. agricultural products annually over the next two years “based on market conditions.” Beijing had balked at committing to buy set amounts of U.S. farm goods earlier, and has inked new soybean contracts with Brazil since the trade war started.

Key world stock market indexes climbed to record highs on hopes the deal would reduce tensions, before closing below those highs, while oil prices slid on doubts the pact will spur world economic growth and boost crude demand.

Soybean futures, which traded 0.4% lower throughout much of the deal signing ceremony, sank even further after Liu’s remarks, a sign that farmers and traders were dubious about the purchase goals.

The deal does not end retaliatory tariffs on American farm exports, makes farmers “increasingly reliant” on Chinese state-controlled purchases, and does not address “big structural changes,” Michelle Erickson-Jones, a wheat farmer and spokeswoman for Farmers for Free Trade, said in a statement.

Trump and his economic advisers had pledged to attack Beijing’s long-standing practice of propping up state-owned companies and flooding international markets with low-priced goods as the trade war heated up.

Although the deal could be a boost to U.S. farmers, automakers and heavy equipment manufacturers, some analysts question https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N29J26S China’s ability to divert imports from other trading partners to the United States.

“I find a radical shift in Chinese spending unlikely. I have low expectations for meeting stated goals,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group in Minneapolis. “But I do think the whole negotiation has moved the football forward for both the U.S. and China.”

Trump, who has embraced an “America First” policy aimed at rebalancing global trade in favor of U.S. companies and workers, said China had pledged action to confront the problem of pirated or counterfeited goods and said the deal included strong protection of intellectual property rights.

U.S. Speaker of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s China strategy had “inflicted deep, long-term damage to American agriculture and rattled our economy in exchange for more of the promises that Beijing has been breaking for years,” in a statement.

Earlier, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News the agreement would add 0.5 percentage point to U.S. gross domestic product growth in both 2020 and 2021.

Aviation industry sources said Boeing Co was expected to win a major order for wide-body jets from China, including its 787 or 777-9 models, or a mixture of both. Such a deal could ease pressure on the 787 Dreamliner, which has suffered from a broad downturn in demand for large jets, forcing the planemaker to trim production late last year.

CCTV, China’s state-run television outlet, said the deal would satisfy China’s increasingly demanding consumers by supplying products like dairy, poultry, beef, pork, and processed meat from the United States.

TARIFFS TO STAY

The Phase 1 deal, reached in December, canceled planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made cellphones, toys and laptop computers and halved the tariff rate to 7.5% on about $120 billion worth of other Chinese goods, including flat-panel televisions, Bluetooth headphones and footwear.

But it will leave in place 25% tariffs on a $250-billion array of Chinese industrial goods and components used by U.S. manufacturers, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on over $100 billion in U.S. goods.

Market turmoil and reduced investment tied to the trade war cut global growth in 2019 to its lowest rate since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said in October.

Tariffs on Chinese imports have cost U.S. companies $46 billion. Evidence is mounting that tariffs have raised input costs for U.S. manufacturers, eroding their competitiveness.

Diesel engine maker Cummins Inc said on Tuesday the deal will leave it paying $150 million in tariffs for engines and castings that it produces in China. It urged the parties to take steps to eliminate all the tariffs.

Trump, who has been touting the Phase 1 deal as a pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign, said he would agree to remove the remaining tariffs once the two sides had negotiated a “Phase 2” agreement.

“They will all come off as soon as we finish Phase 2,” said Trump, who added that he would visit China in the not-too-distant future.

Trump added that those negotiations would start soon, though in a Fox Business Network interview that aired on Wednesday evening, Vice President Mike Pence said: “We’ve already begun discussions on a Phase 2 deal.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal and Dave Lawder Additional reporting by Echo Wang, Lisa Lambert, Susan Heavey Lisa Lambert and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Tim Aeppel in New York, Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Se Young Lee and Stella Qui in Beijing and Tim Hepher in Paris; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Paul Simao, Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)

http://news.trust.org/item/20200115222233-ea7xk

Story 2: President Trump’s  United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Bill Passes Senate  89 to 10 Vote– On It Way For President Trump’s Signature  — Big Win For Trump and American People — Videos —

Senate passes USMCA trade deal

U.S. Senate passes USMCA trade agreement

Donald Trump’s USMCA trade pact finally passes through both houses of Congress as he touts China truce as ‘one of the greatest trade deals ever made’ but Democrats’ impeachment overshadows everything

  • NAFTA replacement will go to Trump’s Oval Office desk for his signature
  • President has pushed the plan for months but it languished in Democrat-run House of Representatives
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it on the agenda a day after her caucus impeached the president
  • That sent it to the Senate, which will try the impeachment cases beginning next week
  • Trump inked a major trade deal with China on Wednesday but even that has been overshadowed by impeachment 

Donald Trump tried to nudge the news cycle away from impeachment on Thursday as his long-languishing U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement finally passed in the Senate.

The final tally was 89-10. Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two of the presidential primary front-runners, took different approaches. Warren voted yes, Sanders no.

The vote was a rare moment of bipartisanship, a blipp on senators’ radar as they prepared for weeks of wrangling during Trump’s impeachment trial.

The president said farmers in America are ‘really happy’ with both the USMCA and a broad trade truce he signed Wednesday with China. 

Impeachment politics also overshadowed the House’s vote to green-light the USMCA, which came just one day after Democrats led a vote to charge Trump with two constitutional crimes.

The U.S. Senate passed the U.S> Mexico Canada Agreement on Thursday just before launching full bore into impeachment procedures

President Donald Trump got a double trade victory after his deal with China on Wednesday but all eyes were on the impeachment ceremonies

President Donald Trump got a double trade victory after his deal with China on Wednesday but all eyes were on the impeachment ceremonies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) had to wait to put the USMCA on the Senate floor for a vote until the House passed it; Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the trade treaty for months

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) had to wait to put the USMCA on the Senate floor for a vote until the House passed it; Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the trade treaty for months

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the pact as a ‘major win for the Trump administration, a major win for those of us who are already ready to move past this season of toxic political noise.’ 

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa called the USMCA ‘a major achievement for President Trump and a bipartisan deal for the American people.’

Democrats scrambled to take credit for upgrading the USMCA’s environmental and worker-protection clauses. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden claimed he and his colleagues gave the plan ‘a trade enforcement regime with real teeth.’

He also praised Trump’s chief negotiator Robert Lighthizer as ‘the hardest working man in the trade business.

Trump blamed the current trade pact with Canada and Mexico, the Bill Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, for sending millions of manufacturing jobs to low-wage plants south of the U.S. border. His administration secured changes that aim to have more cars produced where workers earn an average of at least $16 an hour. 

Pelosi held onto the USMCA until she could deny Trump a positivev news cycle, letting impeachment overshadow it completely

It also secured changes that require Mexico to change its laws to make it easier for workers to form independent unions, which should improve worker conditions and wages and reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate their plants.

While the administration completed its negotiations with Canada and Mexico more than a year ago, Democrats in the House insisted on changes to the pact that they say make it more likely Mexico will follow through on its commitments.

As part of those negotiations, the administration agreed to drop a provision that offered expensive biologic drugs—made from living cells—10 years of protection from cheaper knockoff competition.

The biggest holdouts are environmental groups, which continue to oppose the measure because it doesn´t address climate change. Indeed, they contend the agreement would contribute to rising temperatures.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., marveled Wednesday at how leaders of organized labor and farm groups in his state appeared together to support the pact.

‘They both agree that this USMCA trade agreement is a step forward, an improvement over the original NAFTA,’ Durbin said. ‘I think we´ve added to this process by making it truly bipartisan.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7895471/Trumps-USMCA-trade-pact-finally-passes-China-deal-signing-impeachment-overshadows-all.html

 

Congress

Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.

The vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement occurred after the Senate voted to waive budget restrictions. Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., argued on the floor, as he did in the Budget Committee, that the bill included appropriations that violate budget rules.

The Democrat-controlled House approved the bill on Dec. 19 with a bipartisan vote of 385-41. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House Democrats had negotiated several changes to the USMCA to make it acceptable.

Key changes for Democrats included enforcement of labor provisions they believe will make it more difficult and expensive for U.S. manufacturers, particularly auto makers, to shift production to Mexico. The changes won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, but other unions such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers oppose it.

The pact also would give technology companies provisions to address e-commerce, which did not exist when NAFTA was negotiated. A chapter based on Section 230 of a 1996 telecommunications law (PL 104-104) gives companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter immunity from liability for user content posted on their platforms.

Trump is expected to tout the vote in his reelection campaign as a promise kept. In 2016, he vowed either to revamp the 1994 trade agreement or to withdraw the U.S. from the pact. As president, Trump caused anxiety among businesses large and small and his base of farm support with threats to pull out of NAFTA if Canada and Mexico did not make concessions.

Business groups say congressional approval of the USMCA implementing bill makes it less likely Trump will try to upend a trade agreement negotiated and renamed by his administration.

The bill now goes to Trump for signing, but the Canadian Parliament still must ratify the USMCA before the agreement can take effect. Mexico has already approved the new pact.

The implementing legislation provides the framework and mechanisms the Trump administration will use to enforce labor rights and environmental standards with a focus on Mexico. For example, an interagency task force on labor will be established 90 days after the bill takes effect.

The USMCA will replace NAFTA, an agreement credited with building the three nations into a $1.2 trillion-a-year trading bloc and blamed for contributing to the loss of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs to low-wage Mexico.

Trump campaigned against NAFTA as the “worst trade deal ever made.”

In committee reviews, floor comments and statements, several senators cited the absence of environmental provisions addressing climate change as one reason for voting against the implementing bill.

Environmental concern

It seemed unlikely the administration would have pursued climate change, not only because of Trump’s skepticism of the science behind it, but also because a trade-negotiating objective Congress approved in 2015 says trade agreements are not to establish obligations for the U.S. regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The language is part of a customs enforcement law that added several negotiating guidelines to the Trade Promotion Authority statute, which sets the ground rules for trade deals sent to Congress for approval.

Democratic presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Michael Bennet of Colorado voted for the pact. Sanders, another candidate, said in a written statement that it should be rewritten because it does not guarantee that companies will stop shifting jobs to Mexico.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the USMCA will increase U.S. government revenue by $2.97 billion from fiscal 2020 to 2029 due to higher expected duty revenue on car and truck parts that do not meet stricter rules.

Some vehicles and parts would no longer qualify for duty-free treatment because they don’t meet new requirements that 75 percent of content in cars and auto parts come from North America and that 40 percent of car content and 45 percent of truck content be made by workers earning $16 an hour.

The CBO also estimates that the agreement would reduce the federal deficit by $3 billion over a 10-year period. The agency estimates that appropriations not subject to emergency status would total $833 million in outlays from fiscal 2020 to 2029.

Under the USMCA, U.S. dairy, poultry and egg products would gain greater access to Canadian markets, and Canada will adopt a new quality-grading system for U.S. wheat.

Canada also will end pricing schemes the U.S. dairy industry says keep Canadian skim milk powder prices at artificially lower levels, giving domestic producers an edge in sales to Canadian cheese-makers over U.S. high-protein ultrafiltered milk.

The International Trade Commission, an independent agency, said the trade agreement, “if fully implemented and enforced,” over several years would increase real GDP by $68.2 billion, or 0.35 percent, and would add 176,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

House Democrats’ negotiations with the Trump administration in 2019 resulted in the removal of provisions that would have given pharmaceutical companies a 10-year pricing monopoly on biologic drugs in Mexico and Canada. The U.S. has 12-year pricing exclusivity for biologics, and Democrats worried that keeping the provisions in the USMCA would prevent future Congresses from reducing the U.S. timeframe to less than 10 years.

https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/senate-passes-usmca-trump-win-trade-ahead-impeachment-trial

Story 3: REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist) Show Trial In House is Over — An American Fair Trial Begins Next Tuesday in Senate — Acquittal of President Trump Expected In 30 Days or Less As Hoax Exposed — Trump Goes On Offense — Videos

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Trump Impeachment Trial Begins as Senators Are Sworn In

House managers read charges as watchdog faults president’s hold on Ukraine aid and Kyiv probes whether U.S. envoy was tailed

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial against President Trump. PHOTO: SENATE TELEVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—The Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Trump on Thursday with Chief Justice John Roberts swearing in the senators, who pledged to deliver impartial justice, and the formal reading of the two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Hours before the senators took their oath, the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency, determined that Mr. Trump’s administration violated the law when it withheld aid to Ukraine, an issue at the heart of the impeachment case against the president.

Democrats allege that Mr. Trump, a Republican, improperly withheld the aid to pressure Kyiv to launch investigations that would help him politically in the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing, calling the case against him a “big hoax” on Thursday. He is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The GAO wrote that the White House Office of Management and Budget improperly froze Ukraine funding over the summer for policy reasons. It was later released after pressure from Congress. A spokeswoman for OMB said it disagreed with the GAO finding.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities opened a criminal probe into whether U.S. citizens placed the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine under surveillance, as text messages suggest, before she was removed from her post last year by Mr. Trump. The information came to light after House Democrats released documents Tuesday showing that an associate of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was sent text messages about tracking Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine.

Democratic and GOP lawmakers continued to wrangle on Thursday over whether new witnesses and evidence will be allowed in the trial. Those issues aren’t expected to be decided until well after the trial begins in earnest on Tuesday.

“If any of my colleagues had doubts about the case for witnesses and documents in a Senate trial, the stunning revelations this week should put those to rest,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said it wasn’t the Senate’s job to shore up the case the House built in what he called a “slapdash inquiry.” The Senate won’t “redo their homework and rerun the investigation,” he said

Chief Justice Roberts and Senators Sworn In for Impeachment Trial

Chief Justice Roberts and Senators Sworn In for Impeachment Trial
The impeachment trial of President Trump opened in the U.S. Senate as Chief Justice John Roberts and senators were sworn in. Photo: Associated Press

Mr. McConnell is set to release his plans for a trial framework on Tuesday, but Senate Republicans and White House officials said the contents of the resolution have largely been settled. Republicans briefed on the resolution have said they expect it to include a guaranteed vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents, as requested by some moderate Republicans.

GOP leaders believe they can keep Republicans united to block any efforts by Democrats to subpoena witnesses at the outset of the trial, according to people familiar with their plans. A vote on witnesses would be held later, after the House managers and Mr. Trump’s legal team present their cases, a process expected to stretch over two weeks.

A guaranteed vote to dismiss the charges won’t be built into the trial rules, according to these people. The White House and Senate Republicans are discussing holding a vote on a motion to dismiss after Democrats present their case but before Mr. Trump’s team addresses the Senate, according to an administration official.

At least two-thirds of the senators would have to vote to convict Mr. Trump to remove him from office.

By noon on Thursday, the fighting over the scope of the Senate trial took a pause. Every senator was seated at his or her desk, a rare sight during the ordinary legislative business, when it is common to see senators delivering speeches to an empty chamber. Senators typically don’t sit in their assigned seats even during roll call votes, preferring to stroll around and chitchat.

As they waited for the formal “exhibition” of articles, some senators scrolled on their cellphones or talked quietly to each other.

At 12:05 p.m., House managers, who will act as prosecutors during the trial, arrived at the ornate doors of the Senate. They walked in two-by-two, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.). Freshman Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D., Texas) trailed as the seventh. A Democratic aide said the order was chosen according to seniority.

All managers carried large blue folders containing their own copy of the articles of impeachment passed by the House last month and the resolution passed on Wednesday authorizing them as managers.

Silence fell and phones disappeared as the sergeant at arms warned senators to keep quiet “on pain of imprisonment.” Then Mr. Schiff, the lead manager, began reading the articles aloud from the well of the Senate.

“Resolved, that Donald John Trump, president of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors,” he said.

The House managers make their way to the Senate before the reading of the two articles of impeachment, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.. PHOTO: ALYSSA SCHUKAR FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The senators watched, with stony faces, as Mr. Schiff spoke. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) stifled a cough. Next to her, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) sat motionless with her hands folded in her lap. Sens. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) scribbled notes.

At 12:22, when Mr. Schiff had finished, the managers departed. They briefly huddled outside the chamber, once again got in order, and marched back toward the House side of the Capitol.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Chief Justice Roberts was escorted into the Senate by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.).

Everyone in the chamber rose. The only sound was the scratching of reporters’ pens.Then Chief Justice Roberts spoke: “Senators, I attend the Senate in conformity with your notice for the purpose of joining with you for the trial of the President of the United States. I am now prepared to take the oath.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the Senate’s president pro tempore, asked him to raise his right hand, place his left hand on the Bible, and swore him in.

Chief Justice Roberts then administered an oath to senators, who will act as the jury. “Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?”

“I do,” the senators said.

Senators were then called in alphabetical order to the Senate clerk’s desk to sign their names in an oath book. As the lawmakers waited to sign, there were flashes of bipartisan bonhomie. Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) warmly shook Mr. Grassley’s hand. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) patted the shoulder of Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), and the two shared a laugh with Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.). Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) gave Mr. Portman’s arm a squeeze.

All of the senators were present for the swearing-in except for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is at home with a family member facing a medical issue, according to his office. He plans to be sworn in next week, before the trial begins in earnest.

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment
The Senate accepted the articles of impeachment against President Trump, marking the official start of the trial. Photo: Associated Press

After the swearing-in, the Senate formally notified the White House of the pending trial and summoned Mr. Trump, who will be given until Saturday evening to reply.

Mr. McConnell also said the House has until Saturday at 5 p.m. to file a trial brief with the secretary of the Senate, and Mr. Trump has until noon on Monday to do so. The deadline for the House’s rebuttal is noon on Tuesday. The Senate trial was then adjourned until Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Although historic, Thursday entailed mostly pomp and circumstance. The trial won’t get under way substantively until the Senate reconvenes after the holiday weekend.

All 100 senators agreed on rules for the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial’s initial phase. There is no such bipartisan agreement now, and while Mr. McConnell says all 53 Republicans in his caucus are united on the path forward, he hasn’t released the text of his resolution laying out the procedures agreed upon by GOP senators.

In 1999, a resolution dealing with witnesses passed a few weeks into the trial, along party lines. Three witnesses, including Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Mr. Clinton admitted an inappropriate relationship, were deposed privately in the presence of a senator from each party. Excerpts were shown by video during the trial.

There are 15 senators now serving who also voted in the Clinton impeachment trial, including Messrs. McConnell and Schumer.

“I remember the solemnity of this, when you see the chief justice sitting in the chair with his august robes, when you hear your name called and you hear the charges, your hair sort of stands on end,” Mr. Schumer said in a recent interview.

Throughout the trial, all senators will be expected to be present and seated at their assigned desks. They won’t be allowed to talk.

Any deliberations among senators likely will be held in closed session, meaning that no press or cameras will be allowed. The rest of the trial will be open.

“It is a solemn feeling when you’re sitting in the seat, and you’re listening closely to what’s going on,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R., Ind.).

Mr. Braun said he and other senators are worried about the precedent being set. “Many senators have on their minds: Is this the new dynamic? Having two impeachments within 20 years of one another?” he said. “I don’t think anybody likes that feeling.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/senators-to-be-sworn-in-as-trump-impeachment-trial-begins-11579177831

 

Constitutional Law Prof. Stuns Dems on Impeachment: ‘It’s YOUR Abuse of Power’

WATCH: Jonathan Turley’s full opening statement | Trump impeachment hearings

Republican Witness Jonathan Turley: ‘This Is Not How You Impeach An American President’ | NBC News

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of legal experts | Trump impeachment hearings

Jonathan Turley On His Impeachment Testimony

NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley about his testimony on Wednesday

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she is instructing her committee chairs to draft articles of impeachment to remove President Trump from office. She framed her decision as a historic moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

NANCY PELOSI: The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when he says and acts upon the belief, Article II says I can do whatever I want. No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution.

MARTIN: Pelosi says the impeachment process has shown the public how the president has abused his power. Yesterday, four constitutional experts laid out the standards for and against impeachment in front of the House Judiciary Committee. One of them was Jonathan Turley. He’s a law professor at George Washington University. We spoke with him earlier today.

JONATHAN TURLEY: Well, first of all, my testimony, I said, as I did in the Clinton impeachment, that a president could be impeached for a noncriminal act and that President Trump could be impeached for abuse of power. You just have to prove it. He can also be impeached for obstruction of Congress.

The problem with the obstruction of Congress claim, in my view, is that it’s based on a very short period of investigation. This is one of the shortest we’ve had. It depends how you count the days between this and the Johnson impeachment, but it’s a very short period of investigation.

And what Congress is saying is that if the president invokes executive privilege or immunities and goes to court, he can be impeached for that – that he has to just turn over the information to Congress. Now, that’s a position that was maintained during the Nixon impeachment. In fact, it was the basis of the third article of impeachment. I’ve always disagreed with it. It’s not that you can’t impeach a president for withholding documents and witnesses. You can, and President Trump could well be the next one to be impeached on those grounds.

MARTIN: Mmm hmm.

TURLEY: What I was telling Congress is that they’ve burned two months. They should have gone to court over people like John – I’m sorry, subpoenaed and gone to court over people like John Bolton and gotten a court order. That would make it a stronger case.

MARTIN: So let’s talk about what you just laid out here. I mean, you are saying that because the White House has refused to allow certain people to come and testify, refused to hand over certain documents that the committees have requested and is fighting this in court, you’re saying that that process should be allowed to play out, that Congress is making an impeachment argument that is weak because they’re not waiting for the courts to weigh in?

TURLEY: I’m saying that this case could be much stronger. No one has really explained why they have to have a vote by the end of December rather than…

MARTIN: Well, isn’t the case about election interference? I mean, isn’t that the answer, that the central query here is about the interference of U.S. elections and 2020’s coming right up?

TURLEY: Well, 2020 is coming right up. But the problem is that when you look at how fast this has unfolded, the record remains thin. It remains conflicted. You have about 12 witnesses. You have other witnesses with direct evidence. And more importantly, you have a lot of defenses that have not been fully addressed. It’s not a fully developed record.

And all I’m saying is that before you give that record to the Senate, you should deal with some of those conflicts and some of those gaps. And this is an example of one of those, that I think the president could very well be impeached and removed for obstruction based on these acts. But by the way, that record is – conflicts in other respects. We had 12 witnesses. Many of those witnesses correctly appeared before Congress. They did so against the wishes of the president, but they remain in federal employment. They have not been disciplined. And does that…

MARTIN: But you’re saying their testimony is insufficient to prove obstruction or abuse of power.

TURLEY: Well, it’s insufficient because there remain conflicts. You know, part of the problems I have with the arguments made by my esteemed colleagues on the panel is that they kept on using the terms inference and circumstantial evidence. Those actually can be used in an impeachment, but it’s problematic if there’s information out there you can still get. This is not a question of the unknowable. This is using the peripheral. This is using information that could be strengthened. That’s what I’m arguing.

MARTIN: Although they pointed to the Mueller report as evidence of obstruction. Presumably, you don’t believe that the Mueller report conclusions are true then.

TURLEY: Well, I never said I didn’t think they were true, but the obstruction claim was rejected by the Department of Justice – not just Attorney General Bill Barr, but by Rod Rosenstein, who is a respected deputy attorney general. And I agree with their decision on that.

MARTIN: All right. Jonathan Turley, one of the constitutional scholars testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. Thank you.

TURLEY: Thank you.

https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/784994918/jonathan-turley-on-his-impeachment-testimony

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.

William Russo, a spokesman for Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden did not respond to email messages Monday seeking comment. The phone number at Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC in Washington was no longer in service on Monday.

The timing of Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s appointment to Burisma’s board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor’s probe of Burisma and his son’s role. They noted that:

  • Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma;
  • Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;
  • Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.

President Obama named Biden the administration’s point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine’s Crimea territory.

According to Schweizer’s book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma’s legal team.

But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden’s effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clintonwas running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.”

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.

Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.

The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.

As for Joe Biden’s intervention in getting Lutsenko’s predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: “Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.”

As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.

Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

 

 

Solomon: These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden’s Ukraine story

Former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has locked into a specific story about the controversy in Ukraine.

He insists that, in spring 2016, he strong-armed Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor solely because Biden believed that official was corrupt and inept, not because the Ukrainian was investigating a natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, that hired Biden’s son, Hunter, into a lucrative job.

There’s just one problem.

Hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative.

And they raise the troubling prospect that U.S. officials may have painted a false picture in Ukraine that helped ease Burisma’s legal troubles and stop prosecutors’ plans to interview Hunter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For instance, Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered “an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced.

In addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.

The memos raise troubling questions:

1.)   If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma’s American legal team refer to those allegations as “false information?”

Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) since the summer of 2018, fearing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws. First, they hired a former federal prosecutor to bring the information to the U.S. attorney in New York, who, they say, showed no interest. Then, the Ukrainians reached out to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told Trump in July that he plans to launch his own wide-ranging investigation into what happened with the Bidens and Burisma.

“I’m knowledgeable about the situation,” Zelensky told Trump, asking the American president to forward any evidence he might know about. “The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.”

Biden has faced scrutiny since December 2015, when the New York Times published a story noting that Burisma hired Hunter Biden just weeks after the vice president was asked by President Obama to oversee U.S.-Ukraine relations. That story also alerted Biden’s office that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin had an active investigation of Burisma and its founder.

Documents I obtained this year detail an effort to change the narrative after the Times story about Hunter Biden, with the help of the Obama State Department.

Hunter Biden’s American business partner in Burisma, Devon Archer, texted a colleague two days after the Times story about a strategy to counter the “new wave of scrutiny” and stated that he and Hunter Biden had just met at the State Department. The text suggested there was about to be a new “USAID project the embassy is announcing with us” and that it was “perfect for us to move forward now with momentum.”

I have sued the State Department for any records related to that meeting. The reason is simple: There is both a public interest and an ethics question to knowing if Hunter Biden and his team sought State’s assistance while his father was vice president.

The controversy ignited anew earlier this year when I disclosed that Joe Biden admitted during a 2018 videotaped speech that, as vice president in March 2016, he threatened to cancel $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, to pressure Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko to fire Shokin.

At the time, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma. Shokin told me he was making plans to question Hunter Biden about $3 million in fees that Biden and his partner, Archer, collected from Burisma through their American firm. Documents seized by the FBI in an unrelated case confirm the payments, which in many months totaled more than $166,000.  

Some media outlets have reported that, at the time Joe Biden forced the firing in March 2016, there were no open investigations. Those reports are wrong. A British-based investigation of Burisma’s owner was closed down in early 2015 on a technicality when a deadline for documents was not met. But the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s office still had two open inquiries in March 2016, according to the official case file provided me. One of those cases involved taxes; the other, allegations of corruption. Burisma announced the cases against it were not closed and settled until January 2017.

After I first reported it in a column, the New York Times and ABC News published similar stories confirming my reporting.

Joe Biden has since responded that he forced Shokin’s firing over concerns about corruption and ineptitude, which he claims were widely shared by Western allies, and that it had nothing to do with the Burisma investigation.

Some of the new documents I obtained call that claim into question.

In a newly sworn affidavit prepared for a European court, Shokin testified that when he was fired in March 2016, he was told the reason was that Biden was unhappy about the Burisma investigation. “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin testified.

“On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation,” Shokin added.

Shokin certainly would have reason to hold a grudge over his firing. But his account is supported by documents from Burisma’s legal team in America, which appeared to be moving into Ukraine with intensity as Biden’s effort to fire Shokin picked up steam.

Burisma’s own accounting records show that it paid tens of thousands of dollars while Hunter Biden served on the board of an American lobbying and public relations firm, Blue Star Strategies, run by Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, who both served in President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Just days before Biden forced Shokin’s firing, Painter met with the No. 2 official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington and asked to meet officials in Kiev around the same time that Joe Biden visited there. Ukrainian embassy employee Oksana Shulyar emailed Painter afterward: “With regards to the meetings in Kiev, I suggest that you wait until the next week when there is an expected vote of the government’s reshuffle.”

Ukraine’s Washington embassy confirmed the conversations between Shulyar and Painter but said the reference to a shakeup in Ukrainian government was not specifically referring to Shokin’s firing or anything to do with Burisma.

Painter then asked one of the Ukraine embassy’s workers to open the door for meetings with Ukraine’s prosecutors about the Burisma investigation, the memos show. Eventually, Blue Star would pay that Ukrainian official money for his help with the prosecutor’s office.

At the time, Blue Star worked in concert with an American criminal defense lawyer, John Buretta, who was hired by Burisma to help address the case in Ukraine. The case was settled in January 2017 for a few million dollars in fines for alleged tax issues.

Buretta, Painter, Tramontano, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s campaign have not responded to numerous calls and emails seeking comment.

On March 29, 2016, the day Shokin’s firing was announced, Buretta asked to speak with Yuriy Sevruk, the prosecutor named to temporarily replace Shokin, but was turned down, the memos show.

Blue Star, using the Ukrainian embassy worker it had hired, eventually scored a meeting with Sevruk on April 6, 2016, a week after Shokin’s firing. Buretta, Tramontano and Painter attended that meeting in Kiev, according to Blue Star’s memos.

Sevruk memorialized the meeting in a government memo that the general prosecutor’s office provided to me, stating that the three Americans offered an apology for the “false” narrative that had been provided by U.S. officials about Shokin being corrupt and inept.

“They realized that the information disseminated in the U.S. was incorrect and that they would facilitate my visit to the U.S. for the purpose of delivering the true information to the State Department management,” the memo stated.

The memo also quoted the Americans as saying they knew Shokin pursued an aggressive corruption investigation against Burisma’s owner, only to be thwarted by British allies: “These individuals noted that they had been aware that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine had implemented all required steps for prosecution … and that he was released by the British court due to the underperformance of the British law enforcement agencies.”

The memo provides a vastly different portrayal of Shokin than Biden’s. And its contents are partially backed by subsequent emails from Blue Star and Buretta that confirm the offer to bring Ukrainian authorities to meet the Obama administration in Washington.

For instance, Tramontano wrote the Ukrainian prosecution team on April 16, 2016, saying U.S. Justice Department officials, including top international prosecutor Bruce Swartz, might be willing to meet. “The reforms are not known to the US Justice Department and it would be useful for the Prosecutor General to meet officials in the US and share this information directly,” she wrote.

Buretta sent a similar email to the Ukrainians, writing that “I think you would find it productive to meet with DOJ officials in Washington” and providing contact information for Swartz. “I would be happy to help,” added Buretta, a former senior DOJ official.

Burisma, Buretta and Blue Star continued throughout 2016 to try to resolve the open issues in Ukraine, and memos recount various contacts with the State Department and the U.S. embassy in Kiev seeking help in getting the Burisma case resolved.

Just days before Trump took office, Burisma announced it had resolved all of its legal issues. And Buretta gave an interview in Ukraine about how he helped navigate the issues.

 Today, two questions remain.

One is whether it was ethically improper or even illegal for Biden to intervene to fire the prosecutor handling Burisma’s case, given his son’s interests. That is one that requires more investigation and the expertise of lawyers.

The second is whether Biden has given the American people an honest accounting of what happened. The new documents I obtained raise serious doubts about his story’s credibility. And that’s an issue that needs to be resolved by voters.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/463307-solomon-these-once-secret-memos-cast-doubt-on-joe-bidens-ukraine-story

The full Trump-Ukraine
impeachment timeline

The House of Representatives is engaged in a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. It is focused on his efforts to secure specific investigations in Ukraine that carried political benefits for him — including aides allegedly tying those investigations to official U.S. government concessions.

Below is a timeline of relevant events.

The timeline is sortable. “Trump” refers to events in which Trump himself was involved. “Quid pro quo” is events that involve government concessions being tied to investigations. “Ukraine” tracks what Ukrainian officials were doing, while “Giuliani” does the same for Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and “Biden” tracks every event in which Joe or Hunter Biden were invoked.

How much detail would you like?

Key events An in-depth look Everything

Which topics are you interested in?

All topics Trump Ukraine Quid pro quo Biden Giuliani

Unrest in Ukraine

2014-2016

February 22, 2014

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is ousted from power during a popular uprising in the country. He flees to Russia. After his ouster, Ukrainian officials begin a wide-ranging investigation into corruption in the country.

March 7, 2014

Lev Parnas, eventually an associate of former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, has his first known interaction with Donald Trump at a golf tournament in Florida.

March 1, 2014

Russia invades the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, annexing it.

May 13, 2014

KEY EVENT Hunter Biden, a son of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Bidenjoins the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. It is owned by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, one of several subjects of the Ukrainian corruption probe.

May 25, 2014

Petro Poroshenko is elected president of Ukraine.

February 10, 2015

Viktor Shokin becomes Ukraine’s prosecutor general.

Early 2015

Top State Department aide George Kent raises concerns about Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma, as he later testifies. Biden’s office turns him away and explains that the vice president does not have the “bandwidth” to deal with the issue at a time when his other son, Beau Biden, is dealing with cancer, according to Kent’s testimony.

September 24, 2015

Then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt blasts Shokin in a speech in Odessa, Ukraine. He points to a “glaring problem” that threatens the good work regional leaders are doing: “the failure of the institution of the prosecutor general of Ukraine to successfully fight internal corruption.” He adds: “The United States stands behind those who challenge these bad actors.”

October 8, 2015

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland testifies to the Senate that Shokin’s “office has to be reinvented as an institution that serves the citizens of Ukraine, rather than ripping them off.”

December 8, 2015

KEY EVENT In Kyiv, Biden tells Ukrainian leaders to fire Shokin or lose more than $1 billion in loan guarantees. Biden joins many Western leaders in urging Shokin’s ouster.

February 10, 2016

The International Monetary Fund threatens to halt a bailout program for Ukraine unless the country addresses its corruption issues.

February 11, 2016

Biden speaks with Poroshenko by phone and emphasizes the urgency of rooting out corruption.

February 18, 2016

Biden speaks with Poroshenko again.

March 28, 2016

Paul Manafort is hired as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman, where he is chiefly in charge of securing delegates at the Republican National Convention. Manafort formerly worked for Yanukovych‘s Party of Regions in Ukraine.

March 29, 2016

Shokin is ousted from his position by Ukraine’s parliament.

April 14, 2016

Biden and Poroshenko speak again.

May 12, 2016

Yuri Lutsenko becomes Ukraine’s new prosecutor general, replacing Shokin.

May 13, 2016

The White House says it “welcomes” Lutsenko‘s appointment and the addition of an independent counsel in Lutsenko’s office, and declares it will guarantee the $1 billion in loans.

June 3, 2016

The U.S. government guarantees the loan.

June 20, 2016

Manafort becomes the head of Trump’s campaign after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is fired.

August 14, 2016

Ukrainian officials reveal the existence of a handwritten “black ledger” suggesting Manafort had received millions in off-the-books payments from Yanukovych‘s party. These payments will ultimately be part of criminal charges filed against Manafort in the United States.

August 19, 2016

Manafort is forced out of Trump’s campaign.

November 8, 2016

KEY EVENT Trump is elected president, defeating Hillary Clinton.

Seeds of a conspiracy theory

2017-April 2019

January 11, 2017

KEY EVENT Politico reports Ukrainian officials “helped Clinton‘s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers” during the campaign. It said they were also trying to make amends after questioning Trump’s fitness for office and disseminating the Manafort documents. The article notes, however, that there is no indication of an effort originating within the leadership of the Ukrainian government itself.

January 12, 2017

Ukraine’s probes of Burisma are finalized and closed, according to the company, though Lutsenko later tells Bloomberg that one sale of an oil storage terminal will still be investigated.

February 6, 2017

Trump and Poroshenko speak by phone, during which time they “discussedplans for an in-person meeting in the future,” according to the White House.

April 21, 2017

Trump for the first time floats a conspiracy theory that Ukraine might have played a role in falsely fingering Russia for its 2016 election interference. “[The Democrats] get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server,” Trump tells AP, adding, “They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based. That’s what I heard. I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian.”

April 28, 2017

Trump again brings up the conspiracy theory in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

June 8, 2017

Giuliani, who would later become Trump’s personal lawyer, meets with Poroshenko and Lutsenko, according to a later-released House investigation.

June 9, 2017

Lutsenko’s office joins in an existing investigation into the black ledger, which had been under the control of an independent anti-corruption bureau. Critics allege the effort is intended to stifle the investigation.

June 14, 2017

European reports indicate Poroshenko will meet with Trump in the White House.

June 20, 2017

Poroshenko visits the White House to meet with Vice President Pence, but receives only a brief audience with Trump.

July 25, 2017

Trump tweets about “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign” and asks: “So where is the investigation A.G.” — referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

December 20, 2017

The Trump administration approves the sale of lethal arms to Ukraine for the first time.

January 23, 2018

KEY EVENT At an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden describes his pressure campaign in Ukraine. “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’ ” Biden says. “Well, son of a b—-. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Early April

Ukrainian officials close their Manafort probes and have also decide to stop assisting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s Russia investigation out of concern that doing so would harm their relationship with Trump’s administration and jeopardize military assistance, according to the New York Times.

April 19, 2018

KEY EVENT The Washington Post reports Trump has hired Giuliani as his personal lawyer, initially focused on seeing out the Russia investigation.

April 2018

Two Soviet-born business associates of GiulianiParnas and Igor Fruman, attend an event for a pro-Trump super PAC at Trump’s Washington hotel. While speaking with Trump, they badmouth U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Trump immediately suggests she be fired, according to Parnas.

April 30, 2018

Poroshenko announces the first shipment of Javelins from the United States have arrived.

May 1, 2018

Parnas and Fruman meet Trump at the White House, according to later-deleted Facebook photos.

May 4, 2018

Three Democratic senators — Robert Menendez (N.J.), Richard J. Durbin(Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) — write to Lutsenko, urging him to continue working with Mueller.

May 9, 2018

Parnas posts a photo of him and his business partner David Correia meetingwith Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) in Sessions’s Capitol Hill office. The two men commit to raise $20,000 for Sessions, according to their later indictments.

May 9, 2018

That same day, Pete Sessions writes to the State Department seeking the dismissal of Yovanovitch. Sessions says he has “received notice of concrete evidence” that she had “spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current Administration.”

May 17, 2018

Parnas and Fruman contribute $325,000 to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action through a newly formed business named Global Energy Producers, which is supposedly a liquefied natural gas company. In their later indictments, prosecutors will say the funds actually came from a $1.26 million private lending transaction that occurred two days earlier.

May 21, 2018

Parnas posts a picture on Facebook showing him and Fruman at breakfast with Donald Trump Jr. in Beverly Hills, Calif.

December 5, 2018

Giuliani meets with former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, according to a lobbying database. They talk about “security issues, including the escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the US assistance to our country,” according to a Ukrainian report.

Late 2018

Giuliani speaks with Shokin, according to a later-revealed complaint from an anonymous whistleblower.

January

Giuliani and Lutsenko meet in New York, as Bloomberg News later reports.

Mid-February

Giuliani again meets with Lutsenko, this time in Warsaw, according to the whistleblower.

February 1, 2019

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov tells Yovanovitch that the country is worried about being wrapped up in U.S. political campaigns, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony. He cites the Manafort situation and both the Bidens and Trump’s conspiracy theory involving Ukraine’s role in 2016 election interference.

March 6, 2019

Yovanovitch gives a speech in Ukraine in which she targets Lutsenko. “To ensure the integrity of anticorruption institutions, the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor must be replaced,” she says. “Nobody who has been recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges can be trusted to prosecute those very same cases.”

March 20, 2019

In an interview with pro-Trump journalist John SolomonLutsenko alleges that Yovanovitch gave him “a list of people whom we should not prosecute.” The State Department calls the claim an “outright fabrication,” but Trump promotes the story in a tweet. It is later revealed that Parnas facilitated the interview.The whistleblower later notes that Lutsenko was working for the incumbent, Poroshenko, who had been trailing challenger Volodymyr Zelensky in the upcoming March 31 election. Zelensky had pledged to replace Lutsenko. Yovanovitch later speculates, in congressional testimony, that Lutsenko was hoping Trump would endorse Poroshenko.

March 24, 2019

Trump Jr. attacks Yovanovitch on Twitter, saying: “We need more ⁦[Germany Ambassador] @RichardGrenell‘s and less of these jokers as ambassadors.”

March 26, 2019

Giuliani speaks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to State Department emails.

March 29, 2019

Giuliani speaks with Pompeo again, according to the State Department emails. The call lasts about four minutes.

March 31, 2019

The first round of Ukraine’s presidential election is held. Poroshenko and Zelensky head to a runoff.

April 1, 2019

After speaking with Lutsenko, Solomon reports that a probe into Joe Biden’s push to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor is underway. Lutsenko tells Solomon that he wants to present his evidence to Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mid-April

Hunter Biden‘s term as a Burisma board member ends.

April 18, 2019

Lutsenko retracts his claim that Yovanovitch gave him a list of people not to prosecute.

April 18, 2019

Separately, Mueller releases his report on the Russia investigation. Mueller finds no illegal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but says he decided not to reach a firm conclusion on potential obstruction of justice by Trump. William Barr later opts not to accuse Trump of obstruction, despite extensive evidence laid out in the Mueller report.

April 21, 2019

KEY EVENT Zelensky, a former TV comedian, is elected president of Ukraine with 73 percent of the vote.

Ahead of a Trump phone call with Zelensky, Vindman writes talking points that indicate Trump should bring up “corruption” with the president-elect, according to Vindman’s later testimony, and a White House readout is drafted declaring Trump did so, according to Washington Post reporting. But Trump does not mention corruption on the call, according to a transcript released later by the White House.

April 23, 2019

Giuliani tweets about a Ukrainian investigation into alleged foreign collusion by the Democrats. “Now Ukraine is investigating Hillary campaign and DNC conspiracy with foreign operatives including Ukrainian and others to affect 2016 election,” he says. “And there’s no [former FBI director James B.]Comey to fix the result.”

April 24, 2019

Foreign Service Director General Carol Perez speaks with Yovanovitch at 1 a.m. and urges her to come back to Washington immediately, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony. “I was like, what? What happened?” Yovanovitch would later testify. “And she said, ‘I don’t know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately. You need to come home on the next plane.’ ” Once home, she says she meets with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who informs her that her time as ambassador is being curtailed. “He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the Summer of 2018,″ Yovanovitch says in her testimony. “He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

April 25, 2019

In an interview with Fox News, Trump addresses the suggestion that Ukraine interfered in 2016. “I would imagine [William Barr] would want to see this,” he says. “People have been saying this whole — the concept of Ukraine, they have been talking about it actually for a long time.”

April 25, 2019

Joe Biden announces his presidential campaign.

The anti-Biden effort becomes public

May-June 2019

May 1, 2019

KEY EVENT The New York Times publishes a story tying Joe Biden’s pressure campaign in Ukraine to Shokin having investigated Burisma, portraying it as a potential liability in his 2020 campaign.

May 7, 2019

Bloomberg News casts doubt on the Times report, citing Ukrainian officials who say the Burisma investigation had long been dormant when Joe Biden applied pressure on Ukraine’s government.

May 7, 2019

KEY EVENT It is reported that Yovanovitch has been recalled by the State Department, two months before her scheduled departure date. Democrats allege a “political hit job” aimed at creating a pretext to remove her.

May 7, 2019

Zelensky holds a meeting with top advisers that is supposed to be about energy policy. According to AP, though, most of the three-hour meeting winds up being devoted to how to navigate Giuliani‘s efforts and avoid being wrapped up in U.S. politics.

May 9, 2019

KEY EVENT Giuliani tells the New York Times that he will travel to Ukraine to push for investigations related to the Bidens and the 2016 election “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

May 11, 2019

Giuliani cancels his Ukraine trip, acceding to the pressure.

May 11, 2019

Separately, Lutsenko and Zelensky meet for two hours, according to the whistleblower, with Lutsenko requesting to stay in his position.

Early May

Former Ukrainian prosecutor Kostiantyn H. Kulyk tells the Times that Yovanovitch had thwarted his efforts to deliver damaging information about the Bidens to the FBI by denying his visa request.

May 13, 2019

William Barr announces a probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, which Trump and his congressional allies had pushed for by alleging a coup attempt. He appoints U.S. attorney John Durham to lead it.

Mid-May

The whistleblower is told that officials, including Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, had spoken with Giuliani to “contain the damage” he was doing, according to their complaint.

Mid-May

Parnas and Fruman, the Giuliani associates, travel to Ukraine and meet with Sergey Shefir, who later became an aide to Zelensky, and Ivan Bakanov, who is now the head of Ukraine’s secret police. Parnas’s lawyer later claimsParnas told Ukrainian officials that they had to announce the investigations of the Bidens or else Vice President Pence would skip Zelensky’s inauguration and the United States would freeze aid to Ukraine.

Mid-May

Trump tells Pence not to attend Zelensky‘s inauguration, according to the whistleblower. Instead, Energy Secretary Rick Perry attends. The whistleblower says it was “made clear” to them that “the President did not want to meet with Mr. Zelensky until he saw how Zelensky ‘chose to act’ in office.”

May 14, 2019

Giuliani tells a Ukrainian journalist that Yovanovitch was “removed . . . because she was part of the efforts against the president.”

May 16, 2019

Lutsenko says there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.

May 19, 2019

KEY EVENT In an interview with Fox News, Trump explicitly references Biden’s efforts in Ukraine. “Biden, he calls them and says, ‘Don’t you dare persecute, if you don’t fire this prosecutor’ — The prosecutor was after his son,” Trump says. “Then he said, ‘If you fire the prosecutor, you’ll be okay. And if you don’t fire the prosecutor, ‘We’re not giving you $2 billion in loan guarantees,’ or whatever he was supposed to give. Can you imagine if I did that?” Trump makes the allegation even though there was no evidence the investigation focused on any actions by the Bidens.

May 20, 2019

KEY EVENT Zelensky is inaugurated as president of Ukraine. Shortly after his inauguration, Giuliani meets with Lutsenko allies who made the allegations included in Solomon’s reporting.

May 23, 2019

The administration notifies Congress that it intends to release hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid to Ukraine.

May 23, 2019

At a White House meeting with Trump and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyPerrySondland and Volker—who later dub themselves the “three amigos” — debrief the president on Zelensky’s inauguration and their views of the new Ukrainian leader. Trump is skeptical, telling them that Ukraine is “not serious about reform” and “tried to take him down,” according to later testimony from Sondland. Trump puts them in charge of a back-channel diplomacy effort in Ukraine, according to the later testimony of Kent, instructing them to “talk with Rudy” as they did so.

May 28, 2019

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. meets with Pompeo, who encourages him to become the top diplomat to Ukraine — also known as a chargé d’affaires. Despite reservations, which he later recounts in his testimony, including about Giuliani, Taylor takes the job, effectively replacing Yovanovitch.

May 29, 2019

Trump sends Zelensky a congratulatory letter inviting him to a White House meeting.

Some time in May

Giuliani meets with a top Ukrainian anti-corruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky, in Paris, according to Kholodnytsky. Kholodnytsky, who had clashed with Yovanovitch, has declined to comment on what he and Giuliani discussed, but he said the Burisma investigation should be reopened.

June 13, 2019

KEY EVENT In an interview with ABC News, Trump says he might accept electoral assistance from a foreign government, if offered. “I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump says. “If somebody called from a country, Norway — ‘We have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” The chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission subsequently points out on Twitter that this would be illegal.

June 18, 2019

The Department of Defense publicly announces $250 million in military aid to Ukraine.

June 19, 2019

Trump begins asking questions about the military aid after seeing news reports, according to the testimony of Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy.

June 19, 2019

In an interview with Fox News, Trump again links Ukraine and the effort to hack the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election — a link that the whistleblower and later reporting show does not exist.

June 21, 2019

Giuliani tweets that Zelensky is “still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 election and alleged Biden bribery of Pres Poroshenko.”

June 27, 2019

Sondland tells Taylor that Zelensky needs to make clear to Trump that he is not impeding “investigations,” as Taylor will later testify.

June 28, 2019

SondlandVolkerTaylor and Perry participate in a call ahead of a planned call with Zelensky. According to Taylor, before Zelensky is added to the call, Sondland expresses a desire to keep regular interagency officials off the call. Sondland says he does not want anyone monitoring or transcribing the call, according to Taylor. Also on the call, Volker tells the participants that he intends to be explicit with Zelensky during an upcoming meeting in Toronto about what Zelensky needs to do to secure a White House meeting, according to Taylor. But Volker does not say specifically what he will request.

On the call, it is “made clear that some action on a Burisma/Biden investigation was a precondition for an Oval Office meeting,” Taylor tells one of his aides, David Holmes, according to Holmes’s later testimony.

Internal discord and a presidential call

July-August 2019

July 3, 2019

Aid to Ukraine is put on hold, according to three administration officials. Word of the hold is not widely known until later in the month.

July 10, 2019

KEY EVENT Top Ukrainian defense official Oleksandr Danyliuk meets with SondlandVolkerPerry and White House national security adviser John Bolton in Washington. (Taylor says top Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak was also present.) According to Vindman’s testimony and the testimony of fellow NSC aide Fiona Hill, Bolton cuts the meeting short when Sondland begins requesting specific investigations in exchange for a meeting between Trump and Zelensky. Sondland also states that he coordinated the quid pro quo with Mulvaney, according to Vindman and Hill.

According to Vindman, Sondland in a later meeting emphasizes “the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma,” and Vindman and Hill both reprimand him for his “inappropriate” requests. Vindman contacts NSC lawyers, according to his testimony, and Hill contacts NSC lawyer John Eisenberg, according to her testimony. According to Taylor, Vindman and Hill tell him later that Bolton said they should have nothing to do with domestic politics and that Hill should “brief the lawyers.” Bolton decries the arrangement as a “drug deal,” according to Hill.

July 10, 2019

Taylor meets in Ukraine with Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Bohdan, and foreign policy adviser Vadym Prystaiko. According to Taylor, they tell him Giuliani had told them a phone call between Trump and Zelensky was unlikely to happen. Taylor relays their disappointment to U.S. officials.

July 12, 2019

Axios reports that Trump and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coatsare at odds, with Trump telling confidants that he wants to remove Coats from his position.

July 18, 2019

KEY EVENT Trump’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine is communicated to the State and Defense departments. Members of Congress are told that the hold is part of an “interagency delay.” Taylor later says an Office of Management and Budget official did not explain why, but said that the decision was relayed through Mulvaney.

July 19, 2019

Volker texts Sondland about the upcoming Zelensky call with Trump. “Most impt is for Zelensky to say that he will help investigation,” Volker says.

July 19, 2019

Volker texts Giuliani to connect him with Yermak. Giuliani would later say on Fox News that the State Department had asked for his help. “I didn’t know Mr. Yermak on July 19,” Giuliani said. “You see it right there, 2019 at 4:48 in the afternoon I got a call from Volker. Volker said ‘Would you meet with him? It would be helpful to us. We really want you to do it.’ ” Giuliani added: “They basically knew everything I was doing.”

July 19, 2019

Vindman and Hill inform Taylor that they are not aware of an official change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine, but that Mulvaney is skeptical of the country, according to Taylor’s testimony.

July 20, 2019

Taylor confronts Volker about Hill‘s claim that Volker met with Giuliani, according to Taylor, and Volker does not respond.

July 20, 2019

Sondland tells Taylor that he encouraged Zelensky to tell Trump that he would “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to “investigations,” according to Taylor.

July 20, 2019

Danyliuk tells Taylor that Zelensky does not want to be used as a pawn for a U.S. reelection campaign, also according to Taylor.

July 21, 2019

Taylor relays that concern to Sondland via text. “President Zelensky is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously,” he writes, “not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.”

July 22, 2019

Shokin alleges to The Post that he was removed as prosecutor general over the Biden issue. “I will answer that the activities of Burisma, the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden, and the [prosecutor general’s office] investigators on his tail, are the only — I emphasize, the only — motives for organizing my resignation,” he says. Other Ukrainian officials have said this is untrue.

July 22, 2019

Yermak and Giuliani schedule a meeting in early August, according to Giuliani.

July 23, 2019

The OMB reiterates that aid to Ukraine is suspended.

July 24, 2019

Mueller testifies before Congress about his report and its findings.

July 25, 2019

KEY EVENT Before a scheduled call between Trump and ZelenskyVolkertexts with Yermak and again expresses the importance of Zelensky saying he will launch investigations. For the first time on-record, he also ties this to a potential White House meeting for Zelensky. “Heard from White House-assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington,” Volker says.

That message followed outreach from Sondland who, about half an hour prior, had left Volker a message. Sondland had spoken with Trump that morning and would later testify that he believed Volker’s text to Yermak was a message that he had “likely” received from Trump on that call.

July 25, 2019

KEY EVENT Trump and Zelensky speak. As we later find out from a rough transcript released by the White House, Trump repeatedly notes how “good” the United States is to Ukraine and then proceeds to ask Zelensky to open two investigations. One investigation involves CrowdStrike, an Internet security company that probed the Democratic National Committee hack in 2016, and the other involves the Bidens and Burisma.

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump says before floating the CrowdStrike investigation.

He later adds: “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. . . . It sounds horrible to me.”

Trump repeatedly suggests William Barr will be involved in working with the Ukrainian government on the investigation. Zelensky tells Trump that his yet-to-be-named new prosecutor general “will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue” — apparently referring to Burisma.

Trump says Yovanovitch “was bad news, and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that.” When Zelensky thanks Trump for previously warning him about Yovanovitch, Trump responds: “Well, she’s going to go through some things.”

The Post would later report that at least four national security officials raised concerns about Trump’s Ukraine efforts with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after the Zelensky call. Eisenberg moves a transcript of the call to a classified server that is generally reserved for sensitive national security information, according to multiple witnesses, though Vindman and Morrison said not for nefarious reasons.

July 25, 2019

After the call, Yermak texts Volker back, saying: “Phone call went well. President Trump proposed to choose any convenient dates. President Zelenskiy chose 20,21,22 September for the White House Visit.”

July 25, 2019

State Department staff circulate emails indicating the Ukrainian embassy is asking about U.S. military assistance and appears to be aware of the “situation” involving the aid, according to later testimony by State Department official Laura Cooper.

July 26, 2019

Volker and Sondland travel to Kyiv and meet with Zelensky and other politicians. There, the whistleblower writes, they “reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of” Zelensky. Zelensky tells Volker and Taylor that he was happy with the call and asks about the Oval Office meeting Trump offered in the May 29 letter, according to Taylor’s later testimony.

July 26, 2019

KEY EVENT Holmes, while in Ukraine with Sondland, overhears a phone call between Trump and Sondland, in which Trump inquires about investigations, according to Taylor’s and Holmes’s later testimonies. Sondland later tells Holmes that Trump doesn’t care about Ukraine as a country and that he just wants the investigations, according to Taylor and Holmes. Sondland later says he doesn’t recall mentioning Biden but otherwise doesn’t contradict their testimony.

Days following July 25

The whistleblower writes: “I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

The whistleblower claims to have been told by White House officials that they were directed by White House lawyers to move the transcript from the normal documentation archive and to “a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature” — a move one official called an “act of abuse.”

In an appendix, the whistleblower adds that officials said “this was ‘not the first time’ under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information.”

July 28, 2019

Trump announces that Coats will resign in August.

July 31, 2019

Trump holds a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The call is first reported by the Russians; the White House does not confirm it until late in the evening. The Russians, in a much more substantial readout than the United States, claim Trump and Putin spoke about restoring full diplomatic relations one day.

Early August

Mulvaney asks acting OMB director Russell Vought for an update on the legal rationale for withholding the Ukraine aid and how much longer it could be delayed, according to Washington Post reporting.

August 2, 2019

Giuliani travels to Madrid, where he meets with YermakParnas is also in the meeting, according to YermakAccording to the New York Times, the meeting involves Giuliani encouraging Zelensky‘s government to investigate Hunter Biden.

August 3, 2019

Zelensky says he plans to travel to the United States in September to meet with Trump in Washington.

August 8, 2019

Trump announces Joseph Maguire will take Coats‘s job as director of national intelligence, in an acting capacity. In doing so, he bypasses Sue Gordon, who had been Coats’s No. 2 at the directorate of national intelligence and who was a career intelligence official with bipartisan support. Gordon would later resign.

August 8, 2019

Giuliani tells Fox News that Durham, the Justice Department official investigating the Russia probe’s origins, is “spending a lot of time in Europe” to investigate what happened in Ukraine.

August 9, 2019

Trump says of Zelensky: “I think he’s going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine. And I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”

August 9, 2019

Volker and Sondland text with one another about a statement Ukraine might be asked to issue about the investigations. Sondland also indicates that Trump “really wants the deliverable.” Volker and Sondland consult Giulianiabout what the statement should say.

August 10, 2019

Yermak emphasizes that Ukraine would like to lock down a date for Zelensky‘s visit before making the statement. “I think it’s possible to make this declaration and mention all these things,” Yermak says. “Which we discussed yesterday. But it will be logic to do after we receive a confirmation of date. We inform about date of visit and about our expectations and our guarantees for future visit.”

August 11, 2019

Sondland emails top State Department aides Ulrich BrechbuhlLisa Kenna and says, “Kurt & I negotiated a statement from Ze to be delivered for our review in a day or two. The contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation. Ze plans to have a big presser on the openness subject (including specifics) next week.” Kenna responds, “I’ll pass to S. Thank you.”

August 12, 2019

KEY EVENT The whistleblower files a complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson will later determine the complaint to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern,” which would trigger a legally required disclosure to the House and Senate intelligence committees.

August 13, 2019

Volker and Sondland text about what language should be included in Ukraine’s statement.

August 15, 2019

Coats and Gordon officially leave their positions.

August 16, 2019

Volker tells Taylor via text that Yermak asked the U.S. government to submit an official request for the Burisma investigation, according to Taylor’s later testimony. Taylor gives Volker a deputy assistant attorney general to contact regarding whether such a request would be proper.

August 17, 2019

Sondland asks Volker if “we still want Ze[lensky] to give us an unequivocal draft with 2016 and Boresma [sic]?” Volker responds, “That’s the clear message so far …”

August 21, 2019

Taylor asks Brechbuhl whether there is an official change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine, according to Taylor, and Brechbuhl says there is not.

August 22, 2019

NSC aide Tim Morrison tells Taylor it “remains to be seen” whether U.S. policy toward Ukraine has changed, according to Taylor, and says the “president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”

August 22, 2019

Sondland emails Pompeo and Kenna, saying “Should we block time in Warsaw for a short pull-aside for Potus to meet Zelensky? I would ask Zelensky to look him in the eye and tell him that once Ukraine’s new justice folks are in place ([in] mid-Sept[ember), that Ze should be able to move forward publicly and with confidence on those issues of importance to Potus and to the US. Hopefully, that will break the logjam.” Pompeo replies, “Yes.”

Questions swirl around withheld aid

Early September 2019

August 27, 2019

Bolton meets with Zelensky in Kyiv. According to Taylor, the withheld military aid is not discussed.

August 28, 2019

KEY EVENT Politico posts a story about the Trump administration withholding $250 million in military aid from Ukraine, the first time it has been reported publicly. (Before this point, it was not clear Ukraine even knew the aid was being withheld.)

August 29, 2019

Yermak texts Volker a link to the story and says: “Need to talk with you.” Volker responds: “Hi Andrey — absolutely. When is good for you?” Yermak also contacts Taylor to express his deep concern, according to Taylor, and Taylor says he is “embarrassed” that he has no explanation.

August 29, 2019

Taylor writes a cable to Pompeo, at Bolton‘s urging, decrying the “folly” of withholding the funds at a time when Russia is breathing down Ukraine’s neck.

Late August

Lawmakers raise concerns about Ukraine aid being withheld, citing its importance to defend the former Soviet republic from Russia.

August 30, 2019

Sondland tells Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that Trump was withholding the Ukraine military aid to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 — if President Trump has that confidence, then he’ll release the military spending,” according to Johnson’s later recollection.

August 31, 2019

Johnson tries to get Trump to release the military aid. He later says Trump explained that part of the reason for the delay was his concern about Ukraine’s role in 2016 election interference. “I didn’t succeed,” Johnson explains later. “But the president was very consistent on why he was considering it. Again, it was corruption, overall, generalized — but yeah, no doubt about it, what happened in 2016 — what happened in 2016, as relates? What was the truth about that?”

September 1, 2019

KEY EVENT Sondland tells Yermak at a meeting in Warsaw that the military aid would not arrive until Zelensky promises to pursue the Burisma investigation, as Taylor, Kent, Morrison and Sondland later confirm. Sondland says in clarified testimony that he “presumed” the two issues were connected “in the absence of any [other] credible explanation.” But he emphasizes that Trump did not directly convey it to him and later explicitly denied a quid pro quo.

September 1, 2019

Taylor tells Kent that Sondland had told Yermak that “POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to [a] microphone and say ‘investigations,’ ‘Biden,’ and ‘Clinton,’ ” according to Kent’s later testimony.

September 1, 2019

Zelensky and Pence also meet in Warsaw for a ceremony commemorating World War II. (Trump had originally been slated to attend the ceremony but remained in the United States to monitor Hurricane Dorian.) Taylor informs Danyliuk before the meeting that if the military aid is not released by the end of the month, the funds would expire because that is the end of the fiscal year, according to Taylor.

At the meeting, Pence tells Zelensky he will talk to Trump about the military aid, according to a readout from Morrison that Taylor says he received. Pence also says Trump wants Europe to do more to support Ukraine and that he wants Ukraine to do more to root out corruption, according to Morrison’s readout, as relayed by Taylor.

September 1, 2019

KEY EVENT Taylor texts Sondlandasking: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland responds, “Call me.” The two speak, according to Taylor, and Sondland explains that Trump wants Zelensky to say publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and the conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s alleged role in the 2016 election interference. Sondland tells Taylor that he regrets not telling Ukrainian officials that “everything” relied on their announcement of the investigations — both a meeting and military aid — according to Taylor.

September 2, 2019

Pence says he did not discuss Biden with Zelensky, but that he did suggest that aid was conditioned on rooting out corruption. “As President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption,” Pence said. “The president wants to be assured that those resources are truly making their way to the kind of investments that will contribute to security and stability in Ukraine.”

September 2, 2019

Danyliuk expresses concern to Morrison that U.S. officials are not able to provide answers about the withheld military aid, according to Taylor, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk raises similar concerns with Taylor.

September 5, 2019

Johnson and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) meet in Ukraine with Zelensky, with Taylor hosting the meeting. Zelensky’s first question is about the military aid, according to Taylor. Murphy later tells NBC’s Chuck Todd that Zelensky had expressed concerns about Giuliani‘s overtures.

September 5, 2019

KEY EVENT The Post’s editorial board writes that it had been “reliably told” that Trump was “attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.”

September 7, 2019

Trump tells Sondland that he is not asking for a “quid pro quo” but insists Zelensky make the announcement about the two investigations, according Morrison’s testimony and Taylor’s testimony about his conversations with Morrison. Morrison informs NSC lawyers about the call, according to both of them.

September 8, 2019

Sondland tells Taylor that Trump is adamant that Zelensky “clear things up and do it in public,” according to Taylor. Sondland also tells Taylor that he told Zelensky and Yermak that it wasn’t a quid pro quo, but that if they didn’t “clear things up” publicly, there would be a “stalemate,” according to Taylor.

Sondland also explains to Taylor that Trump is a businessman, and that before a businessman signs a check, he expects someone who owes him something to pay up, according to Taylor. (Taylor said Volker had said something similar.)

September 8, 2019

Taylor texts Volker and Sondland, saying: “The nightmare is they give the interview and don’t get the security assistance. The Russians love it. (And I quit.)”

September 9, 2019

Taylor texts Sondland again about the idea that the military aid is being withheld in some kind of quid pro quo. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor says.

Sondland speaks with Trump via phone and, during which Trump tells him something similar to, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing,” according to Sondland’s testimony.

Sondland then responds to Taylor‘s text, “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. Thanks.” (Sondland will later explain that he was simply relaying Trump’s denial, rather than vouching for it.)

A whistleblower, a transcript and impeachment

Sept. 9-present

September 9, 2019

The Democrat-controlled House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees announce an investigation into Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine and the administration’s decision to halt aid.

Atkinson notifies the House and Senate intelligence committees that a whistleblower has filed a complaint, but he does not reveal its contents or substance.

September 10, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) writes to Maguire demanding Congress receive the complaint.

September 10, 2019

Trump announces on Twitter that Bolton has resigned. Trump says it came at his request; Bolton quickly counters by saying he offered first.

September 11, 2019

KEY EVENT The Trump administration releases the Ukraine aid it had been withholding. Taylor informs Zelensky and Prystaiko.

September 12, 2019

Taylor becomes worried that Zelensky will announce the investigations in a planned CNN interview he learned about from Sondland, as he later testifies. He tries to confirm with Danyliuk that Zelensky won’t do such an interview, and Danyliuk confirms. Taylor asks the same question of Yermak, whom he later describes as being “uncomfortable” with the question. But Danyliuk again confirms there would be no CNN interview, Taylor later testifies.

September 13, 2019

Schiff subpoenas Maguire to compel him to disclose the whistleblower complaint. According to Schiff, the DNI’s office, in a letter from counsel, indicates the whistleblower complaint is being withheld because of confidential and potentially privileged communications by people outside the intelligence community. It is assumed that this refers to Trump.

September 17, 2019

Maguire says he will not testify or hand over the whistleblower complaint. Schiff says Maguire told him he couldn’t “because he is being instructed not to, that this involved a higher authority, someone above.”

September 18, 2019

The Post reports that the complaint involves Trump’s communications with a foreign leader and some kind of “promise” that was made.

September 18, 2019

Pence holds a call with Zelensky, which U.S. officials tell The Post was somewhat perfunctory. During Vindman’s later public testimony, though, Pence’s office says the call is classified and can’t be discussed in an open setting.

Around Sept. 18 or 19

Zelensky cancels a planned CNN interview, according to the network.

September 19, 2019

Atkinson briefs Congress in a closed-door session, telling them the complaint involved multiple events and not a single communication. The Post reports the complaint involves Ukraine.

September 19, 2019

Giuliani appears on CNN and denies any wrongdoing by Trump. But he also suggests it would be okay if Trump withheld aid in exchange for Ukraine investigating the Bidens. “The reality is the president of the United States has every right to say to another leader of a foreign country, ‘You got to straighten up before we give you a lot of money,’ ” Giuliani says. “It is perfectly appropriate for [Trump] to ask a foreign government to investigate this massive crime that was made by a former vice president.”

September 23, 2019

Trump suggests aid to Ukraine may have been withheld over “corruption” issues — without citing the Bidens. “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?” Trump said. “. . . So it’s very important that, on occasion, you speak to somebody about corruption.”

September 24, 2019

Trump confirms he withheld the funding but suggests it was because other European countries should pay for Ukraine’s military aid. Trump later says he will release a transcript of his phone call with Zelensky.

September 24, 2019

KEY EVENT House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announces her supportfor a formal impeachment inquiry for the first time, setting that process in motion.

September 25, 2019

KEY EVENT The White House releases a rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, including the details described above.

September 25, 2019

Trump meets with Zelensky at the United Nations. Zelensky maintains he didn’t feel “pressure” to pursue investigations and that he didn’t interfere in his country’s law enforcement process. “We have an independent country and independent [prosecutor general],” he says. “I can’t push anyone. That is the answer. I didn’t call somebody or the new [prosecutor general]. I didn’t ask him. I didn’t push him.”

Zelensky also pointedly notes that, despite repeated invitations, Trump has never actually identified a date for a White House visit.

September 26, 2019

KEY EVENT The White House declassifies the whistleblower complaint, and Schiff releases it. The complaint focuses on Trump’s call with Zelensky but also alleges an effort to cover it up and alludes to substantial concern within the administration about Trump’s actions.

At a hearing later that day, Schiff paraphrases the Trump-Zelensky call, prompting criticism from Republicans.

September 26, 2019

Maguire testifies to the House Intelligence Committee that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel downgraded the inspector general’s determination that the whistleblower complaint was of “urgent concern,” which eliminated the requirement that it be shared with Congress. Democrats allege a conflict of interest, noting that the complaint names William Barr — the head of the Justice Department — as being potentially involved.

September 27, 2019

Volker abruptly resigns.

September 27, 2019

More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials sign a statement supporting House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

September 28, 2019

A top Pompeo aide, Michael McKinley, rallies support for a State Department statement strongly defending Yovanovitch, according to his testimony, but department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus informs McKinley that Pompeo decides against releasing such a statement — in part to “not draw undue attention to her.”

October 1, 2019

Pompeo sends House Democrats a letter declaring that five State Department employees who had been summoned for depositions would not appear. Pompeo calls the inquiry “an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”

October 2, 2019

The New York Times reports — and The Post confirms — that the whistleblowerhad approached a staffer for Schiff‘s committee early in the process, contradicting some of Schiff’s claims.

October 2, 2019

State Department Inspector General Steve Linick shares with Congress documents that had been sent to the State Department that include conspiracy theories about the Bidens. Giuliani indicates he was responsible for some of the materials, which were apparently sent to State from the White House.

October 3, 2019

Volker submits to a deposition, sharing text messages (as described above) with TaylorSondlandGiuliani and Yermak. He says he never had a quid pro quo communicated to him.

October 3, 2019

“Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?” Trump is asked by a reporter.

“Well,” he replies, “I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens.  It’s a very simple answer.”

He tells reporters that he also thinks China should launch an investigation involving the Bidens. “And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump says.

October 3, 2019

Kent confronts State officials about the claims in Pompeo‘s letter, calling them inaccurate, according to his later testimony. He tells one official whose name is redacted: “I said, well, you say that the career foreign services are being intimidated. . . . And I asked him, about whom are you speaking? And he said, you’re asking me to reveal confidential information. And I said, no, I’m not. There are only two career Foreign Service officers who subject to this process. I’m one of them. I’m the only one working at the Department of State, and the other one is Ambassador Yovanovitch, who is teaching at Georgetown.”

October 3, 2019

The State Department informs Congress that it has approved the sale of 150 Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine — a type of weaponry Zelensky mentioned on the July 25 call with Trump — at a cost of $39.2 million.

October 6, 2019

Lawyers for the whistleblower indicate they are representing a second whistleblower — this one with firsthand knowledge of some of the key events. They say the second whistleblower has spoken with Atkinson.

October 8, 2019

After blocking Sondland‘s testimony, White House counsel Pat Cipolloneinforms Congress that the White House will not cooperate with any facet of its impeachment inquiry, making curious arguments about the lack of “due process.”

October 10, 2019

Giuliani‘s two Soviet-born business associates, Parnas and Fruman, are arrested shortly before they are set to leave the country. They are indicted on campaign finance charges, with the Southern District of New York accusing them of funneling foreign money into U.S. politics to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.

October 10, 2019

McKinley resigns over Pompeo‘s alleged failure to support State Department officials ensnared in the Ukraine controversy.

October 11, 2019

Yovanovitch testifies to Congress, alleging a politicized effort to remove her as ambassador to Ukraine.

October 12, 2019

The Post reports Sondland will tell Congress that his Sept. 9 text message stating there was no quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine was based on assurances from Trump and that he is not certain Trump’s denial was accurate. Trump and his allies had hailed Sondland’s text as proof there was no quid pro quo.

October 14, 2019

Hill testifies.

October 15, 2019

Kent testifies.

October 16, 2019

McKinley testifies and explains his resignation. “I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents,” McKinley says. “I was convinced that this would also have a serious impact on Foreign Service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.”

October 17, 2019

Sondland testifies, saying any pressure he applied on Ukraine to investigate Burisma came before he knew the case involved the Bidens. (He claims this despite Giuliani‘s efforts and the Bidens’ proximity to them being in the news by early May.) Sondland says he is making that distinction “because I believe I testified that it would be improper” to push for such political investigations. Asked whether it would be illegal, Sondland says: “I’m not a lawyer, but I assume so.”

October 17, 2019

Trump announces Perry will resign by the end of the year.

October 17, 2019

KEY EVENT Mulvaney in a news conference momentarily confirms a quid pro quo with Ukraine. “[Did Trump] also mention to me, in the past, that the corruption related to the DNC server?” Mulvaney said. “Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money. . . . The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.” Mulvaney later issues a statement trying to reverse course, saying there actually was no connection.

October 22, 2019

Taylor testifies.

October 23, 2019

Cooper testifies, but not before the proceedings are delayed for five hours as House Republicans storm the secure room where the depositions are being held. The Republicans expressed concern about the secrecy of the process.

October 29, 2019

Vindman testifies.

October 30, 2019

State Department officials Catherine Croft and Christopher Andersontestify separately, describing the dim view of Ukraine taken by Trump and those around him.

October 30, 2019

In his confirmation hearing to become ambassador to Russia, Sullivan says he was aware of a “smear” campaign against Yovanovitch and that he believed Giuliani was a part of it. He also says it was appropriate to remove Yovanovitch, though, because Trump had lost confidence in her.

October 31, 2019

Morrison testifies, corroborating Taylor‘s testimony that Sondlandcommunicated a quid pro quo to Ukraine. Morrison says he raised concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, but that he did not think it contained anything illegal.

October 31, 2019

The House votes to formalize its impeachment inquiry and open up its hearings, amid GOP criticism that the process was too secretive. No House Republicans vote in favor of the inquiry, and two Democrats vote against it.

November 4, 2019

The House releases the first of the closed-door deposition transcripts, from Yovanovitch and McKinley.

November 4, 2019

Sondland clarifies his testimony to acknowledge he communicated the quid pro quo to Ukraine on July 10, but that he was acting on what he presumed to be the case rather than a direct order from Trump.

November 5, 2019

The House releases Sondland’s and Volker’s depositions, including the clarification.

November 6, 2019

The House releases Taylor’s deposition.

November 7, 2019

The House releases Kent’s deposition.

November 8, 2019

The House releases Vindman’s and Hill’s depositions.

November 8, 2019

Bolton‘s lawyer tells Congress in a letter that his client was “part of many relevant meetings and conversations” pertaining to the impeachment inquiry that aren’t yet public, but reinforces that Bolton will appear only if ordered to by a judge.

November 10, 2019

Parnas‘s lawyer discloses the quid pro quo he allegedly communicated to Ukrainian officials in May.

November 13, 2019

Taylor and Kent testify in an open hearing.

November 15, 2019

Yovanovitch testifies in an open hearing, during which Trump tweets an attack on her. “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he said. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.” Democrats accuse Trump of witness intimidation.

Holmes testifies in a closed deposition.

November 19, 2019

Vindman, Williams, Volker and Morrison testify in two consecutive open hearings.

November 20, 2019

Sondland testifies in an open hearing, in which he says top administration officials including Pence and Pompeo were aware of the quid pro quo and that it was clear Giuliani was acting on Trump’s wishes when he pushed for it. Sondland’s testimony is followed by Hale and Cooper in their own hearing.

November 21, 2019

Hill and Holmes round out the public impeachment hearings. Hill criticizes efforts by Republicans to draw an equivalence between Russia’s interference in 2016 and the actions of Ukrainians during the campaign. Holmes notes that the pressure felt by Ukraine during its interactions with Trump since Zelensky’s inauguration is on-going, given that Ukraine still seeks to demonstrate that it maintains the U.S.’ support.