WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, widely distributed a new “fact sheet” Monday outlining what her office characterized as a gross abuse of power by President Donald Trump, including a “shakedown,” “pressure campaign” and “cover up.”
The move came as a Republican effort to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, for his handling of the impeachment inquiry was expected to come to a head Monday, with Democrats seeking to derail a resolution backed by Trump.
Democrats have also planned a busy week of closed-door depositions, including an appearance Tuesday by Bill Taylor, the top official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. In text messages with other U.S. diplomats, Taylor raised alarms about the White House holding back military aid to Ukraine and pressing for investigations into the 2016 U.S. election and an energy company that employed former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Ahead of a busy week of planned depositions, Trump’s congressional allies renewed their attacks on the impeachment inquiry and the Democrats leading it.
“This PROCESS has been a joke & the SUBSTANCE has been NOTHING to impeach POTUS for,” tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-New York, noting that the “super secret” depositions were being held in a Capitol basement. “This coup attempt will fail!”
On Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also emphasized the location of the hearings, saying they were being conducted “in the basement of the Capitol, where no one can see.” He said the process has been unfair and unlike other impeachment inquiries.
“On process, this is not your average investigation,” Jordan said. “This is about impeaching the president of the United States 13 months before an election because they’re afraid he’s going to win in 2020.”
Democrats say the closed-door depositions are necessary so witnesses don’t have the advantage of hearing one another’s testimony.
— Lev Parnas, one of two associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani accused of violating campaign finance laws, was released from jail in Alexandria on Monday morning after paying a $200,000 cash bond.
“I have the truth on my side, and God is with me,” Parnas said as he left the courthouse with his wife, Svetlana, son Aaron and a private security guard.
Parnas’s new attorney, Edward MacMahon, successfully argued last week that the initial $1 million bond set by a magistrate judge was excessively high.
Like his co-defendant Igor Fruman, who was released last week, Parnas is required to remain in his Florida home except for court appearances and is under GPS monitoring. Both are set to appear in court in New York on Wednesday.
— Donald Trump Jr. attempted Monday to put pressure on Republicans who haven’t signed onto an effort to censure Schiff.
The president’s eldest son retweeted a list of 23 House Republicans who are not backing the resolution as co-sponsors. The Twitter thread urged Trump supporters to “Check if your Representative is on this list and call them NOW!”
Trump Jr., an outspoken opponent of the impeachment inquiry, has repeatedly taken aim at Schiff on Twitter, including blasting him as “#FullofSchiff.”
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Arizona, takes issue with Schiff’s remarks at a Sept. 26 hearing. Schiff embellished the transcript of the July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
Schiff later said his remarks were intended as a parody and that Trump and others who have criticized him should have recognized that.
— President Donald Trump continued to insist that his private Miami golf club would have been the best place to host next year’s international Group of Seven summit, two days after he backed off the plan amid criticism from impeachment-weary Republicans.
“Doral in Miami would have been the best place to hold the G-7, and free, but too much heat from the Do Nothing Radical Left Democrats & their Partner, the Fake News Media!” Trump tweeted. “I’m surprised that they allow me to give up my $400,000 Plus Presidential Salary! We’ll find someplace else!”
Trump reversed course late Saturday after he was told by conservative allies that Republicans were struggling to defend him on multiple fronts. Democrats had mulled adding the alleged emoluments violation to the articles of impeachment they are preparing.