The latest news on the impeachment inquiry
- The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first open hearings of the impeachment inquiry next week, featuring public testimony from three key witnesses.
- Democrats released the transcript of closed-door testimony by one of the witnesses, Bill Taylor, on Wednesday.
- Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury Department official Tony Sayegh are expected to join the White House communications team to work on impeachment.
Washington -- The House Intelligence Committee announced the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry will take place next week, featuring testimony from three witnesses.
The committee will hear from William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent on Wednesday. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify before the committee on Friday.
"Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses themselves," House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters at the Capitol.
The committees also released a transcript of closed-door testimony by Taylor, who raised concerns about whether a delay in U.S. military aid was being used as leverage to get Ukraine to investigate the president's rivals.
On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland revised earlier testimony to the House committees leading the impeachment probe, saying he now recalls telling a top Ukrainian official that the release of military aid "likely" required the country to announce anti-corruption investigations into President Trump's rivals.
Sondland, in an addendum to his October testimony, claimed his memory has been "refreshed" after reviewing others' testimony. Now, in revised testimony dated Monday, November 4, Sondland said he recalls that aid to Ukraine was, according to his understanding, conditioned on Ukraine making a public anti-corruption statement.
Sondland initially told lawmakers he was unaware Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was targeting former Vice President Joe Biden by urging Ukrainian officials to open an investigation into Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which had put Biden's son on its board of directors.
In the addendum, Sondland said he now remembers a September conversation with Andrey Yermak, an aide to Ukraine's president, in which he "said that the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."
White House coordinating with House GOP
5:49 p.m.: Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the impeachment inquiry in late September, the communications teams for Republican leaders in the House and the ranking members of the committees involved have held daily meetings to go over new developments and hash out messaging and strategy for handling the inquiry.
Until a week ago, no one from the White House attended these meetings, a senior House Republican aide told CBS News. The aide said the White House eventually reached out and asked to be part of the sessions.
The White House has been represented by either Tori Symonds, the director of government communications, or Alexa Henning, director of broadcast media. But they are essentially in "listen only" mode -- they don't deliver messages on behalf of Mr. Trump or the press shop. Instead, they report back what House Republicans are doing and saying so everyone is on the same page.
Still, their participation is another sign that White House officials are finally recognizing the need to have a stronger game plan.
The White House wants to have a firm impeachment-specific communications team in place before the public hearings start on Wednesday, but it's unclear when or if a formal announcement will be made. -- Weijia Jiang
House withdraws subpoena for official who asked court to intervene
4:08 p.m.: The House of Representatives has formally withdrawn its subpoena of Charles Kupperman, a deputy of former National Security Adviser John Bolton, court records show.
Although he received a subpoena to appear in October, he was told by the White House that he couldn't testify. Torn between the legislative and executive branch directives, Kupperman filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia requesting the court decide whether he should comply with the subpoena or the White House's directive.
"There is no proper basis for a witness to sue the Congress in court to oppose a duly authorized congressional subpoena," a committee official said to explain the move. "Nevertheless, given the schedule of our impeachment hearings, a court process that leads to the dismissal of Dr. Kupperman's flawed lawsuit would only result in delay, so we have withdrawn his subpoena."
Oral arguments in the case weren't scheduled to take place until December 10 - well after the depositions would have wrapped and moved onto public hearings in the impeachment inquiry.
The Intelligence Committee likely expects Kupperman to follow whatever guidance the court gives when it rules on whether former White House Counsel Don McGahn has to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in a separate case. The White House tried to claim that both Kupperman and McGahn had "absolute immunity" from subpoenas to testify.
The McGahn case is much further along and will likely be resolved sooner than the Kupperman case.
It is unclear is what this means for Bolton, who has the same attorney as Kupperman. -- Rebecca Kaplan and Grace Segers
Giuliani hires several attorneys
3:43 p.m.: Rudy Giuliani wrote on Twitter that he is being represented by several attorneys himself. The attorneys all have extensive experience in criminal investigations in the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, including one who was previously a former deputy chief of criminal investigations.
"I am represented and assisted by Robert Costello and the Pierce Bainbridge firm in particular , Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal," Giuliani tweeted. -- Paula Reid
Trump speaks at White House event
3:10 p.m.: The president is speaking at an event at the White House to "celebrate a profoundly and historic milestone: the confirmation of more than 150 Federal judges," according to the White House. Watch live here.
White House brings on Pam Bondi and Tony Sayegh to help with impeachment messaging
2:18 p.m.: Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury Department official Tony Sayegh are expected to join the White House communications team to work on proactive impeachment messaging and other special projects as they arise, according to a senior administration official.
Their roles will be within the White House as temporary special government employees.
Trump allies have long pushed for a more coordinated messaging strategy from the White House. -- Paula Reid
House releases transcript of Taylor testimony
1:54 p.m.: House Democrats released the transcript of Bill Taylor's testimony. Read more here.
Graham says Trump administration "incapable of forming a quid pro quo"
11:58 a.m.: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham made the argument to reporters Wednesday that the Trump administration's Ukraine policy was "incoherent," and the administration was "incapable of forming a quid pro quo."
Graham made the comments to reporters on Capitol Hill, reiterating that he won't read the transcripts from the impeachment inquiry. Graham said the entire impeachment process is a sham.
"I heard something yesterday I could not believe," a reporter posed to Graham. "Former impeachment manager Lindsey Graham says he's not going to read the impeachment transcripts? Really?"
"I'm not going to read these transcripts," Graham responded. "The whole process is a joke."
"You just pick things you like," Graham added. "Y'all hate this guy you all want to get him impeached. I'm not buying into Schiff running a legitimate operation."
Graham had told reporters on Capitol Hill the day before he didn't plan on reading transcripts released Tuesday from depositions with U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, former special representative to Ukraine. -- Alan He and Kathryn Watson
Schiff says committees will release transcript of Taylor's testimony today
11:42 a.m.: Schiff told reporters the committees will release the transcript of the closed hearing with Ambassador Bill Taylor on Wednesday.
Taylor, the top diplomat in the U.S. embassy in Kiev, testified before the committee last month that U.S. aid to Ukraine was explicitly tied to the country's willingness to investigate Mr. Trump's political rivals.
"What Americans will see from that transcript is what they have seen from the others, that the GOP claims to be locked out, prohibited from participating, unable to ask questions, are simply false," Schiff said. "In Ambassador Taylor's deposition, as indeed in every deposition, the Republican members have had equal opportunity with Democratic members to ask any questions they would like." -- Grace Segers
Intelligence Committee announces first public witnesses
11:32 a.m.: The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, November 13, and Friday, November 15, according to a release by the committee.
The committee will hear from William Taylor, the chargé d'affaires at the U.S. embassy in Kiev, and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent on Wednesday. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify before the committee on Friday.
Yovanovitch testified in a closed hearing before the committee last month that outside forces including Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, led a smear campaign against her which led to her dismissal.
"I think you will see throughout the course of the testimony, not only their testimony but many others, the most important facts are largely not contested," Schiff told reporters. "We are getting an increasing appreciation for just what took place during the course of the last year and the degree to which the president enlisted whole departments of government in the elicit aim of trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent." -- Grace Segers
Mulvaney won't testify, Kellyanne Conway says
9:45 a.m.: Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway says she is told acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney won't show up to testify. Conway made the comment to reporters on the White House driveway Wednesday morning.
Democrats want to hear from Mulvaney, who in an October press conference in the White House briefing room suggested foreign aid is withheld under certain conditions "all the time." He later walked back key parts of his press conference.
State Dept official David Hale arrives at the Capitol
8:45 a.m.: After two days of witnesses defying subpoenas in the Ukraine investigation, David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs, arrived at the Capitol at 8:45 a.m. to testify in a closed-door deposition before the House Intel, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees. Hale will likely be the only official subpoenaed to appear before the committees today. -- Kimberly Brown
Several administration officials were scheduled to testify
7:12 a.m.: Acting Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought, State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Undersecretary of State David Hale are scheduled but not confirmed for closed door depositions before the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.
Vought and Perry have already indicated that they are not cooperating with the impeachment inquiry. Brechbuhl is also unlikely to appear today, as he is on a plane to Germany with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. -- Grace Segers
DNC calls Sondland's revised testimony a "nightmare" for Trump
Tuesday, 6:55 p.m.: Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez described Sondland's revised testimony as a "nightmare" for Mr. Trump and Republicans.
"For weeks, Trump and his Republican allies used Sondland's denials as Exhibit A in their effort to protect Trump. But now Sondland admitted the truth, and it's a nightmare for Trump," Perez said in a statement to CBS News.
"It's long past time for Republicans to put country above party and hold this president accountable. No one is above the law - not even the president." -- Kathryn Watson
White House lawyers to take lead on impeachment defense
Tuesday, 6:21 p.m.: White House lawyers are expected to take the lead on defending the president in the impeachment inquiry as it moves to its public phase, CBS News has learned.
Throughout the Mueller investigation, the president relied on a team of personal attorneys to represent him on television and in the criminal proceeding. But government lawyers will now take the lead in defending the president against Democrats seeking to remove him from office, a reflection of the fact that this investigation is based on actions the president took while in the White House.
The president's personal attorneys will still have a role to play in certain aspects of the impeachment inquiry, but they will also be busy with litigation over their clients tax returns that is headed to the Supreme Court and other legal challenges facing the president outside of Washington. -- Paula Reid
Graham won't read impeachment transcripts, calls process "B.S."
Tuesday, 4:09 p.m.: Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, doesn't plan on reading the transcripts of testimony from Volker or Sondland, declaring the entire deposition and impeachment process "B.S."
Graham dismissed Sondland's apparent reversal in which he now admits he thought Ukraine aid was tied to Ukraine making a public anti-corruption statement. Graham suggested he doesn't care what any "bureaucrat" like Sondland thinks. But Sondland is no bureaucrat -- he was a prominent businessman before becoming ambassador and was a strong supporter of the president, donating $1 million to his inaugural fund.
"That's his opinion," Graham said of Sondland. "All I can say is that the president of Ukraine didn't believe that. The president of the United States on the phone call didn't say that ... if the person being threatened with withholding the aid, if they say, 'I wasn't threatened,' I don't care what any bureaucrat says." -- Alan He and Kathryn Watson
White House responds to release of Sondland and Volker transcripts
Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham attempted to paint a narrative that the deposition transcripts from Sondland and Volker help rather than hurt the White House. It's the media, she insisted, that's crafting a misleading narrative, even as Americans can read the hundreds of pages for themselves.
"Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought," Grisham said in a statement. "Ambassador Sondland squarely states that he 'did not know, (and still does not know) when, why or by whom the aid was suspended.' He also said he 'presumed' there was a link to the aid--but cannot identify any solid source for that assumption.
"By contrast, Volker's testimony confirms there could not have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know about the military aid hold at the time. No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the president has done nothing wrong." -- Kathryn Watson
Sondland revises testimony, says he now recalls Ukraine aid being linked to public anti-corruption statement
Tuesday, 2:00 p.m.: In a multi-page addendum to his testimony, all of which was released Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland claimed that his memory has been "refreshed" after reviewing others' testimony. Now, in revised testimony dated Monday, November 4, Sondland said he recalls that aid to Ukraine was, according to his understanding, conditioned on Ukraine making a public anti-corruption statement.
Sondland, a Trump donor whose initial testimony seemed to reflect favorably upon the president, had initially testified he was unaware Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was targeting former Vice President Joe Biden by urging Ukrainian officials to open an investigation into Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which had put Biden's son, Hunter Biden, on its board.
In the addendum to his testimony, Sondland said he now more vividly remembers a conversation with Andrey Yermak, an aide to Ukraine's president.
"I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak" at a September meeting in Ukraine, "where I said that the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks," Sondland said in his revised testimony.
At multiple points in his revised testimony, Sondland said he now recalls details that were previously cloudy. -- Kathryn Watson and Nancy Cordes
Sondland and Volker testimony transcripts released
1:50 p.m.: House Democrats have released transcripts of the testimony of two key figures in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland.
In October, Sondland testified he and other diplomats reluctantly worked with Rudy Giuliani at the direction of President Trump. Sondland and others have testified that it was Giuliani who wanted to push Ukraine to investigate U.S. election interference in 2016 and also Burisma, an energy company that employed Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.
Volker testified that he had expressed misgivings about Rudy Giuliani's influence on the president's view of Ukraine, and he submitted text messages to Congress that included exchanges with Sondland and another diplomat about the efforts to urge Ukraine to announce investigations into Democrats and 2016 election interference.
Read the transcripts here:
-- Stefan Becket