Eric Swalwell

Lawmakers weaponize colleagues’ call records
Devin Nunes disclosure could presage conflict over phone conversations

The phone records of House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., have become an issue in the impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump this week gave members of Congress a glimpse at a new and distressing weapon in partisan warfare — the exposure of lawmakers’ call records as part of congressional oversight.

The House Intelligence Committee report in its investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine included the call records of the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who is reportedly under criminal investigation, and his indicted associate Lev Parnas.

Double standards for 2020 Democratic hopefuls? You don’t say
Kamala Harris was tripped up by obstacles her white counterparts haven’t had to face

Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential bid faced unique hurdles from the start, some of them personal, Curtis writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There is a particular line that stuck with me in the just-opened film “Queen & Slim,” about a black couple on the run after an altercation with a white police officer goes awry in the depressing and terrible way you might imagine. During their perilous road trip, in a quieter moment, he (a retail worker) asks her (an attorney) if she is good at her job. “I’m an excellent lawyer,” she replies, to which he answers with a question that’s really a statement: “Why do black people always got to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?”

Since the pre-mortems were written a bit ago, it’s time for a post-mortem on the presidential campaign of California Sen. Kamala Harris, who never seemed to quite discover who she was or at least convey authenticity and excellence to enough voters or donors to make a difference.

Wide partisan gulf on display at impeachment hearing
First day of testimony offers little hope of mutual agreement on facts uncovered by House Democrats

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks with ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Dec. 4. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans might have been in the same hearing room Wednesday, but the first day of testimony in this phase of the impeachment process of President Donald Trump underscored just how little the parties are engaging with each other.

And the daylong House Judiciary Committee hearing dedicated to exploring the Constitution’s impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” offered little hope of some mutual agreement on the facts that House Democrats uncovered, how to interpret them or the entire impeachment process.

Nadler hints Trump impeachment inquiry could expand beyond Ukraine
House Judiciary's first impeachment hearing punctuated by partisan bickering

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, takes his seat as ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., looks on before the start of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Wednesday raised the possibility that the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump could be expanded beyond its current narrow scope of a July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.

In his opening remarks at his panel's first impeachment hearing, the New York Democrat invoked former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

‘Impeachapalooza 2019’: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 18, 2019

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The scandal with no name continues to vex Washington
Ukraziness? Snakes on Ukraine? Badfellas? What should we call it?

Protestors holds signs on Nov. 13 outside the Longworth Building where top diplomats William Taylor and George Kent testified before the House Intelligence Committee. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Two years ago, official Washington failed to come up with a name for … the thing that happened two years ago. Most everyone settled on Trump-Russia or the Russia investigation or the Mueller probe or any number of unimaginative appellations.

Well, here we are again, nearly two months into yet another Donald Trump scandal with no name. “Why is there not a catchy, gate-like name for this Ukraine scandal yet?” asked one Twitter user in October. “It’s like the writers aren’t even trying anymore.” Indeed, John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, could only come up with “Stupid Watergate 2.” Jimmy Kimmel recently coined “Ukraziness.” Other attempts have been made online, some better than others: Snakes on Ukraine. Zelenscheme. Crackpot Dome. Red Hat.

Pentagon official says Ukraine asked about military aid in July
Ukrainians may have known about the hold on aid package this summer, undercutting GOP impeachment arguments

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of Defense, right, and David Hale, undersecretary of State for political affairs, are sworn in before they testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Nov. 20. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Laura Cooper, a Pentagon expert on Ukraine, told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday evening that Ukrainian embassy staff in Washington contacted her office in July with questions about the White House’s hold on military aid promised to their country.

Cooper’s testimony adds a new twist to the House impeachment inquiry, into the connection between the hold on that aid and President Donald Trump’s desired politically motivated investigations into a Ukrainian energy company and the Biden family.

Trump’s relationships and other takeaways after Gordon Sondland’s testimony
‘The Gordon problem’: Ambassador quips ‘that’s what my wife calls me’ during an odd day in Washington

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump stuck to the script Wednesday, one he personally wrote on an Air Force One notepad in black marker.

As the president gestured with his hands as he spoke to reporters, the pad in his left hand tilted toward journalists assembled on the White House’s South Lawn. His movements revealed the notes, writing in large letters with what appeared to be a thick black marker. (A White House official confirmed it was the president’s handwriting on the white page.)

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 20
Testimony from Laura Cooper contradicts Republican argument that Ukraine did not know about the hold on security aid

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Ukraine Laura Cooper told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday evening that Ukrainian Embassy staff in August were aware of the White House’s hold on military assistance to Kyiv.

Cooper’s testimony ran counter to a key Republican argument about the July phone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Donald Trump — that Ukraine did not know about the hold on security aid.

Democrats target Trump defenses in first impeachment hearing
Two articulate and polished career diplomats lend gravitas to much-anticipated public event

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, joined by other House Democrats, speaks to reporters Wednesday's hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats used the first day of impeachment hearings to take aim at the various defenses President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have raised during the inquiry into his Ukraine dealings — a strategy that allows them to advance their case alongside a drumbeat of witness testimony over the next two weeks.

The House Intelligence Committee started that push Wednesday with two articulate and polished veteran diplomats, whose deep knowledge of Ukraine turned into succinct explanations of the unusual circumstances surrounding how the Trump administration handled almost $400 million in military aid to the country.