Patrick Kelley

Ousted ambassador gives deeply personal account of firing by Trump
Yovanovitch describes feeling 'shocked and devastated' reading transcript of Trump call with Ukrainian president

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post by President Donald Trump, spent much of her Friday before the House Intelligence Committee disputing allegations that she worked against Trump while in Kyiv and describing in vivid detail the shock of being targeted by the president.

The career diplomat is a key witness in the impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, and the drama surrounding the hearing was only fueled by tweets Friday from Trump blasting Yovanovitch, who said she already felt threatened by the president.

GOP relies on familiar defenses as impeachment hearings open
Jordan presses witnesses on Ukraine aid being released without investigation sought

Republicans reached for oft-cited complaints about the impeachment process Wednesday to counter arguments from Democrats and detailed statements from two career diplomats at the start of what will likely be several weeks of contentious hearings into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

It wasn’t until early afternoon, when a temporary member added to the House Intelligence Committee roster to bolster questioning during the televised proceedings, provided the most forceful defense of Trump in a hearing that otherwise shed little new light — for the viewing public, at least — on the weeks-long inquiry.

Intelligence Committee leaders set stage for contentious hearing on Trump impeachment
Schiff comes out in prosecutorial style, while Nunes blasts the process as a sham

Lawmakers on Wednesday immediately staked out their territory in the opening minutes of the first public impeachment hearing into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine, as witnesses described Kyiv's strategic importance and the threats it faces from Russia.

The opening hours of the hearing kicked off what will almost certainly be several adversarial weeks of testimony over whether the president abused his power by demanding a politically motivated investigation in exchange for U.S. military aid.

Most Republicans on impeachment committees aren’t showing up, transcripts reveal
Freedom Caucus members have taken lead role in questioning, foreshadowing public hearings

Republicans have for weeks blasted the closed-door impeachment process, but transcripts released this week of private depositions show most GOP lawmakers on the three panels at the center of the probe have simply not shown up.

The low attendance for most committee Republicans paints a very different picture of a party that recently stormed the secure room where the depositions have been conducted, demanding to participate in the process. Republican questioning during these private interviews have been driven by a handful of President Donald Trump’s allies and GOP staff.

House Democrats adopt rules for public impeachment proceedings
Procedures set up public hearings in Intelligence panel, deliberations on articles in Judiciary

House Democrats adopted a resolution Thursday adopting procedures that will govern the public portion of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, but no Republicans joined them in supporting the measure despite requesting the probe be conducted transparently. 

In a rare move for the speaker showing the seriousness of the vote, Nancy Pelosi presided over the chamber as the House adopted the resolution, 232-196. 

Raja Krishnamoorthi steps up to impeachment role
Illinois Democrat brings unique background, portfolio to tough task

Raja Krishnamoorthi never stops.

It’s a Tuesday afternoon in mid-October and Congress is back to work for the first time in more than two weeks. But as a member of two committees tasked with advancing the House’s impeachment inquiry, the Illinois Democrat spent most of the early October recess toiling in the Capitol and then flying home to the Chicago suburbs to explain that work to his constituents — including some impeachment skeptics.

Candidate’s ex-senator dad lobbies for Chinese tech firm. That could be a problem
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman advising son Matt, and China’s ZTE

U.S. national security experts of all political stripes agree: Chinese tech behemoth ZTE is a threat.

The company is a leading candidate to provide new markets with 5G networks, a lightning-fast wireless service that will support advanced technological applications.

Freedom Caucus steps into the GOP messaging gap
Conservative hard-liners fill vacuum to counterpunch for Trump

Mark Meadows’ gaze was scrupulously trained on Adam B. Schiff.

On Oct. 3, after deposing a former Trump official for hours, Schiff, the House Intelligence chairman, emerged from a secure room in the Capitol’s basement and addressed a waiting television camera.

Democrats, Trump lock in on impeachment standoff

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff on Tuesday bemoaned the State Department’s decision to block U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from testifying before the committee during its impeachment inquiry, calling the decision “obstruction”.

Sondland’s testimony, the California Democrat said, would have been “deeply relevant” to the inquiry into whether President Donald Trump used his office to coerce the Ukrainian government into investigating a chief political rival ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.

GOP laments Schiff’s handling of Ukraine probe, Volker testimony
Schiff: Trump actions ‘ought to be condemned by every member’

House Republicans on Thursday said that testimony from the State Department’s former envoy to Ukraine, sought by House Democrats with regards to their impeachment inquiry, won’t advance the drive to impeach President Donald Trump.

Emerging from the day-long deposition, New York Republican Lee Zeldin said that former U.S. Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker’s private Thursday testimony, “blows a hole in the argument” presented by Democrats that  Trump asked the president of Ukraine for a quid pro quo.

Mysterious dossier delivered to Congress by State Department watchdog
Documents said to contain conspiracy theories related to Ukraine

The State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday shared with Congress a dossier of unknown origins that one lawmaker said contained conspiracy theories and was hand-delivered to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo months ago.

With members away from the Capitol for a two-week recess, Steve Linick, the State Department’s top watchdog, briefed congressional staffers Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, on the documents that Raskin said arrived at the department in May.

Intel chief calls whistleblower complaint ‘unprecedented’
Acting director of national intelligence Maguire explains to House Intelligence Committee why he didn’t release complaint to Congress

The acting director of national intelligence on Thursday told the House Intelligence Committee that he did not forward to the panel a whistleblower complaint regarding President Donald Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Biden family, as he first needed clarification if the complaint was one that could be superseded by executive privilege.

Joseph Maguire detailed the process he undertook after receiving the complaint, saying his staff spent the last several weeks working with the White House legal counsel to determine whether the president’s executive privilege would prevent him from sending the complaint to Congress.

Pentagon to begin diverting construction funds for border wall
Democrats quick to slam move as an executive power grab

The Pentagon announced Tuesday it would begin diverting $3.6 billion in military construction funding for a wall along the U.S. southern border, even as court challenges continue.

The release of defense money makes good on President Donald Trump’s plan to fund a wall with money never approved by lawmakers for that purpose. Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year to tap military construction accounts and funnel the money to the border instead.

Senate Armed Services sends Hyten nomination to floor despite sexual assault allegations
The committee’s endorsement comes one day after his confirmation hearing, when he defended himself against accusations

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday advanced Gen. John Hyten’s nomination to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Senate floor amid some opposition from senators concerned about sexual assault allegations launched against the four-star.

The committee’s endorsement of Hyten on a 20-7 vote in a closed-door session comes one day after his confirmation hearing, during which he defended himself against accusations made made by a former subordinate, Army Col. Kathryn A. Spletstoser.

Senate confirms Norquist for No. 2 Pentagon job
Norquist shepherded the DOD through its first audit, and received plaudits from members of both parties during his confirmation

The Senate late Tuesday night confirmed by voice vote David Norquist to be deputy Defense secretary as the chamber rushes to vote on numerous nominees before senators leave town for August recess.

Norquist’s easy, late-night passage underscores his popularity on Capitol Hill. As Pentagon comptroller, he shepherded the Defense Department through its first-ever audit, and received plaudits from members of both parties during his confirmation before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.

For Joint Chiefs nominee, a subdued hearing addressing contentious charges
John Hyten defends himself against sexual assault charges before Armed Services panel

President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday publicly defended himself against sexual assault allegations that have clouded his nomination, picking up support from key lawmakers as his accuser, an Army colonel, sat just feet away.

And although the accusations against him are part of a wider cultural issue that has filtered into the presidential campaign, two members of the committee running for president skipped the hearing — and a chance to question the nominee. 

Esper content with defense budget, calls for 'stable leadership'
Top jobs in the Pentagon remain unfilled or are being carried out by 'acting' officials

Newly minted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper enters the top job at a moment of both relief and urgency for the Pentagon.

The relief came from an agreement this week between Congress and the White House to fund the military for the next two years at $738 billion in fiscal 2020 and $740.5 billion in 2021, numbers that defense hawks have said they can live with.

Senate Armed Services hears from Hyten's accuser
Nominee to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused of sexual misconduct

The Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday from the military officer who has accused Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the nominee to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of sexual misconduct, two Democratic senators said.

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who sits on the committee, told reporters that Hyten’s accuser testified in a closed-door meeting.

Senate confirms Esper to be Defense secretary
The vote ends an eight-month period during which the massive bureaucracy was led by a series of acting leaders

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Mark Esper to be the next Defense secretary, 90-8, bringing to an end an eight-month period during which the massive bureaucracy was led by a series of acting leaders.

Esper, who has served as Army secretary since 2017, follows James Mattis as President Donald Trump’s second Senate-confirmed Defense secretary.