Elise Viebeck, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis at WP:
A divided House took a critical step forward in its impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Thursday, approving guidelines for the public phase of the probe as a top White House official corroborated earlier accounts that the president pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival.Tierney Sneed at TPM:
The House approved a resolution, 232 to 196, that formalized the inquiry, clearing the way for nationally televised hearings in mid-November and ensuring Trump’s right to participate in the latter stage of the proceedings unless he tries to block witnesses from testifying.
The near party-line vote came as Tim Morrison, a top official on Trump’s National Security Council, testified in a closed-door deposition. Morrison backed up previous testimony that the president withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country into announcing investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and interference in the 2016 election, according to his prepared remarks and people familiar with his testimony, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door proceedings. He said he got the information directly from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, the administration official who communicated that apparent quid pro quo to Ukrainian leaders.
On Tuesday night the House Judiciary Committee released a set of impeachment protocols to go along with the broader resolution that the House will likely vote on this week, outlining the public phase of its impeachment inquiry.
The new impeachment protocols offer the President the due process rights that Republicans complain have been absent in the inquiry, but they come with a twist.
A provision in the package says that if the President “unlawfully” refuses “to make witnesses available for testimony to, or to produce documents requested by” the committees currently leading the impeachment probe, the House Judiciary Committee chairman will have the right to deny the due process procedures outlined in the procedures.
The provision appears to be a reference to the White House’s directive to the administration that it not comply with document requests or make available officials for testimony. Several administration officials have defied the blockade, but others have cited it to dodge testifying, and multiple document requests by the House have gone unfulfilled.
The due process procedures that Trump otherwise would have access to are similar to or go beyond what was available for previous presidents who faced impeachment, according to a comparison chart released by the House Democrats.