Pence Is Asked to Declassify Call Record: Impeachment Update


(Bloomberg) -- Leaders of six House committees have been directed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The House Judiciary panel will hold a hearing Monday to hear presentations on the evidence by the chief counsels for both parties on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees.

Here are the latest developments:

Pence Is Asked to Declassify Call Record (6:46 p.m.)

The House Intelligence chairman asked Vice President Mike Pence to declassify a supplemental statement provided to the committee on Nov. 26 by Jennifer Williams, the vice president's special adviser for Europe and Russia.

Williams' supplemental statement contains additional information about Pence's Sept. 18 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a letter. Williams testified at a public hearing on Nov. 19.

Schiff wrote that after reviewing Williams' statement, the committee "strongly believes that there is no legitimate basis" to assert that Williams' information about the Sept. 18 call is classified.

Because Pence's and Trump's calls with Zelenskiy covered similar topics, and the president determined that releasing the records of his calls with Zelenskiy wouldn't harm national security, declassifying Williams' statement also wouldn't pose a threat to national security, Schiff wrote.

He asked Pence to respond no later than Dec. 11.

House GOP Seeks Whistle-Blower's Testimony (5:19 p.m.)

The Judiciary Committee's top Republican, Doug Collins, proposed calling a number of witnesses, including Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, the unidentified whistle-blower and Joe Biden's son Hunter.

"We expect you to follow this reasonable advice," Collins wrote in a letter Friday to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who has the authority to reject the request.

Collins also sought testimony by every person relied on by the whistle-blower in drafting the complaint, and an unidentified person in the intelligence community who spoke to Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman about Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's president.

The whistle-blower would be able to testify in a manner that wouldn't reveal the person's identity, Collins said.

Nadler wrote in response that Trump has repeatedly refused to respond to the allegations against him. "Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair. The president's failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty," he wrote.

White House Won't Participate in Hearing (4:40 p.m.)

The White House won't participate in Monday's hearing by the House Judiciary Committee, a senior administration official said.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called the impeachment inquiry an "abuse of power" in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler ahead of a Friday deadline he set for the president to indicate whether his representatives would seek to call or cross-examine any witnesses or submit evidence. The letter didn't say explicitly whether Trump would participate in the hearing.

"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade," Cipollone wrote. "You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings. Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation's history."

The letter quoted Trump, who said earlier this week that "if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business."

House GOP Won't Offer Defense Witnesses (12:42 p.m.)

The House Judiciary Committee's top Republican indicated Friday he isn't taking seriously the Democratic chairman's invitation to offer potential defense witnesses as part of the impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Republican Doug Collins of Georgia said his team will send a response letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler later Friday. But he said Pelosi has already shown that the proceedings are a done deal.

"She ended the suspense yesterday morning when she said we're writing articles," Collins said.

The Judiciary panel is also waiting to hear from Trump on whether his representatives will seek to call or cross-examine any witnesses, or submit evidence to the committee.

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Key Events

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed the heads of six House committees to begin drafting articles of impeachment, saying that Congress must hold Trump accountable for his "profound violation" of the public trust.The House Intelligence Committee Democrats' impeachment report is here.Gordon Sondland's transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker's transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of Holmes, a Foreign Service officer in Kyiv, is here.The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent's testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper's transcript is here; Christopher Anderson's is here and Catherine Croft's is here. Jennifer Williams' transcript is here and Timothy Morrison's is here. Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy's is here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Billy House in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at, Laurie Asséo

For more articles like this, please visit us at

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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