Donald Trump’s refusal to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine has prompted House speaker Nancy Pelosi to hit back, reminding the president: “You are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”

The White House issued an eight-page letter to House Democrats late on Tuesday denouncing its investigation into whistleblower allegations that Mr Trump attempted to extort dirt on a domestic political rival from a foreign power as “constitutionally invalid”, after blocking US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland from appearing on Capitol Hill earlier in the day to give his version of events.

The move to silence Mr Sondland reportedly came as shock to the president’s Republican allies, who duly descended on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to demand better communication on strategy, complaining of being blindsided just as several senior military officials had on Monday over the sudden announcement that the US would be withdrawing troops from northern Syria.

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2019-10-09T11:15:00.000Z

And now we’re back to Schiff bashing.

Oh and raging against the UN – a pet theme we’ve not heard in a while.


2019-10-09T11:05:00.000Z

Trump is up early and not taking due care with his tweets.

Total Wirch Hunt!


2019-10-09T10:55:00.000Z

How Trump’s giant re-election effort compares to his underdog days in 2015.


2019-10-09T10:40:00.000Z

Kamala Harris has a new jam and has started wearing Converse. “Don’t call it a comeback.” 

“Justice is on the ballot when we have a crook in the White House. And let’s be clear, the way I think about, he’s just a walking indictment in a red tie,” she told the students of Iowa State University.


2019-10-09T10:25:00.000Z

Hillary Clinton has been busy trolling the MAGA crowd by appearing on PBS to say she could “obviously” beat Trump “again”, alluding to her winning the popular vote in 2016, only for the big man to claim the Electoral College 304-227.

She has also been responding to the president directly on Twitter after he sarcastically suggested she run again.


2019-10-09T10:10:00.000Z

Speaking of Moscow matters, Trump is reportedly planning to withdraw the US from the Open Skies Treaty, which permits signatory nations to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory, a decision that “would only benefit Russia”, according to House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel.

Lily Puckett has more.


2019-10-09T09:55:00.000Z

Russian agents who sought to influence the 2016 US presidential election toasted Trump’s victory with champagne and declared they had “made America great,” according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report.

The Kremlin-directed Internet Research Agency flooded social media with “false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls” to exploit divisions in a bid to improve the Republican candidate’s prospects, the report said.

Chris Baynes reports.


2019-10-09T09:35:00.000Z

A new Quinnipiac University Poll on the Democratic 2020 presidential challengers finds Elizabeth Warren ahead of Joe Biden in the race for the nomination.

Twenty-nine per cent of Democratic-leaning voters back Warren, with Biden on 26 per cent and Bernie Sanders – currently recuperating from a heart attack – in third place on 16 per cent. 

Only Pete Buttigieg (4 per cent), Kamala Harris (3 per cent) and Andrew Yang (3 per cent) making any kind of impression outside of the top three.

“Warren maintains her strength in the Democratic primary, which has been consistently growing since the start of her campaign. This poll confirms her status as a co-frontrunner with Biden,” said Quinnipiac analyst Tim Malloy.

The Massachusetts senator seems completely unscathed by the smear cooked up last week by alt-right activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, alleging that she engaged in a torrid sadomasochistic affair with a 24-year-old US Marine she met on an escort site for “cougars”, just as Biden seems untouched by Rudy Giuliani‘s flimsy Ukraine allegations.

Wohl and Burkman are after Harris now, it seems.


2019-10-09T09:15:00.000Z

Trump, naturally, endorsed McConnell’s attack on another big evening on Twitter for him.

He resumed his muckslinging against House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff and the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, whom he continues to seethe at after the Minnesota city refused to let him stage a MAGA rally at its Target Center arena, even claiming that his tweet about a local “Cops for Trump” T-shirt website caused it to crash because of high demand. 

He also posted several clips of Sean Hannity raving on Fox, attempted to sway Louisiana, attacked California and promoted an extremely vague story linking the CIA whistleblower to one of the leading 2020 Democrats.


2019-10-09T08:55:00.000Z

The impeachment inquiry is already threatening to descend into a heated war of words.

Last night, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell – who has said he has no choice but to hold a trial in the upper chamber should the House vote to impeach the president and broke with Trump this week on Syria – hit out at the Democrats’ handling of the investigation so far.

The Republican accused the opposition of seeking to overturn the result of the 2016 election.

His argument that the Democrats have treated Trump differently from other presidents was also picked up by his counterpart in the House, Kevin McCarthy, who last made headlines when he was embarrassed on 60 Minutes disputing the wording of the Zelensky transcript.

You might argue that Trump himself has treated the presidency differently to any of his predecessors.

McCarthy has meanwhile been insisting the House should have allowed a vote before deciding to go ahead with the impeachment inquiry but Speaker Pelosi insists “there’s no requirement that there be a floor vote” and has otherwise ignored his attempts to interfere.


2019-10-09T08:35:00.000Z

Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president was “crazy”, “frightening” and had nothing to do with national security, a White House official reportedly told the CIA whistleblower at the centre of the impeachment scandal shortly after the conversation took place.

Trump has previously described the as “very normal” and a “perfect call”.

However, figures in his own administration appear to have disagreed in the immediate aftermath of the call. According to reports in The New York Times, the whistleblower spoke to one administration official who was “visibly shaken by what had transpired” shortly after the conversation had taken place.

Vincent Wood has more.


2019-10-09T08:20:00.000Z

Trump has received plenty of criticism in recent weeks (and, indeed, months) but few have been more damning than 95-year-old Jimmy Carter, who has just returned to work building new houses with Habitat for Humanity in Tennessee a day after slipping and suffering a black eye, requiring 14 stitches – a superb effort.

The 39th president told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC:

My advice to him would be to tell the truth, I think, for a change. And also to cut back on his Twitter feeds and give the House of Representatives and also the Senate, and I would say, the general public, the evidence that – that we need to form a case, either for or against him.

Here’s the exchange in full. 


2019-10-09T08:05:00.000Z

The latest poll on impeachment, from The Washington Post/Schar School, finds the majority of Americans are now in favour of the process.

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents backed the House Democrats’ investigation arising out of Trump’s 25 July call with Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, with just 38 per cent saying it is the wrong move.

Trump himself, of course, remains defiant to the point of deranged belligerence, and insisted on Monday that support for him has jumped drastically because the American electorate recognise the impeachment inquiry is a “scam”.

The people are wise to it. And that’s why my polls went up, I think they said, 17 points in the last two or three days. I’ve never had that one.

This graph, however, suggests the only support that has jumped is for impeachment, climbing 25 points among Democrats and 20 among independents.

Clark Mindock has more on the latest polling.


2019-10-09T07:50:00.000Z

Donald Trump’s refusal to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine has prompted House speaker Nancy Pelosi to hit back, reminding the president: “You are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”

White House lawyer Pat Cipollone sent an eight-page letter to House Democrats late on Tuesday denouncing its investigation into whistleblower allegations that Trump attempted to extort dirt on a domestic political rival from a foreign power as “constitutionally invalid”, after blocking US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland from appearing on Capitol Hill earlier in the day to give his version of events.

The move to silence Sondland reportedly came as shock to the president’s Republican allies, who duly descended on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to demand better communication on strategy, complaining of being blindsided just as several senior military officials had on Monday over the sudden announcement that the US would be withdrawing troops from northern Syria.

Here’s Lily Puckett’s report.


2019-10-09T07:40:00.000Z

Hello and welcome to The Independent‘s rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration.

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