The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Breaking — House Intel releases first transcripts from impeachment probe | Four White House officials refusing to testify | Trump demands whistleblower testimony | GOP urges Trump to focus on agenda, not impeachment | Court rules Manhattan DA can subpoena Trump records | Trump's tough path with one year to election | Trump to host rally in Kentucky tonight | Nationals celebrate World Series win | Players chug beers at Caps game | Trump to host champs today



The first transcripts from the closed-door depositions are now public

House Democrats just released the first set of transcripts from their closed-door interviews in the impeachment inquiry.

Which transcripts are now public: The depositions of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and top State Department official Michael McKinley.


From the chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees: “As we move towards this new public phase of the impeachment inquiry, the American public will begin to see for themselves the evidence that the committees have collected. With each new interview, we learn more about the President’s attempt to manipulate the levers of power to his personal political benefit," the chairs wrote in a joint statement. Read their full joint statement:

^ Specifically on these two transcripts: “The transcripts of interviews with Ambassadors Yovanovitch and McKinley demonstrate clearly how President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE approved the removal of a highly respected and effective diplomat based on public falsehoods and smears against Ambassador Yovanovitch’s character and her work in support of long-held U.S. foreign policy anticorruption goals.” 



Yovanovitch said she felt ‘threatened’: “Marie Yovanovitch said she felt threatened when she heard President Trump had said she would ‘go through some things.’" (Via Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann)

On the campaign against Yovanovitch: “Yovanovitch testified that when she asked [US Ambassador to the EU Gordon] Sondland for advice about the campaign against her, he recommended she tweet in praise of Trump. ‘It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an ambassador.’” (Via The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Ballhaus)

Yovanovitch on Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiNadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' READ: Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman testifies Barr 'repeatedly urged' him to resign Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE’s efforts to oust her: "You know... you're going to think that I'm incredibly naive, but I couldn't imagine all of the things that have happened over the last 5 or 7 months, I just couldn't imagine it." (Via Politico’s John Bresnahan)



Read the full transcript with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch:

Read the full transcript with top State Department official Michael McKinley:




In a big victory for the Trump administration, all four White House officials who were scheduled to speak with impeachment investigators today are refusing to testify.



— Senior attorney at the National Security Council John Eisenberg and his deputy Michael Ellis

Robert Blair, senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says  Mulvaney: Trump faces difficulty if 2020 election becomes 'referendum' on him MORE

Brian McCormack of the Office of Management and Budget 

Why: “An administration official says Eisenberg isn't showing up due to executive privilege while Blair, Ellis and McCormack aren't going to appear because they won't be able to have an administration lawyer present.”

Empty mics: C-SPAN this morning live streamed the empty microphones by the closed-door rooms.




It’s Monday. The 2020 elections are officially less than a year away! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Tell me! Tell me! Tell me! TELL ME!:

This morning, President Trump demanded that the anonymous whistleblower that led an impeachment inquiry testify. He also accused the second whistleblower of being a “con” and “disappearing.”

Trump tweeted: “The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!” The full tweet if you’re interested in seeing the dumpster fire of his Twitter mentions:



Republicans to Trump: Let us deal with the food fight:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Senate Republicans want President Trump to focus more on his agenda and not let himself become personally consumed by the House impeachment inquiry, which is likely to hit a dead end in the Senate.” 

According to GOP sources: “Senate Republicans have urged the president on multiple occasions to keep his eye on top policy priorities and let his allies on Capitol Hill handle more of the day-to-day skirmishing over impeachment.”

Reasoning from Republicans: Many in the Senate believe that the public is more concerned about the economy, health care and national security than an impeachment inquiry. 

I.e.: They think President Trump should stay above the fray. 




Court says Trump’s tax returns can be subpoenaed:

Via The Hill’s Harper Neidig, “A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that President Trump can't block the Manhattan District Attorney's Office from subpoenaing his accounting firm for financial records.”

Read the ruling:




Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) dropped out of the presidential race on Friday after he failed to capture strong momentum.

Why he dropped out now: Because of $$. His campaign would need deep staff cuts to pay for advertising in the early voting states. 

Read Beto’s announcement on Medium:

What now for Beto: He is not expected to run again for Senate in Texas, even though Democratic leaders desperately want him to.



Via Politico’s David Siders:


In the next 364 days:

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson in Newton, Iowa, “A year before voters head to the polls to pick America's next president, the country stands bitterly divided over its own future, the leaders who will guide us there and even their fellow citizens.”

How so: “The America that both President Trump and his Democratic rivals seek to lead is backed more strongly into its partisan corners than at any point in recent memory, less likely to give the benefit of the doubt to those on the other side of the aisle, less interested in compromise and even more suspicious of the other side's motives.” 

The path for President Trump:



According to a New York Times–Siena College survey, President Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' Trump says he'll wear mask during upcoming trip to Walter Reed Latino group 'Mi Familia Vota' launches M voter turnout campaign targeting swing states MORE but is beating Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Progressive activist Ady Barkan endorses Biden, urges him to pick Warren as VP Congress must act now to fix a Social Security COVID-19 glitch and expand, not cut, benefits MORE (D-Mass.).

The full poll:  



The Nats are living their best lives:

The 2019 World Series–champion Washington Nationals kept up their celebration this weekend. Here are some of the highlights: 

Hahaha — this would be a fun box to watch the Caps: Here is video of the Washington Nationals chugging their beers after the Caps scored a goal. Watch:

Oh boy...: The Nationals’ parade buses were seen in Philadelphia yesterday. Photos:

This is a pretty cool photo from the parade:

Here are the best quotes from the Nationals’ rally:


Instead of ‘hold my beer,’ it is now ‘hold my baby’: 

During the weekend festivities, ABC7 sports reporter Scott Abraham held Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton’s baby so he could drink the gold bottle of champagne. Watch:



Omg, this happened: 



Powered by DQ:



The House and Senate are out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and heads to Kentucky later today for a campaign rally. Vice President Pence is in Mississippi.

9 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence left Washington, D.C., for Gulfport, Miss.

11:45 a.m. EST: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Trump administration sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses WHO sets up independent panel to assess global coronavirus response MORE.

1 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at a Mississippi Victory rally.

4:10 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves the White House for Lexington, Ky.

4:40 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

10:25 p.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House. 

10 a.m. EST Tuesday: The Senate meets. The Senate’s full schedule:

November 3, 2020: The presidential election. Op-ed:



This morning: The funeral for the late Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersLocal reparations initiatives can lead to national policy remedying racial injustice Former impeachment managers clash over surveillance bill VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE (D-Mich.). Livestream:

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump hosts the 2019 World Series champions, the Washington Nationals. Livestream:

7 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Lexington, Ky. Livestream:



Today is National Candy Day!


Pint-sized MLB players:

Atlanta Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman passed a kid on Halloween who was dressed up as him. His wife posted the video. Watch:


And because you made it this far, here’s a dog with a rather unusual strategy of getting down the stairs: