Impeachment watch: Republicans circle the wagons as impeachment peril grows for Trump

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The Department of Justice is investigating the Russia investigation, raising concerns that Trump is using the department to go after his political enemies.

No depositions took place in the House impeachment inquiry on Thursday, as members were paying tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

Nevertheless, Thursday brought a barrage of news in the impeachment inquiry — none of which looks good for Donald Trump.

  • First, Trump looks like he's using the Department of Justice to go after his political enemies — yet another corrupt action. The New York Times reported that the DOJ, led by Attorney General William Barr, opened a criminal investigation into the Russia probe. That investigation, which culminated in the Mueller Report, did not exonerate Trump and instead found evidence that Trump obstructed justice, but it determined that impeachment was the only vehicle to punish a sitting president.
  • Tim Morrison, who serves as a Russia and Europe adviser on the National Security Council, will back up the explosive testimony of Bill Taylor, CNN reported. Taylor, a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to force the country's president to publicly announce an investigation into 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
  • The federal investigation into Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is larger than initially known, with the criminal division of the DOJ now looking into Giuliani, according to Politico. That's bad news for Giuliani, who is already being investigated by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, the very office Giuliani once led.
  • The New York Times reported that Trump tried to stop Laura Cooper — a Defense Department official whose deposition Republicans held up with a political stunt — from testifying. Cooper specialized in Russia issues at the department and did not support Trump's trying to hold up military aid to Ukraine. Despite the Trump administration's threats, Cooper testified anyway.
  • Republicans are trying to protect Trump from impeachment, with top Trump defender Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announcing a resolution urging the House to take an official vote to launch an impeachment inquiry. Attacking the process of the inquiry — the process that the GOP approved of during their Benghazi investigation — is the only defense Republicans seem to be making for Trump.

Come back Monday for more impeachment news.

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Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.