State Department inspector general requests urgent briefing on Ukraine with congressional staff

It remains unclear exactly what State Department Inspector General Steve Linick plans to provide Congress during the private briefing Wednesday.

Some key context: A whistleblower complaint released last week alleges Trump abused his official powers “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the 2020 election and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

A rough transcript released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, Trump’s potential 2020 political rival, and his son Hunter Biden.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.

Read CNN’s annotated versions of the White House transcript and complaint document for more.

Deposition for House impeachment investigation delayed

The House committees investigating Trump and Ukraine have delayed one of those depositions planned for this week, according to an aide, but former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker will appear Thursday.

The aide said on Tuesday the testimony of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, would now occur Oct. 11, following an agreement between the committee’s and the former ambassador’s counsel.

Three committees — the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight panels — have scheduled the depositions as part of their probe into whether Trump solicited help from a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political opponent.

Yovanovitch and Volker were two of the five depositions that the committees have scheduled during the next two weeks while Congress is on recess.

Giuliani hires a Watergate prosecutor as his attorney in impeachment inquiry

Florida attorney Jon Sale, who worked as an assistant prosecutor on the legal team investigating the Watergate scandal, is representing Giuliani in the matter of the congressional impeachment inquiry, both of them confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

Giuliani was subpoenaed on Monday by the three committees in the House of Representatives investigating Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian government. The subpoena requests documents and correspondence from Giuliani related to Ukraine.

As a reminder, the whistleblower complaint labels Giuliani as “central figure” in the controversy. US officials were concerned, the whistleblower said, with Giuliani and his contacts with Ukrainian officials.

Key GOP senator breaks with Trump in saying the whistleblower ‘ought to be heard out and protected’

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chamber’s most senior Republican and a longtime defender of whistleblowers, rebuked Trump on Tuesday when he said the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry “appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected.”

His comments mark a clear departure from Trump and his allies, who in recent days have repeatedly maligned the whistleblower’s motives and pushed to reveal the individual’s identity.

Ukraine’s President says he never met with Giuliani

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday said he has never met with Giuliani, as Zelensky finds himself in the middle of an American political firestorm.

“I never met Rudy Giuliani — never. And never had any phone calls with him,” Zelensky said Tuesday at a news conference in Kiev.

According to the White House transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, the Ukrainian President said he was aware of Giuliani’s efforts to uncover information that would help Trump politically, and Trump encouraged Zelensky to speak with his lawyer because Giuliani “very much knows what’s happening.”

Pompeo accuses House Democrats of intimidation and bullying over Ukraine controversy

“I’m concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career FSOs,” he tweeted.

The comments prompted House Democrats to issue a stark warning to the top US diplomat. The chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees told Pompeo that any effort to prevent those officials from speaking to Congress “is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”

CNN reported Monday that Pompeo was on Trump’s July call with Zelensky despite previously denying knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

More news around Washington

How Lindsey Graham’s support for Trump — a man he once called a ‘jackass’ — has evolved

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is one of Trump’s most vociferous defenders on Capitol Hill, but it wasn’t always like that. In fact, Graham called Trump “crazy and a “jackass” four years ago when he was running in the GOP presidential primary.

At the time, Trump wasn’t so kind to Graham either, calling him a “nut job.”

“This guy Lindsey Graham, he’s one of the dumbest human beings I have ever seen,” Trump said at a rally in South Carolina. “He starts hitting me, saying vicious things, ends up with 0%. He left in disgrace.”

Don’t assume the Senate would *never* impeach Trump

With the House headed down a path that virtually guarantees Trump will be impeached, conventional wisdom has settled on the idea that the Republican-led Senate will never, ever, remove him from office.

And, well, it’s true that the strong likelihood is that the Senate acquits Trump, CNN’s Chris Cillizza writes.

But if the Trump presidency — and the way in which he became President — teaches us anything, it should be this: Never assume. Anything.

Fact-checking Trump’s false claim that the US is the only country providing aid to Ukraine

Trump has offered several explanations to justify his decision to delay military aid to Ukraine, first suggesting he was worried about “corruption,” then claiming the delay was a mechanism to pressure other countries to contribute.

On September 23, Trump voiced his complaint to reporters alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda, asking, “Why is it always the United States spending money?” and “I don’t like it that it’s only us.”

Facts First: The US is not “the only one” contributing aid to Ukraine. Germany and France have both sent millions of euros to Ukraine, along with other European nations.

Connected by subpoenas: Giuliani and his Ukrainian middleman Lev Parnas face increased scrutiny

Parnas, a Ukrainian American businessman who has been subpoenaed as part of the House impeachment inquiry, has spent thousands of dollars on Trump properties and donated to the main super PAC supporting the President’s reelection effort, according to documents produced in an unrelated federal lawsuit.

Starting in November 2018, Parnas introduced Giuliani to former and current Ukrainian officials, according to Giuliani.

Financial records uncovered as a result of a lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida earlier this year show Parnas spent thousands of dollars at Trump hotels in the fall of 2018, donated hundreds of thousands to the pro-Trump super PAC and received checks from Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm with deep connections to the Trump White House.

The financial ties between Trump’s world and Parnas raise new questions about the nature of Parnas’ relationship with Giuliani and who was paying the former New York mayor and Parnas for their research on Ukraine.

CNN’s Michael Warren, Haley Byrd, Veronica Stracqualursi, Daniel Dale, Chris Cillizza, Katelyn Polantz and Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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