The impeachment fallout continues, with President Trump and his supporters castigating Democrats for launching the inquiry while the president's critics dig in. Here's a look at coverage:
- Trump: He's been tweeting, a lot, on Friday in defense of what he insists was a "perfect conversation" with Ukraine's leader. If that call isn't appropriate, "then no future President can EVER again speak to another foreign leader!" he wrote. Trump also blasted the "so-called whistleblower" and wondered if a "partisan operative" fed him phony info. And the president accused Rep. Adam Schiff of distorting his words and demanded that the congressman resign.
- Pelosi's prayers: "I pray for the president all the time," Nancy Pelosi said on Morning Joe, per the Washington Examiner. Among other things, she prays "that God will illuminate him to see right from wrong." On the same program, she widened her criticism on the Ukraine controversy to include Attorney General William Barr. "He's gone rogue," she said, per Politico. "I think where they're going is a cover-up of the cover-up, and that's really very sad for them."
- Focus on Rudy: At the center of the controversy sits Rudy Giuliani, seen by Ukraine officials as a "direct conduit to Trump," per the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper examines how Giuliani sometimes acted on his own and sometimes in tandem with US government officials on matters of foreign policy. "My only knowledge of what Mr. Giuliani does—I have to be honest with you—I get from the TV or the news media," Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, told a House panel Thursday. "I'm not aware of what he does for the president."
- More criticism: More than 300 former national security and foreign policy advisers signed a statement in support of the impeachment inquiry, reports the Washington Post. "To be clear, we do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts or Congress' deliberative process," says the statement. "At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings."
- Had help? Trump attorney Jay Sekulow suggested Friday that the whistleblower didn't write the report himself, notes Fox News. "Do you think the whistleblower drafted the complaint? I mean realistically?" Sekulow said on Fox & Friends. "Look at the phraseology, the endnotes, and the footnotes—this wasn't drafted by this individual. This was written by a law firm. The American people see it as it is. Nobody has an appetite for this anymore."
- Romney: He has been the most vocal critic of Trump among GOP senators amid the controversy and has not ruled out impeaching Trump should the matter make it to the Senate, reports the New York Times. Most, but not all, GOP senators have either defended Trump or been muted in criticism, though the Hill senses a shift in tone on that since the release of the actual whistleblower report. Still, such a vote would require a two-thirds majority, a tall order for Democrats.
- The 2020 race: Lots of pundits are speculating about how this might hurt— or help—Trump in the 2020 race, but Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report says it's way too early to know anything. In fact, she advises not to pay much attention to any polls on the subject in the coming days. "I understand the appetite to have data to prove/disprove one's theory that this week has 'CHANGED EVERYTHING,'" she writes. "But, what polls ask voters about today could be very different from what we are talking about in a week or two."
(Read more Trump impeachment