For only the fourth time in US history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family, and to investigate the country's involvement in the 2016 US presidential election. A quick summary of the latest news, per the AP:
- Depositions turn to the White House: The three House committees leading the Democratic investigation have scheduled several current and former National Security Council officials to testify this week behind closed doors—an attempt to get a better look inside the White House as Trump pushed Ukraine to conduct politically motivated investigations. The officials include Charles Kupperman, a former deputy at the NSC under then-national security adviser John Bolton, and current NSC staffers Tim Morrison and Alexander Vindman. Morrison is particularly significant. William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, told lawmakers in his deposition last week about phone calls he had with Morrison that described the Ukraine effort.
- A witness sues: It is unclear if all of the officials will appear because Trump has pledged to obstruct the probe. So far, most witnesses have decided to testify after receiving subpoenas from the committees. One of the witnesses, Kupperman, has taken the extraordinary step of asking a federal court who he should listen to—Congress or Trump. After he was subpoenaed, Kupperman filed a lawsuit in federal court on Friday asking a court whether he should accede to House demands for his testimony or to assert "immunity from congressional process" as directed by Trump.
- Democratic court victory: A judge on Friday ordered the Justice Department to give the House secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, handing a victory to Democrats who want the material for the impeachment inquiry. Read more on that here.
- Worth watching: The basics of the impeachment process are explained in under two minutes in this AP-produced animated video.
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