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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

As impeachment follows its schedule, bits of new information emerge

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday as he presides over the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Credit: Senate TV via AP

House Democrats already had crafted their impeachment articles when a close associate of President Donald Trump's lawyer broke ranks this month and began telling tales out of school on the Ukraine imbroglio.

House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) even added some of this new information from Lev Parnas, an alienated associate of lawyer Rudy Giuliani's, when he laid out an extensive timeline for the scandal Wednesday night during Trump's Senate trial.

“The truth is going to come out,” Schiff on Wednesday warned Republicans who resist issuing subpoenas for relevant witnesses and information. “The only question is: Do you want to hear it now? Do you want to know the full truth now?”

The charges are set, but shoes continue to drop. Clearly the Democrats proceeded with impeachment before all facts could be gathered.

There are different ways to view the merits of their decision.

Democrats clearly felt delay only would have slowed their momentum as Trump stonewalled congressional investigators.

But Republicans say a predisposition by House Democrats to impeach Trump robs the charges of credibility and only hardens their own determination to acquit him in the Senate.

Either way, relevant information seems to keep dripping out, darkening the cloud that hangs over the administration.

Last week the General Accountability Office issued a report declaring improper the Office of Management and Budget's delay last summer of Ukraine aid.

"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," the GAO wrote.

This week, emails obtained by the nonprofit group American Oversight further illustrated friction between the Pentagon and the budget office over Trump's freeze on Ukraine aid, a key point in the impeachment charges.

Other freedom of information requests by various private groups are pending.

Still to be determined is whether, as one flamboyant Trump donor seemed to suggest in text messages, ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was under private surveillance while she was targeted for removal by Giuliani and other insiders.

Also last week, a White House adviser on Europe and Russia was placed on administrative leave pending a security-related probe, according to news reports.

Andrew Peek was escorted out of the White House compound last Friday, one person told The Associated Press. The National Security Council declined to comment.

But Peek, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, has been in the position since November. His two predecessors in the NSC post, Tim Morrison and Fiona Hill, testified in the House hearings.

Also since the impeachment charges were filed, a U.S. cybersecurity company has linked the hacking of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings to the same Russian intelligence unit behind a breach of Democratic Party emails in 2016.

Ukraine has asked the FBI to help investigate.

Follow-up stories just keep coming, even with a Senate acquittal all but guaranteed.


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