U.S. Congress

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Wednesday marked the beginning of a new phase in House Democrats' efforts to impeach President Trump.

What members called the fact-finding portion of the process is complete, so the House Judiciary Committee began assessing what action to take and what articles of impeachment to draft, if it decides to draft them.

Updated at 7:02 p.m. ET

The White House pursued a "months-long effort" involving top officials to extract concessions from Ukraine's government aimed at helping President Trump's reelection in 2020, House Democrats charged in a new report.

House Republicans are pushing back against the impeachment investigation into President Trump, writing in a 123-page report that Democrats have not proven "evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor."

The letter is a prebuttal to the Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry report, which is expected to be released Tuesday ahead of an evening committee meeting on its conclusions. A House Intelligence Committee official said this evening that report was now available for members to review.

The Justice Department says releasing secret grand jury documents from then-special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe to House lawmakers engaged in the impeachment inquiry could discourage future witnesses to presidential abuse from cooperating with grand juries.

Updated at 4:49 p.m. ET

Prosecutors could bring more charges in the case of two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani — although it wasn't precisely clear when, what or who else might be involved after a conference in New York City on Monday.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman face charges of conspiracy, false statements and falsification of records in connection with two alleged schemes to violate U.S. election laws. But it's their work helping Giuliani dig up dirt in Ukraine that has put the pair under intense public scrutiny.

Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET

White House officials questioned whether President Trump might be breaking the law when he ordered military assistance for Ukraine frozen in July, according to transcripts released on Tuesday by House Democrats.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the release of President Trump's tax records sought by congressional Democrats. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had subpoenaed Trump's New York accounting firm in April to produce those documents.

After two weeks of public hearings, the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump is approaching its next stage: lawmakers are now writing a report that could lead to articles of impeachment.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., made the rounds on Sunday television programs outlining the case for impeachment without outright saying whether Trump will be the third president in United States history to be impeached.

The marathon of testimony in Democrats' impeachment inquiry this week confirmed that the Ukraine affair, like so many earlier subplots in the era of President Trump, boils down to two big questions:

What do the president's words mean? Can the president do what he did?

The answers to those questions have been a partisan inkblot test since Trump exploded onto the political scene, and now they are burning again as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats decide how they'll move ahead in a showdown over impeachment.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

A judge has blocked the U.S. government's plan to begin executing federal prisoners for the first time in nearly 20 years. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday halting four executions set to begin next month over concerns about the government's lethal injection method.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Fiona Hill, who served as the top Russia expert on the National Security Council before resigning last summer, criticized Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee for advancing theories that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

Testifying on the third and final day of impeachment hearings before the panel this week, Hill said, "I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests."

As House Ukraine hearings opened their second week Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there won't be enough votes to remove President Trump in the Senate if Democrats trigger an impeachment trial.

The Kentucky Republican told reporters he would convene a Senate trial as required by the Constitution if he receives articles of impeachment from the House — but he reiterated that he believes Trump would prevail.

"It's inconceivable to me that there would be 67 to remove the president from office," McConnell said.

The country is witnessing one of only a handful of times in its history that Congress has gone through with public hearings on whether to impeach a president. And yet, the overwhelming majority of Americans across parties say nothing they hear in the inquiry will change their minds on impeachment, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Updated at 8:40 p.m ET

Two witnesses called by Republicans in the House impeachment inquiry testified Tuesday, indicating they had reservations over the content of President Trump's July 25th phone call with the president of Ukraine, and his desire to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

As the Founding Fathers were drafting the U.S. Constitution, they were explicitly trying to avoid a repeat of the situation they had just fought a war to free themselves from — a ruler with unchecked power.

While they wrote a bare minimum about impeachment in the country's essential governing document, other writings from the time provide rich insights about their intentions.

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