"Nobody is allowed on the calls," a White House official said, describing the new effort to limit those with access to the President's senior-most aides. "The barn door officially closed after the horse escaped."
Long time coming -- Trump said, during an appearance next to the President of Paraguay in the Oval Office, impeachment will give him a political boost. He said the impeachment effort might have been underway even before he announced his presidential campaign in 2015.
"Impeachment is a hoax. It's a sham," he said.
"It started a long time ago, probably before I came down the escalator with the future first lady. Started a long time ago."
Short trial or long trial?
Senate Republicans, during their coordination with the White House, have been pushing a speedy trial. Trump has been partial to the idea of a longer trial with witnesses, to make a spectacle of his impeachment.
He may be coming around to the wisdom of McConnell and other Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Trump told reporters on Friday that he was open to a short trial or a long trial and that he wouldn't mind a longer one if it meant more witnesses. Graham, who was very involved with the Bill Clinton impeachment, can remember the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, albeit on video, at that trial.
A long trial could backfire on Trump because it would also give Democrats a chance to relitigate their case. There's evidence now that Republicans are circling to defend their party leader.
Republican forgets that Trump asked Ukrainian President to investigate Joe Biden
Manu Raju asked Rep. Debbie Lesko, an Arizona Republican, if it's ever OK for an American president to ask a foreign power to investigate a political rival.
Raju: "Why do you think that's OK?"
Lesko: "He didn't. He didn't do that."
Raju: "He did ask Zelensky."
Lesko: "He did not do that."
You can argue that what Trump did is OK. You can argue that it's not an impeachable offense. You can even argue, contra the evidence, that he didn't pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. If you're going to do those things, you need to be able to explain why it's OK.
Something similar happened Thursday, when Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, found it difficult to explain why references to Joe Biden should be removed from the articles of impeachment -- since, in the call, Trump mentions Biden by name.
These are symptoms of a collective case of viral amnesia that seems to be spreading around the GOP.
From Kiev to the White House, Rudy Giuliani is everywhere
Friday he was spotted at the White House.
Flashback: Clinton authorized military strikes in Iraq just before impeachment vote
Today in impeachment hypocrisy
I will never ever get tired of watching these videos of lawmakers from both parties saying completely opposite things in '98 and '99 vs. today.
What are we doing here?
The President has invited foreign powers to interfere in the US presidential election. Democrats want to impeach him for it. It is a crossroads for the American system of government as the President tries to change what's acceptable for US politicians. This newsletter will focus on this consequential moment in US history.