House Democrats reconvene after Yom Kippur today with fresh support for their impeachment efforts, as well as some nagging dilemmas. On Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. came out in support of President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, joining several other Democratic presidential candidates who have already done so.
But those leading the impeachment inquiry face challenging questions about how quickly to proceed. Already this week, Democratic lawmakers have acknowledged the need to strike a balance, continuing with investigations and preparing additional subpoenas, but not letting their efforts stall as the White House embraces a strategy of defiance.
The two men, Lev Parnas, who was born in Ukraine, and Igor Fruman, who was born in Belarus, are believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump. Their arrest on campaign finance charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into Mr. Biden and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially political beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.
The men are said to have made possibly illegal donations to Mr. Trump’s Super PAC and to the campaigns of prominent House Republicans to curry political favors, including Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader.
Trump to Fox News: Your pollsters “suck.”
President Trump took to Twitter on Thursday morning, clearly unhappy that Fox News Channel, the conservative media redoubt that he needs to maintain the support of his core voters, has been insufficiently supportive.
The president is highlighting divisions at Fox between some of the network’s commentators, such as Andrew Napolitano, and the general line that the House’s impeachment inquiry is not legitimate. That is clear in his own Twitter feed. After attacking Fox for giving Mr. Napolitano a megaphone — “he’s been terrible” — employing anchor Shep Smith — “who gave Crooked Hillary the debate questions & got fired from @CNN” — and generally venting his displeasure, he then retweeted Maria Bartiromo, a Fox Business anchor who has been broadcasting supportive statements from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Trump reserved the right to do what he wants: “@FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore,” he wrote. “It is so different than it used to be. Oh well, I’m President!”
Up next for the president’s defense: The president of Ukraine.
Speaking of Fox News, the cable news channel is touting word from Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s newly elected president, that Mr. Trump did not “blackmail” him in July when he asked for “a favor” on a president-to-president phone call that is the heart of the House’s impeachment inquiry.
What Mr. Zelensky said is not exactly exonerating. As Fox News quoted him, the Ukrainian leader told reporters “there was no blackmail.” But he went on to say, “They blocked this money and nobody asked us” for “anything,” an apparent reference to the hundreds of millions of military aid that Mr. Trump had frozen before the call in which he asked Ukraine for help investigating a political rival, Mr. Biden, and his son, Hunter. Mr. Trump has never acknowledged that the freeze in military aid was tied to the request for dirt, although a State Department envoy said it was in a text message to the ambassador to the European Union.
Mr. Trump was satisfied, however: “That should end this Democrat Scam.”
Trey Gowdy steps back into politics and onto President Trump’s defense team.
Trey Gowdy, the former South Carolina congressman and federal prosecutor, was announced on Wednesday evening as the latest addition to President Trump’s legal team.
Mr. Gowdy led the committee investigating the terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and received praise from Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer for his legal skills.
The president’s legal team, which also includes Rudolph W. Giuliani, is not expected to grow much larger.
Catch up on impeachment: What you need to know about the inquiry.
President Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here’s a timeline of events since January.
A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.