What Happened in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry This Week

It’s hard to imagine, but this seemingly fast-moving impeachment inquiry may actually be in a “lull” because Congress has been on recess. Well, Congress is back in session on Tuesday, so read on and get educated before things really take off.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this past week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Furman, were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they had sought in removing Ms. Yovanovitch.

Here’s a guide to the Ukraine saga’s growing cast of characters.

Ms. Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official had told her that Mr. Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though her employer, the State Department, believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

She dismissed as “fictitious” accusations that she had been disloyal to Mr. Trump, which she said had been circulated by allies of Mr. Giuliani.

Ms. Yovanovitch, testifying in defiance of State Department orders and at risk of losing her job, delivered a scathing indictment of how the Trump administration conducts foreign policy, warning that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment and could undermine the nation’s interests.

Ms. Yovanovitch said of her time in Ukraine: “Our efforts were intended, and evidently succeeded, in thwarting corrupt interests in Ukraine, who fought back by selling baseless conspiracy theories to anyone who would listen. Sadly, someone was listening, and our nation is the worse off for that.”

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The energy secretary was asked for records that could shed light on any role he might have played in Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government.

The Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget also received subpoenas for documents about the Trump administration’s decision to withhold $391 million in security aid for Ukraine.