WASHINGTON (AP) — The forecast for July 25 was typical for Washington: sunny, mid-80s. President Donald Trump had good reason to be feeling bright and sunny himself.
It was the morning after Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony at the conclusion of the Russia investigation, and Trump and his allies were expressing relief, thinking the rumblings about impeachment would at last fade, even if the special counsel hadn’t offered the president the total exoneration Trump claimed.
By 7:06 a.m., Trump was tweeting positive reviews from his favorite TV show, “Fox & Friends,” where co-host Ainsley Earhardt declared, “Yesterday changed everything, it really did clear the president.”
An hour later, Trump moved on to a tweet talking up his approval ratings, the stock market, unemployment and more. “Country doing great!” he wrote.
But a reconstruction of what started as an unremarkable summer Thursday reveals that even before daybreak, anxiety was coursing through the White House about a coming phone call that didn’t appear on the president’s public schedule.
By nightfall, Trump had set in motion events that would trigger only the fourth impeachment inquiry in history, imperiling his presidency and further calcifying divisions in a polarized nation.
At the time, it seemed no one had a complete picture of what was afoot. But through weeks of congressional investigation and hearings, a timeline of the day’s events has emerged, offering a portrait of one of the most consequential days of Trump’s presidency.
By Nancy Benac