Top diplomat in Ukraine directly ties Trump to quid pro quo

Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a crowd Image Donald Trump

Yuri Gripas Image Donald Trump

When asked who exactly he had spoken to about the brouhaha, Taylor confirmed that his only contacts about the matter were with John Bolton, the former national security adviser who was sacked by Trump, Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, and Tim Morrison. She described the idea as "fiction" that Ukrainians were looking "to mess with our Democratic systems".

Vindman, an Army officer also assigned to the NSC, said he was unaware of any "authoritative basis" for the theory.

Vindman told him the tone of the Trump-Zelenskyy call was "cooler, reserved" and that Zelenskyy, a former comedian, had tried to turn on the charm.

VIndman, meanwhile, said that Bolton ended the meeting between White House and Ukrainian officials "abruptly" and said that Bolton was "distressed" by what had taken place.

"Maybe this is an opportunity, to use the impeachment inquiry and all the attention that's being given to these diplomats, both career and political, to raise awareness of this", he said. And he had a difficult time logging into the system and had to get a hard copy and make edits on paper.

As US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, he would have spoken with him directly about Ukraine.

But Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican, said on Thursday he wanted to know the identity of the whistleblower if there was an impeachment trial in the upper chamber.

A top State Department aide questioned the legality of a US president asking for an investigation into a political rival in his hours-long, closed-door deposition before congressional impeachment investigators. He criticized the fact Democrats will hold public hearings.

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McCarthy said Jordan "has been on the front lines in the fight for fairness and truth".

The Intelligence Committee will hold the first open hearings of the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry next week, with three diplomats who've provided key closed-door testimony in the Ukraine controversy set to appear.

Vindman's testimony can be found here.

Ivanka Trump said the Bidens had "created wealth as a derivative" of public service while her family had made its money in business before her father entered the White House.

The transcript of acting Ambassador William Taylor's testimony was released Wednesday.

He said he thinks Williams will be honest and expects she will put the interests of the country and national security institutions before the interests of any individual, including the president or vice president.

House Democrats announced that the impeachment inquiry is moving to a new phase next week - public hearings.

"Potus wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to the microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton", Kent testified.

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That call is at the center of the Democrats' impeachment probe.

Shortly after the release, asked if he would read the transcripts Democrats are releasing, Graham said he's "written the whole process off", and called it a "bunch of [expletive]".

Mulvaney also insisted that he knew only of a U.S. request to investigate the handling of a Democratic National Committee server hacked in the 2016 election.

An official working on the inquiry said the House intelligence panel subpoenaed Mulvaney because other testimony indicated he "could shed additional light on the president's abuse of the power of his office for his personal gain".

He says, "No one seems to have any first-hand knowledge" and claims that, "Every one of those people canceled themselves out".

Investigators are wrapping up the private interviews as they prepare to start public hearings next week. Biden was vice-president for a period of over two years when his son Hunter served on the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, but no credible allegations of wrongdoing have emerged.

House Democrats have released a 324-page transcript of the testimony last month by William B. Taylor Jr., the top USA official in Ukraine who was the first witness to provide evidence of a quid pro quo in the President Trump impeachment inquiry.

It shows Mr Taylor told lawmakers it was his "clear understanding" that the president had withheld almost $400m (£310m) in USA military aid because he wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Monroe Civic Center, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Monroe, La. Requested "that a foreign leader and government initiate investigations to benefit the president's personal interests".

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