President Donald Trump impeachment hearings: Aide warns against 'fictional narrative'

G18 minutes ago Gordon DonovanSondland gives his opening statement as he testifies on Capitol Hill Wednesday

G18 minutes ago Gordon DonovanSondland gives his opening statement as he testifies on Capitol Hill Wednesday

On Wednesday, Gordon Sondland, the Trump-selected US ambassador to the European Union, told the Intelligence panel that the president and top officials in his administration were at the center of a quid pro quo plan, Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to open the investigation of Biden, his son Hunter Biden's work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and the 2016 election before he would agree to a White House meeting with Zelenskiy.

The impeachment inquiry has focused on a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

She warned that Russian Federation is gearing up to intervene again in the 2020 US election.

Hill served on the National Intelligence Council (part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence), which hands over foreign policy data on Russian Federation and Europe to the White House.

"This is exactly what the Russian government was hoping for", she said about the now American political climate.

Trump and his allies in Congress have pushed the discredited theory even though the USA intelligence community has unanimously concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of boosting his candidacy and harming the campaign of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

"In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests", she will say.

He says he was having lunch with Ambassador Gordon Sondland when he heard Trump on the phone asking the envoy about the investigations he wanted from the Ukranian president.

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"So, he's gonna do the investigation?"

Holmes said Sondland in the call assured Trump that Zelenskiy "loves your ass".

"He's gonna do it", replied Sondland, he said.

Sondland said Trump directed him and two other senior diplomats to work with Giuliani. They were particularly adamant that efforts by Trump and Giuliani to investigate the Burisma company were well-known by officials working on Ukraine to be the equivalent of probing the Bidens.

The final hearing began with witnesses Hill and David Holmes, a foreign service officer serving in Kyiv.

Mr Holmes, speaking about the July 26 call between Mr Trump and Mr Sondland, the day after the president's call with Mr Zelenskiy, has told investigators he heard Mr Trump ask, "So he's going to do the investigation?"

The president said on Twitter that he and the Republican Party were happy with the evidence of Gordon Sondland, the usa ambassador to the European Union, who yesterday said he worked with the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine issues on "the president's orders".

Like Trump a multimillionaire developer with a chain of high-end hotels, Sondland, who wore a $55,000 Breguet white gold watch to the hearing, fended off pressure from both Democrats and Republicans. He also says he does not remember the call with Sondland.

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"If the president abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe a vulnerable ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts - a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid - it will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the Presidency", he said. And, he added, "the server", the hacked Democratic computer system.

In his opening statement, Sondland said, "I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a 'quid pro quo?'"

Sondland said he didn't know at the time that Burisma was linked to the Bidens, but has since come to understand that.

"My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland stated, "Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f--s everything up".

Democrats are investigating Mr Trump for allegedly abusing his office by pressing a foreign power - Ukraine - to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 U.S. election.

One Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations with colleagues, said others are starting to talk about impeaching Trump first and then moving forward with investigations of Pompeo, and others after that. "I think the reason they're doing this is because they're not gaining any ground on this".

Hill, a former aide to then- national security adviser John Bolton, sternly warned Republican lawmakers - and implicitly Trump - to quit pushing the "fictional" narrative that Ukraine, rather than Russian Federation, interfered in USA elections as an impeachment defence.

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of day five of the impeachment hearings.

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His opening statement included several key details. Biden is one of the favourites to challenge Trump in next year's presidential election.

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