Trump insists impeachment inquiry hasn't hurt him

Mr Gordon Sondland's new details appear to bolster the whistle-blower complaint that led to the inquiry

Mr Gordon Sondland's new details appear to bolster the whistle-blower complaint that led to the inquiry

Sondland testified that he spoke on the phone with Trump on September 9, before Sondland sent the text to the top USA diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, in which Sondland said: "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions".

A US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee official said that Bolton has threatened to take the committee to court if it subpoenas him. Read his full testimony here. Mr. Sunderland said at the time that Donald Trump was "out of many dimensions" out of touch with his personal beliefs.

Col. Alexander Vindman said acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney helped coordinate a quid pro quo with Ukraine, a transcript of his House testimony released Friday indicates.

"There was a lack of clarity" over the reason for the hold, Kent said.

Taylor also quoted himself as telling another diplomat that it would be a "nightmare" if the Trump administration withheld the military aid even if Ukraine committed to the desired investigations. The proceedings will start with witnesses who have testified in private about the back-channel Ukrainian policy that Trump pursued through his personal lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, and the heat placed on Ukraine to take actions that could influence the US presidential campaign.

There's no evidence for that, however.

Hill told lawmakers that Yovanovitch was recalled as USA envoy to Ukraine in May as the result of a smear campaign orchestrated by Giuliani and others. Taylor served as Ukraine ambassador previously under Republican President George W. Bush.

Both men were dismayed by Mr. Trump's delegation of decisions about Ukraine to Mr. Giuliani, who was spreading false conspiracy theories about Mr. Biden and the USA ambassador in Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump ordered recalled.

"I hardly know the gentleman", he said. In his first foreign position, this is his political premiere.

He had known about the reports swirling in the media about the Bidens, however, and he "cautioned the Ukrainians to distinguish between highlighting their own efforts to fight corruption domestically, including investigating Ukrainian individuals, something we support as a matter of USA policy, and doing anything that could be seen as impacting USA elections, which is in neither the United States' nor Ukraine's own interest". "And there's no problem with that".

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Ambassador Kurt Volker, the former special USA representative for Ukraine negotiations, also put some distance between Trump and the alleged quid pro quo. The "regular channel", as he called it, was trying to support Ukraine in its fight with Russian Federation by promising military funding.

House Democrats are investigating allegations that Trump abused his power by allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, which both the USA and Ukraine presidents have denied.

Kent, however, described pressure exerted on Ukraine for its corruption during the Obama era as "a fiduciary responsibility for US taxpayer dollars".

"They're going to do what they need to to protect and advance their own national security interests", he said.

Hunter Biden sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm. "And I have news for everybody: Get over it".

Kent, though, said the issue didn't go any further, and he was told that Biden's son Beau "was dying of cancer, and that there was no further bandwidth to deal with family related issues at that time".

Despite Trump's dismissive comments, the new testimony, particularly the day of meetings July 10 at the White House, has become pivotal. Volker's impeachment testimony claimed that Trump had directed him to work closely with Rudy Giuliani. But as this annotation shows, most of the complaint has been corroborated during closed-door depositions of administration officials, through public statements and from a rough transcript of the call itself, released by the White House. An aide to Vice President Pence, Jennifer Williams, testified Thursday.

By all accounts, the earlier call with Zelensky was friendlier than the infamous July call, during which Trump pushed the Ukrainian leader to dig up dirt that would benefit his reelection prospects. The Democrats will ask the diplomats to discuss their understanding of events before and after a phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy.

The White House had said Mulvaney wouldn't participate in what it called a "ridiculous, partisan, illegitimate proceeding".

Democrats also released a transcript of former White House adviser Fiona Hill on Friday.

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