Top diplomat in Ukraine directly ties Trump to quid pro quo

Jennifer Williams arrives on Capitol Hill for the closed-door hearing

Numerous current and former Trump officials have testified that the president was conditioning USA aid on Ukraine publicly investigating Democrats including his potential 2020 political foe Joe Biden and Mr Biden's son.

"There was no ambiguity", said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer assigned to the National Security Council, recounting an extraordinary day of meetings at the White House last summer. "My visceral reaction to what was being called for suggested that it was explicit".

Trump's Friday words were significantly different than his complimentary previous comments about Sondland. "The call was flawless", Trump said.

Then Bolton then abruptly ended the meeting.

But Giuliani has also withdrawn from his prominent public role as a defender of the President in the media after he himself came under scrutiny for his efforts to shape United States policy toward Ukraine.

Hill told lawmakers that Yovanovitch was recalled as US envoy to Ukraine in May as the result of a smear campaign orchestrated by Giuliani and others.

She testified that she challenged the new ambassador to the point of being admittedly "rude" to him.

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".

The transcript of Taylor's closed-door testimony before the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into Trump - the latest in a series of witness transcripts made public - confirms NBC News' reportingabout his more than nine hours of testimony last month.

But U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told impeachment investigators that he first heard the White House was interested in investigating Burisma, the gas company that employed Biden's son, from Perry, and other officials.

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Vindman, a Ukraine policy expert for the NSC, gave a deposition October 29 to House committees in charge of an impeachment inquiry to President Donald Trump. It puts Mulvaney more directly involved in the shadow diplomacy being run through Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, and implemented by Sondland. So why did he tell the Ukrainians that there was one? Former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, Fiona Hill, who was Trump's top Russia adviser, testified that Sondland had told her he was "in charge" on Ukraine.

"There was no basis for her removal", Hill said. I assume that's what you're talking about.

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.

Mulvaney and other White House officials have said they are immune to congressional subpoenas - a claim now being examined by federal courts. "It was a demand for him to fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting".

Vindman heard Trump say about CrowdStrike, "They say you have it".

At the time, Trump's Office of Management and Budget had frozen almost $400 million in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked the person who complained to an inspector-general about the president's phone call to his Ukrainian opposite number, calling him a coward and a partisan.

Sondland's lawyer, Robert Luskin, declined to comment on Friday about the nature of Sondland's relationship with Trump.

At one point in Vindman's testimony, his lawyer objected to questions from Republicans he believed were meant to draw out the identity of the whistleblower who filed the initial complaint. As you said, everyone drinks tea.

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