Audiences publiques de l’enquête d’imputation Trump: toutes les dernières mises à jour | USA News

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L’enquête de destitution du président des États-Unis, Donald Trump, est entrée en territoire inconnu la semaine dernière avec les premières audiences publiques de l’enquête.

L’enquête devrait s’approfondir cette semaine avec au moins neuf fonctionnaires américains actuels et anciens programmés pour témoigner lors d’audiences publiques télévisées.

Après une journée complète de témoignages mardi, de nouvelles audiences sont prévues pour mercredi, notamment celle de Gordon Sondland, ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne. Sondland est l'un des témoins les plus attendus de l'enquête.

Plus:

L'enquête est centrée sur un appel téléphonique en juillet entre Trump et le président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelenskyy, dans lequel le dirigeant américain avait demandé à son homologue ukrainien d'ouvrir une enquête sur l'ancien vice-président américain Joe Biden, également haut placé. Le candidat démocrate aux présidentielles 2020 et son fils Hunter, qui avait siégé au conseil d’administration d’une compagnie gazière ukrainienne. Il n'y a eu aucune preuve d'actes répréhensibles de la part des Bidens.

L'appel a été lancé à la suite d'une plainte de dénonciateur. Au moment de l'appel, les États-Unis retenaient près de 400 millions de dollars d'aide militaire à l'Ukraine, ce qui incitait à penser que Trump utilisait l'argent comme levier pour obtenir les enquêtes souhaitées. L'argent a ensuite été libéré.

Trump a nié que toute contrepartie (latin pour "faveur pour une faveur") ait eu lieu, qualifiant l'appel de "parfait".

Alors que la phase publique de l'enquête d'impeachment se poursuit, voici toutes les dernières mises à jour au mercredi 20 novembre:

Fin du témoignage de Sondland

L'audience publique de l'ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland à la Chambre [19659011] L'enquête d'impeachment concernant le président américain Donald Trump est terminée.

Sondland a témoigné mercredi pendant environ sept heures, affirmant que l'avocat personnel du président, Rudy Giuliani, avait tenté de faire en sorte que l'Ukraine lance une enquête souhaitée par le président en échange d'une réunion à la Maison-Blanche. Sondland a déclaré que le président lui avait expressément demandé de travailler avec Giuliani.

Schiff: le témoignage de Sondland est un moment très important dans l'histoire de cette enquête

Sondland a également déclaré que des responsables du département d'État et du Conseil de sécurité nationale de la Maison Blanche étaient "dans la boucle" et la poussée du président pour des enquêtes n'étaient pas un secret.

D'après les déclarations de Sondland, les républicains ont affirmé que Trump ne lui avait jamais dit directement qu'une réunion à la Maison Blanche avec le président ukrainien n'aurait pas lieu sans une annonce publique de l'enquête. Il a dit qu'il avait entendu cela de Giuliani.

Les républicains ont également critiqué la déclaration de Sondland selon laquelle il était "présumé" personnellement que l'aide militaire avait été suspendue jusqu'à l'annonce du résultat de l'enquête.

Prochaine témoin, Laura Cooper, sous-secrétaire adjoint à la Défense des affaires russe, ukrainienne et eurasienne, et David Hale, sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires politiques au département d'État

: le secrétaire d'État américain n'a jamais dit à Pompeo que le président Pompeo liait l'aide aux enquêtes d'opposants politiques "

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, qui a témoigné mercredi dans le cadre de l'enquête sur la destitution, n'a jamais déclaré au secrétaire d'Etat américain Mike Pompeo qu'il pensait que le président Donald Trump mettait en relation l'aide ukrainienne avec des enquêtes sur des opposants politiques, a déclaré une porte-parole du département d'Etat. .

"Toute suggestion en ce sens est totalement fausse", a déclaré la porte-parole Morgan Ortagus dans un communiqué.

Sondland h Un représentant du Département d'Etat et du Conseil de sécurité nationale de la Maison-Blanche étaient au courant des efforts qu'il déployait pour que l'Ukraine mène des enquêtes à la demande du président.

Demandé si Pompeo avait été mis au courant que Trump voulait une enquête ukrainienne sur son rival national Joe Biden avant d'accepter la réunion à la Maison Blanche et de libérer de l'aide de sécurité, Sondland a répondu: "Oui".

Les démocrates s'interrogent sur le déni de Trump par Trump Appel téléphonique "quo à Sondland"

Un comité du renseignement de la Chambre des Démocrates a noté que le président Donald Trump avait démenti auprès de l'ambassadeur auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland, le "quid pro quo" dans ses relations avec l'Ukraine, le jour même où la Chambre avait ouvert une enquête.

Le représentant du démocrate Val Demings a d'abord demandé à Sondland s'il avait utilisé le terme "quid pro quo" avant que Trump ne nie qu'il y en ait eu lors d'un appel téléphonique du 9 septembre. Sondland a répondu que non.

Le représentant du démocrate Raja Krishnamoorthi a ensuite indiqué que l'appel téléphonique avait eu lieu le même jour où trois comités de la Chambre avaient ouvert une enquête pour déterminer si Trump et son avocat, Rudy Giuliani, avaient tenté de contraindre l'Ukraine à enquêter sur son rival politique Joe Biden en refusant l'aide militaire.

"Vous ne pouvez pas exclure la possibilité" que le président ait déclaré qu'il n'y avait "pas de contrepartie", c'est parce que le congrès avait ouvert l'enquête, a demandé Krishnamooorthi à Sondland.

Les démocrates demandent pourquoi Sondland n’a pas relié Burisma à Bidens

Les Démocrates de la Chambre ont interrogé Sondland sur les raisons pour lesquelles il n’avait pas fait le lien entre une société ukrainienne de gaz, Burisma, et le fils de L'ancien vice-président Joe Biden.

Adam Schiff, président du comité du renseignement de la Chambre des représentants, a interrogé mercredi Sondland sur le point de savoir s'il avait déjà réuni deux et deux personnes, ce qui impliquait de rechercher Burisma comme étant l'avocat personnel du président Rudy Giuliani. connexion dans une interview publiée et à la télévision par câble.

"Apparemment, beaucoup de gens n’ont pas établi la connexion", a déclaré Sondland à un législateur.

Sondland avait déjà déclaré dans son témoignage que, bien que Giuliani avait demandé une enquête sur Burisma, il n'a pas réalisé que la société avait des liens avec les Bidens.

Les républicains réprimandent Sondland pour avoir omis de téléphoner à Trump dans ses déclarations liminaires

Les républicains ont réprimandé l'ambassadeur de l'UE Gordon Sondland pour ne pas avoir inclus dans sa longue déclaration les détails d'un appel qu'il avait eu avec Trump le 9 septembre, au cours duquel Trump a déclaré qu'il n'y avait pas de contrepartie.

"C'est tellement mémorable, tellement frappant", a déclaré l'avocat républicain Steve Castor. "C'est un fait disculpatoire qui éclaire un peu l'état d'esprit du président à propos de la situation."

Sondland a déclaré que son témoignage était aussi long et qu'il supposait que les membres du comité lui poseraient des questions à propos de l'appel. [19659019] Trump déclare que le témoignage de Sondland l'exonère

Le président Donald Trump, citant une partie du témoignage de l'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, lors d'une enquête sur la destitution prononcée mercredi devant le Parlement, a déclaré qu'il ne souhaitait aucune contrepartie. Ukraine

S'adressant aux journalistes à la Maison Blanche, Trump a cité des propos tenus par Sondland au sujet d'une conversation avec le président, dans lesquels il affirmait que Trump lui avait dit qu'il ne voulait rien de l'Ukraine.

"J'ai répondu à l'ambassadeur en réponse, Je ne veux rien, je ne veux rien, je ne veux pas de contrepartie. Dites à Zelenskyy, le président Zelenskyy de faire ce qui est juste ", a déclaré Trump, citant le témoignage et se référant au président ukrainien, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

" Icela signifierait que tout est fini ", a déclaré Trump à propos de l'enquête de mise en accusation.

Le Président Donald Trump a affirmé que le témoignage de l'ambassadeur auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland, l'exonérait. [Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press]

Sondland remet en question la description de la conversation téléphonique entre Tromster et Trump

Gordon Sondland a remis en question certains détails d'une conversation téléphonique avec le président Donald Trump en juillet, racontée par un diplomate qui avait entendu l'appel d'un restaurant de Kiev.

David Holmes a témoigné

Sondland a déclaré qu'il semblait "un peu étrange" de tenir le téléphone de cette manière.

Sondland a également déclaré qu'il "semblerait un peu étrange" de tenir le téléphone de cette façon. Il ne pensait pas qu'il aurait dit à Holmes que Trump ne se souciait pas de l'Ukraine, mais uniquement des "gros trucs" qui l'aidaient personnellement, comme l'a raconté Holmes.

Holmes a également déclaré que Sondland avait dit à Trump que le président ukrainien "adorait ton cul "- ce que Sondland a dit" sonne comme quelque chose que je dirais ".

Sondland dit que c'est ainsi qu'il a communiqué avec Trump:" beaucoup de mots de quatre lettres. Dans ce cas, trois lettres ".

Dept of Energy nie Son Description du rôle de Perry

Le témoignage du diplomate américain Gordon Sondland lors des audiences de destitution du président Donald Trump mercredi a donné une image fausse de l'interaction du secrétaire d'Etat à l'Energie Rick Perry avec Trump et son avocat, Rudolph Giuliani, a déclaré le ministère de l'Énergie.

Les échanges entre le secrétaire Perry et Rudy Giuliani ainsi que les instructions données au secrétaire par le président Trump. Comme indiqué précédemment, le secrétaire Perry n’a parlé à Rudy Giuliani qu’une seule fois, à la demande du président, "dans un communiqué.

" Les mots 'Biden' ou 'Burisma' n'ont jamais été enregistrés avant, pendant ou après cet appel. venir en présence du secrétaire Perry ", indique le communiqué.

Sondland a déclaré dans son témoignage qu'il travaillait avec le diplomate Kurt Volker et le secrétaire Perry au poste de maire de la ville de New York, chargé des enquêtes souhaitées par Trump. Sondland a déclaré que le président avait chargé le trio de travailler avec Giuliani.

Giuliani nie l'allégation de "contrepartie" de Sondland

Rudy Giuliani, l'avocat personnel du président, a nié le témoignage de l'ambassadeur auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland, de ses efforts amener l'Ukraine à ouvrir des enquêtes sur les rivaux politiques de Trump "était un quid pro quo pour organiser une visite à la Maison Blanche".

Enquête de destitution de Trump: Sondland affirme la "quid pro quo" concernant l'Ukraine

Giuliani, i na depuis supprimé le tweet, a qualifié son soutien des enquêtes d '"opinions" et non de "demandes".

Il a également déclaré qu'il avait "très peu de contacts" avec Sondland et qu'il ne l'avait jamais rencontré.

"Je suis entré dans la société. ceci à la demande de Volker. Sondland spécule sur la base de très peu de contacts. Je ne l'ai jamais rencontré et j'ai eu très peu d'appels avec lui, surtout avec Volker ", a écrit Giuliani dans le tweet supprimé.

" Volker a témoigné avoir répondu à leurs questions et les avoir décrites comme mes opinions, PAS comme demandes. IE, pas de solution! ", A déclaré Giuliani.

Trump dit qu'il ne connaît pas Sondland, semble être un" gars sympa "

Le président Donald Trump a déclaré qu'il ne connaissait pas l'ambassadeur auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland" très bien ", mais qu'il semblait être un" bon gars ".

Trump a commenté les informations lors de l'audience de Sondland dans le cadre de l'enquête sur la destitution de la Chambre.

Trump a déclaré ne rien faire de mal. spécifiquement nié toute contrepartie a été faite pour faire pression sur le chef de l'Ukraine pour qu'il mène des enquêtes pour des motifs politiques.

Chef du cabinet du vice-président: Sondland n'a jamais exprimé ses préoccupations

Le chef du personnel du vice-président Mike Pence a déclaré Une conversation avec l'ambassadeur auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland, au sujet d'un lien entre l'aide militaire de l'Ukraine et les enquêtes demandées par le président "n'a jamais eu lieu".

Marc Short, chef du personnel, a déclaré Pence n'a jamais parlé à Sondland " à propos de l'enquête sur la Bide ns, Burisma, ou la libération conditionnelle de l'aide financière à l'Ukraine sur la base d'enquêtes potentielles ".

Il ajoute que Pence et Sondland n'ont jamais été seuls ensemble lors de la réunion du 1 er septembre entre Pence et le président ukrainien en Pologne.

Dans le cadre de la procédure de mise en accusation, Sondland a déclaré mercredi qu'il avait exprimé des "préoccupations" au vice-président, selon lesquelles l'aide était liée à des enquêtes demandées par le président Donald Trump.

"Le vice-président a acquiescé, il a entendu ce que j'ai dit et c'est à peu près tout", a déclaré Sondland.

 sondland

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré que l'enquête de Rudy Giuliani avait été poussée. était "quid pro quo". [Susan Walsh/The Associated Press]

Schiff: Le témoignage de Sondland est «un moment très important dans l'histoire de cette enquête»

Adam Schiff, président du Comité du renseignement de la Chambre des représentants, a déclaré que le témoignage de l'ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, était "un moment très important dans l'histoire" enquête ".

" Cela va au coeur de la question de la corruption ainsi que d'autres crimes et délits potentiellement graves ", a déclaré Schiff aux journalistes. "Mais nous avons aussi entendu dire pour la première fois que la connaissance de ce stratagème était omniprésente."

Schiff a fait ces commentaires lors d'une pause dans le témoignage public de Gordon, dans lequel il a détaillé une tentative de "contrepartie" par l'avocat personnel du président. , Rudy Giuliani, pour que les autorités ukrainiennes mènent les enquêtes demandées par le président Donald Trump en échange d'une réunion à la Maison Blanche.

Sondland a témoigné que les instructions de Giuliani "reflétaient les désirs et les exigences du président Trump" et que des responsables du département d'État et du Conseil de sécurité nationale, ainsi que le chef de cabinet du président Mick Mulvaney, étaient "au courant".

La Maison-Blanche éloigne Trump de Sondland

Pam Bondi, conseillère à la Maison-Blanche chargée des messages de destitution, a déclaré mercredi que le président Donald Trump ne l'avait pas connaît très bien son ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne.

Bondi a déclaré dans "CBS This Morning" que Sondland était un "ambassadeur à court terme" et s'était décrit à tort comme l'envoyé en Ukraine.

"Le président ne le connaît pas. très bien ", at-elle dit.

Bondi a également déclaré que Trump n’offrirait probablement pas de témoignage lors de l’audience de mise en accusation. Le président a déclaré plus tôt cette semaine qu'il pesait la déposition de son témoignage écrit.

Pendant ce temps, Trump a réitéré sa position, via Twitter, selon laquelle la Maison Blanche a publié un mémo de l'appel du 25 juillet avec le président de l'Ukraine, qui l'exonère.

Pompeo ignore les questions posées après le témoignage de Sondland

Le secrétaire d'État Mike Pompeo a ignoré les questions concernant le témoignage de l'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, qu'il et d'autres étaient au courant d'une "contrepartie" impliquant une aide militaire à l'Ukraine

Pompeo a refusé à trois reprises de répondre aux questions soulevées par les journalistes au sujet de ce que Gordon Sondland a déclaré à la Chambre lors de l'enquête sur la destitution du président Donald Trump.

Pompeo est à Bruxelles, assister à une réunion des ministres des affaires étrangères de l'OTAN. Pompeo a été interrogé à propos de Sondland lors de séances de photo au début de réunions avec les ministres des Affaires étrangères roumain et turc et le secrétaire général de l'OTAN.

Pompeo répond rarement aux questions lors de tels événements et doit tenir une conférence de presse officielle mercredi.

Sondland: Trump n'a "jamais" directement discuté du gel de l'aide de l'Ukraine avec moi

L'ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré que le président Donald Trump ne lui avait jamais parlé d'une aide militaire bloquée à l'Ukraine ni d'aucun lien présumé avec les demandes d'enquêtes politiques de Trump.

"Je n'ai jamais entendu le président Trump dire que l'aide était conditionnée à l'annonce des (enquêtes)", a déclaré Sondland.

"Je ne me souviens pas que le président Trump m'ait jamais parlé d'une quelconque aide à la sécurité, " il ajouta.

Au lieu de cela, il a mis "deux plus deux" ensemble lorsqu'il s'est rendu compte que l'aide pourrait être liée aux enquêtes.

Sondland confirme sa conversation du 26 juillet avec Trump

Gordon Sondland, ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne, a confirmé qu'il s'était entretenu par téléphone avec le président Donald Trump un jour après que le président avait incité le dirigeant ukrainien à enquêter sur son rival démocrate, Joe Biden. 19659013] Sondland a déclaré que la Maison Blanche avait également confirmé l'appel récemment révélé, intervenu un jour après l'appel téléphonique du 25 juillet qui avait déclenché une plainte de lanceur d'alerte et communiqué les journaux des appels à ses avocats.

L'appel téléphonique du 26 juillet entre Sondland et Trump ont été divulgués par plusieurs témoins au cours de la semaine dernière

affirme qu'il n'y a aucune raison de douter qu'il ait discuté d'enquêtes avec Trump, comme l'ont soutenu d'autres témoins. Il dit que l'appel ne lui semblait pas significatif à cette époque.

Sondland: Pompeo m'a dit: "Vous faites de l'excellent travail. Continuez à cogner »

L'Ambassadeur du Royaume-Uni, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré que le secrétaire d'État américain Mike Pompeo semblait approuver ses efforts pour amener l'Ukraine à accepter les enquêtes demandées par le président Donald Trump.

" Vous faites un excellent travail. Continuez à frapper fort Pompeo a déclaré à Sondland début septembre que, selon sa correspondance par courrier électronique lors de son témoignage public dans le cadre de l'enquête sur la destitution, Mercredi.

Pompeo a été largement critiqué pour son incapacité à défendre les diplomates américains visés par Trump et ses alliés.

Sondland a déclaré qu'il avait informé Pompeo et le chef de cabinet par intérim de la Maison Blanche, Mick Mulvaney, de la demande de Trump selon laquelle l'Ukraine devait engager des enquêtes. Il a dit avoir dit à Pompeo et à Mulvaney que le chef de l'Ukraine mènerait une "enquête entièrement transparente" et "remettrait toutes les pierres".

 Sondland

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré l'accès aux documents du département d'Etat, qui a été refusé, aiderait à rafraîchir sa mémoire. [Doug Mills/The Associated Press]

Sondland: Nous avons travaillé avec Giuliani sur "les ordres du président"

L'Ambassadeur du Royaume-Uni, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré mercredi avoir collaboré avec l'avocat personnel de M. Trump, Rudy Giuliani, sur les questions relatives à l'Ukraine "

" Les ordres du président ", a déclaré Sondland lors de son audition devant le comité du renseignement de la Chambre.

Il a déclaré que Trump avait forcé les diplomates américains à travailler avec son avocat, l'ancien maire de New York, Rudy Giuliani.

" Nous avons pas envie de travailler avec M. Giuliani. En termes simples, nous avons joué la main qui nous a été donnée ", a-t-il déclaré.

"À l'époque, nous ne pensions pas que son rôle était inapproprié", a-t-il déclaré, ajoutant que s'il avait su à qui Giuliani était associé à l'époque, il aurait exprimé des inquiétudes.

Sondland: Accès aux documents du département d'État aiderait la mémoire

L'ambassadeur auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré que sa mémoire des événements au centre de l'enquête d'imputation du président Donald Trump n'était "pas parfaite" et qu'il était autorisé à contrôler l'accès du département d'État aux calendriers et aux enregistrements téléphoniques. et d'autres documents pourraient aider.

Sondland a fait ces commentaires lors de son audience publique mercredi. Le département d'État et la Maison Blanche ont tous deux refusé de participer à l'enquête de la Chambre ou de remettre des documents en rapport avec l'enquête.

"Ces documents ne sont pas classifiés et auraient dû être rendus accessibles, en toute justice", a-t-il déclaré.

"Je ne doute pas qu'un processus plus équitable, ouvert et ordonné me permettant de lire les archives du département d'Etat aurait rendu ce processus plus transparent", a-t-il déclaré.

La conversation de Trump avec Zelenskyy était "inappropriée", "inhabituel": aides WH

Sondland a ajouté qu'il n'était pas un "preneur de notes".

Moments avant l'intervention de Sondland, le président du comité du renseignement de la Chambre, Adam Schiff, a appelé à la coopération de la Maison Blanche et du département d'État. 19659126] Sondland: J'ai dit à la vice-présidente que l'aide militaire semblait être bloquée dans son enquête

L'ambassadeur américain auprès de l'UE, Gordon Sondland, a déclaré au vice-président Mike Pence en septembre que l'aide de l'Ukraine semblait bloquée en raison de la nécessité d'enquêter.

"Le vice-président a acquiescé, il a entendu ce que j'ai dit et c'était à peu près tout", a déclaré Sondland.

L'échange a eu lieu lors d'une réunion entre Pence et Zelensky à Varsovie, en Pologne.

Sondland: Je ne me suis pas engagé dans une "diplomatie voyous", mais j'ai des courriels à prouver

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, a nié avoir fait de la "diplomatie voyous" dans ses relations avec l'Ukraine. courriels pour le prouver.

Sondland a déclaré que les responsables du département d'État étaient conscients de ses efforts en Ukraine et "les appuyaient pleinement", ajoutant que celui-ci "savait qu'un engagement des autorités ukrainiennes à mener des enquêtes" était poursuivi.

pousser pour les enquêtes, et ses efforts pour obtenir que l'Ukraine se conforme, en détail aux membres du personnel du département d'État, de l'énergie et de la Maison Blanche. Le secrétaire d’État, Mike Pompeo, et le chef de cabinet par intérim de la Maison Blanche, Mick Mulvaney, ont déclaré

qu’il existait des courriels, notamment celui envoyé le 19 juillet, qui appuieraient cette affirmation.

"Ces courriels montrent que les dirigeants de l'État, du CNS et de la Maison Blanche ont tous été informés des efforts déployés par l'Ukraine à partir du 23 mai 2019, jusqu'à la libération de l'aide à la sécurité le 11 septembre 2019

" Tout le monde était dans le boucle. Ce n'était pas un secret ", a-t-il déclaré.

 Sondland

L'ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, a témoigné devant le Comité du renseignement de la Chambre des représentants. [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Sondland: Les efforts de Giuliani étaient un" contre-poids "

Sondland a déclaré dans ses remarques préparées à l'enquête que les efforts de Giuliani pour pousser le président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelenskyy à ouvrir une enquête sur les rivaux politiques de Trump "étaient un compromis pour l'organisation d'une visite à la Maison Blanche" pour le dirigeant ukrainien.

"Existait-il un accord?" ? Comme je l'ai déjà dit, en ce qui concerne l'appel à la Maison-Blanche et sa réunion, la réponse est oui ", a déclaré Sondland dans sa déclaration liminaire mercredi.

Quid pro quo signifie en latin" faveur pour une faveur ". 19659009] Nunes demande des assignations à comparaître contre Hunter Biden, dénonciateur

Le représentant américain Devin Nunes, haut représentant du comité des services de renseignement de la Chambre des représentants, a déclaré que les républicains avaient demandé des assignations à comparaître, notamment une demande de témoignage de Hunter Biden, fils de l'ancien président Le vice-président américain Hunter Biden et le lanceur d'alerte en matière de destitution.

Les républicains n'ont pas le pouvoir d'assignation à comparaître à la Chambre, où les démocrates détiennent une majorité des sièges, mais la demande soulignait l'amertume partisane dans l'enquête de destitution contre le président Donald Trump et ses relations avec le président. Ukraine.

Schiff demande à la Maison Blanche, département d'État, de coopérer à l'enquête

Le président de la commission du renseignement de la Chambre, Adam S chiff, a appelé la Maison Blanche et le département d'État à coopérer dans l'enquête de destitution de la Chambre.

Schiff a déclaré que la Chambre n’avait "reçu aucun document" de la part de l'administration, qui avait enquêté sur les relations de Trump avec l'Ukraine.

Il a déclaré que Trump et le secrétaire d'État Mike Pompeo avaient fait "un effort concerté et généralisé" pour faire obstruction à l'enquête et "qu'ils le font à leurs risques et périls".

Sondland arrive à Capitol Hill [19659020] L'ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, s'est rendu à Capitol Hill pour son audience publique dans le cadre de l'enquête de destitution du président Donald Trump.

Le rôle de Sondland en tant qu'intermédiaire entre Trump et des responsables ukrainiens et du département d'État est devenu l'élément central de l'enquête. Le mois dernier, l’hôtelier avait déclaré lors d’une audition à huis clos qu’il ne voyait aucun lien entre la demande d’enquête de Trump et la décision de la Maison Blanche de suspendre temporairement une aide à la sécurité de près de 400 millions de dollars à l’Ukraine.

Quelques semaines plus tard, Sondland a mis à jour son récit dans témoignage supplémentaire, rappelant aux législateurs qu'il s'était rappelé qu'il avait dit à l'administration du président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky qu'elle ne toucherait probablement pas les fonds si elle ne s'engageait pas publiquement à agir.

Sondland: Très attendu, le témoin d'impeachment témoignera

Gordon Sondland, le témoin le plus attendu de l'enquête d'imposition Trump, sera confronté à des questions concernant l'évolution de son récit des relations entre l'administration Trump et l'Ukraine et un appel téléphonique récemment dévoilé avec le président des États-Unis.

Sondland, le riche hôtelier Trump désigné comme son ambassadeur auprès de l'Union européenne, est plus directement impliqué que tout autre témoin dans les efforts du président pour amener l'Ukraine à enquêter sur son rival politique Joe Biden et les démocrates à l'élection de 2016. Pourtant, Sondland a déjà modifié son témoignage une fois – "Je m'en souviens maintenant", a-t-il déclaré en parlant d'enquêtes à l'Ukraine.

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Mardi 19 novembre – Jennifer Williams et Alexander Vindman; Kurt Volker et Tim Morrison

Audience de cinq heures clôturée par une commission de la Chambre

Le Comité du renseignement de la Chambre des représentants a clôturé une audience de cinq heures avec deux anciens fonctionnaires de l'administration Trump.

Kurt Volker, ancien envoyé spécial des États-Unis L'Ukraine et Tim Morrison, ancien conseiller adjoint à la sécurité nationale, ont tous deux déclaré qu'ils ne croyaient pas que Trump s'était engagé dans un "quid pro quo" (latin pour "une faveur pour une faveur"), liant l'aide militaire à l'Ukraine à une enquête. de Joe Biden.

Mais Volker s’exprima pour l’audience de destitution de Biden mardi, rejetant les "théories du complot" adoptées par Trump et certains de ses alliés. Volker a déclaré qu'il connaissait Biden comme un homme honorable depuis plus de deux décennies.

Devin Nunes, le plus grand républicain du comité, a qualifié l'audience de "scandale ukrainien". Adam Schiff, président du comité, a déclaré que Volker avait démystifié une fois pour toutes toute théorie du complot au sujet de Biden.

Volker se souvient de la rumeur ukrainienne sur les enquêtes

Un grand diplomate a rappelé qu'il se souvenait maintenant d'un haut responsable ukrainien qui s'opposait aux conseils qu'il avait donnés. contre les enquêtes politiques

Volker, l'ancien envoyé spécial en Ukraine, a déclaré que lors d'un dîner avec Andriy Yermak en septembre, il avait découragé l'Ukraine d'essayer de poursuivre en justice le précédent président du pays. Volker dit qu'il a prévenu que cela créerait de profondes divisions sociétales.

Volker a déclaré que Yermak plaisantait en réponse: "Vous voulez dire qu'on nous demande d'enquêter sur Clinton et Biden?"

Volker a déclaré qu'il n'avait pas "parfaitement compris" la remarque et qu'il était "C'est un peu perplexe".

Volker déclara accepter l'idée que l'Ukraine soit appuyée par l'avocat personnel de Trump, Rudy Giuliani, pour enquêter sur la société de gaz ukrainienne Burisma et sur les élections de 2016. Mais il a dit qu'il n'était pas au courant d'un lien avec Joe Biden, dont le fils siégeait au conseil d'administration de Burisma.

Morrison dit qu'il a été mis en garde contre Sondland

Morrison a déclaré qu'un de ses collègues l'avait mis en garde contre l'ambassadeur de Trump en Union européenne, Gordon Sondland, et même un nom pour ses préoccupations, "le problème Gordon".

D'autres témoins ont déclaré que Sondland avait parlé directement à Trump alors que le président poussait l'Ukraine à enquêter sur les démocrates. Sondland, qui témoigne mercredi, a tenté de négocier avec les Ukrainiens pour les enquêtes.

Sondland s'est également affronté à la Maison-Blanche alors qu'il assumait un rôle de premier plan dans la politique ukrainienne, notamment avec l'ancienne conseillère Fiona Hill, qui a été inventée par Morrison.

Après avoir parlé à Hill, Morrison déclara qu'il gardait une trace de ce que faisait Sondland et "n'agissait pas nécessairement toujours" sur ce qu'il suggérait.

Volker: Les discussions sur les enquêtes "inappropriées"

a déclaré Volker. Il a estimé qu'une discussion sur les enquêtes était "inappropriée" lors d'une réunion à la Maison Blanche entre des responsables ukrainiens et américains en juillet.

Témoignant lors d'une audience de destitution, mardi, Volker a confirmé le témoignage d'autres personnes selon lequel l'ambassadeur de l'Union européenne du président Trump, Gordon Sondland , a évoqué les enquêtes "de manière générique" avec les Ukrainiens et que le conseiller à la Sécurité nationale de l'époque, John Bolton, a immédiatement mis fin à la réunion.

La ​​réunion s'est déroulée deux semaines avant. Il s’agit d’un appel dans lequel Trump a demandé au président ukrainien d’enquêter sur les démocrates. Cet appel est au cœur de la procédure de mise en accusation.

D'autres témoins ont affirmé que les enquêtes avaient été discutées plus en profondeur lors d'une deuxième réunion le même jour.

Morrison: Bolton m'a dit de "dire aux avocats"

Un ancien responsable de la sécurité nationale à la Maison Blanche a déclaré que son patron lui avait dit de "parler aux avocats" de deux conversations inquiétantes dans lesquelles un diplomate lui a parlé de bloquer l'aide militaire à l'Ukraine.

Morrison a témoigné lors de l'audience de mise en accusation de la Chambre des représentants de Gordon Sondland, qui a eu lieu en septembre dernier.

Morrison a déclaré que Sondland avait déclaré à un responsable ukrainien que son gouvernement devrait annoncer des enquêtes sur les ennemis politiques démocrates de Trump afin de libérer l'assistance militaire américaine.

Morrison a déclaré que Sondland lui avait également affirmé qu'il n'y avait pas de "solution de rechange". "(Latin pour" faveur pour une faveur ") mais que l'Ukraine devait annoncer ces enquêtes pour obtenir l'aide.

Morrison a déclaré à son patron, qui était alors responsable de la sécurité nationale à la Maison Blanche, Le visionnaire John Bolton lui a dit de parler à leurs avocats des remarques de Sondland.

Volker: Trump a déclaré parler à Giuliani

Volker a déclaré lors de l'enquête de mise en accusation que Trump lui avait dit qu'il devrait parler à son avocat personnel Rudy Giuliani du nouvel Ukrainien. Président. Mais "il n'a pas pris cela pour instruction".

L'échange avec Trump eut lieu peu après le retour de Volker et d'autres responsables à Washington, après l'inauguration de l'Ukrainien Zelenskyy en mai. Volker et d’autres font l'éloge de Zelenskyy et invitent Trump à l'accueillir pour une réunion à la Maison-Blanche.

Mais Trump recule et dit que les diplomates devraient parler à Giuliani.

Volker se souvient que Trump avait déclaré avoir entendu "des choses terribles" Zelenskyy et il devrait parler à Giuliani.

Volker a déclaré qu'il "avait compris de ce contexte que c'est de là qu'il l'entend" et qu'il "ne l'a pas prise comme une instruction".

Morrison: Mémo d'appel placé dans highly classified system by 'mistake'

A former top national security adviser to President Donald Trump said a rough transcript of Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskyy was placed on a highly classified system by mistake.

The official, Tim Morrison, said he and a top White House lawyer, John Eisenberg, agreed that access should be restricted to officials with high-level security clearances.

But Morrison said he later learned that the rough transcript of the call was placed on a highly classified server typically reserved for national secrets.

Morrison said the placement on the more secure server "was a mistake. It was an administrative error".

Morrison said nothing on the call warranted placement on the server.

Kellogg: 'I heard nothing wrong with call'

The vice president's national security adviser pushed back after a subordinate said she had concerns about Trump's call with the Ukrainian president.

Keith Kellogg said of the July 25 conversation: "I heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. I had and have no concerns."

He released a statement after the testimony of Jennifer Williams, who was detailed to Vice President Mike Pence's staff from the State Department.
Williams testified Tuesday that she found the call "unusual" since it "involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter".

Williams said she never raised the call with her superiors, since Kellogg was also listening in on the call.

Volker: Criticism of Biden 'no credible'

Volker is testified in a House impeachment hearing that Republican criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden is "not credible".

Republicans, including Trump, have questioned the role of Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Trump asked Zelenskyy to investigate the Bidens in a July phone call that is at the heart of the impeachment probe.

Volker testified that Biden "respects his duties of higher office" and it is not credible that he would act in any way other than in the national interest.

Volker says he did not 'knowingly' take part in Ukraine pressure campaign

Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, in his opening statements in the the House impeachment inquiry, said he did not "knowingly" take part in an effort to press Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

Volker said that while he was aware of a push to have Ukraine investigate the gas company Burisma, he did not connect the company to Biden. Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma, and Trump's desire to have the company investigated is at the centre of the impeachment inquiry.

Volker added that he understands now, thanks to hindsight and the testimony of other witnesses, that it was possible that Trump was using the nearly $400m in withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

"In retrospect I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections," Volker said.

Volker also defended the Bidens, referring to the accusation that the former vice president was influenced by his son's role at Burisma as a "conspiracy theory".

Morrison says resignation unrelated to impeachment inquiry testimony

Former senior White House aide Timothy Morrison said during his opening statements in the House impeachment inquiry that he had resigned from the National Security Council of his own volition and felt no pressure to resign.

He added he did not fear retaliation for his testimony.

Morrison also said he did not know the identity of a whistle-blower, whose complaint lead Democrats to launch the inquiry.

He added the United States must continue to support Ukraine, with backing from both Republicans and Democrats.

Schiff references Volker texts, 'three Amigos' in opening statements

The Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, referenced a series of text messages sent by Kurt Volker, a special envoy to Ukraine, and his role in the so-called "three amigos" as he opened the second portion of House impeachm ent hearings on Tuesday.

Schiff said that Volker and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council Russia expert, were testifying at the request of Republicans, who are a minority on the committee.

Schiff described a series of text messages betweek Volker, Ambassador the European Union Gordon Sondland, and an aide to the president of Ukraine in which Volker encouraged Ukrainian officials to announce investigations wanted by Trump in return for a White House meeting.

Schiff also referenced Volker's role in the group dubbed the "three amigos", which also included Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. In several testimonies, witnesses said the trio carried out back-channel negotiations with the Ukrainian government.

Ranking Republican Devin Nunes remained adversarial in his opening statements, referring to the hearing "act two of today's circus".

Volker, Morrison arrive on Capitol Hill for impeachment inquiry hearing

Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy for Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council Russia expert, have arrived on Capitol Hill for their public hearing as part of the House impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

The hearing is expected to start at 3:30 PM (8:30 GMT).

Kurt Volker

Diplomat Kurt Volker arrived on Capitol Hill to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. [Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press]

White House spokeswoman slams witness testimonies

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, referencing the first round of interviews in Tuesday's impeachment hearings, said the public "learned nothing new in today's illegitimate 'impeachment' proceedings".

She characterised the witness testimonies of Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, as little more than "personal opinions and conjecture".

She charged the proceedings "further" expose that Democrats are "blinded by their hatred for Donald Trump and rabid desire to overturn the outcome of a free and fair election".

Public hearing of Vindman and Williams ends

The public hearing of Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindmanthe National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, as part of the House impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump has ended.

The House intelligence committee will now hear from Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy for Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council Russia a expert.

Vindman says he knew he was 'assuming a lot of risk' by reporting concerns about Trump call

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman,  the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, said he knew he was "assuming a lot of risk" by reporting his concerns about a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's new president.

Vindman was asked during Tuesday's impeachment hearing whether he understood he was taking on the "most important person" when he did it.

Vindman earlier in his opening statement told his father, an immigrant from Ukraine, not to worry about his coming forward, that he would be fine because in the US it was okay to speak out.[19659007]He said he felt comfortable speaking out, because: "Here, right matters."

The statement was met with brief applause.

Trump calls impeachment 'disgrace' and 'kangaroo court'

President Donald Trump slammed the ongoing impeachment hearings as a "disgrace" and "kangaroo court," while acknowledging he watched part of the third day of public hearings.

Trump made the comments as the House impeachment panel listened to testimony from National Security Council aide Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump said he caught some of Tuesday's testimony from Vindman, a Ukraine specialist, who says Trump inappropriately pressured Ukraine's president to open an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son's dealings in Ukraine.

The president dismissed Vindman's testimony, and praised Republican legislators for "killing it".
Trump said, "I don't know Vindman…I never heard of him."

Vindman rejects criticism of judgment, credibility

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert,  has rejected attacks on his judgment and credibility during the House impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump by reading from a glowing performance review he received.

The review came from Fiona Hill, who was his boss on the National Security Council until this summer. She described Vindman as "brilliant" and "unflappable" and a stellar military officer with excellent judgment.

Vindman pulled out a copy of the review and read from it during questioning on Tuesday from Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who asked the Army officer why some colleagues have raised questions about his judgment.

Zelensky: Ukraine is 'tired' of Trump impeachment questions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that his country was "tired" of questions related to the Trump scandal, amid a critical week of public impeachment hearings in Washington.

"We have our country, we have our independence, we have our own problems," he complained after a press conference in Kiev with visiting Czech prime minister Andrej Babis.

An American reporter pressed Zelenskyy on whether he had been ready to launch a probe into Joe Biden's son's ties to Ukraine energy company Burisma, as a concession to Trump.

"Everyone in Ukraine is so tired of Burisma," Zelenskyy said, before quickly leaving the room full of reporters.

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said they do not consider themselves "never Trumpers". [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Official: Army, local law enforcement providing security for Vindman

A US official says the Army and local law enforcement are providing security for Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who is testifying Tuesday during the House impeachment hearing.

The official says that the Army did a security assessment in order to make sure that Vindman and his family are secure, so the officer did not have to worry about that as the proceedings go on.

The official said the Army was prepared to take additional steps if needed, which could include moving Vindman and his family to a more secure location on a base.

Vindman, Williams: I do not consider myself a 'never Trumper'

Under questioning from Representative Jim Himes, a Democrat, as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, both said they were not "never Trumpers".

Vindman and Williams were responding to previous accusations by the president that both witnesses belonged to a group of government officials who Trump and his allies say have vowed to defy him at every turn.

Vindman says he was offered the post of Ukraine's defence minister three times but rejected the suggestion

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's director for Ukraine, said he was made an offer to become the defence minister of Ukraine while attending the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of the official US delegation.

Schiff Nunes

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff warned against "any effort to out the whistle-blower". [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Vindman says "I immediately dismissed these offers", which he added he did not interpret to be serious.

He says two American officials witnessed the exchange with a top adviser to Zelenskyy, and that he notified his chain of command and counterintelligence officials about the offer upon returning to the US.

Vindman is testifying before the House Intelligence Committee about his concerns about President Donald Trump's decision to press Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation of his political opponents.

Schiff interrupts Republican questioning to 'protect the whistle-blower'

Chairman of the House intelligence committee Adam Schiff, a Democrat, interrupted Republican questioning during a public hearing as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump to "protect the whistle-blower".

During questioning, ranking Republican committee member Devin Nunes asked if Lieutena nt Colonel Alexander Vindmanthe National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, had told anyone outside of the White House about the July 25 phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, which has become central in the impeachment probe.

Vindman said he had told George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state, and a member of the intelligence community. The whistle-blower whose complaint lead Democrats to launch the investigation is from the intelligence community, which is composed of 17 agencies.

Schiff interrupted, saying "I want to make sure there is no effort to out the whistle-blower in these proceedings".

Vindman then answered, "per my counsel, I've been advised not to answer questions about specific individuals from the intelligence community".

Vindman, Williams say they have not leaked info on Trump call to press

Under questioning from the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, US Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindmanthe National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, said they had not leaked information about a July 25 call at the centre of the House impeachment investigation.

Devin Nunes asked both witnesses, who testified on Tuesday in the third day of public hearings in the investigation, if they had personally encouraged anyone, or knew anyone who had leaked information on the call between Trump and the president of Ukraine. 

Both Vindman and Williams responded "I did not" to all questions. 

Vindman's former boss, Tim Morrison, in his closed-door testimony, had said White House officials had raised concerns that Vindman might leak information. Morrison said he never had any concerns that Vindman would leak information. 

Vindman says he told Ukrainian officials to stay out of US politics

Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, said during his public hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that he had instructed Ukrainian officials to stay out of US politics. 

Vindman was on a July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine's new president where Trump pressed for investigations into the 2016 presidential election and the son of his Democratic rival.

Vindman

National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified before the House impeachment investigation on Tuesday. [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Vindman said he knew "without hesitation" that he had to report the call to the White House counsel.

He told the committee that US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, later said the Ukrainians needed to provide "a deliverable" which was "specific investigations".

Vindman later told Ukrainian officials they should steer clear of the requests.

Vindman calls Trump call with Zelenskyy 'improper'

Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the White House National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, testified at the third public hearing in the House impeachment investigation.

"It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and political opponent," Vindman said in his opening statement.

Vindman, who along with other witnesses has been publicly criticised by Trump, also told lawmakers that "vile character attacks" against public servants testifying in the impeachment inquiry were "reprehensible," urging Americans to be "better than callow and cowardly attacks". 

Vindman did not specifically mention Trump when he referred to "cowardly attacks". Some Trump allies in the conservative media have questioned Vindman's loyalty to the US.

Williams calls Trump call with Zelenskyy 'unusual'

Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, said President Donald Trump's July 25 call with the president of Ukraine was "unusual".

Williams, speaking during the third day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump, said the call struck her as strange because "it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter".

Williams also said the White House Budget office had said Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, had directed that nearly $400m in security aid to Ukraine be put on hold and that she never learned why the assistance was later released in September.

Williams, who was attacked by Trump on Twitter just days before her public appearance, also told legislators that she was committed to serving America's interests, adding "it was with great pride and conviction that I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution".

Jennifer Williams Trump impeach

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, said she found a phone call between the US president and the leader of Ukraine "unusual". [Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press]

Nunes decries media coverage of public hearings in opening statements

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee used his opening statement to blame the media for the impeachment drive against President Donald Trump.

Devin Nunes, at the beginning of the third day of public hearings in the investigation, excoriated media coverage of the hearings. 

"You may have noticed a disconnect between what you actually saw and the mainstream media's description of it," Nunes said addressing the public, adding the media wanted to stoke a "partisan frenzy".

"The media of course are free to act as Democratic puppets … at the direction of their puppet masters," he said.

Schiff references attacks on witnesses' character in opening statements

In his opening statement in the third day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said both US Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, had faced "attacks" on their "character". 

Schiff referenced a Tweet by president Trump on Sunday accusing Williams of being a "Never Trumper".

Schiff added that Vindman, an Iraq war veteran and purple heart recipient, had faced more "scurrilous attacks" on his characters from Trump allies. 

Schiff also said that both Williams and Vindman had reported that the president of Ukraine specifically referred to "Burisma", the gas company linked to Hunter Biden, in the July 25 phone call with Trump. That reference was not reflected in the memo of the call released by the White House.

Giuliani criticises first three witnesses to testify publicly

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has criticised the first three witnesses to testify publicly in the House impeachment inquiry.

Several witnesses have testified that Giuliani led a shadow foreign policy campaign as an unofficial envoy to Ukraine. His blurring of what was official and unofficial government business rankled some officials, according to previous testimonies. 

Shortly before the third day of public hearings began on Tuesday, Giuliani tweeted that three witnesses who had previously testified, William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine "had absolutely zero admissible evidence and no evidence of any criminal activity".

Giuliani, along with his associated, allegedly ran a smear campaign again Yovanovitch which eventually led to her removal from the post in May.

Vindman, Williams arrive on Capitol Hill

US Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's (NSC) top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, have arrived on Capitol Hill for a third day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

Vindman, who arrived in full military regalia for Tuesday's hearing, and Williams are the first people to have listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine's leader at the centre of the impeachment probe. 

The president has characterised both Vindman, who as a member of the NSC is a White House employee, and Williams, who is a State Department employee assigned to the Vice President's office, as "never Trumpers". 

Vindman

Lt Col Alexander Vindman arrived on Capitol Hill for his public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. [Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press]

Trump impeachment inquiry deepens with Week Two of public hearings

The House Intelligence Committee will first hear from Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and US Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert. They listened to the call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that prompted a whistle-blower complaint and eventually led to the impeachment inquiry.

A second hearing will follow with Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy for Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council Russia expert.

Read more about what to expect here. 

Pelosi invites Trump to testify as new witnesses prepare

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited Trump to testify in front of investigators in the House impeachment inquiry ahead of a week that will see several key witnesses appear publicly.

Pushing back against accusations from the Republican president that the process has been stacked against him, Pelosi said Trump was welcome to appear or answer questions in writing, if he chose.

"If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it," she said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation. Trump "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants", she said.

On Monday, Trump tweeted he might be willing to offer written testimony: "She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don't like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!"

Friday, November 15 – Marie Yovanovitch

Public testimony of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch ends

The former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch publicly testified for about five hours as part of the House impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump.

In her testimony on Friday, Yovanovitch largely described a smear campaign against her, lead by the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his associates, that undermined national interests and security for the personal gain of others.

She also warned that the undermining of her ambassadorship has hurt morale at the State Department and could potentially make the mission of other US diplomats more difficult. 

Questions from Democrats mostly sought to support this narrative, while Republican questioning attempted to portray Yovanovitch's concerns as an internal State Department issue unrelated to the impeachment investigation. 

Tuesday will begin the next series of public hearings. Set to testify are Jennifer Williams, the special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia, Alexander Vindmana US Army officer assigned to the National Security Council, Kurt Volker, a former US special envoy to Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison, a White House aide with the National Security Council.

On Friday, a House panel will also hear behind closed doors from career diplomat David Holmes, an aide to Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who is expected to discuss his recollection of a July 26 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union.

Yovanovitch public hearing

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill during the second public impeachment hearing into President Donald Trump [Alex Brandon/The Associated Press]

Trump: Twitter posts during Yovanovitch hearing were not intimidating

US President Donald Trump has said he does not believe his Twitter posts were intimidating after his real-time attack on former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch drew criticism during a public hearing as part of the House impeachment inquiry.

"I don't think so at all," Trump told reporters at the White House when asked whether his tweets or words can be intimidating.

Trump said he watched a little bit of the second public impeachment hearing on Friday and "thought it was a disgrace".

Democrats had accused Trump of witness intimidation after he said "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad".

Yovanovitch says Trump political ally suggested she 'send out a tweet, praise the president' to save her job

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch described an exchange with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland during the House impeachment hearing on Friday.

When it became clear that Yovanovitch would be removed her post, Sondland suggested she "send out a tweet, praise the president", she said. Yovanovitch said she rejected the advice.

Sondland was a Trump campaign contributor who was appointed by the president to the prestigious post.

Yovanovitch said Sondland's advice was to "go big or go home," which he explained meant lauding Trump.

She says she didn't do it because, "It felt partisan, it felt political" and inappropriate for an ambassador".

Yovanovitch Public Hearing

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified for about five hours on before the House Intelligence Committee in the second public impeachment hearing into President Donald Trump. [J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

White House: Trump tweet about Yovanovitch 'not witness intimidation'

The White House says President Donald Trump's tweets criticising former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as she testified before the House as part of its impeachment inquiry was "not witness intimidation".

In a statement, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said the tweet was "simply the President's opinion, which he is entitled to".

Trump has drawn criticism for tweeting early in Yovanovitch's testimony that everywhere the career diplomat was posted "turned bad".

Yovanovitch said the tweets were "very intimidating" to her and other witnesses.

Yovanovitch rejects Trump claim that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is rejecting the notion that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, as President Donald Trump has proposed.

Trump has said that Ukraine tried to "take me down".

Testifying in Friday's impeachment hearing, Yovanovitch said "we didn't really see it that way."

She noted that the US intelligence community "has conclusively determined" that those who interfered in that election were in Russia.

Yovanovitch also pushed back against Trump's suggestions that former Vice President Joe Biden was pursuing his own interests in Ukraine during President Barack Obama's administration.

She said he was pursuing "official US policy".

Yovanovitch impeachment

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch rejected Trump claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US elections [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Nunes: 'I'm not exactly sure what the ambassador's doing here today'

The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes has said he is unsure why diplomat Marie Yovanovitch had been called to testify publicly in the impeachment investigation.

Speaking during the Republican committee members allocated 45-minute questioning period as part of Friday's hearing, Nunes said Yovanovitch is "not a material fact witness" and portrayed the ambassador as unrelated to the central questions House investigators are trying to answer – whether the president pressured a foreign government into conducting investigations for his own political gain. 

"You admitted in your opening statement that you don't have any first-hand information of what we're looking into to," Nunes said. 

Schiff says Trump tweet 'witness intimidation in real-time by the president of the United States'

Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, said a tweet by the president criticising the former ambassador to Ukraine during her public hearing was "witness intimidation in real-time by the president of the United States".

Schiff made the statement to reporters during a break from the public testimony of former diplomat Marie Yovanovitch on Friday. 

In the tweet, Trump said that "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad" and said the Ukrainian president "spoke unfavourably of her" during the July 25 phone call between the two leaders at the heart of the investigation. 

Schiff reads Trump tweet to Yovanovitch

Adam Schiff, the Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, read a tweet by President Donald Trump attacking former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her public hearing. 

Asked if she agreed with Trump's assertion that "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad", Yovanovitch said: "I actually think that where I've served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better."

When asked by Schiff if she found the president's attacks intimidating, she responded, "It's very intimidating".

"Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously," Schiff said. 

Schiff Nunes

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Republican ranking member Representative Devin Nunes gave an opening statement in the second public hearing in the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump. [Joshua Roberts/The Associated Press]

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine on Trump comments about her to Zelenskyy: 'it sounded like a threat'

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has said that comments made by President Trump about her to Ukraine's leader in a phone call at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry "sounded like a threat".

Yovanovitch, testifying on Friday in the second public hearing in the investigation, was read the comments made in the July 25 phone call by Daniel Goldman, the lawyer for the committee Democrats. During the call, Trump said Yovanovitch was "bad news" and that she's going to "go through some things".

Yovanovitch said a colleague told her the blood had drained from her face when she first read a memo of the call. 

"It was a terrible moment," she said. "I  think I even had a physical reaction, even now words kind of fail me."

When asked what she made of Trump's "bad news" comment, Yovanovitch said she was "shocked, appalled, devastated, that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a head of state, and it was me, I couldn't believe it".

Goldman then asked Yovanovitch about Trump's statement that she was going to "go through some things".

"I didn't know what to think, but I was very concerned. 'she's gonna go through some things'. It didn't sound good. It sounded like a threat," she said. 

In tweet, Trump attacks former Ambassador Yovanovitch as she testifies in impeachment investigation

President Donald Trump has tweeted an attack against the former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch while she was in the middle of testifying in his impeachment investigation, saying everything she touched went "bad".

The president's response came as Yovanovitch testified in the House of Representatives about her abrupt firing from her post in Ukraine following an alleged smear campaign by Trump's allies.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," Trump said, finishing his tweet with a reminder that presidents have the "absolute right" to hire and fire ambassadors.

Trump said on Wednesday he did not watch the first public hearing in the investigation, but tweeted a livestream during the hearing on Friday. 

Former Ambassador Yovanovitch: corrupt Ukrainians found Americans 'willing to partner with them'

The former US ambassador to Ukraine told a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump on Friday that corrupt Ukrainians found Americans willing to work with them to oust her.

Marie Yovanovitch told the US House Intelligence Committee that not all Ukrainians "embraced" US anti-corruption work in the country.

"Thus, perhaps, it was not surprising, that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old, corrupt rules sought to remove me," Yovanovitch said in her opening statement.

"What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and, working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a US ambassador," she added, in apparent reference to the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who led a campaign to depose her. 

Yovanovitch said her removal has the potential to undermine US diplomats around the world. 

"Shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove a US Ambassador who does not give them what they want," she said. 

She added she was "disappointed" that the State Department leadership did not acknowledge that attacks against her were "dangerously wrong".

"These events should concern everyone in this room," she said, adding that the agency is being "hollowed out from within".

White House releases memo of an April phone call between Trump and Zelenskyy

The White House has released a summary of an April phone call in which President Donald Trump congratulated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shortly after his election win.

Trump had said repeatedly that Democrats wanted details of his April 21 call with Zelenskyy, but it has never been a focus of the lawmakers leading the impeachment investigation of Trump on Capitol Hill.

A separate call between the two leaders on July 25 sparked the impeachment inquiry. 

Trump, in the April call, invited Zelenskyy to the White House.

"We'll have a lot of things to talk about, but we're with you all the way," he said according to the memo.

Yovanovitch impeachment

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump [Susan Walsh/The Associated Press]

Ranking committee Republican derides inquiry, does not mention Yovanovitch in opening statements

The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, decried the Democrat-lead House inquiry into US Presidential Donald Trump in his opening statements in the second public hearing of the investigation. 

Nunes did not comment on former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who sat before him as she prepared to testify before the committee on Friday.

Nunes instead said the legislators had convened for another day of the "Democrats day long TV spectacle" which he said distracted from "solving the problems we all came to Washington to address".

He said that Democrats were holding Friday's public hearing to "advance their operation to topple a duly elected president".

Nunes went on to describe Wednesday's testimony, the first public hearing in the investigation, as "hours of hearsay testimony".

He finished his testimony by reading a transcript of an April phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, which the White House released on Friday. 

In opening statements, Schiff calls Yovanovitch anti-corruption 'champion' who got in the way of Trump's 'personal and political' agenda

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has described the former US Ambassador to Ukraine as a career diplomat whose anti-corruption work got in the way of the president's 'personal and political' agenda. 

In his opening statements during the second public hearing of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Schiff described former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as an "exemplary officer who is widely praised and respected by her colleagues" and an "anti-corruption champion".

She said Yovanovitch's anti-corruption work didn't just rankle "corrupt Ukrainians…but also certain Americans" like the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his associates.

"Why did Rudy Giuliani want her gone? And why did Trump?" Schiff said.

He said Yovanovitch was "considered an obstacle to furtherance of the presidents personal and political agenda, for that she was smeared and cast aside".

yovavitch arrives public testimony

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrived to testify to the House Intelligence Committee in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump [Julio Cortez/The Associated Press]

Trump cites Ukrainian foreign minister in tweet decrying inquiry

Minutes before the second public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump began, the president that statements made by Ukraine's foreign minister the night prior should absolve him of any wrongdoing. 

Trump was referring to comments made by Vadym Prystaiko, the foreign minister of Ukraine, who said last night US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland did not explicitly link withheld military aid to investigations pushed by the president. 

"Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigations. You should ask him," Prystaiko said about Sondland.

On Friday, Trump tweeted on Friday that "the impeachment witch hunt should be over" following the foreign minister's statements. 

Yovanovitch arrives on Capitol Hill

The former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has arrived on Capitol Hill to testify publicly in the House impeachment investigation of US President Donald Trump. 

Yovanovitch, who had previously testified in private that she had become the target of an apparent smear campaign by the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates, did not respond to reporters questions as she passed through security. 

Former US Ambassador Yovanovitch to testify in impeachment investigation

The former US ambassador who was removed by Donald Trump is set to testify in a public hearing on Friday as part of the impeachment inquiry of the US president.

Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, is expected to tell the House Intelligence Committee in open session that she became the target of a political smear campaign by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and was recalled by Trump.

Read more here.

Wednesday, November 13 – William Taylor and George Kent 

Trump denies asking about investigations on call

President Donald Trump denied he asked a US ambassador about "investigations" in Ukraine a day after his call with that country's president.

The existence of the call was revealed Wednesday by William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine. He testified that one of his staffers overheard Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, speaking on the phone with Trump on July 26.

Sondland used his cellphone to call Trump, and the staff member could hear Trump on the phone asking about "the investigations".

Trump denied knowledge of the call, saying, "I know nothing about that." He adds, "First time I've heard it."

An official familiar with the matter said the staffer Taylor referred to is David Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv. Holmes is invited to testify before Congress on Friday.

House intelligence committee votes to table motion to subpoena whistle-blower

The House intelligence committee has voted 13 to 9 to vote on subpoenaing the whistle-blower at a later date. 

Republicans had repeatedly called on House Republicans leading the impeachment investigation to call the whistle-blower to testify during the investigations first public hearing on Wednesday. 

Representative Mike Conaway, a Republican, had introduced the motion to subpoena the whistle-blower at the beginning of the hearing. 

Hearing ends with Schiff reiterating he has never met with whistle-blower

Top State Department official George Kent and US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor have been dismissed from the first public hearing as part of the House impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump. 

Taylor Kent testified for more than five hours Wednesday about their concerns with Trump's requests that Ukraine investigate Democrats as the US withheld military aid to the country.

Next up will be former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed in May on Trump's orders. She will testify Friday

In his closing statement, Adam Schiff, the Democrat leading the investigation, again denied Republican claims that he had met with the whistle-blower, whose complaint over a July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president sparked the investigation. 

"It was false the first time they said it," he said. "It will be false the last time they said it."

House Republican says the whistleblower is the 'one witness' who should be brought in front of the American people

Jim Jordan, a Republican representative, said the whistle-blower at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry is the "one witness" who should be brought in front of the American people.

Jordan said the whistle-blower, whose complaint touched off the inquiry, should come before the committee.

He said he wanted to know the identity of the whistle-blower, who is a CIA officer assigned to the White House.

Jordan earlier complained that the witnesses Wednesday testifying publicly for the first time didn't have firsthand knowledge of the accusations and never spoke directly to President Donald Trump.

The whistleblower has not been asked to testify.

Representative Peter Welch, a Democrat, said he'd be glad to have the person at the centre of the investigation testify.

"President Trump is welcome to sit right there," he said. 

Kent, Taylor deny they are 'never Trumpers'

George Kent and William Taylor, the two veteran diplomats testifying in the House impeachment hearing, have denied President Donald Trump's accusation that they adamantly oppose him.

Shortly before Wednesday's House Intelligence Committee hearing began, Trump tweeted, "NEVER TRUMPERS!" He offered no evidence.

Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat, asked both men if Trump's claim was true.

State Department official George Kent responded that he's served under three Republican and two Democratic presidents during his 27 years of service. He said he serves "whatever president is duly elected" and carries out their foreign policies.

William Taylor answered, "No sir". Taylor is the top US diplomat in Ukraine and was recruited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to serve there.

Democrats, Republicans question Taylor and Kent

Democratic and Republican House intelligence committee members questioned William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, in a rapid-fire sequence as part of the first public hearing into the House impeachment inquiry. 

The questioning came after both sides were given 45-minute sessions, which they used for in-depth questioning by appointed lawyers. Committee members were then given five minutes for questioning, which Republicans largely used to portray the testimonies of Kent and Taylor as "hearsay". 

jim jordan

Republican Jim Jordan questioned top US diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent, as they testified before the House Intelligence Committee. [Alex Brandon/The Associated Press]

In one exchange, Republican committee member Jim Jordan asked if Taylor was on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskyy, if he had spoken with Trump's chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, or ever met the president. Taylor responded in the negative to all.

"And you're their star witness. You're their first witness. You're the guy, you're the guy. Based on this, based on this. I've seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this," Jordan said, portraying Taylor's source of information as convoluted. 

"I don't consider myself a star witness for anything," Taylor said.

Top Senate Republican says any motion to immediately dismiss impeachment charges in Senate would likely fail 

Top Senate Republican John Cornyn said on Wednesday that should the House vote to impeach President Donald Trump, he doubts a motion in the Senate to immediately dismiss the charges would succeed.

Cornyn, who spent years as the Senate's number two Republican, said such a motion would not receive the 51 votes necessary in the Republican-controlled Senate to pass.

He added he was confident that ultimately, a vote in the Senate to remove Trump from office would fail.

Report: Pelosi urges Democrats not to be distracted by 'Republican disruption'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged House Democrats not to be distracted by "Republican disruption" in meeting shortly before the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, the Washington Post reported. 

"I do think that we need to have a common narrative," Pelosi said, according to a Democratic aide, the newspaper reported. "This is a very serious event in our country. We wish it could have been avoided. None of us came here to impeach a president."

The aide added Pelosi said it was 'a prayerful day for all of us – for our country", according to the report.

Trump calls impeachment inquiry hearing a 'witch hunt' and a 'hoax'

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he skipped the first public hearings in his impeachment investigation because he was "too busy."

"I'm too busy to watch it. It's a witch hunt, it's a hoax, I'm too busy to watch it. So, I'm sure I'll get a report," Trump told reporters.

Trump was, however, active on Twitter during the beginning of the hearing, retweeting many House Republicans critical of the inquiry. 

Taylor describes two US policy channels operating within Ukraine

The top US diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor told House legislators conducting an impeachment investigation that he noticed there were two policy channels operating with Ukraine, a "regular" and an "irregular" one.

William Taylor said the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was guiding requests through the irregular channel.

Taylor also reiterated his previous statement, which he made in a closed-door hearing, that it slowly became clear to him that a White House meeting desired by Ukrainian officials was conditioned on investigations into the gas company linked to Joe Biden's son, Hunter, and into alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US elections.

William Taylor

Top US diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor testified publicly as part of the House impeachment investigation on Capitol Hill. [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Spokeswoman: Trump not watching public impeachment inquiry hearings

President Donald Trump is not watching the public House impeachment hearings against him, Stephanie Grisham, the president's chief spokeswoman, said.

Grisham told reporters that Trump is instead participating in meetings in the Oval Office. Trump was also scheduled to receive the Turkish president at 12pm (17:00 GMT).

"He's in the Oval (office) in meetings. Not watching. He's working," Stephanie Grisham said more than an hour into the public hearing.

Trump was, however, retweeting House Republican tweets about the hearing during the proceedings.

Taylor says it was 'crazy' and 'illogical' for Trump to withhold aid in exchange for investigations

The US Ambassador to Ukraine said he thought it was "crazy" and "illogical" for the Trump administration to make military aid contingent on Ukraine announcing investigations into political rival Joe Biden.

William Taylor made the statements in response to questioning from Daniel Goldman, the investigations chief for Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Taylor said the security assistance was important not only to Ukraine but to America's own military interests. He said "it made no sense" to withhold that money and was "counterproductive to all of what we had been trying to do".

Goldman showed Taylor text messages he sent to other diplomats explaining his belief that it was "crazy" to withhold the military aid for political gain.

In new disclosure, diplomat Taylor says staff overheard Trump ask Sondland about 'the investigations'

The US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor saida member of his staff recently told him they overheard President Donald Trump speaking on the phone to US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about "investigations".

Trump ally Sondland admits tying Ukraine aid to Biden investigation

Taylor made the disclosure in his opening statements as he testified publicly in the House impeachment inquiry.

He said the staff member was at a restaurant with Sondland on the day after the July 25 call between Trump and the new leader of Ukraine. That call later prompted a whistle-blower's complaint that lead to the launch of the inquiry.

Taylor told the committee that Sondland called Trump from the restaurant and the staff could hear Trump on the phone asking about "the investigations".

Sondland, a hotelier who was appointed to the prestigious post by Trump, responded to the president that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, Taylor said.

The staff member then asked Sondland about Trump's thoughts on Ukraine.

Sondland replied that "Trump cared more about the investigations of Biden" than Ukraine itself, Taylor testified.

Kent says he never saw any effort by US officials to shield company linked to Hunter Biden from scrutiny

Top State Department official George Kent said he never saw any effort by US officials to shield from scrutiny a Ukrainian natural gas company on which Hunter Biden sat on the board.

Kent said he raised concerns in 2015 that his status could create the perception of a conflict of interest. But, he added, he never saw any attempt to shield Burisma from scrutiny because of Biden's connection to the company.

During the hearing, House Republicans portrayed Trump's request for Ukraine to investigate Burisma as a legitimate concern in a general anti-corruption push by the president.

Kent: US should not ask other countries to engage in 'selective, politically associated investigations'

George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, has said the US shouldn't engage in "selective, politically associated investigations" during his opening statement during the first public hearing of the House impeachment inquiry.

Kent said such "selective actions" undermine the rule of law regardless of the country.

He then apparently referenced a campaign by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to oust former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

"It was unexpected, and most unfortunate, to watch some Americans – including those who allied themselves with corrupt Ukrainians in pursuit of private agendas – launch attacks on dedicated public servants advancing US interests in Ukraine," he said.

"In my opinion, those attacks undermined US and Ukrainian national interest and damage our critical bilateral relationship," he said.

George Kent, deputy assistant U.S. secretary of state, arrives for a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Democrats will try

George Kent, deputy assistant US secretary of state, publicly testified in the House impeachment inquiry hearing. [Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg]

House Republicans push to hear from whistle-blower

House Republicans at the start of the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's immediately pushed Democrats to hear from the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint sparked the investigation.

Congressman Michael Conaway, a Republican from Texas, asked that the panel issue a subpoena for the still-unknown whistleblower to appear in a closed-door hearing.

But Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, denied the request Wednesday, saying it would be considered later.

"We will do everything necessary to protect the whistleblower's identity," Schiff said.

Schiff opens first public hearing in impeachment investigation

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff has opened the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiryinto President Donald Trump, saying the investigation will determine what "conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander-in-chief".

Career Foreign Service officer George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, right, are sworn in to testify during the first public impeachment hearing of the House Intelligence Committ

Career Foreign Service officer George Kent and top US diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor were sworn in to testify during the first public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry. [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

In his opening statement, Schiff said that Democrats believe the testimonies will answer whether Trump "abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, or if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign".

"If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?" il a dit.

Schiff added there were still "missing pieces" in the inquiry, as a result of the White House's refusal to cooperate in the investigation. He said the refusal will force the House to consider whether Trump's "obstruction of the constitutional duties of Congress constitute additional grounds for impeachment".

Meanwhile, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, offered a conflicting narrative in his opening statement, portraying the inquiry as a "carefully orchestrated media smear campaign" and the public hearing as a "televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats".

Addressing William Taylor and George Kent directly, Nunes said: "It seems you agreed wittingly or unwittingly to participate in a drama".

Kremlin weighs in on Trump impeachment hearings

The Kremlin has drawn a parallel between the impeachment proceedings against Trump and accusations of Russia's interference in his election.

Asked about the hearings opening Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry P eskov responded that "there are a lot of things far-fetched".

Peskov compared the proceedings to the US claims of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which he described as having "little relation to reality".

The Kremlin has shrugged off special counsel Robert Mueller's exposure of Russian interference in the vote.

Mueller found there wasn't enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russia. But Mueller charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with breaking into Democratic Party computers and the email accounts of officials with Hillary Clinton's campaign.

What to expect from the first public hearings

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are competing to sell their own very different narratives in the impeachment process. Republicans are calling the witness testimony hearsay and arguing that while some may conclude Trump did, in fact, push Ukraine for political investigations that do not warrant impeachment.

Trump impeachment

Television news crews set up for live reports ahead of Trump impeachment inquiry testimony [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters] 

Schiff told the United States's National Public Radio (NPR) on Tuesday that he believes Trump committed a form of "bribery" that rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanours" defined in the Constitution as impeachable offences.

"Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader," Schiff told NPR. "It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you're offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation's interest."

Read more here.

Updated public hearing schedule

Public hearings will take place on Wednesday and Friday. More hearings have been scheduled for next week.

Stay up-to-date with the latest public hearing schedule here.







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