Impeachment testimony is also giving Trump a quid pro quo defense

Impeachment inquiry: NSC official says Mulvaney helped coordinate Ukraine quid pro quo

A story told by Matthew Karnitschnig, the chief European journalist of the Department of Political Affairs, suggests that until recently, Ambassador Sunderland was reluctant to contact reporters.

US House Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine plan to begin public hearings next week.

"I am honored to be part of the team committed to defending President Trump against this phony claim. being carried out by craven Democrats on Capitol Hill".

A quid pro quo is not necessary to prove high crimes or misdemeanours, which is the standard the US Constitution requires for the impeachment of a president.

Trump's Friday words were significantly different than his complimentary previous comments about Sondland.

He says the hearings will begin next Wednesday with testimonies by a top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.

Kent said in closed-door testimony that he had been alarmed by efforts by Giuliani and others to pressure Ukraine to accede to Trump's demands.

Kent's remarks bolster the accounts of other officials whose depositions have been made public and underscore the intense back-and-forth within the Trump administration over its Ukraine policy.

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Finding the situation to be "dispiriting", Hill sought out John Bolton, then national security adviser.

State Department official Catherine Croft testified last week that Mulvaney had put a hold on almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine four months ago - before Trump's phone call with Zelensky that spawned a whistle-blower report, and the impeachment investigation.

"Well, we have an agreement with the chief of staff for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start", Hill recalled - a reference to the firm, Burisma, where Biden's son was on the board.

"I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would be interpreted as a partisan play, which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained", Vindman said in his statement, according to the transcript (pdf).

Earlier this year, he told the Ukrainian journalist: "We are so-called three friends, three friends are [Energy] secretary [Rick] Ambassador Perry [Kurt] Volcker and myself, we Our duty is to supervise our US-Ukrainian relationship between the highest level of US government and the highest level of Ukrainian government".

He had known about the reports swirling in the media about the Bidens, however, and he "cautioned the Ukrainians to distinguish between highlighting their own efforts to fight corruption domestically, including investigating Ukrainian individuals, something we support as a matter of USA policy, and doing anything that could be seen as impacting USA elections, which is in neither the United States' nor Ukraine's own interest". "I haven't seen it recently, but I'll give it to them".

But Trump made an exception for Sondland, whom he called "highly respected". According to him, incriminating testimony from other witnesses "refreshed my recollection about certain conversations". huh, you know that testimony I just heard? The Democrats will ask the diplomats to discuss their understanding of events before and after a phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy. Now he may be remembered for something else: being one of the "three amigos" at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.

"Because that's what the president wanted to hear?" It's not clear the Ukrainians, who desperately needed US aid to keep Russia-backed rebels at bay, felt the same way, however. For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered.

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