House Democrats Release Two More Witness Testimony Transcripts in Trump Impeachment Probe

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

Sondland said he now recalls a meeting in Poland in September when he told a top Zelenskiy aide that the USA assistance wouldn't come until Zelenskiy publicly committed to probing not just corruption in general, but the two topics that mattered most to Trump: Burisma (a Ukrainian energy company where former Vice President Biden's son Hunter worked while Biden was President Obama's point man in Ukraine) and a well-debunked conspiracy theory that seeks to blame Ukraine, not Russian Federation, for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Vindman explained to the lawmakers he found it concerning because if a more powerful United States asked Ukraine to investigate a private US citizen, Kiev may think it's in its national security interests to do so and deliver results favorable to Washington.

Late Thursday night, Democrats issued a subpoena to compel acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to appear on Friday for a closed door deposition with the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Trump impeachment. "My visceral reaction to what was being called for suggested that it was explicit".

In the letter obtained by CNN and posted on its site, Andrew Bakaj told White House counsel Pat Cipollone that Mr. Trump might bear responsibility "should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his, or his surrogates', behavior".

Vindman said that Ukrainian government officials reached out to him in April "for advice on how to respond to Mr. Giuliani's advances, meaning his call to undertake these - what would come across as partisan investigations".

Then Bolton then abruptly ended the meeting. The policy, as Kent described it, pitted the traditional bipartisan foreign policy consensus over US relations with Ukraine, a fledgling post-Soviet state that needs Western support, against a parallel policy being advocated by Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

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

Trump denies wrongdoing and has since released what the White House claims to be an unredacted transcript of the call.

The House's investigation, which started with a complaint from a whistleblower, is focused on a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, a leading Democratic rival in the November 2020 presidential election.

US Democrats launch the public phase of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump next week, with open, televised hearings set for Wednesday and Friday in the House of Representatives. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.

Bolton, who was sacked by Trump in September, was also called to appear on Thursday but did not show, and his attorney said he would not testify voluntarily.

He also distanced himself from Sondland, whom he praised last month as "a really good man and great American".

Mr. Sunderland made headlines after suddenly changing his testimony against Congress and implying that President Trump had committed a crime that might not be possible. It puts Mulvaney more directly involved in the shadow diplomacy being run through Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, and implemented by Sondland.

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russian Federation and Europe adviser, also mentioned Mulvaney in her testimony, saying Sondland said "in front of the Ukrainians" that "he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney for a meeting with Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with investigations". She said she heard Sondland mention Burisma. According to Hill's account of events, Bolton instructed her to notify the National Security Council of the Trump administration's activities, calling them a "drug deal". I assume that's what you're talking about.

The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, is considered a critical witness to the case against Trump.

"When the president of the United States makes a request for a favor, it certainly seems, I would take it as a demand", he retorted.

But he said he "presumed", by September, that the suspension was linked to the White House push for a public statement by Ukraine about an investigation related to the Bidens - and, crucially, that he "now" recalls that he personally told Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak on September 1 "that resumption of USA aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks". "This one's not, well not everyone's cup of tea, as you say".

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

Vindman took his concerns about the call to the NSC's lead counsel - and about Sondland's comments at the White House to his twin brother, Eugene, an ethics lawyer at the National Security Council.

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