Impeachment probe hears of Gordon Sondland's role on Ukraine

White House releases text of 1st phone call between Trump & Zelensky The White House has released a memo of the first phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"Our holding up of security systems that would go to a country that is fighting aggression from Russian Federation for no good policy reason, no good substantive reason, no good national security reason is wrong", said Taylor.

But Morrison's testimony could complicate the narrative, promoted by Democrats, that senior members of Trump's team were so disturbed by his call with Zelensky that they sought to bury records of the discussion. Burisma is the gas company in Ukraine where Democrat Joe Biden's son Hunter served on the board.

And he recalled Sondland speaking directly to Trump about the investigations and the military aid.

Mr Morrison, who announced on October 30 he would be stepping down from the NSC, was brought to the White House by then-national security adviser John Bolton.

In earlier closed-door testimony, Ms Yovanovitch alleged she had fallen victim to a smear campaign at the hands of Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

"One noteworthy item was that the Zelensky administration already had hundreds of bills ready to go, and so Ambassador Bolton provided an overview of some of those", she said.

She also said she read the message Ambassador William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late August, laying out the case for the release of the military aid withheld from Ukraine, saying that Taylor made a "very persuasive case". She was referring to the president saying his now-infamous July 25 call with Zelenskiy was "perfect".

In the first public hearing last week, acting ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor pointed to Trump's keen interest in getting the eastern European ally to investigate Biden and reiterated his understanding that $391 million in US security aid was withheld from Kiev unless it cooperated.

Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, is the only person interviewed to date who had conversations directly with the president because the White House has blocked others from cooperating with what they dismiss as a sham investigation.

Sondland said vital USA military assistance to Ukraine might be freed up if the country's top prosecutor "would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation", Morrison told House investigators.

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Morrison's testimony ties Trump more closely to the central price from Democrats pursuing impeachment: that Trump held up USA navy abet to Ukraine in alternate for investigations into Democrats and Biden's household.

Morrison said he witnessed the exchange and that afterward Sondland bounded across the room to tell him what was said.

Both Williams and Morrison were listening in on the July 25 phone call, which was flagged by an intelligence committee whistleblower and has become the center of the impeachment inquiry.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff chalked it up to "witness intimidation", something he said he takes "very, very seriously". In addition, we also described Laura Cooper as a GOP-requested witness.

The impeachment investigation is centered on allegations that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine's new leader over the summer to dig up dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden, holding up USA military aid to the Eastern European nation as leverage. She said in an addendum to her testimony that Zelenskiy had talked about the note "Burisma" in the name. He is scheduled to testify publicly on Tuesday.

Williams listened in on the July 25 call and said the requests appeared to have been made to further Trump's "personal political agenda" rather than U.S. foreign policy goals.

Morrison said on September 7, Sondland informed him about a telephone call he'd held with Trump. "We were trying to convince President Trump".

On Wednesday the committee will hear from Sondland in addition to Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, and David Hale, a State Department official.

"Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine". And now the president in real time is attacking you.

"I just don't know if he read through it", she said.

  • Delia Davidson