EVENT ENDED

Analysis after Gordon Sondland, Laura Cooper and David Hale's impeachment testimony

Image: Day 4 of Impeachment hearings with Laura Cooper and Gordon Sondland
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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The fourth day of public hearings in the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump saw testimony from three Trump administration officials.

Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs, testified before the House Intelligence Committee at just before 6 p.m. ET Wednesday. Their appearance followed testimony from U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who appeared before the committee for a hearing that began more than eight hours earlier.

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Transcript of Trump's conversation with Ukrainian president

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Schiff opens with summary of case he’s building

Schiff is using his opening statement to summarize the broader case that House Democrats are attempting to build and is highlighting Sondland’s fresh testimony. 

Referring to Sondland’s prior testimony, he called the ongoing saga “a continuum," adding that it “became more insidious over time.”

Sondland is sworn in

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Nov. 20, 2019.Andrew Harnik / AP

Schiff gavels in hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff gaveled in the fifth impeachment inquiry hearing, with the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, at roughly 9:09 a.m. ET. At this point, we do not know of any planned breaks during this first of two hearings today. We expect the Sondland hearing to conclude between 1:30 and 2 p.m. ET

Read Sondland's explosive opening statement

Sondland arrives for testimony before House Intel

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, center, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Nov. 20, 2019.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Sondland testimony targets Trump, Pompeo and confirms deal with Ukraine

Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the E.U., is pointing the finger at President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton in explosive public testimony on Wednesday in which he says explicitly that there was a "quid quo pro" linking a White House visit by Ukraine's president to investigations into a political opponent of the president.

Under fire from all sides after multiple witnesses contradicted his earlier deposition, Sondland blames everyone but himself for the pressure campaign on Ukraine now driving impeachment proceedings against Trump. He plans to show up for his televised hearing with reams of new text messages and emails he said prove the highest levels of the White House and the State Department were in on it.

"They knew what we were doing and why," Sondland plans to tell the House Intelligence Committee, according to his opening statement obtained by NBC News. "Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret." 

He says he knows House members have asked "was there a quid pro quo," adding that when to comes to the White House meeting sought by Ukraine's leader, "The answer is yes."

Read the full story here.

Get ready for a huge day in American politics

If you thought the political news was already intense, dizzying and historic, brace yourself for what’s happening today.

Beginning at 9 a.m. ET on Capitol Hill, Amb. to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies in the impeachment probe — the most highly anticipated public hearing yet in the proceedings. Then, at 2:30 pm ET, Laura Cooper of the Defense Department and David Hale of the State Department have their turns before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry.

And at 9 p.m. ET from Atlanta, 10 Democratic presidential candidates — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker and Tom Steyer – participate in the fifth round of Dem debates, this one hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post.

Phew.

Sondland’s testimony is significant because it comes after the State Department’s David Holmes revealed behind closed-door testimony that he overheard a phone conversation between the E.U. ambassador and President Trump, in which the two men discussed “the investigation” — ostensibly into Joe Biden.

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Where things stand so far in the impeachment inquiry, by the numbers

House Democrats are quickly racking up testimony from the many witnesses in their impeachment inquiry. Here's where things stand so far:

  • 38 subpoenas issued (1 withdrawn).
  • Four public hearings.
  • About 20 hours of public testimony from seven witnesses. 
  • 15 closed-door depositions; two closed-door transcribed interviews.
  • More than 120 hours of testimony behind closed doors with 17 witnesses.