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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Trump, White House scramble to respond to Sondland 'quid pro quo' testimony
President Donald Trump and his allies were left scrambling Wednesday morning after impeachment inquiry testimony by U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland dealt a blow to the argument at the heart of the White House's defense.
Sondland allegedthat a White House visit by Ukraine's president had indeed been linked to the announcement of political investigations into Trump political rival Joe Biden and his son, an apparent contradiction of his assessment in an earlier closed-door deposition the White House has repeatedly cited.
The claim sent the president’s defenders racing to revise talking points that have depended on a “no quid pro quo” defense, said Trump allies outside the White House, delivering a significant setback to Republican pushback.
President Trump himself seized on Sondland's recollection of a September phone conversation between the two men, re-enacting the conversation for reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday as the hearing continued. "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelenskiy to do the right thing," the president said he told the ambassador then.
Giuliani criticizes GOP counsel
McFaul: Sondland's assertion that he did not connect Burisma, Biden is 'insulting to our intelligence'
Pompeo says he has not seen Sondland’s testimony
Secretary of State Mike Pomeo dodged a question about Sondland’s testimony from a reporter at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday
“I didn’t see a single thing today, I was working,” Pomepo said when asked for comment on today’s hearing. “I was in meetings all day and haven't had a chance to see any of that testimony.”
Pompeo on Sondland testimony: 'I'm not going to recuse myself from this'Nov. 20, 201901:21
During his hearing, Sondland testified that Pompeo was aware of the efforts in Ukraine and was more deeply involved than previously known.
Pompeo, who usually does not answer shouted questions from reporters, ignored additional questions on Wednesday related to Sondland’s testimony.
Johnson: 'This is a slow motion explosion'
Johnson: 'This is a slow motion explosion'Nov. 20, 201901:35
House Intel members begin question round
The break has concluded. The House Intelligence Committee is now beginning the five-minute member round of questions. The committee has 22 members, so this should take about two hours, barring any other breaks. At this point, the afternoon hearing is going to be delayed from the planned 2:30 p.m. start time. It's unclear when that will start.
Chuck Todd: Sondland testimony 'cements impeachment' for Democrats
Chuck Todd: Sondland testimony 'cements impeachment' for DemocratsNov. 20, 201901:34
Photographer captures Trump's handwritten talking points responding to Sondland
The president brought his own talking points, written out by hand, possibly with one of those Sharpies he's known to prefer.
President Donald Trump, departing the White House on his way to Texas to visit an Apple factory, stopped in front of reporters to defend himself amid testimony by the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, by reading from handwritten notes insisting he did not want a "quid pro quo."
Trump began reading notes of what he says he spoke about during an early September phone call with Sondland, who was trying to figure out whether roughly $400 million in military aid was being linked to investigations into the Bidens.
At least some of Trump's talking points were captured by a Reuters photographer outside the White House.
"I want nothing/I want nothing/I want no quid pro quo/Tell Zellinsky (sic) to do the right thing," Trump's notes show, apparently referring to testimony from Sondland that that was the president's response when asked what he wanted from Ukraine.
Members to start questioning after a brief break
The second staff round of staff questions has concluded. Schiff just announced a brief break — 30 minutes — from the Sondland hearing. When the committee returns, the five-minute member round will begin.
Katyal: Sondland further confirmed there was a quid pro quo
Katyal: Sondland further confirmed there was a quid pro quoNov. 20, 201901:47
Now it's Dems who've left the hearing room
Several Republicans have now returned to the hearing room, but many Democrats have left. Just Schiff, Speier, Demings and Krishnamoorthi, plus Goldman, are here now. (Members are permitted to come and go from hearings as they wish.)
Wallace: Sondland has the body language of a liberated man with nothing to lose
White House: Trump, on Sondland call, ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine
“Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo' over and over again," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday in response to the ambassador's testimony.
"In fact, no quid pro quo ever occurred. The U.S. aid to Ukraine flowed, no investigation was launched, and President Trump has met and spoken with President Zelenskiy. Democrats keep chasing ghosts.”
Nunes says Democrats have ‘Watergate fantasies’
Nunes suggested during his second round of questioning that Democrats are trying to make the impeachment inquiry into Trump as significant as Watergate.
Democrats have “Watergate fantasies,” he said.
“I guess they fantasize this at night,” he added.
In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last week that Trump’s actions in Ukraine makes what happened during Watergate “look small.”
Sondland being careful to not get 'knocked with perjury'
Sondland being careful to not get ‘knocked with perjury’Nov. 20, 201900:58
Giuliani accuses Sondland of 'speculating'
Giuliani later deleted this tweet, which others had captured.
Most Republicans have left the room
As we work our way through this second round of staff questions, almost all the Republicans have left the hearing room.
Still present: Castor, Jordan, Ratcliffe and Stefanik.
Everyone else has left.
Sondland's 6 most important lines during impeachment testimony
Sondland delivered explosive testimony in the House impeachment inquiry Wednesday. Here are some of his best lines:
1. "I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a 'quid pro quo'? With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes."
2. "We followed the president's orders.”
3. "Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret" — on how Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and others were aware of his efforts in Ukraine.
GOP calls Sondland’s testimony unreliable because of lack of documents. They're blocked by State and WH.
Republicans tried to use Sondland’s lack of documents and records to their advantage, suggesting his recollection of events is simply just “speculation.”
“You don’t have records,” Castor said. “This is the trifecta of unreliability.”
Sondland made clear in his lengthy opening statement that the State Department and White House have blocked his access to relevant documents and communication logs pertaining to his work on Ukraine.
“What I’m trying to do today is to use the limited information” I have, said Sondland, who added that his recollections have been “refreshed by subsequent testimony” and text messages to which he does have access.
“A lot of it is speculation,” Castor shot back. “A lot of it is your guess.”
Castor questions Sondland's recollection of events without notesNov. 20, 201903:03
Castor said that the evidence for an impeachment inquiry “ought to be pretty darn good” and pointed out that while other impeachment witnesses have taken meticulous notes, Sondland said in his opening statement that he is not a note-taker.
Sondland, however, defended his testimony, saying that the only presumption he has made was regarding the link between the withheld aid to Ukraine and the demand for Ukraine to announce investigations. He suggested the text messages he has, on the other hand, are definitive and reliable.
Trump reads his Sondland hearing notes to press, underscores ‘I want no quid pro quo’
Schiff allows second round of staff questions
Schiff announced there will be a second round of staff questions for Sondland. Democrats and Republicans will each get an additional 30 minutes for staff questions, but each side does not have to use the entire allotted time. After this round concludes, we expect to begin the five-minute round for member questions.
‘I was shocked,’ Sondland says about claim he was involved in ‘drug deal’ with Ukraine
During an exchange with GOP counsel Stephen Castor, Sondland was asked what his reaction was when he heard about earlier closed-door testimony from another key witness that former national security adviser John Bolton said Sondland was involved in a “drug deal” with Ukraine.
“I was shocked,” Sondland testified Wednesday.
Castor was referring to testimony by former Russia adviser on the National Security Council, Fiona Hill, who said after a July 10 meeting with Sondland, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, other U.S. officials and Ukrainians, that Sondland was pushing the investigations.
Hill then said Bolton told her to report what she had seen and heard to NSC counsel John Eisenberg.
“Go and tell Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this,” Bolton said, according to Hill’s testimony.
The Nunes moment that has Twitter meming
The moment of the hearing so far — aside from the various bombshells dropped by Sondland — is Nunes’ reaction going into the first break.
As Schiff called the break, Nunes sneaked a look at Stephen Castor, the staff attorney for the GOP at the impeachment hearings.
It’s already getting remixed.
Pence disputes Sondland testimony that he knew about concerns over delayed aid
Pence's office responded to Sondland's assertion that he told the vice president about concerns that aid to Ukraine had been frozen because of investigations of the Bidens and the 2016 election sought by the Trump administration:
"The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations," a statement from the VP's chief of staff, Marc Short, said.
"Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland. This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened. Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that Vice President Pence never raised Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Burisma, or investigations in any conversation with Ukrainians or President Zelensky before, during, or after the September 1 meeting in Poland."
Sondland says he's a ‘proud’ amigo; Volker, not so much
Nunes used part of his questioning to ask Sondland if he was part of the “three amigos” — a nickname for the alleged shadow policy team in Ukraine of Sondland, Perry and Volker.
“I’m a proud member of the three amigos,” Volker replied, smiling.
Nunes responded, “and that’s the same thing Ambassador Volker said yesterday.”
Actually, it’s not.
Volker, in fact, said, “I never used that term — and frankly cringe when I hear it.”
“For me, the ‘three amigos’ will always refer to Sen. John McCain, Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham, in reference to their work to support the surge in Iraq,” Volker said Tuesday.
Volker added that he was “never aware” of “any designation by Trump or anyone else” putting himself, Sondland or Perry “or the three of us as a group in charge of Ukraine policy.”
McCaskill: Giulianni is 'next man up' for Trump to distance himself fromNov. 20, 201901:50
Schiff calls Sondland testimony: 'Very important moment' in impeachment inquiry
Sondland: Trump and Giuliani wanted Ukraine to announce, not actually do, the probes
In a key moment of his testimony on Wednesday, Sondland said that, as he understood it, Zelenskiy simply had to announce the probes into Burisma and the debunked conspiracy into Democrats and the 2016 election — not actually do them.
“He didn't actually have to do them, as I understood it,” Sondland said, noting that Zelenskiy simply had to announce them “in some form” publicly.
Sondland said Giuliani and the president at no point made clear they were interested in the progression of those investigation, just that they wanted to see them announced.
That makes it seem clear that the interest in announcing the probes would be to have a cloud of scandal hang over Biden and others, not to weed out corruption in Ukraine.
And on Tuesday, Vindman testified that his anticorruption talking points were ignored by Trump in his initial April call with Zelenskiy, implying that corruption was not a concern for Trump until he became invested in pushing investigations. Plus, as Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, noted last week in questioning witnesses, the Trump administration did not place any hold on aid the prior two years. That signals the Trump administration only recently became concerned with corruption — a longstanding problem in Ukraine.
Sondland, Volker try to convince investigators they had no idea Burisma and Biden were linked for months
Sondland and Volker have made a somewhat unconvincing argument that they did not come to know that “Burisma” was shorthand for an investigation into the Bidens.
Asked about embassy official David Holmes’ testimony that, after a July 26 phone call between Sondland and Trump, Sondland said the president only cared about “big stuff” like the Biden probe, Sondland said he didn’t think he would’ve made the connection to Biden then, instead saying Burisma, because he did not know the two were linked.
Trump, meanwhile, was talking specifically about Biden on his call with Zelenskiy the day before. And, the connection between Burisma and Biden, whose son Hunter sat on the company’s board, was made explicitly clear in numerous media reports in the beginning of May — before, according to Sondland, the efforts to have Ukraine announce the probes began.
Meanwhile, Volker on Tuesday said he now understood Burisma to mean the Bidens. But he also testified that he knew, while the investigation push was ongoing, that Hunter had sat on the board of the Ukrainian gas company.
“So this smart guy, along with Volker, never connected Burisma with Bidens until they saw readout of Trump’s call?” former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., an NBC News and MSNBC analyst, tweeted. “Simply not believable. Period.”
Wallace on Sondland's 'blowtorch' testimony: 'Today changed everything'Nov. 20, 201903:14
What Sondland came to believe about the 'quid pro quo' over military aid
Goldman is pressing Sondland again over whether military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the launching of the investigations desired by the White House — and whether such a directive came directly from Trump.
"The aid was my own personal guess," Sondland said.
He added, "My testimony is I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on announcement" of the investigations into Burisma/the Bidens and the 2016 election.
But a moment later, Sondland said that "by Sept. 8, I was absolutely convinced it was."
Goldman then asked whether Sondland, by Sept. 9, understood that Trump, "either himself or through his agents required" that Zelenskiy make a public announcement "into the two investigations that President Trump cared about in order to get both the White House meeting and to release the security assistance."
"I believe that is correct," Sondland said.
Earlier in the questioning, Sondland had said only that it was his "personal presumption" that the military assistance to Ukraine was being withheld pending an announcement by Zelenskiy to open investigations.
Sondland in opening statement: 'We followed the president's orders'Nov. 20, 201942:34
Goldman points out direct line between Sondland and Trump
Goldman, in emphasizing that Sondland had a direct line to Trump, appears to be pointing out that Sondland’s account could be the clearest yet about what Trump desired when it came to the launching of investigations into Burisma and the 2016 election.
“You had direct access to President Trump, yes?” Goldman asked.
Sondland replied that he does when Trump “decides” to take his calls.
“He certainly took your call twice as it related to Ukraine,” Goldman said.
Sondland nodded affirmatively.
Trump, Sondland communicate in 'four-letter words'
Goldman is pressing Sondland on a July 26 call he held with Trump that was overheard by Holmes.
As Sondland said in his opening statement, he repeated that he was not going to dispute what Holmes "did or didn’t hear."
Goldman pointed out that one thing Holmes testified that he had overheard was Sondland telling Trump that Zelenskiy "loves your ass."
Sondland replied, smiling, "That's how Trump and I communicate … a lot of four-letter words."
"In this case, three letters," he added.
Sondland confirms he told Trump, 'Zelenskiy loves your ass'Nov. 20, 201901:28
Sondland said he thought release of military aid was contingent on investigation announcement
During an exchange with Schiff, Sondland said he ultimately thought the military assistance to Ukraine was being withheld pending an announcement by Zelenskiy to open the sought-after investigations.
“That was my presumption — my personal presumption, based on the facts at the time. Nothing was moving,” Sondland said, referring to the frozen security assistance.
Asked again whether the release of the nearly $400 million in military aid was contingent on the investigations announcement, Sondland replied, “That was my belief.”
Meet the two seasoned staff prosecutors now in impeachment spotlight
The fast-moving impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals is not only putting the partisanship on the House Intelligence Committee on full display, it's also catapulting the lead lawyers for both parties into the national spotlight.
Daniel Goldman is the Democrats' lead counsel and Steve Castor represents the Republicans. Both lawyers have extensive experience in Washington and in the courtroom and led the questioning of the closed-door depositions of witnesses in the inquiry. Both will have 45 minutes to grill witnesses on behalf of their respective sides as the inquiry moves forward.
Lawmakers read along with Sondland, with the exception of Nunes
Both Democratic and Republican members appeared to be reading along as Sondland read his statement. The exclusion was Nunes who was mostly looking straight ahead and sometimes talking to his counsel, Castor, sitting to his left. Castor was following along the opening statement. You could see him flipping through the packet when it's time to turn a page.
Schiff emphasizing key points made by Sondland
Schiff is using his questions, presumably, to bring attention to key points from Sondland’s opening statement.
Schiff referred to the “quid pro quo” mentioned by Sondland involving a White House meeting for Zelenskiy in exchange for the launching of investigations by Ukraine into Burisma and the 2016 election.
Schiff also mentioned Sondland’s statement that Mulvaney, Pompeo and others were all aware of these conditions.
“Correct,” Sondland replied each time.
Sondland confirms David Holmes testimony on Trump callNov. 20, 201902:00
Sondland failed to bring up his call with Trump during deposition. He confirmed it today.
Sondland confirmed Wednesday that he did speak with Trump by phone at a restaurant in Kyiv the day after the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call.
This was a key admission; he did not mention this phone call during his closed-door deposition on Oct. 17, when he appeared under subpoena.
“I spoke by phone with President Trump. The White House, which has finally shared certain call dates and times with my attorneys, confirms this,” Sondland said Wednesday.
Sondland said that the phone call lasted five minutes and he recalled that he was at a restaurant. Responding to the testimony by David Holmes, a foreign service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, about that phone call, which Holmes said he overheard, Sondland said, “I have no reason to doubt that this conversation included the subject of investigations.”
“Other witnesses have recently shared their recollection of overhearing this call. For the most part, I have no reason to doubt their accounts,” Sondland added.
Sondland said he can’t remember precise details of the conversation — which occurred during a lunch attended by Holmes and two other State Department staffers — and that the White House “has not allowed me to see any readouts of that call.”
This comes after Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, testified last week and revealed information regarding this phone call for the first time, after Holmes had told him about it during the week prior.
Holmes testified about this phone call in a closed-door deposition Friday and will testify about it publicly on Thursday.
Sondland confirms deal with Ukraine, implicates TrumpNov. 20, 201905:29
FBI seeks to interview the whistleblower
The FBI has asked to interview the CIA whistleblower whose complaint touched off the Ukraine impeachment investigation, a source directly familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The whistleblower has not yet agreed to an interview, the source said.
The FBI request was first reported by Yahoo News, which said that some FBI officials were disturbed that the Justice Department declined to investigate the whistleblower's complaint after a criminal referral was sent over from the inspector general of the intelligence community.
Is Trump watching the Sondland testimony?
Where's the president this morning, and is he watching the impeachment hearing?
"He has calls and meetings as always, but I'm sure he will catch some of it in between," said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. "And of course he departs here in about an hour to head to Texas."
Trump is traveling to Austin for a visit to the Apple plant there.
Sondland reads opening statement
Sondland is reading his explosive opening statement word for word.
Nunes: Sondland here 'to be smeared'
Ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., bashed Democrats and their inquiry in his opening statement, calling it another day "of this circus.”
Nunes accused Democrats of “exploiting the Intelligence Committee” and said that “no conspiracy theory is too outlandish for the Democrats.”
“You have to give them points for selling this absurdity as an impeachment offense,” Nunes said.
Nunes: ‘Ambassador Sondland you are here today to be smeared’Nov. 20, 201908:28
Nunes also said that Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, was testifying at the hearing “to be smeared” — not addressing any of the issues raised in Sondland's opening statement.
Nunes added that Republicans -- who don’t have the power to issue subpoenas -- requested that Democrats subpoena Hunter Biden and the whistleblower for closed-door depositions.
Lawmakers give initial reactions to Sondland's blockbuster testimony
Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., told me he read Sondland’s statement and that it’s good “anytime more of the truth comes out.”
“Kaboom,” he added.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., told NBC News congressional reporter Alex Moe that as he skimmed his opening just now his eyes “kept getting wider and wider.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said she’s trying “to focus on the substance.”
Pompeo ignores questions about Sondland testimony tying him to Ukraine deal
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in Brussels for a NATO meeting, on Wednesday ignored reporters' questions about whether Ambassador Gordon Sondland kept him in the loop about efforts to do a "quid pro quo" deal with Ukraine.
Pompeo rarely responds to questions at photo-ops.
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.”
Schiff: Trump tried to 'take advantage of a vulnerable ally'Nov. 20, 201912:18
Sondland is sworn in
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
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."
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.
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.
Trump tweets praise of Ohio rep. for one question in particular
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.
Will key impeachment witness take the 5th?Nov. 20, 201905:06
ANALYSIS: Witnesses take a toll on Trump's impeachment defenses
They both wore the uniforms of their country during congressional testimony, but Alexander Vindman struck the reverse image of Oliver North.
Thirty-two years ago, North — then a Marine lieutenant colonel on the National Security Council staff — testified before Congress about his role in defying Congress to deliver aid to Nicaraguan rebels. On Tuesday, Vindman, currently an Army lieutenant colonel on the National Security Council staff, told House impeachment investigators that it was "improper" for President Donald Trump to "demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent."
Had Vindman stood alone — under attack as he was from Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and other allies of the president — he would have made for a compelling accuser. But later in the day, his conclusion was supported by two witnesses — former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council staffer and longtime GOP Hill aide Tim Morrison — who said that it was not "appropriate" for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate an American citizen, particularly one, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a political rival of the president.
In the end, Vindman was just the most riveting of four witnesses who delivered testimony that was deeply damaging to Trump's remaining defenses against allegations that he was personally involved in pushing for an arms-for-investigations deal.
Impeachment witnesses coalesce on core story of Trump wrongdoingNov. 20, 201906:28
10 things we learned from a marathon day of impeachment testimony
Over a jam-packed, nearly 12-hour stretch on Tuesday, four key figures at the center of the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry testified publicly before the House Intelligence Committee.
First, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser on Europe and Russia to Vice President Mike Pence — who both listened in on the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy — said that call gave them cause for concern, while Vindman faced repeated personal attacks by Republicans on the committee.
Next, Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine who resigned after his name appeared in the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, made a significant revision to his testimony, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council staffer, expressed worry about ties between military aid to Ukraine and the opening of investigations that would be politically advantageous to Trump.
Here are our 10 takeaways from today's public hearings.