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.
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.
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.
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97d ago / 6:25 PM UTC
Chuck Todd: Sondland testimony 'cements impeachment' for Democrats
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.
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.
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97d ago / 6:42 PM UTC
Katyal: Sondland further confirmed there was a quid pro quo
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.)