Fiona Hill, a former top Russia expert for the White House, and David Holmes, a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee which started around 9 a.m. ET and, after a lengthy break for some House votes, ended around 4 p.m. ET.
Trump impeachment highlights:
Schiff and Nunes deliver last opening statements of the week
Schiff is using his opening statement to discuss the concerns Hill had expressed in her prior, closed-door testimony of the parallel Ukraine policy process overseen by Rudy Giuliani.
He’s also summarizing how Holmes has testified privately that he overheard the phone conversation in which Trump asked Sondland if Ukraine would investigate the Bidens and a conspiracy related to the 2016 election.
Schiff wrapped up by hinting at what House Democrats might do next in their impeachment inquiry.
“In the coming days, Congress will determine what response is appropriate," Schiff said. "If the president abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort or bribe a vulnerable ally into conducting investigations to aid his re-election campaign and did so by withholding official acts — a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid — it will be up to us to decide whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency,” he said.
Nunes, on the other hand, accused Democrats of utilizing a “carousel of accusations” against Trump that change “by the day.”
He also said that Trump “had good reason to be worried about election meddling” by the Ukrainians — a debunked conspiracy theory that Hill, according to her prepared remarks, will demolish as “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Read the full text: Holmes' opening statement
Fiona Hill and David Holmes arrive to testify before the House Intelligence Committee
Read the full text: Fiona Hill's opening statement
Fiona Hill, the former White Hill official who is one of the foremost U.S. experts on Russia, is set to testify publicly Thursday as part of the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Appearing to take aim at Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, she will accuse lawmakers of echoing Russian propaganda by fomenting the "fictional narrative" that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, according to her prepared testimony obtained by NBC News.
Here's the full text as prepared for delivery.
Former White House aide Fiona Hill appears to take aim at GOP lawmakers for ignoring Putin election threat
Former White House official Fiona Hill on Thursday will accuse lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee of echoing Russian propaganda by fomenting the "fictional narrative" that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, according to her prepared testimony obtained by NBC News.
Hill, one of the foremost U.S. experts on Russian President Vladimir Putin, appears to take aim at Republicans on the panel, led by ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who have repeatedly questioned witnesses about alleged efforts by Ukrainians to hurt President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
She will say during her impeachment testimony that "some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia" and its spy services didn’t attack the U.S. in 2016" and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did."
"In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests," Hill plans to say. "I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia —attacked us in 2016."
What does Giuliani's longtime go-between know about Rudy's work in Ukraine?
In July, Rudy Giuliani was desperate for more information about Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine.
So he turned to his longtime go-between for Ukrainian deals, a 44-year-old New York-based businessman named Vitaly Pruss.
According to Pruss, Giuliani asked him to call Pruss' close friend, the owner of Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company that formerly had Hunter Biden on its board. Giuliani wanted to know if the owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, would meet with him to talk about Biden.
But Zlochevsky made it clear "he wanted nothing to do with it," Pruss told NBC News in an interview at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan.
Among the unresolved mysteries in the impeachment saga is how Giuliani, the president's lawyer and a man with little known background in foreign policy, became the White House's point man on Ukraine. The answer in part lies with his relationship to Pruss, who has acted as the former New York mayor's political and business matchmaker in the former Soviet Union for years.
OPINION: Trump impeachment inquiry bombshells imperil Republicans' evidence defense
Did President Donald Trump abuse his power when he pressured Ukraine into announcing investigations that would benefit him personally? This, in a nutshell, is the question at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats say Trump wanted Ukraine to announce an investigation into the company Burisma, which would allegedly implicate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and to investigate (debunked) allegations that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election in order to help Hillary Clinton.
On Wednesday, Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, backed up this assessment, clearly and repeatedly explaining Trump’s role in this scandal. Even Ken Starr said that it was “one of those bombshell days." But Republicans have yet to budge from their line of attack. The GOP has been trying to rebut a stream of increasingly compelling evidence by arguing — absurdly — that the case against Trump falls apart if no witnesses actually heard Trump say he himself intended to pressure the Ukrainians to launch the investigation, or if no witnesses personally watched Trump pressure the Ukrainians.
In other words, conservatives in the House are trying to persuade the American people that unless Trump signs a confession or is caught on video actually telling someone to commit an impeachable act, there is no case against him. This, of course, is absurd. People are often found to have committed wrongful acts without having confessed or without, say, the act being caught on video. Indeed, most of the time, people don’t confess or mention to someone that they intend to commit a wrongful act.