Three more key witnesses testified in the House impeachment inquiry today. The hearings are over and so is our live coverage.
The most dramatic testimony came from US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who connected President Trump directly to the "quid pro quo." Later, Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, and David Hale, the under secretary of State for political affairs, testified.
Here are some of the key moments:
- Sondland pressed Ukraine at Trump's direction: In his opening statement and throughout his testimony, Sondland said he was working with Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the "express direction of the President of the United States." Sondland recounted several conversations between himself and Trump about Ukraine opening two investigations: one into Burisma, a company where former Vice President Joe Biden's son was on the board, and another into conspiracies about Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 US election.
- "Everyone knew" about the quid pro quo: In clear terms, Sondland confirmed for all to see that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine, that Trump withheld a White House meeting until Ukraine launched investigations into the Bidens. "I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo?" Sondland said. "As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes."
- Sondland implicated Pence, Pompeo and Mulvaney: Republicans have argued that Giuliani could have been running a shadow foreign policy without the involvement or knowledge of other senior White House and State Department officials, but Sondland contradicted that several times in his testimony. He said "everyone" in the State Department was aware. He also implicated key White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who also directs the Office of Management and Budget.
- Cooper showed Ukraine knew about aide issues in July: She testified that Ukrainian officials knew as early as July 25 that there was an issue with US aid to the country. This undercuts a key Republican rebuttal to accusations of a "quid pro quo" linking the aid to investigations into President Trump's political rivals. In their defense of Trump, Republicans have alleged that no bribery could exist if the Ukrainians weren't aware the aid was being held.