impeachment continues
November 15, 2019

President Trump has released a new Ukraine transcript, but some things don't add up.

While the White House in April said Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed fighting corruption in their first phone call after Zelensky's election, a memo of the call released Friday didn't mention corruption once. White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley still defended the second release in a later statement, and then blamed any discrepancies on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who is testifying publicly next week in the impeachment probe.

In the April readout, the White House said Trump "expressed his commitment" to work with then just-elected Zelensky to "strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption." And after receiving criticism for the mismatch, Gidley pushed its authorship onto Vindman, saying it was "prepared by the National Security Council's Ukraine expert." In this case, that would be Vindman.

Vindman already gave a closed-door deposition to House impeachment investigators last month, and reportedly said the other rough transcript of the July Trump-Zelensky call left out critical words and phrases regarding the Bidens. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 31, 2019

Diplomat William Taylor's testimony had lawmakers on both sides of the aisle concerned.

Now, it's likely that concern over President Trump's dealings with Ukraine will only grow. That's because Taylor only testified that he'd heard of a suggested quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison confirmed Thursday he'd also heard about it.

Morrison worked as an aide to the National Security Council until his abrupt Tuesday resignation, and he testified for the House's impeachment inquiry Thursday. He was on the call between Trump and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and after it ended, "promptly asked the NSC legal adviser and his deputy to review it," per his opening statement. Morrison said his concerns about the Ukraine call revolved around a possible leak and how that would affect Congress and Ukrainian relations. "I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed," he said.

Morrison also corroborated how Taylor remembered a briefing the aide gave to him regarding EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, saying "the substance of the statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate." Taylor testified that he'd spoken with Sondland, who "told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election." "'Everything' was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance,'" Taylor later said Sondland told him. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 7, 2019

The House's impeachment inquiry just went through another growth spurt.

The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees sent letters to the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget on Monday, subpoenaing them for documents related to Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The requests open up another front in House Democrats' impeachment investigation of Trump, following the committees' subpoenas of Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the White House itself.

Specifically, the committees are seeking documents, notes, and conversations regarding Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and any dealings with Ukrainian officials from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the letter says. From Acting OMB Director Russell Vought, the committees have requested any documents from this year related to freezing security aid for Ukraine and conversations regarding the decision to do so. Both requests have an Oct. 15 deadline.

Trump's phone call with Zelensky shows that he pushed the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, perhaps for political purposes. Trump has claimed there was no promise of a "quid pro quo" for the Biden dirt, but a whistleblower alleged and officials confirmed aid for Ukraine was withheld around that same time for unexplained reasons. Kathryn Krawczyk

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