House lawmakers on Wednesday opened the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Two witnesses — Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and William Taylor, a former ambassador and the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. They both testified President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company. In his opening statement, Ambassador Taylor revealed details about a previously unknown phone call from July between President Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU.
William Taylor: “The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Ambassador Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
Trump tasked his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to take charge of foreign policy around Ukraine, sidestepping the State Department. We’ll have more on the historic impeachment inquiry after headlines with Elizabeth Holtzman, who was the youngest member of the House of Representatives during President Nixon’s impeachment inquiry.