Updated 6:17 p.m.
Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified for almost six hours in a hearing that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff calls “a seminal moment in our investigation.”
President Donald Trump’s European Union ambassador told lawmakers during his testimony that he worked with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine policy at Trump’s direction and that “everyone was in the loop” as Giuliani and Trump pressured Ukraine for investigations.
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A State Department spokeswoman has called any suggestion “flat-out false” that Ambassador Gordon Sondland told Secretary of State Pompeo that Trump linked aid to Ukraine to politically motivated investigations. Additionally, the Energy Department denies that Energy Secretary Rick Perry knew that Trump had been pushing for a political investigation.
While Chairman Shiff said Sondland’s testimony was “deeply significant and troubling” members of the GOP pushed back. California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence panel, said there was “zero evidence” from Sondland’s testimony.
The committee then heard from Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense and David Hale, a State Department official.
Cooper said the Ukrainian embassy was asking questions of her staff about a hold on military aid as far back as July 25, the day Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate Democrats.
The embassy’s July questions show Ukrainians were aware of a possible hold on the aid earlier than previously known.
While Cooper said she never spoke to the president about the hold, she had heard that the hold was placed because of Trump's concerns over corruption in Ukraine.
Those funds were critical to supporting Ukraine, Cooper said. She was under the impression that the money was legally required to be obligated by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, and she said she fought to get it done.
Read More: Key Takeaways From Gordon Sondland's Watershed Impeachment Hearing (via NPR.org)