Impeachment watch: Bombshell testimony destroys GOP's defense of Trump

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Two witnesses on Wednesday obliterated the GOP's defenses of Trump.

Wednesday was a devastating day for Donald Trump, as key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry destroyed the GOP's weak but only defense of Trump's actions.

First, United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified that there was a "quid pro quo" with Ukraine, in which the country's leadership had to announce investigations into Trump's political rivals in order to receive critical military assistance Congress had appropriated to the country. Sondland also said Trump personally directed the pressure campaign to force the investigations that would politically benefit him, and that "everyone" in the upper echelon of the administration — including Vice President Mike Pence — knew about it.

Later on Wednesday, Pentagon aide Laura Cooper testified that the Ukrainians knew about the hold on military assistance at the time of Trump's July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, in which he asked for a "favor."

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Republicans for weeks have been claiming there was no "quid pro quo," and pointed to the claim that the Ukrainians didn't know about the hold on military aid at the time of Trump's July 25 call, so there was no way the country's leadership felt pressure to announce the investigations Trump demanded.

Yet we now know neither of those claims are true.

And Republicans — including Trump — are worried, according to a report from the Washington Post, which says that Trump demanded GOP lawmakers spin the day's hearings as good for Trump.

Here's what else is happening in impeachment news:

  • Trump attempted to defend himself after Sondland's testimony, standing on the lawn of the White House with handwritten notes claiming that there was "no quid pro quo" and that this was the "final" word from him on the matter. That argument is not likely to end the trouble Trump faces.
  • Thursday marks the final publicly scheduled hearing in the Trump impeachment inquiry, at least for now. Two key witnesses will testify: Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council aide who testified that former national security adviser John Bolton was uncomfortable with the plot to push Ukraine into investigating Trumps rivals; and David Holmes, who overheard the phone call between Trump and Sondland.
  • As it becomes increasingly likely that Trump will face articles of impeachment, Trump has tried to court the support of Republican senators, who will be the de facto jurors in an impeachment trial, Politico reported.
  • Wednesday was also a bad day for top Trump officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who were both implicated in what Democrats have described as a bribery and extortion plot against Ukraine.
  • Rep. Jackie Speier garnered applause from the impeachment hearing room on Wednesday when she pointed out Trump's many lies.

Come back tomorrow for more impeachment news.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.