Impeachment Liveblog: Former Ambassador to Ukraine Testifies—and It’s Damning for Trump Admin

Here’s the latest.

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Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, is testifying before the House today in a closed-door session. Yovanovitch’s abrupt dismissal in May is listed in the whistleblower complaint as one of the disturbing incidents that predated President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian leader. Meanwhile, all eyes are still on Giuliani after two of his associates were indicted on Thursday on campaign finance violations.

Follow along for the latest:

5:20 p.m. ET: The White House accidentally sends its talking points to House Democrats—again.

2:20 p.m. ET: Bad news for one Rudy Guiliani, courtesy of ABC News:

The business relationship between President Donald Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the men charged Thursday in a campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Fun fact (emphasis mine): 
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s New York field office and prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, the same U.S. Attorney’s office Giuliani ran before he became mayor of New York. 
History: It rhymes!

12:30 p.m. ET: The full remarks from Yovanovitch’s opening statement are now out. Two key passages:

  • I was nevertheless incredulous that the US government chose to remove an Ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives. 
  • Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within. State Department leadership, with Congress, needs to take action now to defend this great institution, and its thousands of loyal and effective employees. We need to rebuild diplomacy as the first resort to advance America’s interests and the front line of America’s defense. I fear that not doing so will harm our nation’s interest, perhaps irreparably. 

Read the full statement below:

12:15 p.m. ET: In her opening statement, according to a document obtained by the New York Times, Yovanovitch told lawmakers that the Trump administration recalled her post as US ambassador to Ukraine on “unfounded and false claims.” More from the Times:

In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of his administration’s conduct of foreign policy. She warned that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

10:05 a.m. ET: In impeachment-adjacent news, Trump just lost his appeal to block Democrats’ subpoena for his tax returns.

10 a.m. ET: Mother Jones’ Dan Friedman takes a look at the various claims Giuliani has made about Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, his two recently-indicted associates who helped with efforts to dig dirt on Joe Biden:

To review, Trump’s former lawyer, Dowd, and current lawyer, Giuliani, both say they represent Parnas and Fruman. Giuliani says Parnas and Fruman helped him work for Trump seeking dirt on Biden, and that he worked for them on other matters. Also he may have talked about doing a gas deal with Parnas in Uzbekistan. Having trouble tracking all that? It seems like Giuliani is too.

9:40 a.m. ET: Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan comes out in support of the impeachment inquiry. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry,” he told PBS’s Firing Line.

7:30 a.m. ET: After the State Department blocked his deposition, US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will now testify before lawmakers next Thursday.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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