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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that the memo of the phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president was "far more damning" than he expected, and he reiterated his demand for the whistleblower complaint to be released in its entirety.

Highlights:

  • "It is shocking at another level that the White House would release these notes and felt that somehow this would help the president's case or cause. Because what those notes reflect is a classic Mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader."
  • “Like any Mafia boss, the president didn't need to say, 'that's a nice country you have, it would be a shame if something happened to it,' because that was clear from the conversation. There is no quid pro quo necessary to betray your country or your oath of office. Even though many read this as a quid pro quo, I'm not concerned whether it is a quid pro quo or not.”
  • "Ukraine understood exactly what was being asked of it. Ukraine understood exactly what they needed from the United States, and that a president of the United States would interfere with our national security, would interfere with the national security of our ally and do so for the illicit purpose of trying to advance his election campaign ... is the most fundamental betrayal of his oath of office."
  • "You can see why they have worked so hard to deprive our committee of the whistleblower complaint. And in fact, the opinion by the Justice Department is startling in its own regard."

The big picture: Schiff is 1 of 6 key chairs tasked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with presenting evidence for the House's formal impeachment inquiry.

  • Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire will testify before the House Intelligence Committee in open session on Thursday.
  • Schiff is also currently in negotiations with the intelligence community whistleblower to have them testify before his committee as early as Thursday.

Go deeper: Read the memo of the Trump-Ukraine call

Go deeper

McConnell, McCarthy say 2017 tax law is "red line" in infrastructure talks

The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.

McCarthy: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy" of Biden's win

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked Wednesday whether he was concerned about elevating Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to GOP leadership after she has promoted baseless claims about the election. He responded: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."

Why it matters: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was ousted as House GOP conference chair earlier Wednesday — in a vote that McCarthy supported — over her continued criticisms of former President Trump and his lies about election fraud.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Gaza crisis: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip leave their neighborhood on Wednesday following an explosion. Photo: li Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is dispatching a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts.

The latest: The Israeli air force attacked a meeting of senior Hamas military leaders on Wednesday in Gaza and reported it had killed the Gaza City Brigade commander and the heads of Hamas’ cyber arm and weapons research and development department, along with at least three other senior officials.