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Photos: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee released Friday the transcripts of its closed-door interviews with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert and Army veteran, and President Trump's former Russia adviser Fiona Hill.

The state of play: Vindman testified that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney "coordinated" a plan to condition a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on an investigation into the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine, especially the gas company Burisma.

  • "[EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland] just said that he had had a conversation with Mr. Mulvaney, and this is what was required in order to get a meeting. ... So he was talking about the 2016 elections and an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma."
  • Later in his testimony, Vindland confirmed that — to the best of his recollection — Sondland explicitly used the word "Bidens" when describing the investigation.
Key excerpts from Vindman's testimony
  • "I am unaware of any factual basis for the accusations against [former Ukraine] Ambassador Yovanovitch, and I am, frankly, unaware of any authoritative basis for Ukrainian interference in 2016 elections, based on my knowledge."
  • "It became crystal clear when [Office of Management and Budget] staffers reported that the hold [on military aid to Ukraine] came from the Chief of Staff’s Office. ... Eventually it became the — what I was told is to ensure that the assistance aligned with administration priorities."
  • "So there were probably some, you know, nonsubstantive edits that I don't recall what I necessarily put into it, but there were a couple of things that were not included [in the transcript of the July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky."
Key excerpts from Hill's testimony
  • "The accusations against [Yovanovitch] had no merit whatsoever. This was a mishmash of conspiracy theories that, again, I’ve told you, I believe firmly to be baseless, an idea of an association between her and George Soros."
  • "[Former national security adviser John Bolton] basically said — in fact, he directly said: Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up. He made it clear that he didn’t feel that there was anything that he could personally do about this."
  • "[Bolton] made it clear that he believed that [Mulvaney and Sondland] were making, basically, an improper arrangement to have a meeting in the White House, that they were predicating the meeting in the White House on the Ukrainians agreeing, in this case, based on the meeting on July 10th, to restart investigations that had been dropped in the energy sector."
  • "[T]his is a direct quote from Ambassador Bolton: You go and tell [NSC counsel John] Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this, and you go and tell him what you’ve heard and what I’ve said."

The backdrop: Vindman was the first official from the White House who listened to the Trump-Zelensky call to testify before the impeachment inquiry, while Hill's testimony was initially disrupted by House Republicans in a protest against the inquiry.

The big picture: The House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry have released a batch of transcripts of their closed-door interviews so far this week, including Yovanovitch, diplomat Bill Taylor, Sondland, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, State Department official George Kent, and former State Department adviser Michael McKinley.

Read the transcripts:

Go deeper ... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

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Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.