Nov 17, 2019

Sen. Chris Murphy says Ukraine won't admit pressure because of reliance on U.S.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) argued on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Ukrainian officials will not say that President Trump conditioned military aid on their announcement of political investigations because "they are presently reliant on the goodwill of Donald Trump."

"Now, the Ukrainians are always going to try to put a good spin on this. The Ukrainians aren't going to come out and accuse the president of extortion. Why? Because they are presently reliant on the goodwill of Donald Trump in order to keep that country safe. They can't take on the president because at any moment he could stop the security aid once more. So nobody should be surprised when the Ukrainians are trying to put as good a spin on this as possible, are trying to stay in the president's good graces. Because right now the president still holds enormous leverage over that country's independence and sovereignty."

The big picture: Top Ukrainian officials, including the country's foreign minister as recently as Thursday, have denied that the Trump administration explicitly linked the aid to an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he did not feel pressure and that he does not want to interfere in "democratic, open elections" in the U.S.

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Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Sondland impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) set the stage Wednesday with his opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry's public hearing featuring EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The big picture: Schiff used his time to summarize Sondland's diplomatic work regarding Ukraine throughout 2019 — which the ambassador confirmed was at the direction of President Trump — ultimately stating that "it will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency."

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Hill-Holmes impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) set the stage Thursday with his opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry's public hearing featuring Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, and David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

The big picture: Schiff, summarizing the hours of public testimony so far, said that the hearing would provide a split-screen on the Trump administration's Ukraine affairs with testimony from Hill, who was working in D.C., and Holmes, who was working in Kyiv.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Vindman-Williams impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) set the stage with his opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry's public hearing featuring Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence.

The big picture: Schiff focused on Vindman's and Williams' firsthand knowledge of many of the events at the heart of the impeachment inquiry — specifically the fact that they both listened in on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019