Former White House top Russia adviser Fiona Hill testified Thursday that it is "not credible" that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland did not understand that the investigation President Trump was pushing for into Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma was equivalent to an investigation of the Bidens.

The exchange:

REP. MALONEY: "I thought you said it was obvious to you. Excuse me."
HILL: "It was obvious to me, correct."
MALONEY: "It was obvious Burisma meant Bidens."
HILL: "Yes, it was."
MALONEY: "You treated that as an easy thing to understand. Mr. Morrison figured it out with a single Google search. Is it credible to you that Mr. Sondland was completely in the dark about this all summer?  I mean you had an argument about it."
HILL: "It is not credible to me that he was oblivious."

Why it matters: Sondland and former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker both testified that they did not understand the Burisma investigation to be related to the Bidens until September, when the White House released the transcript of a phone call showing Trump discussed the Bidens with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • This is in spite of the fact that Rudy Giuliani was frequently tweeted and appearing on Fox News to push allegations about the Bidens and Burisma.
  • Sondland and Volker both said that if they had known Trump was pushing for an investigation of his domestic political rival, they would have objected.

The big picture: One of the main takeaways from Hill's testimonies is that she had a conflict with Sondland over his claim that he was working on Ukraine policy at Trump's direction.

  • Hill testified that Sondland claimed to be reporting directly to the president and other senior White House officials to pursue a "domestic political errand" — investigations linked to the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine — while National Security Council staff focused on traditional foreign policy.

Go deeper: More highlights from Hill's and David Holmes' testimony

Go deeper

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U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 20,388,408 — Total deaths: 743,599— Total recoveries: 12,616,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 5,150,590 — Total deaths: 164,681 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.