David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, acknowledged during his impeachment testimony Thursday that Ukraine needed U.S. support during the period earlier this year when military aid was frozen — and that environment continues to this day.

"Whether the security assistance hold continued or not, Ukraine understood that [investigations were] something the president wanted and they still wanted important things from the president. So I think that continues to this day, I think they're being very careful. They still need us now going forward."

The big picture: EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified that he never heard directly from President Trump that the military aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations, saying that assumption was his "own personal guess."

  • He later added, "By the 8th of September, it was abundantly clear to everyone that there was a link."
  • Sondland refused to say whether he believed Trump's assertion in a Sept. 9 phone call that there was no quid pro quo involving the military aid: "I was just trying to convey what [the president] said on the phone."

Go deeper: Live updates on Fiona Hill and Holmes' impeachment testimony

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

8 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been highly influential in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.