Nov 21, 2019

Hill: Giuliani pushed views on Ukraine "that would probably come back to haunt us"

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia expert, testified during Thursday's impeachment hearing that Rudy Giuliani pushed views on Ukraine both publicly and privately "that would probably come back to haunt us."

The big picture: EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified yesterday that Giuliani headed up the White House's diplomatic efforts in Ukraine, saying that he only worked with Trump's personal lawyer "because the president directed us to do so."

  • He added, "We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine."
  • Sondland also confirmed that a quid pro quo preconditioning a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine took place and "reflected President Trump's desires and requirements."

Worth noting: Hill's response also provides a firsthand account of how former national security adviser John Bolton was worried by Giuliani's shadow diplomacy. She also relayed the infamous anecdote where he compared Giuliani to a "hand grenade."

  • Bolton has so far refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry, making Hill's testimony the clearest picture the investigation will likely form of his feelings about Giuliani's work.

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

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Gordon Sondland: I worked "at the express direction of the president"

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland said Wednesday in the opening statement to his impeachment testimony that he worked with Rudy Giuliani "at the express direction" of President Trump on matters involving Ukraine.

Driving the news: Sondland also confirmed that a quid pro quo preconditioning a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine took place and "reflected President Trump's desires and requirements."

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Hill says she told Sondland that Ukraine policy was "all going to blow up"

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia expert, testified during Thursday's impeachment hearing that she told EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland earlier this year that the Trump administration's policy on Ukraine was "all going to blow up."

The big picture: Hill illustrated a dual-track policy that "diverged" seemingly at Trump's direction. According to her testimony, 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 deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Highlights from Fiona Hill's and David Holmes' impeachment testimonies

Photo: Matt McClain/Pool/Getty Images

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, and David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified in Thursday's impeachment hearing.

Driving the news: Hill testified she had a conflict with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland over his claim that he was working on Ukraine policy at Trump's direction — to pursue what she termed a "domestic political errand."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 21, 2019