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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presides over the impeachment vote today. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Thursday's big news was the party-line impeachment vote, but the story that could make the history books is the White House aide who described a quid pro quo.

The big picture: On the House floor Democrats passed their impeachment resolution, with Republicans unanimously in opposition.

  • Meanwhile, House investigators were interviewing White House official Tim Morrison, who confirmed parts of the explosive testimony from the administration's top diplomat to Ukraine, according to his opening statement.

Why it matters: Morrison was in the room for the July 25th phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • In his opening statement, the longtime Republican staffer said that he believes Trump and administration officials' actions were legal but "problematic for U.S. policy in supporting an ally in the region."
  • Morrison said he does not recall any NSC lawyers being on the call, so afterward he “promptly” asked the National Security Council lawyers to review the summary.

The big picture: Some Republicans are seizing on the section of Morrison’s opening statement in which he says he “was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” on the July 25 call as proof of Trump’s exoneration, Axios' Alayna Treene writes.

  • However, as many Democrats point out, whether Morrison thinks Trump’s actions were legal or not, he said that Trump administration officials made it clear to Ukrainian government officials that they would not receive security aide until the new Ukrainian prosecutor general committed to pursing an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian company whose board of directors included Hunter Biden.
  • Morrison also raised alarm bells for Democrats when he said that no NSC lawyers were present on the call.
  • This matters because Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine adviser at the White House, told House investigators earlier this week that NSC lawyers had directly handled the summary of the call that was eventually released to the public, per multiple sources familiar with his testimony.

Go deeper: Trump's new reality: the daily dump

Go deeper

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Franklin Graham worries Trump too old to run in 2024

Graham and Trump at a rally in 2017. Photo: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Rev. Franklin Graham says a potential 2024 presidential bid by Donald Trump would "be a very tough thing to do," the prominent Christian leader told "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, was among Trump's earliest and most prominent evangelical defenders.