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Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry released the remaining transcripts from their closed-door depositions on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Mark Sandy, a career official in the White House Office of Management and Budget, testified that he was told in a July 12 email that President Trump "is directing a hold on military support funding for Ukraine," but that he was not given a reason for the hold until early September. He also claimed that two staffers — one in OMB's legal division — resigned at least in part over the hold on Ukraine security assistance.

  • State Department official Philip Reeker testified that there was an "understanding" that Rudy Giuliani was feeding Trump a lot of "negative information" about Ukraine.
  • Reeker added that the State Department declined to issue a statement of support for ousted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who he said was subjected to "outrageous smears."

More highlights:

  • Sandy testified he was told on June 19 that Trump had raised questions about the security assistance after reading an unspecified media report.
  • OMB began the official process of withholding aid to Ukraine on July 25, the same day Trump held a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and asked him to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election.
  • Sandy said that despite numerous requests, he did not receive a reason for withholding Ukraine's aid until early September, at which point he was told Trump had concerns that other countries gave insufficient aid compared to the U.S.
  • Sandy testified that he had raised concerns about whether the freeze violated the Impoundment Control Act, and he was later removed from the process by a political appointee, Mike Duffey, on July 30. Duffey told him it was due to "interest among the leadership in tracking the issues of moneys closely."
  • On Aug. 7, an interagency memo to acting OMB director Russell Vought recommended lifting the hold based on policy arguments about the aid being consistent with the U.S.' national security strategy.

Read Mark Sandy's deposition.

Read Philip Reeker's deposition.

Go deeper

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

6 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

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