Former National Security Council official Tim Morrison testified Tuesday that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland informed him on Sept. 7 that a hold on Ukraine military aid would be released if Ukraine announced investigations into Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

The big picture: Morrison, one of the impeachment witnesses called by Republicans, testified that he was told by then-national security adviser John Bolton to contact White House lawyers about Sondland's comments. Morrison said that Sondland represented himself as carrying out Trump's directive and that he understood the two investigations to be the same as those raised by Trump in his July 25 phone call with President Zelensky.

What to watch: Sondland himself has amended his closed-door deposition to say that he believed Ukraine military aid was conditioned on these investigations. He is expected to testify in a public hearing on Wednesday, where he will likely face questions about how he came to that understanding.

Go deeper: Live updates from Morrison and Kurt Volker's testimony

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Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 19,497,292 — Total deaths: 723,854 — Total recoveries — 11,823,105Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 4,994,276 — Total deaths: 162,381 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

7 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.