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President Trump waits to enter his campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana., on Friday. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

This morning, Axios goes back and puts in order for you the most important things we have learned about President Trump and Ukraine.

Why it matters: There’s just so much new each day. Some consequential revelations get overlooked; some ephemeral developments get overblown. Even people who follow it all fairly diligently can get wildly confused.

This happened fast. It was Sept. 24 — 19 days ago — that Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry. Here's what has happened since then:

  • A rough transcript of a July 25 phone call shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky bringing up the possibility of buying more U.S. Javelin missiles for Ukraine's war against Russia, before Trump says: "I would like you to do us a favor though."
  • Trump goes on to ask Zelensky to look into Ukraine's alleged involvement in the 2016 election, and to work with Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who did business in Ukraine.

Trump maintains that the contents of the conversation were "perfect."

  • Democrats say it's evidence of the president abusing his office to solicit foreign election interference.

The first witness to be deposed in the House's impeachment inquiry was former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.

  • He turned over text messages that show him coordinating with two other diplomats to secure a "deliverable" for Trump and Giuliani — a written statement from Zelensky announcing these investigations.
  • The reward for the new Ukrainian president is a visit to the White House.
  • But one diplomat — Bill Taylor — is troubled by his impression that $400 million in military aid that Ukraine desperate needs is being used as leverage.
  • Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, a million-dollar Trump donor, picks up the phone and calls Trump, before eventually responding to Taylor: "The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quos of any kind." (The WashPost reports in this morning's lead story that Sondland plans to tell Congress this week that he was just repeating what Trump had told him.)

4 plot twists:

  1. A week into the inquiry, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn that Ukraine should start "a major investigation into the Bidens" — the exact request that prompted Democrats to launch their impeachment inquiry. Then Trump topped it: "China should start an investigation into the Bidens."
  2. Last week, two Florida businessmen who helped introduce Giuliani to Ukrainian officials were indicted on charges of funneling foreign money into Republican campaigns.
  3. The former mayor himself is now under criminal investigation — by the very U.S. attorney's office he used to run.
  4. And the White House is trying to block any witnesses from cooperating with the impeachment inquiry, calling it "constitutionally illegitimate."

The bottom line: Barring dramatic new information, expect Trump — like Bill Clinton — to be impeached by the House, then acquitted by the Senate.

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Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.