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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "impeachment"

Republicans Seek to Muddy Impeachment Evidence as Their Defense of Trump

Westlake Legal Group 20DC-REPUBS-facebookJumbo Republicans Seek to Muddy Impeachment Evidence as Their Defense of Trump United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Schiff, Adam B Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Nunes, Devin G impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Foreign Aid Ethics and Official Misconduct Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — Republicans mounted an array of defenses of President Trump at this week’s impeachment hearings — making arguments that at times seemed to conflict with one another logically, but that dovetailed in a key way: All served to undermine Democrats’ allegations that Mr. Trump abused his power.

In angry statements from the hearing dais, lines of questioning to witnesses and comments during breaks to reporters, Republicans sought to poke holes in the strength of evidence that Mr. Trump personally put a condition on the government committing official acts — namely, that Ukraine publicize investigations that could benefit him.

But at other times, Republicans suggested that Mr. Trump’s pursuit of those investigations was justified — reading into the record related facts and allegations about Ukrainian actions in 2016 and about the Ukrainian gas company Burisma and its decision to give Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a lucrative board seat.

Republicans’ tactics seemed geared to play to different audiences — independent voters, hard-core Trump supporters and the president himself. The approach underscored a political asymmetry about the proceedings: The Democrats are trying to paint a coherent picture, while Republicans need only muddy it — and they have lots of ways to do so.

Indeed, at still other times, Republicans dismissed the entire impeachment inquiry as a witch hunt and tried to associate it with the fact that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, found insufficient evidence of any criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 election manipulation operation.

“You have to keep that history in mind as you consider the Democrats’ latest catalog of supposed Trump outrages,” the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Devin Nunes of California, said on Wednesday.

The Republicans sharpened their counterarguments and defenses as Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, delivered damaging testimony about what he witnessed as one of the Trump proxies orbiting Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, as they pushed Ukraine to announce the investigations.

Mr. Sondland said there was a clear quid pro quo that attached a condition — a public announcement of the investigations — to a potential official action by Mr. Trump, inviting President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to the White House. But Mr. Sondland said no one told him that Mr. Trump was also holding up a package of military aid to Ukraine for the same purpose, though he assumed that was the explanation.

In opening questioning to Mr. Sondland, Mr. Nunes seemed to make the case that Mr. Trump had good reason to seek investigations. He asked Mr. Sondland whether he was aware of a series of facts and various allegations about Hunter Biden and Burisma, and about Ukrainians who expressed support for Hillary Clinton or opposition to Mr. Trump.

“So knowing all these facts from high-ranking Ukrainian officials, ambassador, it probably makes a little more sense now as to why the president may think that there’s problems with Ukraine and that Ukraine was out to get him?” Mr. Nunes asked Mr. Sondland.

“I understand your — I understand your point, yes, Mr. Chairman,” Mr. Sondland replied.

But if the premise of Mr. Nunes’s line of questioning was that it was righteous to seek the investigations, a line of questioning that followed, by the Republicans’ top staff lawyer, Stephen R. Castor, pointed to a different conclusion: The important point was that there was no clear proof that Mr. Trump himself was behind the pressure.

Mr. Castor marched Mr. Sondland through a lengthy series of questions to emphasize the point that Mr. Trump never personally told him there was any quid pro quo — highlighting that Mr. Sondland had no clear proof that the president was personally orchestrating anything untoward.

“So the president never told you about any preconditions for aid to be released?” Mr. Castor asked.

“No,” Mr. Sondland replied.

“The president never told you about preconditions for a White House meeting?” Mr. Castor followed up.

“Personally, no,” Mr. Sondland said.

Mr. Sondland said his understanding that Mr. Trump was offering a White House meeting to Mr. Zelensky on the condition that he announce investigations was based on what Mr. Giuliani told him. Pressed on how he could know that, Mr. Sondland replied that Mr. Trump had directed him to talk to Mr. Giuliani about the matter.

Other Republican lawmakers including, Elise Stefanik of New York, repeated Mr. Castor’s line of questioning and its implication that no direct evidence of Mr. Trump’s motivations had emerged.

Left unsaid was that Mr. Trump was keeping other potential witnesses whom he spoke to about Ukraine from testifying — including Mr. Giuliani; his former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who was opposed to blocking the aid and met one on one with Mr. Trump about it in August; and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who relayed the order to block the aid to the bureaucracy.

Later in the hearing, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who leads the Intelligence Committee, pushed back against any suggestion that Mr. Trump’s proxies were carrying out a rogue Ukraine policy.

“I do not believe that the president would allow himself to be led by the nose by Rudy Giuliani or Ambassador Sondland or anybody else,” Mr. Schiff asserted. “I think the president was the one who decided whether a meeting would happen, whether aid would be lifted, not anyone who worked for him.”

Several Republicans pushed Mr. Sondland to reiterate his account of a conversation he had with Mr. Trump on Sept. 9. Mr. Sondland recounted that he directly asked Mr. Trump what he wanted from Ukraine, and the president, in a surly mood, responded that he wanted “nothing” from Mr. Zelensky, wanted no quid pro quo, and only wanted Mr. Zelensky to do “the right thing” that he had run for office on — apparently a reference to fighting corruption.

On Sept. 11, two days after that conversation, Mr. Trump finally released the aid to Ukraine. Because Mr. Zelensky had not announced any investigations, defenders of Mr. Trump have said that means there was no quid pro quo.

Critics have responded that Mr. Trump released the security assistance only after he learned that a whistle-blower was trying to tell Congress that the president was using his official powers to force Ukraine to do something for his own personal benefit, noting that someone who gets caught trying to commit a crime is still guilty even if the plot is discovered and thwarted.

But Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and a fierce defender of Mr. Trump, tried that argument again on Wednesday. He thunderously demanded that Mr. Sondland tell him when Mr. Zelensky made an announcement of investigations as part of the quid pro quo, leading Mr. Sondland to reply that it never happened.

“They didn’t have to do anything,” Mr. Jordan said in disgust. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

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What to Watch For in Day 5 of the Trump Impeachment Hearings

The final House impeachment hearing of the week gets underway Thursday morning with joint testimony by Fiona Hill, a former Europe and Russia expert at the White House, and David Holmes, an embassy official in Kyiv.

Ms. Hill is expected to describe her concerns about the Ukraine pressure campaign and those of John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. Mr. Holmes will be asked about a cellphone conversation he overheard in which President Trump asked an ambassador about investigations he wanted Ukraine to announce.

Who: Ms. Hill and Mr. Holmes will testify during a morning session. There is no afternoon session scheduled.

What: The House Intelligence Committee, led by its chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, will continue to examine the case for impeaching Mr. Trump. The Republican minority, led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, will again work to poke holes in testimony implicating the president.

When and Where: The morning proceedings start at 9 Eastern in the House Ways and Means Committee chambers. It will most likely last until the afternoon.

How to Watch: The New York Times will stream the testimony live, and a team of reporters in Washington will provide real-time context and analysis of the events on Capitol Hill. Follow along at nytimes.com, starting a few minutes before 9.

Westlake Legal Group 00impeachment-archetypes-videopromo-image-articleLarge-v2 What to Watch For in Day 5 of the Trump Impeachment Hearings United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

Ms. Hill is expected to testify that Mr. Bolton expressed serious concerns about the pressure campaign on Ukraine led by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was pushing Ukraine to investigate Democrats. In previous, closed-door testimony, she described a July 10 White House meeting during which Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, raised the investigations in front of Ukrainian officials and said there was a deal to grant their new president a White House meeting with Mr. Trump if he agreed to announce them.

Disturbed, Mr. Bolton abruptly ended the meeting and instructed Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers about what Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, were up to. Mr. Bolton told Ms. Hill that he was not “part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” she testified. Later, Ms. Hill said that Mr. Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Mr. Sondland said in Wednesday’s hearing that Ms. Hill’s account of the July 10 meeting does not “square with my own.”

Mr. Holmes will testify that he overheard a phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland during a lunch in Kyiv. In closed-door testimony, Mr. Holmes told lawmakers last week that he overheard Mr. Trump, who was speaking loudly, asking Mr. Sondland whether Mr. Zelensky was “going to do the investigation.” Mr. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and political donor turned ambassador, told Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would conduct the investigation and do “anything you ask him to,” according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

In Mr. Holmes’s account, Mr. Sondland told him that Mr. Trump cares only about “big stuff that benefits the president” like the “Biden investigation” into the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Sondland largely confirmed that account on Wednesday but said he did not recall specifically mentioning Mr. Biden. Democrats believe the conversation helps establish that the president was preoccupied with persuading Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

  • Both witnesses have already appeared for closed-door depositions in the inquiry. Read transcripts or key excerpts from their testimony here: Ms. Hill, Mr. Holmes.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured Mr. Zelensky to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.

Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 What to Watch For in Day 5 of the Trump Impeachment Hearings United States Politics and Government Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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Fiona Hill Viewed Serving Trump as Risky. Now She’s an Impeachment Witness.

Westlake Legal Group 20DC-HILL-facebookJumbo Fiona Hill Viewed Serving Trump as Risky. Now She’s an Impeachment Witness. United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry National Security Council impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Hill, Fiona (1965- ) Brookings Institution Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Fiona Hill knew she was taking a risk in going to work for President Trump.

A British-born coal-miner’s daughter with a Ph.D. from Harvard, Ms. Hill is a respected Russia expert, former intelligence analyst and co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of its president, Vladimir V. Putin. So the prospect of working for a president who speaks admiringly of Mr. Putin and has expressed doubts that Russia interfered in the 2016 election gave her pause.

Her decision to join the National Security Council in April 2017 — and to stay for more than two years after Mr. Trump cozied up to Mr. Putin and publicly disparaged the nation’s intelligence agencies — strained friendships and made her a target of right-wing conspiracy theorists who spread rumors that she was a Democratic mole.

Now, it has landed her near the center of the impeachment inquiry into whether Mr. Trump abused his power to enlist a foreign leader to help him in the 2020 presidential election. Her planned appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday represents the fulfillment of Ms. Hill’s worst fears about what could happen if she swallowed her reservations and went to work for Mr. Trump.

“The risk was what we see playing out in front of us — that something wrong would happen, that she would do the right thing and other people wouldn’t, and there would be a reckoning,” said Tom Wright, a former colleague and friend of Ms. Hill’s. “And afterward there could be hearings — with, at worst case, the fate of the presidency riding on it.”

On Thursday, Ms. Hill will take her turn as the latest in a series of witnesses to testify publicly before Congress. Many have been nonpartisan diplomats and national security experts who went to work for the president thinking they might be the proverbial “adults in the room” checking Mr. Trump’s impulses, only to find themselves caught up in a mess of his making, and in danger of being attacked.

Ms. Hill called her gripping account “my worst nightmare” in closed-door testimony. In it, she revealed how she and her boss at the time, John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, was alarmed at a rogue effort by allies of Mr. Trump, led by his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to deliver on the president’s desire for Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals.

In testimony on Wednesday, one of those allies — Gordon D. Sondland, a Trump megadonor turned ambassador to the European Union — turned on the president and top administration officials. He told lawmakers that he was only doing Mr. Trump’s bidding in pressing Ukraine for the investigations, and that Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, were among those well aware of it.

In Mr. Sondland’s telling during a private interview with impeachment investigators last month, Ms. Hill was furious to the point of shaking when he stopped by her office to say goodbye to her before she left the White House, about a week before the now-infamous July 25 telephone in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter. (Ms. Hill had argued against the call, saying she did not understand its purpose.)

“She was pretty upset about her role in the administration, about her superiors, about the president,” Mr. Sondland recalled in a closed-door deposition. “She was sort of shaking. She was pretty mad.”

A lawyer for Ms. Hill, Lee Wolosky, has disputed that characterization, writing on Twitter that Mr. Sondland “fabricated communications with Dr. Hill.”

Ms. Hill is neither pro-Trump nor a “Never Trumper,” and she was always circumspect in talking about Mr. Trump, friends said. She refused speaking invitations of the sort that would be routine for top advisers in past administrations — even at the Brookings Institution, where she was on leave as director of the Center on the United States and Europe.

But her own closed-door testimony reveals how fraught her time in the administration was.

In it, she described a tense White House meeting with Mr. Sondland, Mr. Bolton, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Ukrainian officials in which it became apparent that Mr. Mulvaney was working with Mr. Sondland and Mr. Giuliani to execute the president’s plan.

Ms. Hill described her horror that the Ukranians — foreign nationals — were hanging around the West Wing, outside the Situation Room, one of the most secure and sensitive spots in the White House. When Mr. Sondland moved the meeting down to a room in the White House basement, Mr. Bolton instructed her to follow them to find out what was going on.

She did so, and confronted Mr. Sondland, cutting him off when he dangled the prospect of a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky.

“It has to go through proper procedure,” Ms. Hill insisted. Then she reported back to Mr. Bolton, who told her to report it to the National Security Council’s top lawyer, John A. Eisenberg.

“You go and tell Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this,” she recalled Mr. Bolton saying.

Friends said that sounded like the Ms. Hill they know: straight, to the point, unafraid to push back.

“Fiona has served impeccably in the executive branch,” said Strobe Talbott, the former president of the Brookings Institution, “and, now, she’s helping Congress understand the disaster Trump has visited on the country and the world.”

Republicans view her as suspect because she worked with Christopher Steele, who later wrote an infamous dossier on Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, when she was an intelligence officer and he was her British counterpart. And her time as an unpaid adviser to the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Foundation, founded by the Democratic philanthropist George Soros, fueled rumors spread by the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

“My entire first year of my tenure at the National Security Council was filled with hateful calls, conspiracy theories, which has started again,” she told House investigators, saying her attackers accused her “of being a Soros mole in the White House, of colluding with all kinds of enemies of the president.”

Ms. Hill, 54, had an unusual path to academia. The daughter of a coal miner and a midwife, she had a hardscrabble childhood in northeast England — a childhood that bred toughness, her friends say. Once, when she was 11, a boy in her class set one of her pigtails on fire while she was taking a test. She put the fire out with her hands, and finished the test.

She learned to speak Russian and eventually made her way across the Atlantic to Harvard for a fellowship, where she studied under the scholar Richard Pipes, known for his hard-line views about what was then the Soviet Union.

Ms. Hill’s own views are more nuanced, friends and colleagues say; she is not so much a Russia hawk as a cleareyed realist. She was also very clear about the threat Russia posed to Ukraine.

“She comes from this realist tradition where you start with the proposition that this other actor is capable of killing me,” said Graham Allison, a Harvard political scientist who worked with Ms. Hill on an initiative to teach foreign governments about democracy. “I can’t figure out how to kill them without committing suicide, so now I have to find a way to live with them.”

In 2006, Ms. Hill joined the National Intelligence Council as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia, a job that required her to assess the Russian threat. In 2009, she rejoined Brookings, where she had previously been a fellow. In 2013, she and Clifford Gaddy published “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.”

“She confirmed what I thought, which is what I’ve said very publicly for a long time: He’s the most dangerous guy on Earth,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who got to know Ms. Hill when she was an intelligence analyst.

Yet for all of her scholarly work, it was an appearance on television that landed Ms. Hill her White House job. After Mr. Trump was elected, K.T. McFarland, a Fox News commentator, recommended her to Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser.

General Flynn, whose tenure ended in scandal after 24 days, offered her the job as the National Security Council’s senior director for Europe and Russia, though she came on after he left. Some friends warned her against it. Among them was Marvin Kalb, a senior fellow at Brookings, who thought Ms. Hill might have trouble in part because she was an immigrant.

“I was concerned that she might run into problems that others might not run into, and I thought that her judgment of Putin might not sit well with the president,” he said, adding: “My recommendation to her was to stay away. But she believed very strongly in the opportunity to serve.”

She got off to an uncertain start; Mr. Trump once mistook her for a low-level member of support staff. And if there was any doubt that the president had little interest in national security protocol and would rely on no one but himself, it was erased when he took notes away from his interpreter during a private meeting with Mr. Putin in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017.

Then came the disastrous Helsinki, Finland, summit in 2018, where Mr. Trump accepted the Russian president’s denial that his country had interfered in the 2016 race. In a stunning break with protocol, he also told Mr. Putin that he might let Russia interrogate a former American ambassador, Michael A. McFaul, a staunch critic of Russia’s record on human rights.

Mr. McFaul visited her at the White House to complain.

“I thought they were going to clean it up when they got back to Washington, and they didn’t,” Mr. McFaul said. “They just doubled down.”

Some colleagues of Ms. Hill’s wondered why she did not quit then. Others, like Angela Stent, a Russia expert at Georgetown University and mentor to Ms. Hill, said she contemplated leaving at times, but stayed because she wanted “to minimize the damage of some things that were happening with Russia.”

When she left the White House in July, it was as planned; she wanted to spend more time with her husband and 12-year-old daughter and her mother, who is ill. If she had been frustrated there, Mr. Wright said, she kept it to herself.

“This exit was not what she had planned,” Mr. Wright said. “I don’t think she was thinking, ‘I’m going to go out in a blaze of glory, take a moral stand and testify.’ That was definitely not her intention. She just wanted to her job with no fuss or drama.”

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Fiona Hill Viewed Serving Trump as Risky. Now She’s an Impeachment Witness.

Westlake Legal Group 20DC-HILL-facebookJumbo Fiona Hill Viewed Serving Trump as Risky. Now She’s an Impeachment Witness. United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry National Security Council impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Hill, Fiona (1965- ) Brookings Institution Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Fiona Hill knew she was taking a risk in going to work for President Trump.

A British-born coal-miner’s daughter with a Ph.D. from Harvard, Ms. Hill is a respected Russia expert, former intelligence analyst and co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of its president, Vladimir V. Putin. So the prospect of working for a president who speaks admiringly of Mr. Putin and has expressed doubts that Russia interfered in the 2016 election gave her pause.

Her decision to join the National Security Council in April 2017 — and to stay for more than two years after Mr. Trump cozied up to Mr. Putin and publicly disparaged the nation’s intelligence agencies — strained friendships and made her a target of right-wing conspiracy theorists who spread rumors that she was a Democratic mole.

Now, it has landed her near the center of the impeachment inquiry into whether Mr. Trump abused his power to enlist a foreign leader to help him in the 2020 presidential election. Her planned appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday represents the fulfillment of Ms. Hill’s worst fears about what could happen if she swallowed her reservations and went to work for Mr. Trump.

“The risk was what we see playing out in front of us — that something wrong would happen, that she would do the right thing and other people wouldn’t, and there would be a reckoning,” said Tom Wright, a former colleague and friend of Ms. Hill’s. “And afterward there could be hearings — with, at worst case, the fate of the presidency riding on it.”

On Thursday, Ms. Hill will take her turn as the latest in a series of witnesses to testify publicly before Congress. Many have been nonpartisan diplomats and national security experts who went to work for the president thinking they might be the proverbial “adults in the room” checking Mr. Trump’s impulses, only to find themselves caught up in a mess of his making, and in danger of being attacked.

Ms. Hill called her gripping account “my worst nightmare” in closed-door testimony. In it, she revealed how she and her boss at the time, John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, was alarmed at a rogue effort by allies of Mr. Trump, led by his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to deliver on the president’s desire for Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals.

In testimony on Wednesday, one of those allies — Gordon D. Sondland, a Trump megadonor turned ambassador to the European Union — turned on the president and top administration officials. He told lawmakers that he was only doing Mr. Trump’s bidding in pressing Ukraine for the investigations, and that Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, were among those well aware of it.

In Mr. Sondland’s telling during a private interview with impeachment investigators last month, Ms. Hill was furious to the point of shaking when he stopped by her office to say goodbye to her before she left the White House, about a week before the now-infamous July 25 telephone in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter. (Ms. Hill had argued against the call, saying she did not understand its purpose.)

“She was pretty upset about her role in the administration, about her superiors, about the president,” Mr. Sondland recalled in a closed-door deposition. “She was sort of shaking. She was pretty mad.”

A lawyer for Ms. Hill, Lee Wolosky, has disputed that characterization, writing on Twitter that Mr. Sondland “fabricated communications with Dr. Hill.”

Ms. Hill is neither pro-Trump nor a “Never Trumper,” and she was always circumspect in talking about Mr. Trump, friends said. She refused speaking invitations of the sort that would be routine for top advisers in past administrations — even at the Brookings Institution, where she was on leave as director of the Center on the United States and Europe.

But her own closed-door testimony reveals how fraught her time in the administration was.

In it, she described a tense White House meeting with Mr. Sondland, Mr. Bolton, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Ukrainian officials in which it became apparent that Mr. Mulvaney was working with Mr. Sondland and Mr. Giuliani to execute the president’s plan.

Ms. Hill described her horror that the Ukranians — foreign nationals — were hanging around the West Wing, outside the Situation Room, one of the most secure and sensitive spots in the White House. When Mr. Sondland moved the meeting down to a room in the White House basement, Mr. Bolton instructed her to follow them to find out what was going on.

She did so, and confronted Mr. Sondland, cutting him off when he dangled the prospect of a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky.

“It has to go through proper procedure,” Ms. Hill insisted. Then she reported back to Mr. Bolton, who told her to report it to the National Security Council’s top lawyer, John A. Eisenberg.

“You go and tell Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this,” she recalled Mr. Bolton saying.

Friends said that sounded like the Ms. Hill they know: straight, to the point, unafraid to push back.

“Fiona has served impeccably in the executive branch,” said Strobe Talbott, the former president of the Brookings Institution, “and, now, she’s helping Congress understand the disaster Trump has visited on the country and the world.”

Republicans view her as suspect because she worked with Christopher Steele, who later wrote an infamous dossier on Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, when she was an intelligence officer and he was her British counterpart. And her time as an unpaid adviser to the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Foundation, founded by the Democratic philanthropist George Soros, fueled rumors spread by the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

“My entire first year of my tenure at the National Security Council was filled with hateful calls, conspiracy theories, which has started again,” she told House investigators, saying her attackers accused her “of being a Soros mole in the White House, of colluding with all kinds of enemies of the president.”

Ms. Hill, 54, had an unusual path to academia. The daughter of a coal miner and a midwife, she had a hardscrabble childhood in northeast England — a childhood that bred toughness, her friends say. Once, when she was 11, a boy in her class set one of her pigtails on fire while she was taking a test. She put the fire out with her hands, and finished the test.

She learned to speak Russian and eventually made her way across the Atlantic to Harvard for a fellowship, where she studied under the scholar Richard Pipes, known for his hard-line views about what was then the Soviet Union.

Ms. Hill’s own views are more nuanced, friends and colleagues say; she is not so much a Russia hawk as a cleareyed realist. She was also very clear about the threat Russia posed to Ukraine.

“She comes from this realist tradition where you start with the proposition that this other actor is capable of killing me,” said Graham Allison, a Harvard political scientist who worked with Ms. Hill on an initiative to teach foreign governments about democracy. “I can’t figure out how to kill them without committing suicide, so now I have to find a way to live with them.”

In 2006, Ms. Hill joined the National Intelligence Council as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia, a job that required her to assess the Russian threat. In 2009, she rejoined Brookings, where she had previously been a fellow. In 2013, she and Clifford Gaddy published “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.”

“She confirmed what I thought, which is what I’ve said very publicly for a long time: He’s the most dangerous guy on Earth,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who got to know Ms. Hill when she was an intelligence analyst.

Yet for all of her scholarly work, it was an appearance on television that landed Ms. Hill her White House job. After Mr. Trump was elected, K.T. McFarland, a Fox News commentator, recommended her to Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser.

General Flynn, whose tenure ended in scandal after 24 days, offered her the job as the National Security Council’s senior director for Europe and Russia, though she came on after he left. Some friends warned her against it. Among them was Marvin Kalb, a senior fellow at Brookings, who thought Ms. Hill might have trouble in part because she was an immigrant.

“I was concerned that she might run into problems that others might not run into, and I thought that her judgment of Putin might not sit well with the president,” he said, adding: “My recommendation to her was to stay away. But she believed very strongly in the opportunity to serve.”

She got off to an uncertain start; Mr. Trump once mistook her for a low-level member of support staff. And if there was any doubt that the president had little interest in national security protocol and would rely on no one but himself, it was erased when he took notes away from his interpreter during a private meeting with Mr. Putin in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017.

Then came the disastrous Helsinki, Finland, summit in 2018, where Mr. Trump accepted the Russian president’s denial that his country had interfered in the 2016 race. In a stunning break with protocol, he also told Mr. Putin that he might let Russia interrogate a former American ambassador, Michael A. McFaul, a staunch critic of Russia’s record on human rights.

Mr. McFaul visited her at the White House to complain.

“I thought they were going to clean it up when they got back to Washington, and they didn’t,” Mr. McFaul said. “They just doubled down.”

Some colleagues of Ms. Hill’s wondered why she did not quit then. Others, like Angela Stent, a Russia expert at Georgetown University and mentor to Ms. Hill, said she contemplated leaving at times, but stayed because she wanted “to minimize the damage of some things that were happening with Russia.”

When she left the White House in July, it was as planned; she wanted to spend more time with her husband and 12-year-old daughter and her mother, who is ill. If she had been frustrated there, Mr. Wright said, she kept it to herself.

“This exit was not what she had planned,” Mr. Wright said. “I don’t think she was thinking, ‘I’m going to go out in a blaze of glory, take a moral stand and testify.’ That was definitely not her intention. She just wanted to her job with no fuss or drama.”

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Sondland Says He Followed Trump’s Orders to Pressure Ukraine

WASHINGTON — An ambassador at the center of the House impeachment inquiry testified on Wednesday that he was following President Trump’s orders, with the full knowledge of other top administration officials, when he pressured the Ukrainians to conduct investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals in what he called a clear “quid pro quo.”

Gordon D. Sondland, Mr. Trump’s envoy to the European Union, told the House Intelligence Committee that he reluctantly followed Mr. Trump’s directive. He testified that the president instructed him to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, as he pressured Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unsubstantiated theory that Democrats conspired with Kyiv to interfere in the 2016 election.

“We followed the president’s orders,” Mr. Sondland said.

His appearance amounted to an act of defiance by an official who has been described by other witnesses as a point man in the push to extract the investigations. In his testimony, Mr. Sondland linked the most senior members of the Trump administration to the effort — including the vice president, the secretary of state, the acting chief of staff and others. He said they were informed of it at key moments, an account that severely undercut Mr. Trump’s frequent claims that he never pressured Ukraine.

Instead, Mr. Sondland, a wealthy Republican megadonor, described an expansive effort to help the president do just that.

Later on Wednesday, a Defense Department official, Laura K. Cooper, testified that Ukrainian officials may have known as early as late July that a $391 million package of security assistance was being withheld by the Trump administration.

The testimony by Ms. Cooper called into question another central element of the president’s defense: that there was no pressure because Ukrainian officials were unaware that the money was frozen.

Two months into the investigation, Mr. Sondland’s account came as close as investigators have gotten to an admission from an official who dealt directly with Mr. Trump. But Mr. Sondland’s accounts have shifted since the committee first deposed him in October, opening him up to Republican criticism that he is not credible.

Mr. Sondland has repeatedly claimed not to have recalled key episodes, and he conceded during testimony on Wednesday that he did not record precisely what had happened. He blamed the State Department for not providing him with all his emails, call logs and other records.

Still, he offered revelations and had the evidence to corroborate them.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on parts of the pressure campaign, Mr. Sondland testified, and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, was deeply involved. They understood, as he did, that there was a quid pro quo linking a White House meeting for President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to a promise by him to announce investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals, he said.

“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo?” Mr. Sondland said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said. “It was no secret.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he came to believe that Mr. Trump was also linking congressionally approved military assistance to Ukraine with a public commitment by Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Trump’s political adversaries. Mr. Sondland said he informed Vice President Mike Pence of his concern about that connection during a Sept. 1 meeting in Warsaw.

Ms. Cooper testified that Ukrainian officials had reached out to the State and Defense Departments with questions about the status of the military funding on July 25, only hours after Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Zelensky during a phone call for the investigations. Republicans have insisted that Ukraine did not know that the aid had been held up until it was reported in the news media in late August.

Beyond the evolving timeline, Mr. Sondland’s testimony raised questions about whether the other top administration figures he mentioned — including Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Mulvaney and John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser — would come forward to testify.

The Trump administration tried to block the testimony of Mr. Sondland, Ms. Cooper and David Hale, the No. 3 State Department official, who also appeared on Wednesday, and refused to allow Mr. Sondland access to certain documents, he said, which it also withheld from the committee despite a subpoena.

Democrats pointed to the administration’s stonewalling as yet another piece of evidence for an impeachment article against Mr. Trump for obstruction of Congress.

“It goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery, as well as other potential high crimes and misdemeanors,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told reporters during a brief break in the hearing.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164733612_e5708ec4-1796-48de-86b5-683d6dc1b534-articleLarge Sondland Says He Followed Trump’s Orders to Pressure Ukraine United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Pompeo, Mike Perry, Rick Pence, Mike Mulvaney, Mick impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Representatives Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Devin Nunes, the panel’s top Republican, listening to Mr. Sondland’s testimony.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Republicans, moving to discredit Mr. Sondland, seized on his assertion that Mr. Trump never personally or explicitly told him about conditions on the White House meeting or the security assistance. Mr. Sondland said under questioning that he came to the conclusion on his own.

Representative Michael R. Turner, Republican of Ohio, hammered on the point, his voice rising as he sharply questioned the ambassador.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody?” Mr. Turner demanded. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” he added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland responded.

The ambassador, who smiled often during his appearance and cheerfully admitted to a flair for colorful language and frequent use of “four-letter words” in his conversations with Mr. Trump, appeared to relish pulling other top officials into the spotlight. For weeks, Republicans had cast him as a rogue actor.

“The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and the State Department informed of his actions.

Some of the senior officials who figured prominently in Mr. Sondland’s testimony quickly challenged his account, and Mr. Trump tried to distance himself from the ambassador.

“I don’t know him very well — I have not spoken to him much,” Mr. Trump told reporters before leaving for Texas on Wednesday afternoon.

Holding a page of notes scrawled in marker in large block letters, Mr. Trump quoted Mr. Sondland’s closed-door deposition in which the ambassador described a phone call in which the president had told him he did not want a quid pro quo.

Before boarding Marine One, Mr. Trump shouted, “This is the final word from the president of the United States.”

The White House press secretary later put out a statement saying that Mr. Sondland’s testimony “completely exonerates President Trump of any wrongdoing.”

Through an aide, Mr. Pence denied that the two men had spoken one-on-one.

“There was never a time when Sondland was alone with the vice president in Warsaw, and if he’s recalling the pre-briefing, I was in that, and he never said anything in that venue either,” said Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff.

Defying the State Department’s wishes, Mr. Sondland shared previously unseen emails and texts that demonstrated how he kept Mr. Pompeo and other administration officials apprised of his efforts to push the Ukranians. In one of them, Mr. Sondland tells Mr. Pompeo about a draft statement in which the Ukranians would commit to the investigations, and about a plan to have Mr. Zelensky speak directly with Mr. Trump about the matter.

“The contents will hopefully make the boss happy enough to authorize an invitation,” Mr. Sondland wrote in an email to Mr. Pompeo.

A week and a half later, Mr. Sondland sent Mr. Pompeo another email asking whether he should arrange a meeting in Warsaw for Mr. Trump where Mr. Zelensky would “look him in the eye” and promise him the investigations, breaking a “logjam.”

Mr. Pompeo issued a statement that appeared intended to deny Mr. Sondland’s testimony, but that did not directly address the ambassador’s assertion that the secretary of state knew and approved of his efforts.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” according to the statement from Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman.

Mr. Sondland even took shots at Mr. Bolton, who other witnesses have said harbored deep concerns over the ambassador’s actions and repeatedly instructed subordinates to report them to White House lawyers.

“Curiously — and this was very interesting to me — on Aug. 26, shortly before his visit to Kyiv, Ambassador Bolton’s office requested Mr. Giuliani’s contact information from me,” said Mr. Sondland, who repeated himself and then paused to smirk before continuing with his testimony.

One of the more dramatic moments of the day occurred in the final hour in an exchange between Mr. Sondland and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, who elicited a grudging admission from the ambassador that the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted would benefit him politically.

“See? It didn’t hurt a bit,” Mr. Maloney said, drawing a testy response from Mr. Sondland, who said he was trying to be “forthright.”

“It didn’t work so well the first time, did it?” Mr. Maloney shot back, referring to the multiple changes Mr. Sondland has made to his story.

“We appreciate your candor,” Mr. Maloney said, “but let’s be really clear on what it took to get it out of you.”

Reporting was contributed by Michael D. Shear, Emily Cochrane, Maggie Haberman and Zach Montague.

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Key Moments From Sondland, Cooper and Hale Testimony

Video

transcript

Trump Impeachment Hearings: Sondland Testimony Highlights

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election D.N.C. server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew these investigations were important to the president. Members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.” “One of the things that you now remember is the discussion that you had with President Trump on July 26 in that restaurant in Kyiv, right? You confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky quote, ‘loves your ass.’ Do you recall saying that?” “It sounds like something I would say.” “You said President Trump had directed you to talk — you and the others — to talk to Rudy Giuliani at the Oval Office on May 23.” “If we wanted to get anything done with Ukraine, it was apparent to us we needed to talk to Rudy.” “Right, you understood that Mr. Giuliani spoke for the president, correct?” “That’s correct.” “You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct?” “That’s our understanding, yes.” “But how did you know that? Who told you?” “Well, when the president says talk to my personal attorney, and then Mr. Giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands, we assume it’s coming from the president.” “You don’t have records, you don’t have your notes because you didn’t take notes. You don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability. Isn’t that true?” “What I’m trying to do today is to use the limited information I have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee.” “Your testimony is just simply in a pre-meeting with a group of Americans before the bilateral meeting. You referenced the fact that Ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid.” “I think I referenced — I didn’t say that Ukraine had to do the investigations. I think I said that we heard from Mr. Giuliani that that was the case.” “So it wasn’t really a presumption. You heard from Mr. Giuliani.” “No one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was.” “You testified that pretty much everyone could put two and two together and make four and understood that the military assistance was also conditioned on the public announcement of these two investigations, correct?” “That was my presumption.” “Now you’re capable of putting two and two together. And so are the Ukrainians. Because you told them in Warsaw they were going to need to make that public statement — likely to get that aid released as I said.” “I said I presumed that might have to be done in order to get the aid released.” “Because we’ve had a lot of argumentation here. Well, the Ukrainians didn’t know the aid was withheld. But the Ukrainians found out. And then it was made abundantly clear, if they hadn’t put two and two together themselves, that if they wanted that aid they were going to have to make these statements, correct?” “Correct.” “When did President Zelensky announce that the investigation was going to happen? On page 14 you said this: ‘Was there a quid pro quo’ — today’s, your opening statement? ‘As I testified previously with regard to requested White House call, White House meeting the answer is yes,’ that there needed to be a public statement from President Zelensky. When the chairman asked you about the security assistance dollars, you said there needed to be a public announcement from Zelensky. So I’m asking you a simple question: When did that happen?” “Never did.” “Never did.” “Who would benefit from an investigation of the Bidens?” “I assume President Trump would benefit.” “There, we have it!” “Mr. Maloney, excuse me. I’ve been very forthright and I really resent what you’re trying to do.” “Fair enough. You’ve been very forthright. This is your third try to do so, sir. Didn’t work so well the first time, did it? We had a little declaration coming after you, remember that? And now we’re here a third time. And we’ve got a doozy of a statement from you this morning. There’s a whole bunch of stuff you don’t recall. So all due respect, sir. We appreciate your candor, but let’s be really clear on what it took to get it out of you.” “The question is not what the president meant. The question is not whether he was responsible for holding up the aid — he was. The question is not whether everybody knew it — apparently they did. The question is, what are we prepared to do about it? Is there any accountability? Or are we forced to conclude that this is just now the world that we live in?”

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-hilightsvid-promo2-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Key Moments From Sondland, Cooper and Hale Testimony United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Ukraine officials may have been aware that security aid was cut off by July 25 — much earlier than previously known and the same day that President Trump talked on the phone with the president of Ukraine, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said that she was aware of multiple communications between Ukrainian Embassy officials and members of her staff in which the embassy officials asked questions about delivery of the security aid to their country.

Ms. Cooper said that a member of her staff received a question about the aid on July 25 from the Ukrainian Embassy, which asked “what was going on with Ukraine assistance.” She said that during the week of Aug. 6, other members of her staff saw officials from the embassy who raised the issue of the aid.

The timing of when Ukraine knew that the aid had been frozen is a critical question as Democrats build a case that Mr. Trump tried to leverage the aid for a public announcement of investigations into his political rivals. The security aid was frozen in early July, and Republicans have insisted that Ukraine did not know about the hold until it was reported by a news outlet on Aug. 28.

Mr. Trump’s allies have also said that Mr. Trump could not have coerced Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, during the July 25 call because Mr. Zelensky did not know at the time that the aid was held up. The new information from Ms. Cooper could undercut the Republican efforts to defend the president.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164753199_f9915c49-5a4e-46e4-8ebc-1b0d70dc9ee8-articleLarge Key Moments From Sondland, Cooper and Hale Testimony United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

David Hale, left, and Laura Cooper were sworn in to testify Wednesday evening.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Ms. Cooper said her staff recalled the issue of concerns about Ukraine’s security aid coming up with members of the Ukrainian Embassy in other meetings during the month of August, though they could not recall precisely when those meetings took place.

“They believe the question of the hold came up at some point,” Ms. Cooper said.

She also cited several emails dated July 25 between members of her staff and State Department officials in which the diplomats wrote that the Ukrainian Embassy knew about the hold on the security assistance. Ms. Cooper said she did not believe she was shown the emails at the time.

Ms. Cooper said she learned of the new information about the inquiries from Ukrainian officials after members of her staff saw the transcript of her earlier, closed-door testimony when it was released to the public on Nov. 11, and brought new details of the timeline to her attention.

David Hale, the State Department’s No. 3 official, also fielded questions about the hold on security aid to Ukraine and the attacks by Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, on the reputation of Marie L. Yovanovitch, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. She was eventually recalled from her post.

Mr. Hale told lawmakers that what happened to Ms. Yovanovitch was “wrong” and that “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continued to do the outstanding work.”

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

Westlake Legal Group GORDON-SONDLAND-OPENING-STATEMENT-UKRAINE-articleLarge Key Moments From Sondland, Cooper and Hale Testimony United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper Testifies About Ukrainian Aid

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Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeachbriefing-livevid-sub2-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper Testifies About Ukrainian Aid United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary, and David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs, are testifying to the House Intelligence Committee. Earlier, Gordon D. Sondland appeared before lawmakers.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Ukraine officials may have been aware that security aid was cut off by July 25 — much earlier than previously known and the same day that President Trump talked on the phone with the president of Ukraine, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said that she was aware of multiple communications between Ukrainian Embassy officials and members of her staff in which the embassy officials asked questions about delivery of the security aid to their country.

Ms. Cooper said that a member of her staff received a question about the aid on July 25 from the Ukrainian Embassy, which asked “what was going on with Ukraine assistance.” She said that during the week of Aug. 6, other members of her staff saw officials from the embassy who raised the issue of the aid.

The timing of when Ukraine knew that the aid had been frozen is a critical question as Democrats build a case that Mr. Trump tried to leverage the aid for a public announcement of investigations into his political rivals. Republicans have insisted that Ukraine did not know about the hold until it was reported by a news outlet on Aug. 28.

Mr. Trump’s allies have also said that Mr. Trump could not have coerced Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, during the July 25 call because Mr. Zelensky did not know at the time that the aid was held up. The new information could undercut the Republican efforts to defend the president.

Ms. Cooper said her staff also recalled the issue of concerns about Ukraine’s security aid coming up with members of the Ukrainian Embassy in other meetings during the month of August, though they could not recall precisely when those meetings took place.

“They believe the question of the hold came up at some point,” Ms. Cooper said.

She also cited several emails dated July 25 between members of her staff and State Department officials in which the diplomats wrote that the Ukrainian Embassy knew about the hold on the security assistance. Ms. Cooper said she does not believe she was shown the emails at the time.

Ms. Cooper said she learned of the new information about the inquiries from Ukrainian officials after members of her staff saw the transcript of her earlier, closed-door testimony when it was released to the public on Nov. 11, and brought new details of the timeline to her attention.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164753199_f9915c49-5a4e-46e4-8ebc-1b0d70dc9ee8-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper Testifies About Ukrainian Aid United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

David Hale, left, and Laura Cooper were sworn in to testify Wednesday evening.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

David Hale, the State Department’s No. 3 official, is testifying Wednesday evening about the steps that his department took — and didn’t take — as Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, attacked the reputation of Marie L. Yovanovitch, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. She was eventually recalled from her post.

Mr. Hale told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition that State Department officials did not issue a statement of support for Ms. Yovanovitch because they worried that it would “only fuel further negative reaction” and thought it would be better “to try to contain this and wait it out.”

Ms. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, had warned the White House that freezing congressionally approved aid to Ukraine could violate the law. She repeatedly voiced concern about the impact of holding up the aid.

Democrats want her to describe the way in which she and others in the government found out that the security aid was held up. In her private testimony, she said: “We got a question from my chain of command forwarded down from the chief of staff, I believe, from the Department of Defense, asking for follow-up on a meeting with the president. It said, ‘Follow-up from POTUS meeting,’ so follow-up from a meeting with the president. So, you know, I’m thinking that the questions were probably questions from the president.”

The committee skipped the usual 45 minutes of questioning by lawyers for each party, instead going right into five minutes of questions from each lawmaker.

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

Westlake Legal Group GORDON-SONDLAND-OPENING-STATEMENT-UKRAINE-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper Testifies About Ukrainian Aid United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Are Up Next

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Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeachbriefing-livevid-sub2-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Are Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary, and David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs, are testifying to the House Intelligence Committee. Earlier, Gordon D. Sondland appeared before lawmakers.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

David Hale, the State Department’s No. 3 official, is expected to testify Wednesday evening about the steps that his department took — and didn’t take — as Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, attacked the reputation of Marie L. Yovanovitch, the United States ambassador to Ukraine. She was eventually recalled from her post.

Mr. Hale told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition that State Department officials did not issue a statement of support for Ms. Yovanovitch because they worried that it would “only fuel further negative reaction” and thought it would be better “to try to contain this and wait it out.”

Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, had warned the White House that freezing congressionally approved aid to Ukraine could violate the law. She repeatedly voiced concern about the impact of holding up the aid.

Democrats want her to describe the way in which she and others in the government found out that the security aid was held up. In her private testimony, she said: “We got a question from my chain of command forwarded down from the chief of staff, I believe, from the Department of Defense, asking for follow-up on a meeting with the president. It said, ‘Follow-up from POTUS meeting,’ so follow-up from a meeting with the president. So, you know, I’m thinking that the questions were probably questions from the president.”

The witnesses will give opening statements, followed by five minutes of questions from each lawmaker on the committee, skipping the usual 45 minutes of questioning by lawyers for each side.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164734779_c97aeaf6-6518-4314-ad69-ba4c8649b94d-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Are Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

President Trump speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

Westlake Legal Group GORDON-SONDLAND-OPENING-STATEMENT-UKRAINE-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Are Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Trump Impeachment Hearings: Sondland Testimony Highlights

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

Secretary Perry Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. We were playing the hand, we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election VNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States. And we knew these investigations were important to the president. Members of this committee. Frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question, was there a quid pro quo. As I testify previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting the answer is yes, we all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and the right White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements. One of the things that you. Now remember is the discussion that you had with President Trump on July 26 in that restaurant in Kiev right. Yeah What triggered my memory was someone’s reference to a A$AP Rocky which was I believe the primary purpose of the phone call. You called President Trump from your cell phone from the restaurant is that right. That’s right. You confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky quote loves your ass unquote. Do you recall saying that it sounds like something I would say you said, President Trump had directed you to talk you and the others to talk to Rudy Giuliani at the Oval Office on May 23rd if we wanted to get anything done with Ukraine. It was apparent to us. We needed to talk to Rudy right. You understood that Mr. Giuliani spoke for the president, correct. That’s correct. You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct. That’s our understanding. How did you know that. Who told you. Well, when the president says talk to my personal attorneys. And then Mr. Giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands we assume it’s coming from the president. You don’t have records you don’t have your notes because you didn’t take notes. You don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability isn’t that true. What I’m trying to do today is to use the limited information I have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee and as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony by some texts and emails that I’ve now had access to I think I filled in a lot of blanks and it was Ambassador Bolton, who made the comment that he didn’t want to be part of any drug deal that Ambassador Sunland and Mulvaney were cooking up the investigations to get the meeting was not something he wanted to be a part of. It’s the reference to Mulvaney that I want to ask you about. You’ve testified that Mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo of this condition that the Ukrainians had to meet that is announcing this public investigations to get the White House meeting is that right. Yeah, a lot of people were aware of it and including about including Mr. Mulvaney correct. Have you seen the acting chief of staff’s press conference in which he acknowledged that the military aid was withheld in part because of a desire to get that 2016 investigation. You’ve talked about. I don’t think I saw it live. I saw it later. Yeah So you saw him acknowledge publicly what you have confirmed to that Mr. Mulvaney understood that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Is that right. Well, again, I didn’t know that the aid was conclusively tied. I was presuming he was in a position to say, yes, it was or no it wasn’t because. And he said, yes, it was. And he said, yes, it was. Your testimony is just simply in a pre-meeting with a group of Americans before the bilateral meeting. You referenced the fact that Ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid. I think I referenced I didn’t say that Ukraine had to do the investigations. I think I said that, we heard from Mr. Giuliani that that was the case. So it wasn’t really a presumption. You heard from Mr. Giuliani. No one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was.

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-hilightsvid-promo2-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

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ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164734779_c97aeaf6-6518-4314-ad69-ba4c8649b94d-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

President Trump speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’ ”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

Westlake Legal Group GORDON-SONDLAND-OPENING-STATEMENT-UKRAINE-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Sondland Says ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ on Pressure Campaign

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Trump Impeachment Hearings Highlights So Far

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

Secretary Perry Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. We were playing the hand, we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election VNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States. And we knew these investigations were important to the president. Members of this committee. Frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question, was there a quid pro quo. As I testify previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting the answer is yes, we all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and the right White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements. One of the things that you. Now remember is the discussion that you had with President Trump on July 26 in that restaurant in Kiev right. Yeah What triggered my memory was someone’s reference to a A$AP Rocky which was I believe the primary purpose of the phone call. You called President Trump from your cell phone from the restaurant is that right. That’s right. You confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky quote loves your ass unquote. Do you recall saying that it sounds like something I would say you said, President Trump had directed you to talk you and the others to talk to Rudy Giuliani at the Oval Office on May 23rd if we wanted to get anything done with Ukraine. It was apparent to us. We needed to talk to Rudy right. You understood that Mr. Giuliani spoke for the president, correct. That’s correct. You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct. That’s our understanding. How did you know that. Who told you. Well, when the president says talk to my personal attorneys. And then Mr. Giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands we assume it’s coming from the president. You don’t have records you don’t have your notes because you didn’t take notes. You don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability isn’t that true. What I’m trying to do today is to use the limited information I have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee and as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony by some texts and emails that I’ve now had access to I think I filled in a lot of blanks and it was Ambassador Bolton, who made the comment that he didn’t want to be part of any drug deal that Ambassador Sunland and Mulvaney were cooking up the investigations to get the meeting was not something he wanted to be a part of. It’s the reference to Mulvaney that I want to ask you about. You’ve testified that Mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo of this condition that the Ukrainians had to meet that is announcing this public investigations to get the White House meeting is that right. Yeah, a lot of people were aware of it and including about including Mr. Mulvaney correct. Have you seen the acting chief of staff’s press conference in which he acknowledged that the military aid was withheld in part because of a desire to get that 2016 investigation. You’ve talked about. I don’t think I saw it live. I saw it later. Yeah So you saw him acknowledge publicly what you have confirmed to that Mr. Mulvaney understood that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Is that right. Well, again, I didn’t know that the aid was conclusively tied. I was presuming he was in a position to say, yes, it was or no it wasn’t because. And he said, yes, it was. And he said, yes, it was. Your testimony is just simply in a pre-meeting with a group of Americans before the bilateral meeting. You referenced the fact that Ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid. I think I referenced I didn’t say that Ukraine had to do the investigations. I think I said that, we heard from Mr. Giuliani that that was the case. So it wasn’t really a presumption. You heard from Mr. Giuliani. No one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was.

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-hilightsvid-promo2-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Sondland Says ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ on Pressure Campaign United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

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ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164734779_c97aeaf6-6518-4314-ad69-ba4c8649b94d-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Sondland Says ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ on Pressure Campaign United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

President Trump speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’ ”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

Westlake Legal Group GORDON-SONDLAND-OPENING-STATEMENT-UKRAINE-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Sondland Says ‘Everyone Was in the Loop’ on Pressure Campaign United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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