Two State Department officials who expressed concerns about President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a potential political opponent testified before a House committee Wednesday.
Read nine important things about Wednesday's hearing below:
1. Day One
This is just Day One of the open testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Open testimony is expected to last two weeks.
Information gathered in this open format and weeks of closed-door testimony will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, where articles of impeachment will be drafted if there is sufficient evidence.
2. Two witnesses
William Taylor is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. George Kent is a senior U.S. State Department official. Kent was appointed to his position in September of 2018. Taylor was first appointed ambassador to Ukraine by President George W. Bush and has since been reappointed by presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
3. New information
In Taylor's testimony, he restated much of what he told investigators privately. But he also offered new information -- saying an aide informed him that they had witnesses listening to a call July 26 between Trump and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
The staff member overheard Trump on the call asking Sondland about "the investigations." This came one day after Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Taylor added that after the call with Trump, "the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine, and Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of (Joe) Biden, which (Rudy) Giuliani was pressing for."
4. Text messages
Committee members displayed text messages between Taylor and other diplomats. The texts, which were disclosed by former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, show what some diplomats said was a clear quid pro quo (Latin for "a favor for a favor"), with Trump using military aid and a visit to the White House as leverage to get Ukraine to look into Biden and his son ahead of the 2020 election.
5. Quid pro quo
Taylor said he was told by Sondland that Trump was not doing a quid pro quo but was "like a businessman who wants to be paid what he is owed before signing a new check."
Taylor told the committee that what Sondland said did not make sense to him because "Ukraine didn't owe Trump anything."
6. Aid vs. meeting
A White House meeting, while politically important for world leaders, is different from congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression in eastern Europe.
Taylor in public and private testimony said Trump wanted Zelensky to appear on CNN and announce an investigation into the Bidens.
That interview was canceled after it was revealed that aid had been frozen and the White House released a partial transcript of the July phone call.
Taylor said Vice President Mike Pence grew alarmed about military aid being withheld for political investigations after Pence met with Zelensky in Warsaw, Poland.
Russia has been actively working to destabilize and control Ukraine.
The congressionally approved $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was designed to help Ukraine and its newly-elected president defend itself against Russia.
Ukraine is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization but has been working toward membership in the alliance.
Click here to watch a full wrap up of Wednesday's testimony on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.
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