House investigators released a transcript Wednesday of the closed-door testimony of William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, who told lawmakers that it was his "clear understanding" that US military aid would not be sent until that country pursued investigations that could politically benefit President Donald Trump.
The impeachment inquiry is looking into whether Mr. Trump violated his oath of office by pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden, now the frontrunner for the Democratic ticket to the 2020 Presidential race and his son, Hunter Biden, who was a director at Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
Separately, on Tuesday, House investigators released text messages from Mr Taylor in which he expressed concerns to Mr Volker that he was "struggling" with a decision to take the Ukraine job because he was anxious whether anyone could "succeed with the Giuliani-Biden issue swirling for the next 18 months".
An anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint in September highlighting potential abuse of power by the president when he telephoned Ukraine's leader and asked him to investigate Trump's potential 2020 election rival Joe Biden.
"I understood the reason for investigating Burisma was to cast Vice President Biden in a bad light", Taylor said, according to a transcript of last month's closed-door testimony.
Despite the mounting evidence of a quid pro quo, Republicans have continued to defend the president's actions.
Trump ally Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, are expected to join the White House team to work on "proactive impeachment messaging", a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
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In what's likely a preview of next week's public hearings, Republicans pressed Taylor on whether he had direct knowledge of the President's intentions.
"Why would we try to be complicit in an impeachment inquiry that we're not even sure what it's about?"
Democrats in the room for Taylor's deposition October 22 said it was remarkably "thorough".
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The chairs of the three House committees leading the investigation wrote Mr Mulvaney requesting he appear before the panels on Friday at 9:00 am.
The announcement came after the House voted largely along party lines Thursday to formalize its impeachment investigation, taking one of the most significant steps in the process to date. "I think that's fair", said Sondland. In his 15-page opening statement, Taylor explained how he was told that "everything" Ukraine wanted was conditioned on the investigation.
Taylor, who came out of retirement in June to serve as USA envoy to Ukraine, will be the first of two witnesses to repeat their private testimony in a public setting when the impeachment inquiry enters a new, more television-friendly phase next week.
In testimony to investigators revealed last month, he expressed grave concerns about the Trump administration's "irregular, informal channel of USA policy-making" and its pressure on Ukraine to announce a Burisma investigation.