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Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry in September, there has been a steady drumbeat of current and former administration and government officials who have come forward, either willingly or under subpoena, to testify in the rapidly developing probe.
At the heart of the inquiry is President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and whether the administration withheld nearly $400 million in aid and a White House summit between the two leaders in exchange for an investigation into the president’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter for his work on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Trump also allegedly wanted the aid withheld unless there was an investigation into a largely debunked theory that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, who tried to interfere in the 2016 election – on behalf of Hillary Clinton – and the Democrats' purported efforts on that front.
A number of questions surround the call, including Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s alleged role in lobbying the Ukrainian government through back channels, the involvement of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and why exactly U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was recalled.
Democrats say the testimony, which is now being presented in open proceedings, paints a picture of the president’s abuse of power to pursue politically motivated investigations. Republicans have raced to Trump’s defense, attacking the closed-door depositions as unfair, saying there was no evidence of a quid pro quo and that the witnesses did not have direct knowledge of Trump’s actions.