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READ: Fiona Hill, David Holmes' Impeachment Hearing Opening Statements

READ: Fiona Hill, David Holmes' Impeachment Hearing Opening Statements”

Gordon Sondland grew up on Mercer Island and maintains his legal residence at the Theodore Hotel in downtown Seattle, but now spends most of his time in Brussels as the US ambassador to the European Union, a position he secured for himself with a $1 million donation to President Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.

Hill added, "Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russian Federation and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some reason Ukraine did". Gen. William Barr about rumors that Biden as vice president had forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor widely viewed as corrupt in order to protect Hunter Biden. Gordon Sondland made to President Trump on Zelensky: 'That information had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject manner of any of these hearings'.

Holmes testified that he grew alarmed, watching as Giuliani was "making frequent public statements pushing for Ukraine to investigate interference in the 2016 election and issues related to Burisma and the Bidens".

Sondland was part of a group of diplomats who worked with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani starting last spring to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into a number of matters and people, including former Vice President Joe Biden. "And he then, in the course of that discussion, said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up".

"Did you understand what he meant by that?" Bolton "stiffened" and ended the meeting, Hill said. "And in fact, I think that's where we are today".

Holmes also testified about his growing concern as Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, orchestrated Ukraine policy outside official diplomatic channels. Hill said on Thursday that Russian Federation hopes to sow discord in the USA, including by promoting misinformation about who interfered in the US elections.

"The goal of the Russians was really to put whoever became the president - by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale - under a cloud", Hill said, answering questions from House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff on Thursday.

As Holmes was delivering opening remarks, explaining how the ambassador "winced", holding the cellphone away from his ear because the president was talking so loudly, Trump tried to undercut the career diplomat's account of overhearing the conversation.

"While Ambassador Sondland's phone was not on speaker phone, I could hear the president's voice through the earpiece of the phone", Holmes said.

"This is exactly what the Russian government was hoping for", she said about the now divisive American political climate. "If they seed misinformation, if they seed doubt, they have everybody questioning the legitimacy of a presidential candidate... that they would pit one part of our electorate against the other".

"My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland stated, "Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f-s everything up".

According to Holmes, Sondland replied that Zelenskiy "will, quote, 'do anything you ask him to'".

Sondland told Trump that Zelenskyy "loves your a**", Holmes said.

Republicans on the Intelligence Committee argued that Sondland's testimony wasn't a smoking gun because he couldn't cite any conversation in which Trump had told him that there was a quid pro quo.

"What you've seen in this room over the past two weeks is a show trial, the planned result of three years of political operations and dirty tricks", Nunes said. "And like any good show trial, the verdict was decided before the trial ever began".

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