Here’s what you need to know:
- The top diplomat in Ukraine gave “incredibly damning” testimony Tuesday morning, according to a Democrat in the room.
- Trump calls the impeachment inquiry a “lynching,” drawing condemnation.
- Catch up on impeachment: What you need to know about the inquiry.
The top diplomat in Ukraine gave “incredibly damning” testimony Tuesday morning, according to a Democrat in the room.
William B. Taylor Jr., the top diplomat in Ukraine, gave “damning” testimony Tuesday about President Trump and the effort to pressure Ukraine’s government for political gain, according to a Democratic lawmaker and another person familiar with the opening statement Mr. Taylor delivered behind closed doors in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“What he said was incredibly damning to the president of the United States,” Representative Ted Lieu, Democrat of California, said after emerging after hours of questioning Tuesday morning. He declined to elaborate further, citing House rules against releasing such testimony.
Mr. Taylor became one of star witnesses in the Democratic impeachment probe after a colleague, Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, revealed a series of text messages from September in which Mr. Taylor wrote that he thought it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
In an extensive opening statement, Mr. Taylor laid out a detailed timeline of events during his time in the administration, according to the person familiar with his testimony. The person also described the information Mr. Taylor provided to lawmakers as damning.
Mr. Taylor’s testimony was based in part on detailed notes that he took throughout his tenure, according to another person familiar with what he has told lawmakers. Mr. Taylor has shared his notes with the State Department but has not produced copies of them for lawmakers conducting the impeachment inquiry, the person said.
Mr. Taylor is the latest in a series of witnesses that Democrats have called to build their case that Mr. Trump abused the power of his office by waging a pressure campaign aimed at getting Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., one of the leading Democratic candidates for president.
The State Department tried to block Mr. Taylor from appearing for Tuesday’s deposition, or to limit his testimony if he did, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry who insisted on anonymity to describe the negotiations. So early Tuesday morning, in keeping with a pattern that has allowed investigators to extract crucial information from numerous administration witnesses, the House Intelligence Committee quietly issued a subpoena to compel Mr. Taylor to testify, and he complied.
— Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos
Trump calls the impeachment inquiry a “lynching,” drawing condemnation.
Mr. Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday to denounce the impeachment inquiry in ugly terms, describing it as a “lynching,” using a term associated with the murders of black people to describe a process enshrined in the Constitution.
The posting, which sparked swift outrage among Democrats and particularly African Americans, was the second time in two days that the president had publicly disparaged a concept central to the Constitution. On Monday, Mr. Trump referred to the constitutional prohibition against a president profiting from foreign governments as the “phony Emoluments Clause.”
Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois, implored Mr. Trump to delete his Tuesday morning tweet, citing the ugly history of lynching in the United States. “Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you.”
Some Republicans were also clearly uncomfortable with Mr. Trump’s words.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, denounced the impeachment inquiry and said it lacked due process, but said of the president’s tweet, “That’s not the language I would use.”
“I don’t agree with that language,” Mr. McCarthy added. “It’s pretty simple.”
Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that the president was not drawing a comparison between “what’s happened to him” and one of the “darkest moments in American history.” Mr. Gidley added that the president “has used many words” to describe news outlets that report unflattering details about him, and repeated Mr. Trump’s position that he was not getting “due process.”
Read more: Trump Calls Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Lynching,’ Drawing Outcry
Catch up on impeachment: What you need to know about the inquiry.
President Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. 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.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in September that the House would open a formal impeachment proceeding in response to the whistle-blower’s complaint. Here’s how the impeachment process works and here’s why political influence in foreign policy matters.
House committees have issued subpoenas to the White House, the Defense Department, the budget office and other agencies for documents related to the impeachment investigation. Here’s the evidence that has been collected so far.