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Here are the most important moments from Gordon Sondland’s bomshell impeachment inquiry testimony

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EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a key actor in President Donald Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine for dirt on his political rivals, was in the hot seat Wednesday as Democrats built their case for impeaching the US leader.

Here are some of the key quotes from his opening statement.

– Following Trump’s orders –

– “As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the president. We worked with (Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy) Giuliani because the president directed us to do so.

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“We had no desire to set any conditions on the Ukranians. Indeed, my own personal view — which I shared repeatedly with others — was that the White House meeting and security assistance should have proceeded without pre-conditions of any kind.”

– Rudy Giuliani –

– “Secretary (Rick) Perry, Ambassador (Kurt) Volker and I worked with Mr Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States.

“We did not want to work with Mr Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt … So we followed the President’s orders.”

– Investigations for aid/’quid pro quo’ –

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– “I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’

“As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”

– “Mr Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma.

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“Mr Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president.”

– “In the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from Ukraine committing to the investigations of the 2016 election and Burisma, as Mr Giuliani had demanded.

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“I shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson. And I also shared my concerns with the Ukrainians.”

– State Department/White House refusal to release emails –

– “As Ambassador, I have had hundreds of meetings and calls with individuals. But I am not a note taker, or a memo writer … My lawyers and I have made multiple requests to the State Department and the White House for these materials.

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“Yet, these materials were not provided to me. They have also refused to share these materials with this committee. These documents are not classified and, in fairness, should have been made available.”

– Everyone was in the loop –

– “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret. Everyone was informed via email on July 19, days before the presidential call.”

– July 25 Trump-Zelensky call –

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– “As I communicated to the team, I told President Zelensky in advance that assurances to ‘run a fully transparent investigation’ and ‘turn over every stone’ were necessary in his call with President Trump.”

– July 26 Sondland-Trump call –

– “I remember I was at a restaurant in Kiev, and I have no reason to doubt that this conversation included the subject of investigations.

“Again, given Mr Giuliani’s demand that President Zelensky make a public statement about investigations, I knew that the topic of investigations was important to President Trump. We did not discuss any classified information.”

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Trump defense team’s two most ‘egregious constitutional claims’ blown up by law professor: They ‘have impeachment exactly backwards’

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Writing for Just Security on Friday, Frank O. Bowman III, a legal expert and professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, detailed two of the “more egregious constitutional claims” put forth by Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team in a trial brief filed last week.

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Trump defender Kingston shamed into silence by MSNBC’s Joy Reid after blizzard of lies on impeachment

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MSNBC host Joy Reid showed no patience with former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) on Sunday morning as the advocate for the re-election of Donald Trump repeatedly was called out for lying about the facts of the Ukraine corruption case against Donald Trump as well as the House impeachment trial.

Sitting on a panel with the Intercept's Mehdi Hasan, Kingston was given the first crack at addressing the defense case put forth by Trump's lawyers on the Senate floor on Saturday, only to be pulled up short by the MSNBC host after stating a falsehood, for which he received an admonishment.

With Kingston claiming Democratic members of the Senate who are currently running for their party's presidential nomination did not attend the Saturday hearing, Reid quickly cut him off.

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Trump accused of inciting violence against Adam Schiff with ‘not paid the price yet’ Twitter threat

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A Sunday morning tweet by Donald Trump attacking Rep. Adam Schiff  has drawn intense scrutiny on Twitter and elsewhere with many suggesting the president is inciting violence or some sort of retribution against the California Democrat whith the phrase Schiff "not paid the price yet."

According to the president, "“The Impeachment Hoax is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before. In just two hours the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have seen their phony case absolutely shredded. Shifty is now exposed for illegally making up my phone call, & more!” before adding, “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

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