Even though the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump may seem complicated, the story they tell is actually relatively straightforward.
NBC News reporter Mark Murray on Friday created a succinct timeline of events that he says "tells a simple a story" about what the president did that has him facing articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives.
First, says Murray, look at a New York Times report from this past May in which Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani admits that he is traveling to Ukraine to press for investigations that would be "very, very helpful to my client." These investigations included a probe of the work Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, did for Ukrainian company Burisma.
Roughly one month later, Giuliani sent out a tweet aimed at pressuring newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launching investigations into the Bidens -- and then a month after that, Trump had his now-infamous July 25th phone call in which he directly asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Bidens.
Just over a month later, in late August, Politico reported that there was a growing sense of alarm about the Trump administration withholding aid to Ukraine. An unnamed Trump administration official claimed to Politico that the president "wants to ensure U.S. interests are being prioritized when it comes to foreign assistance" -- but he never mentioned that those "interests" actually included a call to investigate the president's political foes.
The hold on the aid was subsequently released two weeks later, but only after word of the intelligence community whistleblower complaint against the president had gotten out.
Despite this, Trump continued to publicly push for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens -- and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney publicly admitted that the White House engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine before rushing to walk it back a day later.
Add to these events the testimony of European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, who said this week that there was a quid pro quo involved in withholding a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Zelensky until Ukraine agreed to investigate the Bidens, and he inferred that the same was true for the deliver of foreign aid given that no official explanation has been given for why it was held up in the first place.