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LIVE FEED: Amb. Gordon Sondland, pivotal figure in the impeachment inquiry, testifies before Congress

This could be the witness who makes the White House nervous

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the most highly anticipated public hearing to date in the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies before Congress Wednesday.

Watch the YouTube livestream of the hearing here:

WATCH LIVE: Open Hearing with Ambassador Gordon Sondland youtu.be

Who's testifying?

Wednesday's hearing will feature three witnesses, the most prominent being Ambassador Sondland, who has become the most pivotal witness in the impeachment inquiry thus far.

Also appearing before Congress Wednesday are Laura Cooper, a senior Defense Department official, and David Hale, a top State Department official.

What's the background?

Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and donor to the 2016 Trump campaign, was personally appointed by Trump to his post in 2018.

Sondland has been cited by other witnesses as having direct knowledge of the alleged freeze of military aid to Ukraine until demands of an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, were met.

In this way, he gives the House Intel Committee the opportunity to question someone with potentially firsthand knowledge of what Trump himself knew.

Sondland has amended his closed-door testimony, recently saying he told a top Ukraine official that the disbursement of military aid was "likely" contingent upon the initiation of an investigation into the Bidens.

Last week, a Reuters report broke citing Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko asserting that Sondland did not explicitly link the aid with opening the investigation.

On Wednesday morning, news broke that Sondland would testify that a quid pro quo for Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens came from Rudy Giuliani at the direction of the president.

According to our own reporting, "much of the evidence presented by Democrats and their chosen witnesses that point toward an alleged … 'quid pro quo' by President Donald Trump rests on allegations that Sondland, who had direct contact with Trump, delivered the message to Ukraine that aid was contingent upon a Biden investigation."

Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee hope Wednesday's hearing will sort out the facts.

One last thing…
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