The past couple days of impeachment hearings have not been good for Republican talking points.
On Wednesday afternoon, Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, gave her first public testimony. In her testimony, Cooper stated that Ukraine did know that the military aid was delayed. Her testimony undermines the Republican argument that there could not have been bribery (a quid pro quo) because the Ukrainians didn’t know that the aid was withheld.
Rep. John Ratcliffe of Northeast Texas, who frequently parrots this argument, attempted to blow off this revelation.
“It’s not unusual…for foreign countries to inquire about foreign aid?” Ratcliffe asked Cooper.
“In my experience with the Ukrainians,” she replied, “they typically would call about specific things, not just generally checking in on their assistance package.”
On Thursday, former National Security Council official expert Dr. Fiona Hill undermined more Republican defenses. House Republicans have argued that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election, and this gives Trump a legitimate reason to withhold the aid. Hill called this a “fictional narrative” and asked the Committee members to “not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”
Hill also added more evidence that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Hill testified that Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland was going on a “domestic political errand.” She said that she had an intense exchange with Sondland where she warned “this is all going to blow up.”
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