WASHINGTON — Updates from the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump (all times local):

Updated 4:10 p.m.: A motion to issue a congressional subpoena to compel the whistleblower whose complaint led to the House impeachment inquiry to appear behind closed doors has been put off.

House intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff had said earlier Wednesday that the panel would take up the motion after two diplomats completed their public testimony.

As Schiff proposed tabling the motion, Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, who had raised the motion earlier in the day, said, “I know you’re afraid of hearing from the whistleblower.”

The committee voted along party lines to table the motion.

The impeachment inquiry was sparked after the whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The complaint alleged Trump pressured the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden’s family.

Updated: 3:37 p.m.: Testimony in the House’s first public impeachment hearing has ended, with more hearings to come.

State Department officials William Taylor and George Kent testified for more than five hours Wednesday about their concerns with President Donald Trump’s requests that Ukraine investigate Democrats as the U.S. withheld military aid to the country.

Democrats are investigating those requests, and whether they were linked, as they move toward an impeachment vote.

Republicans said the witnesses didn’t have firsthand knowledge and noted the aid was eventually released. The U.S. government released the money after pressure from senators in early September.

Next up will be former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted in May on Trump’s orders. She will testify Friday.

Next week, the House Intelligence Committee will hear from eight more witnesses in the impeachment probe.

_Updated: 3:30 p.m.: A Republican lawmaker in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump says the whistleblower is the “one witness” who should be brought in front of the American people.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio says the whistleblower, whose complaint touched off the inquiry, should come before the committee. He says he wants to know the identity of the whistleblower, a CIA officer assigned to the White House.

Jordan earlier complained that the witnesses Wednesday testifying publicly for the first time didn’t have firsthand knowledge of the accusations and never spoke directly to President Donald Trump.

The whistleblower has not been asked to testify.

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Ohio said he’d be glad to have the person who started it all testify: “President Trump is welcome to sit right there.”

_Updated: 3 p.m.: The two veteran diplomats testifying in the House impeachment hearing are denying President Donald Trump’s accusation that they adamantly oppose him.

Shortly before Wednesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing began, Trump tweeted, “NEVER TRUMPERS!” He mentioned no evidence.

California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell asked both men if Trump’s claim was true.

State Department official George Kent said he’s served under three Republican and two Democratic presidents during his 27 years of service. He said he serves “whatever president is duly elected” and carries out their foreign policies. He oversees U.S. policy in Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.

William Taylor answered, “No sir.” Taylor is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine and was recruited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to serve there.

_Updated: 2:40 p.m.: Republicans say two State Department witnesses testifying in Democrats’ first impeachment hearing can’t know if President Donald Trump did anything wrong because they haven’t met him.

Ohio Rep. Mike Turner asked diplomats William Taylor and George Kent if either had ever met Trump. Both said they had not.

Democrats are investigating Trump’s requests that Ukraine investigate Democrats as military aid was withheld. Taylor and Kent have said they had concerns about the requests and understood one was conditioned on the other.

Republicans say there’s no case because they are basing their knowledge on secondhand information and because the aid was eventually released. The aid was released following a congressional outcry.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted about Turner’s exchange and said “This country deserves so much better.”

_Updated: 2:15 p.m.: Republican Rep. Jim Jordan has told the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine that he is “wrong” to have said there was a clear understanding that President Donald Trump was withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations of Democrats.

Jordan was questioning William Taylor during the first public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry.

Taylor has said his understanding was based on conversations with other diplomats. But Jordan said the president of Ukraine never announced an investigation and the aid was eventually released.

The aid was released in September following an outcry in the U.S. Congress.

Jordan mockingly called Taylor the Democrats’ “star witness” and said he’s “seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this.”

Taylor responded that he didn’t consider himself a star witness.

_Updated: 1:50 p.m.: A lawyer handling the questioning for Republican lawmakers during the impeachment proceedings is suggesting that the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine could have been more “outlandish” than they actually were.

Steve Castor asked William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, if the “irregular channel” the administration used for outreach to Ukraine was “not as outlandish as it could be.”

Taylor laughed, but then conceded that it was not.

Taylor has described an “irregular channel” in which Ukraine policy was delegated to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, for the purpose of advancing the president’s personal and political interests.Updated 1:30 p.m.: Ukraine is playing a starring role in historic U.S. impeachment hearings — but Ukrainians themselves seem more worried about a divisive government plan for land reform.

Ukraine’s day was wrapping up by the time Wednesday’s public hearing started in Washington, and local newscasts focused on a bill that would allow Ukrainians to sell their land for the first time in nearly 20 years. Kyiv residents had strong opinions about that measure, but appeared perplexed by the details of what’s happening in the U.S. Congress.

Ukrainian officials have sought to distance themselves from the impeachment inquiry.

Former legislator Serhiy Leshchenko is among the few following the proceedings closely. He fears that Ukraine may have to wait for next year’s U.S. election to renew normal relations with Washington.

Updated 1:15 p.m.: The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee says President Donald Trump “would have a perfectly good reason for wanting to find out what happened” if there were indications that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

California Rep. Devin Nunes is questioning State Department witnesses in the first public hearing in the Democrats’ impeachment probe.

National security officials have told Congress they don’t believe Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

Democrats opened the investigation after a whistleblower complaint revealed that Trump had requested that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family and Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election.

Democrats say the requests for politically motivated investigations are impeachable, but Republicans disagree.

Updated 12:15 p.m.: President Donald Trump is calling the public impeachment hearings that kicked off Wednesday the “single greatest scam in the history of American politics.”

Trump is responding to the hearings with a new video directed at his supporters and released by the White House.

Trump says in the video filmed in the White House Rose Garden that Democrats want to take away his viewers’ guns, health care, freedom and votes.

He adds that, “They’re trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you. And I’ll never let that happen.”

Trump has spent the morning responding to the hearing on Twitter. He will be holding a press conference alongside his Turkish counterpart later in the day.

 

Updated: 12:10 p.m.: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine is telling impeachment investigators that detailed notes he took about what he saw as irregular policy in Ukraine may be provided to Congress “sooner or later.”

William Taylor says the notes “may be coming” even though the State Department has so far defied a subpoena to provide documents related to President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Dan Goldman, chief of investigations for the House intelligence panel, responded that they would “welcome” those notes.

Taylor has said that he based his testimony about concerns over the policy on detailed notes, including notepads he kept at his desk and in his pocket. But Trump has directed federal agencies not to cooperate with the impeachment investigation, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he won’t provide the documents.

Taylor is testifying Wednesday in the first public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry.

Updated: 12:05 p.m.: As the House opens public hearings in its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, it also is continuing the closed-door sessions.

Two more witnesses are expected this week. David Holmes a State Department official, was invited to appear Friday. And Mark Sandy, the associate director for national security programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, was invited for Saturday.

That’s according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry who was not authorized to divulge details of the closed-door hearings.

It’s not clear they will appear. Some witnesses have, others have not.

House members have heard from several witnesses on whether Trump withheld security aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into Joe Biden’s son’s role on the board of a Ukrainian gas company and possible interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Updated 11:40 a.m.: President Donald Trump isn’t watching the public House impeachment hearings against him.

That’s according to Stephanie Grisham, the president’s chief spokeswoman. Grisham tells reporters by email that Trump is participating in meetings in the Oval Office.

She writes: “Not watching. He’s working.”

Trump is scheduled around noon to receive Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) for meetings, including a separate gathering with senators invited by the White House. Trump and Erdogan are also slated to hold a joint news conference at the White House.

Trump opened Wednesday by lashing out on Twitter at the inquiry and the two career U.S. diplomats who are testifying.

The inquiry focuses on a July telephone call in which Trump sought to get the leader of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals.

Trump denies wrongdoing and has described the conversation as “perfect.”

Updated: 11:30 a.m.: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine says two other envoys invoked President Donald Trump’s history as a businessman in trying to explain the U.S. relationship with Ukraine.

William Taylor described for lawmakers a September phone call in which Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told him that Trump is a businessman and that businessmen ask people who owe something to pay up before they write out a check.

He says Kurt Volker used the same language several days later while they were together at the Yalta European Strategy Conference in Ukraine.

Taylor says he told both that the explanation made no sense and that the Ukrainians did not owe Trump anything and that holding up security assistance for domestic political gain was “crazy.”

Taylor is testifying Wednesday in the first public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry.

Updated: 11:15 a.m.: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine says he was told that military aid to Ukraine and a White House visit for the new leader were contingent on a public announcement of investigations.

William Taylor told a House committee investigating impeachment against President Donald Trump that another diplomat, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, said “everything” was dependent on whether Ukraine’s president publicly announced investigations into Joe Biden’s son and potential interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Taylor says he was told Trump wanted the Ukrainian leader “in a public box” by making the statement.

But no statement was ever released.

Updated: 11:12 a.m.: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine says his staff recently told him they overheard President Donald Trump speaking on the phone to another diplomat about investigations.

William Taylor made the statement Wednesday in the first public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry.

Taylor says some of his staff were at a restaurant with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on the day after the July 25 call between Trump and new leader of Ukraine.

Taylor told the committee that Sondland called Trump from the restaurant and the staff could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations.”

Sondland told the president that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

The House is looking into allegations that Trump asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on the son of his Democratic rival Joe Biden and potential interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

Trump has said he did nothing wrong.

Updated: 11:03 a.m.: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine tells House lawmakers investigating impeachment that he noticed there were two policy channels operating with Ukraine, a “regular” and an “irregular” one.

William Taylor says the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was guiding requests through the irregular channel, which was unaccountable to Congress.

Taylor says it slowly became clear to him that conditions were placed on Ukraine’s new president.

He had to order investigations into possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and also look into Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Taylor is testifying Wednesday in the first public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry.

Updated: 10:55 a.m.: President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is trying to turn public impeachment hearings into a fundraising boon.

The campaign has emailed and texted supporters urging them to give.

And they’re setting a fundraising goal of $3 million over the next 24 hours.

Trump and his campaign have been trying to turn the inquiry into a rallying cry for supporters by making the case that it is an attempt by Democrats to invalidate the results of the 2016 election and harm Trump’s chances in 2020.

They’re calling the hearings “fake” and a “TOTAL SCAM.”

One email reads that, “It’s time to make a statement” and “do something so EPIC that even the FAKE NEWS media won’t be able to ignore us while these baseless Witch Hunt Trials go on.”

Updated 10:50 a.m.: A top State Department official says he never saw any effort by U.S. officials to shield from scrutiny a Ukrainian natural gas company where Hunter Biden sat on the board.

George Kent is testifying Wednesday in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Investigators are looking into allegations that Trump asked the new Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on the son of Joe Biden, a Democratic political rival.

Hunter Biden sat on the board of the Ukrainian gas company called Burisma. Kent said he raised concerns in 2015 that his status could create the perception of a conflict of interest.

But Kent said he never saw any attempt to shield Burisma from scrutiny because of Biden’s connection to the company.

Updated 10:45 a.m.: There was an early clash at the first public impeachment hearing over the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the inquiry.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he would do everything necessary to protect the whistleblower’s identity. Schiff said he would “not permit the outing of the whistleblower.”

Republican Rep. Mike Conaway asked Schiff to subpoena the whistleblower to appear behind closed doors. Schiff said he would consider the request after two diplomats appearing before the committee on Wednesday conclude their public testimony.

The impeachment inquiry was sparked after the whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy alleged that Trump pressured the Ukrainian leader to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden’s family.

Schiff said he does not know the whistleblower’s identity.

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Career Foreign Service officer George Kent, waits to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Updated 10:42 a.m.: A top State Department official tells a House committee investigating whether President Donald Trump should be impeached that he does not believe the U.S. should ask other countries to engage in “selective, politically associated investigations.”

George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, is testifying Wednesday in the first public hearing. He has already testified in a closed session.

Kent says such “selective actions” undermine the rule of law regardless of the country.

House investigators are looking into allegations that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine unless the new leadership agreed to investigate the son of Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

Biden’s son sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Updated 10:35 a.m.: The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee says Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is “a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign.”

In his opening statement in the first public House impeachment hearing, California Rep. Devin Nunes says Democrats “turned on a dime” after the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and then focused on Ukraine.

He told the hearing’s two witnesses that he would like to welcome them, but said that Americans’ trust in government has been damaged as “elements of the civil service have decided that they, not the president, are really in charge.”

State Department officials George Kent and William Taylor have told lawmakers they had concerns about Trump’s Ukraine policy.

Nunes said the hearings are “an impeachment process in search of a crime.”

Updated 10:30 a.m.: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says “there are still missing pieces” in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.

He notes that the Trump administration has withheld many documents and several witnesses did not appear at Trump’s direction.

Schiff says that will force Congress to consider “whether Trump’s obstruction of the constitutional duties of Congress constitute additional grounds for impeachment.”

He says “this is not what our founders intended.”

Updated 10:22 a.m.: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says the impeachment inquiry is a test of “what kind of conduct or misconduct” Americans will expect of their president.

As the first public hearings begin, Schiff is seeking to frame the impeachment inquiry as a choice of what sort of presidential behavior will be tolerated.

Schiff asks if the House finds that Trump abused his power, invited foreign election interference or tried to coerce an ally to investigate a political rival, “must we simply get over it?”

That had been the message of White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in a press conference last month, when he said it was normal for the U.S. to place conditions on foreign aid.

Schiff adds: “Is that what Americans should now expect from their president?”

Updated 10:18 a.m.: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says the questions at the heart of the impeachment inquiry are simple but also “terrible” to consider.

He says the matter boils down to whether President Donald Trump sought to condition a White House visit or military aid on Ukraine’s willingness to open an investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden. And if he did, is that “abuse of power” incompatible with the office of the presidency.

Schiff says the answers to those questions will affect not only the future of the Trump administration but also of the presidency itself, and what kind of behavior the American public can expect from the commander in chief.

Schiff spoke Wednesday in opening the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry.

Updated 10:05 a.m.: The House has opened the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff opened the live, televised session Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

It’s a remarkable moment for Trump, facing a rare impeachment proceeding over his actions toward Ukraine. Trump insists he did nothing wrong.

Democrats are leading the inquiry into Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president to see if the actions rise to “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate the Democrats in the 2016 election and potential 2020 rival Joe Biden’s family, all while withholding military aid to an ally facing Russian aggression.

The panel will hear from two State Department witnesses who defied White House instructions not to appear.

Updated 9:56 a.m.: Two seasoned diplomats have arrived for their testimony at the first public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry.

William Taylor and George Kent were both issued subpoenas Wednesday morning by the House Intelligence panel for their testimony, according to an official granted anonymity to discuss the matter.

Taylor is the charge d’affaires in Ukraine and Kent is the deputy assistant secretary at the State Department.

The House intelligence committee’s hearing is the first public congressional hearing exploring Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden’s family. It follows several weeks of closed-door depositions.

The inquiry was sparked after a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Democrats have argued the call shows Trump used his office to pressure a foreign leader to help him politically. Trump has said the call was “perfect.”

— By Mary Clare Jalonick.

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As seen from the dais, photographers prepare in the hearing room where the House will begin public impeachment inquiry hearings Wednesday, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. With the bang of a gavel, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will open the hearings into President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden’s family. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Here’s what to know:

WHO’S UP FIRST?

Shortly after Schiff’s gavel, he and ranking Republican Devin Nunes will begin the questioning. They get 45 minutes each, or can designate staff attorneys to do so.

Members of the panel will then get five minutes each to ask questions, alternating between Republicans and Democrats.

There will also be exhibits. Democrats, at least, are expected to display excerpts from transcripts, text messages, relevant news articles and social media posts.

The goal is to end the hearing by 4:30 p.m.

KNOW THIS

“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Expect numerous mentions of Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution , especially on whether Trump’s own words and actions meet the vague threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Some Democrats and diplomats say conditioning U.S. aid on whether Ukraine goes after Biden’s son Hunter sounds like “bribery.” Republicans deny that, saying Trump did not explicitly offer aid for the Biden probe.

What it’s not: A trial, which would be conducted by the Senate if the House approves articles of impeachment. So no matter what the president tweets , he is not entitled to a defense attorney.

… AND THIS

It’s only the fourth time in American history that Congress has launched impeachment proceedings against a sitting president. Two of those — against Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton 130 years later— resulted in their impeachments, or formal charges approved by the House. Both were acquitted by the Senate.

Former President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before the House could vote to impeach him.


THE SPARK

A whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ignited the impeachment investigation. Trump responded on Sept. 24 by releasing a rough transcript.

During the hearing Wednesday, listen for discussion about a key exchange during that 30-minute call , in which Zelenskiy invokes the still-blocked military aid and the U.S. president responds:

“I would like you to do us a favor though.” Trump then asks Zelenskiy to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, and later explicitly mentions the Bidens.

Trump says the call was “perfect” and contained no “quid pro quo,” or this for that.

Democrats say it shows Trump using his office to pressure a foreign government to help him politically.

IN THE ROOM

The enormous hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building has a storied history. It’s normally where the powerful House Ways and Means Committee works on taxation issues.

But it’s also where former FBI Director James Comey in 2017 repudiated Trump’s unfounded claim about being wiretapped during the election campaign. Former first lady Hillary Clinton also sat at the witness table in 1993 to testify about her ultimately doomed effort to rewrite the nation’s health care laws.

And seven decades ago, the full House met there while the chamber in the Capitol across the street was renovated.

‘INVESTIGATIONS, BIDEN and CLINTON’

Democrats chose Ambassador William “Bill” Taylor and career Foreign Service officer George Kent to start the storytelling of public hearings. They will describe a parallel foreign policy toward Ukraine led by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and other White House officials.

“I discovered a weird combination of encouraging, confusing and ultimately alarming circumstances,” Taylor testified in an Oct. 22 statement. He is a West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran who has served under every presidential administration, Republican and Democrat, since 1985, and also worked for then-Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.

Kent, the bow tie wearing career foreign service officer, testified on Oct. 15 that there were three words Trump wanted to hear from the Ukraine president: “Investigations, Biden and Clinton.”

He also told the investigators about the “campaign of lies” against former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, that he said was waged by Giuliani and contributed to her being recalled from the position.

THE RINGER

Republicans have added House Rep. Jim Jordan to the Intelligence Committee. Although Nunes is the senior Republican, look for the congressman from Ohio to act as an especially fierce attacker of the witnesses’ credibility and the Democrats’ case for impeachment.

At its heart, the GOP argument is that the impeachment effort is unfair and sparked because “unelected and anonymous bureaucrats disagreed” with Trump’s decisions on Ukraine.

Some Republicans have urged the outing of the whistleblower.

WHAT AMERICANS THINK NOW

An AP-NORC Center poll conducted in late October found Americans more approving than disapproving of the impeachment inquiry, 47% to 38%.

Even in the throes of impeachment, approval of the president’s job performance has not changed significantly.

NEXT UP

Yovanovitch testifies Friday.

She has twice served as an ambassador — to the Kyrgyz Republic and to Armenia — before being confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in a Senate voice vote in July 2016.

Seen as a tough ambassador, at a time when the U.S. was trying to root out corruption in the young democracy, she was recalled from Ukraine by Trump last spring. Democrats are casting her as a victim of Trump’s alleged misconduct.

Known as Masha, Yovanovitch testified on Oct. 11 that she was told that people were “looking to hurt” her.

More hearings are expected next week.

Associated Press researcher Randy Herschaft and Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.


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