Trump accuses impeachment witness of lying, defends use of Giuliani

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Sondland was involved in a

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Sondland was involved in a"domestic political errand for Trump

In fact, the moderate GOP members whom Democrats pointed to as potential swing voters who could shift the impeachment tide within the Republican Party swung the opposite direction, backing their colleagues' opinion that the allegations that Trump engaged in bribery or abused his power lack evidence.

"In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests", Hill said. "Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?"

Congress' impeachment inquiry, only the fourth in USA history, has stitched together what Democrats argue is a relatively simple narrative, of the president leveraging the office for personal political gain, despite Republicans' assertions that it's complex, contradictory and unsupported by firsthand testimony. It found that 46 per cent of independents opposed impeaching Mr Trump and removing him from office compared with 39 per cent who supported it.

President Trump also continued to deny in his nearly-hour-long interview with Fox that there was a "quid pro quo" with Ukraine to secure an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Fiona Hill, a former Russian Federation adviser on the White House National Security Council, admonished Republicans in her testimony on Thursday for pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

'Assuming these people are as sleazy as they are, Nancy Pelosi is totally incompetent, ' Trump said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has used an extended televised interview to further assert a theory of possible Ukrainian involvement in cyberattacks on the 2016 U.S. elections that national security and other experts have publicly suggested is part of a Russian plot to smear its smaller neighbor. The timeframe lines up with events now under investigation in the House impeachment inquiry, per Fox News. "And I did say to him, 'Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I think this is also going to blow up, '" she said.

Since the announcement of the impeachment hearing, the White House have released a letter stating that they will refuse to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, and accusing Democrats of trying to reverse the result of the 2016 election. In the President's July 25 call that helped trigger the impeachment inquiry, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do him a "favor" and look into Crowdstrike. Trump insisted he was trying to root out corruption in the Eastern European nation when he held up almost $400 million in military aid to help Ukraine battle Russian aggression.

A vote in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on whether to impeach him is expected before Christmas, which would set up a trial in the Senate.

Trump said Ukraine is "known as being the third most corrupt country in the world". "I still want to see that server".

"I believed then, as I do now, that the men and women of the State Department, not the president's personal lawyer, should take responsibility for Ukraine matters", Sondland said.

Yovanovitch - who was attacked by Trump in real time on Twitter as she testified - pointed to sacrifices by diplomats, including the 444-day captivity of USA embassy staff in revolutionary Iran.

Mr Holmes added that he was "shocked" on 18 July when an official from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that military aid to Ukraine was being withheld.

The Ukraine investigation of the Bidens did not occur and the $400 million in aid was subsequently given to Ukraine - but only after reports started to surface about the arrangement. In any case, her attorney issued a statement claiming that the embassy hung the portraits of "the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived".

The final testimony of an extraordinary week of impeachment hearings came from a former White House national security adviser who wrote the book on Vladimir Putin - literally - and a political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine who overheard a pivotal conversation between President Donald Trump and European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland.

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