Elise Viebeck at WP:
A top diplomat on Wednesday tied President Trump more directly to the effort to pressure Ukraine to probe his political opponents, describing a phone call in which Trump sought information about the status of the investigations he had asked Ukraine to launch one day earlier.
William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers that the phone conversation between the president and E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland in Kyiv was overhead by one of his aides. Afterward, Sondland told the aide that Trump cared more about investigations of former vice president Joe Biden than other issues in Ukraine, Taylor said.
The startling testimony revealed a new example of Trump’s personal involvement in the Ukraine pressure campaign that touched off the ongoing impeachment inquiry. The probe has produced volumes of information about the actions of top Trump advisers to push Ukraine to pursue the investigations as U.S. security assistance was held up. But the exact role of the president himself has remained an open question.Lloyd Green at The Guardian:
By the time the impeachment hearing had adjourned, Donald Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors were plain to see. Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a state department official charged with oversight of European and Eurasian affairs, delivered damning new evidence of the president’s abuse of power. US foreign policy was, in fact, being held hostage to Trump’s whims.
Yet the limits of the president’s defense and Democrats’ power of persuasion were visible too. Eric Trump tweeted that the hearing was “horribly boring,” Representative Mark Meadows of the deep-red House Freedom Caucus opined “everyone has their own impression of what truth is,” and Ohio’s Jim Jordan sat predictably coatless and snarling.
For Republicans, belief in Trump has congealed into an article of faith. No one will ever confuse Devin Nunes with the late Howard Baker. For Nunes, Inspector Clouseau is way more likely.