More damning testimony. A Republican resistance emerges and so does the “Deep State.” Steve Bannon is back and so is Anonymous. So many developments … so little time. It’s O.K., we’ll recap the week for you.
The top American diplomat in Ukraine gave a vivid and impassioned account on Tuesday of how multiple senior administration officials told him that President Trump blocked security aid to Ukraine and refused to meet the country’s leader until he agreed to publicly pledge to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.
In testimony to impeachment investigators delivered in defiance of State Department orders, the diplomat, William B. Taylor Jr., sketched out in remarkable detail a quid pro quo pressure campaign on Ukraine that Mr. Trump and his allies have long denied. He said the president sought to condition the entire United States relationship with Ukraine — including a $391 million aid package — on a promise that the country would publicly investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family. His account implicated Mr. Trump, citing multiple sources inside the government.
The Impeachment inquiry is on, judge says
On Friday, a federal judge ruled that the House is legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, delivering a major victory to House Democrats and undercutting arguments by President Trump and Republicans that the investigation is a sham. (Representative Adam Schiff, above, is among those leading the inquiry.)
The House Judiciary Committee is entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in a 75-page opinion. Attorney General William P. Barr had withheld the material from lawmakers.
Trump’s War on the ‘Deep State’ Turns Against Him
Nameless, faceless and voiceless, the C.I.A. officer who first set off the impeachment inquiry seemed to be practically the embodiment of the “deep state” that the president has long accused of trying to take him down.
But over the last three weeks, the so-called deep state has emerged from the shadows in the form of real live government officials, who have defied a White House attempt to block cooperation with House impeachment investigators and provided evidence that largely backs up the whistle-blower. Here’s the warning letter received by one of the witnesses, Laura Cooper, the military’s Russia-Ukraine expert, before she testified.
Also worth noting: An anonymous Trump administration official who published a September 2018 essay in The New York Times, about the active resistance to the president’s agenda and behavior from within his own administration, will publish a book next month.
In Ukraine, a Forgotten War
We traveled to the front lines of the war in Ukraine, a bare-bones fight against Russian-backed separatists. The war there has killed 13,000 people, put a large part of Ukraine under Russia’s control and dragged on for five years. It was almost forgotten by the outside world until it became a backdrop to the impeachment inquiry. Ukrainian soldiers on the front line were jolted when American military aid was suspended in July. While the aid was restored in time to prevent any military setbacks, it took a heavy psychological toll, they said, striking at their confidence that their backers in Washington stood solidly behind them.
The president and his allies have said that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine because Ukrainian officials did not know military aid had been blocked, but word of the aid freeze had reached high-level officials there, according to interviews and documents.