According to the record, Trump congratulated Zelensky on his election victory but did not mention corruption.
Natasha BertrandNEW: Trump’s national security advisers gave him talking points before the April 21 call with Zelensky specifically suggesting he bring up corruption—but Trump chose not to, undermining his allies’ claims that he cares deeply about corruption in Ukraine.
Natasha BertrandNEW: Ali Chalupa, Dem consultant who GOP wants to testify re: Ukraine & 2016, says she's eager to—but thinks it's a bluff. "I’m the last person R's want to testify publicly. My testimony would be especially damaging to Trump, Manafort...The GOP knows this”
State Dept. official Mina Chang claimed to be a Harvard Business School "alumna" who ran a nonprofit that worked in 40 countries.
Natasha BertrandOh my. NBC reports that @MinaChang, a senior State Dept official, embellished her resume, claimed falsely to be a Harvard grad and created a fake TIME magazine cover with her face on it.
The claim by the associate, Lev Parnas, is being vigorously disputed.
Natasha BertrandLev Parnas says he told Ukrainian officials in May that unless they investigated Biden, Pence wouldn’t attend Zelensky’s swearing-in AND aid would be frozen. Giuliani’s current defense is, “I never told him to say that.”
Stone was trying to walk back an Instagram post appeared to include a gun’s crosshairs above the head of the federal judge overseeing his case.
Natasha BertrandTucker Carlson is now going after the judge in the Roger Stone trial, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, calling her “aggressively political” and slamming her for imposing a gag order.
She widened the gag order after Stone posted an image of her in crosshairs.
Natasha BertrandTrump’s allies have recently begun to embrace a new defense: that Trump might have sought a quid pro quo, but that doing so is neither improper nor impeachable.
Sondland, a Trump appointee, testified that he thought it might be illegal.
Natasha BertrandNew from me: Veteran prosecutors see a clear strategy in how Democrats are approaching impeachment—and it's likely being pushed by the House Intel Committee’s senior adviser and director of investigations, Daniel Goldman, according to people who know him.
Natasha BertrandNEW: Days after White House lawyer John Eisenberg moved record of Trump call w/Zelensky into top secret system, he instructed Lt. Col. Vindman—who listened to the call & raised alarms—not to tell anyone what had happened on the call, Vindman testified.
Natasha BertrandNEW: Vindman was instructed not to debrief Trump on Zelensky's inauguration b/c Trump’s advisers were worried it might confuse him—Nunes ally Kash Patel had "misrepresented" himself as NSC's Ukraine expert, despite no relevant experience, Vindman testified
Natasha BertrandNEW: Vindman’s testimony appears to contradict Rick Perry's ardent denials that he ever heard the Bidens discussed as part of pressure on Ukraine...Perry was in the meeting when Vindman raised concerns about targeting the Bidens, we’re told. W/@bjlefebvre
Natasha BertrandNEW: Fresh testimony from Vindman has put the credibility of Sondland, Trump’s most favorable witness, into serious doubt.
“Based on all the testimony so far, I believe that Amb. Gordon Sondland committed perjury,” Rep.
@JoaquinCastrotx said last night.
Natasha BertrandNEW: With key US interlocutors either gone or weakened as they testify in defiance of the WH, Ukraine doesn’t know who to trust in Washington—and the administration won’t answer basic questions about where Ukraine policy stands and who is in charge of it.
Natasha BertrandThe Air Force was cleared of wrongdoing over Trump Turnberry stays by .... the Air Force.
Air Force: Trump resort stays broke no rules but raise 'public perception' dilemma - POLITICO via @BryanDBender
Natasha BertrandNEW: Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, the lawyers who represent the Ukrainian oligarch paying millions for dirt on Biden, also have another client: John Solomon.
The arrangement raises new q's about potential privilege claims.
Natasha BertrandPatel, a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February, was so involved in the issue that at one point Trump thought he was in charge of Ukraine policy for the NSC. according to congressional testimony by Fiona Hill.
Natasha BertrandNEW/BREAKING: A protege of Devin Nunes, Kash Patel, was among those passing negative information about Ukraine to Trump, fueling the president’s belief that Ukraine was brimming with corruption and interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats.
Top officials were told in early August about the delay of $391 million in security assistance, undercutting a chief argument President Trump has used to deny any quid pro quo.
Natasha BertrandYet more corroboration of the whistleblower complaint, which reads: “As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy."