I'm an American who just returned from years in Kyiv.

For the past five years, before moving back to the United States, I lived in Kyiv, the eighth largest metropolis in Europe. During my time in the former Soviet Republic, I watched as this dynamic country fought to become closer to the European Union, honored their fallen heroes, and reformed their police force.

Three weeks before I moved to Kyiv in August 2014, MH17 was shot down over a war zone near the Russia-Ukraine border. My New Jersey-based, Christian mother asked me, “Why are you moving to an unstable place right after your medical trauma?”

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I had no easy answer. I was a 27-year-old, single, bridge-and-tunnel girl from Bridgewater with chronic pain. When I crashed my car into a fire hydrant on a dark icy night, I feared my injured spine would keep me stuck at home, immobile. Pretty much the minute I learned to walk again, I boarded a plane to Europe.

Choosing Kyiv made sense, as I already had a connection to the country. As a college senior, I’d visited Ukraine during my spring break in March 2009. I was asked to teach an art class to orphans in Simferopol, a town on the Crimean peninsula south of Kyiv. The children were more artistically advanced than I anticipated. I threw away my lesson plans, ashamed that I’d made negative assumptions about their abilities based upon my limited understanding of their culture. Even though it was only 10 days, the trip left a lasting impression. I wanted to honor the request an orphan carefully spelled out in Cyrillic script on a handmade card: “Please remember me.”

With my long dark hair and olive skin, I looked Ukrainian. And even though I recognized some Ukrainian cultural staples like the Cyrillic alphabet and the “happy birthday” song to Cheburashka, I realized I needed to up my game. I bought vyshyvankas — embroidered Ukrainian blouses — and wore them to festivals and on national holidays. I placed vinok — flower crowns — in my hair, and waved blue and yellow flags. I listened to Onuka and DakhaBrakha and learned to make borscht. I checked out books by Ukrainian authors from the school library and did a language exchange program with my friend Vasya. “You speak Russian like American,” he complained. And of course, despite my efforts, I was always going to be an American in a foreign country.

When President Trump was elected in 2016, my Ukrainian friend Masha messaged me: “I’m so sorry Clare.” I streamed Trump’s inaugural address on my iPad. I called Vasya, horrified. “I’ve never heard a President speak this way,” I mumbled, disturbed to hear the words “American carnage” and “America first.” We listened to Trump’s speech over Messenger: mine in English and his translated into his mother tongue, the two languages merging.

In 2019, President Zelensky won the Ukrainian election with 75 per cent of the vote. I was excited about it — we all were. He was a 41-year-old, Jewish, liberal family man who won a landslide election in an Orthodox Christian country. I was curious what changes and reforms he would bring to the war-torn nation. Zelensky was young, energetic, and held great promise. My housekeeper Lusia, who helped me clean when I was sick, told me in Russian, “A working class person like me in charge. Thank God.”

Volodymyr Zelensky looks worried as Trump mentions Ukraine relationship with Russia

So when my friend Katya told me, in her perfect English, “I’m so depressed Zelensky won,” I was shocked. “Ukraine followed America,” she continued, as we drank negronis. “There’s a television actor for president.”

“Why?” I challenged her, picking up the glass. “He seems great.”

“He’s a Russian puppet. Zelensky’s playing a part,” Katya replied, lighting a cigarette.

My black fluffy cat, which my sister named “Behemoth, the spy,” had an easier time leaving Ukraine than I did. And in the United States, I was devastated when my swim trainer Kateryna was denied a visa to attend an open water swimming competition which we’d trained to participate in together. I cancelled our registration, refusing to swim without my coach, fearing I would be re-injured. I wondered why her visa was denied, fearful that the reason might be political. I wished we had chosen the competition in Italy instead.

When my doctors in New York discovered that I had lived in Kyiv, they spoke to me in Russian.

“How’s Ukraine?” the receptionist asked. I wasn’t sure what to say. I missed my old apartment on Baseina Street and the city’s ornate, hilly landscapes.

“Normal,” I replied, waiting for my nerve block.

Then, all of a sudden, the impeachment inquiry begun. When I heard that Zelensky was being implicated in an alleged quid pro quo plot with President Trump, I was appalled. It looked like an American president bullying a vulnerable, weaker ally into furthering his own political agenda. Dependent on American military aid in their ongoing war against their next door neighbor, Trump knowingly put Ukraine in an impossible situation, undermining their budding democracy and anti-corruption campaigns. As president, I thought, Trump should be supporting Ukraine—not tormenting it.

Trump impeachment: Who's who in the Ukraine scandal

Show all 26

Donald Trump
The Whistleblower
The Second Whistleblower
Rudy Giuliani

Trump impeachment: Who's who in the Ukraine scandal

Donald Trump

1/26 Donald Trump

Accused of abusing his office by pressing the Ukrainian president in a July phone call to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who may be his Democratic rival in the 2020 election. He also believes that Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails - a key factor in the 2016 election - may be in Ukraine, although it is not clear why.

EPA

The Whistleblower

2/26 The Whistleblower

Believed to be a CIA agent who spent time at the White House, his complaint was largely based on second and third-hand accounts from worried White House staff. Although this is not unusual for such complaints, Trump and his supporters have seized on it to imply that his information is not reliable. Expected to give evidence to Congress voluntarily and in secret.

Getty

The Second Whistleblower

3/26 The Second Whistleblower

The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower is also representing a second whistleblower regarding the President's actions. Attorney Mark Zaid said that he and other lawyers on his team are now representing the second person, who is said to work in the intelligence community and has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community's inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet filed their own complaint, but does not need to to be considered an official whistleblower.

Getty

Rudy Giuliani

4/26 Rudy Giuliani

Former mayor of New York, whose management of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001 won him worldwide praise. As Trump’s personal attorney he has been trying to find compromising material about the president’s enemies in Ukraine in what some have termed a “shadow” foreign policy. In a series of eccentric TV appearances he has claimed that the US state department asked him to get involved. Giuliani insists that he is fighting corruption on Trump’s behalf and has called himself a “hero”.

AP

Volodymyr Zelensky

5/26 Volodymyr Zelensky

The newly elected Ukrainian president - a former comic actor best known for playing a man who becomes president by accident - is seen frantically agreeing with Trump in the partial transcript of their July phone call released by the White House. With a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of his country, and the Crimea region seized by Vladimir Putin in 2014, Zelensky will have been eager to please his American counterpart, who had suspended vital military aid before their phone conversation. He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the “favour” he was asked for. Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference with Trump in New York during the United Nations general assembly, looking particularly uncomfortable when the American suggested he take part in talks with Putin.

AFP/Getty

Mike Pence

6/26 Mike Pence

The vice-president was not on the controversial July call to the Ukrainian president but did get a read-out later. However, Trump announced that Pence had had “one or two” phone conversations of a similar nature, dragging him into the crisis. Pence himself denies any knowledge of any wrongdoing and has insisted that there is no issue with Trump’s actions. It has been speculated that Trump involved Pence as an insurance policy - if both are removed from power the presidency would go to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican would allow.

AP

Rick Perry

7/26 Rick Perry

Trump reportedly told a meeting of Republicans that he made the controversial call to the Ukrainian president at the urging of his own energy secretary, Rick Perry, and that he didn’t even want to. The president apparently said that Perry wanted him to talk about liquefied natural gas - although there is no mention of it in the partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House. It is thought that Perry will step down from his role at the end of the year.

Getty

Joe Biden

8/26 Joe Biden

The former vice-president is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination, which would make him Trump’s opponent in the 2020 election. Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of, refusing to release US aid until this was done. However, pressure to fire the prosecutor came on a wide front from western countries. It is also believed that the investigation into the company, Burisma, had long been dormant.

Reuters

Hunter Biden

9/26 Hunter Biden

Joe Biden’s son has been accused of corruption by the president because of his business dealings in Ukraine and China. However, Trump has yet to produce any evidence of corruption and Biden’s lawyer insists he has done nothing wrong.

AP

William Barr

10/26 William Barr

The attorney-general, who proved his loyalty to Trump with his handling of the Mueller report, was mentioned in the Ukraine call as someone president Volodymyr Zelensky should talk to about following up Trump’s preoccupations with the Biden’s and the Clinton emails. Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr of being part of a “cover-up of a cover-up”.

AP

Mike Pompeo

11/26 Mike Pompeo

The secretary of state initially implied he knew little about the Ukraine phone call - but it later emerged that he was listening in at the time. He has since suggested that asking foreign leaders for favours is simply how international politics works. Gordon Sondland testified that Pompeo was "in the loop" and knew what was happening in Ukraine. Pompeo has been criticised for not standing up for diplomats under his command when they were publicly criticised by the president.

AFP via Getty

Nancy Pelosi

12/26 Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Speaker of the House had long resisted calls from within her own party to back a formal impeachment process against the president, apparently fearing a backlash from voters. On September 24, amid reports of the Ukraine call and the day before the White House released a partial transcript of it, she relented and announced an inquiry, saying: “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Getty

Adam Schiff

13/26 Adam Schiff

Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, one of the three committees leading the inquiry. He was criticized by Republicans for giving what he called a “parody” of the Ukraine phone call during a hearing, with Trump and others saying he had been pretending that his damning characterisation was a verbatim reading of the phone call. He has also been criticised for claiming that his committee had had no contact with the whistleblower, only for it to emerge that the intelligence agent had contacted a staff member on the committee for guidance before filing the complaint. The Washington Post awarded Schiff a “four Pinocchios” rating, its worst rating for a dishonest statement.

Reuters

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

14/26 Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

Florida-based businessmen and Republican donors Lev Parnas (pictured with Rudy Giuliani) and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of campaign finance violations at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC on 9 October. Separately the Associated Press has reported that they were both involved in efforts to replace the management of Ukraine's gas company, Naftogaz, with new bosses who would steer lucrative contracts towards companies controlled by Trump allies. There is no suggestion of any criminal activity in these efforts.

Reuters

William Taylor

15/26 William Taylor

The most senior US diplomat in Ukraine and the former ambassador there. As one of the first two witnesses in the public impeachment hearings, Taylor dropped an early bombshell by revealing that one of his staff – later identified as diplomat David Holmes – overheard a phone conversation in which Donald Trump could be heard asking about “investigations” the very day after asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his political enemies. Taylor expressed his concern at reported plans to withhold US aid in return for political smears against Trump’s opponents, saying: “It's one thing to try to leverage a meeting in the White House. It's another thing, I thought, to leverage security assistance -- security assistance to a country at war, dependent on both the security assistance and the demonstration of support."

Getty Images

George Kent

16/26 George Kent

A state department official who appeared alongside William Taylor wearing a bow tie that was later mocked by the president. He accused Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, of leading a “campaign of lies” against Marie Yovanovitch, who was forced out of her job as US ambassador to Ukraine for apparently standing in the way of efforts to smear Democrats.

Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch

17/26 Marie Yovanovitch

One of the most striking witnesses to give evidence at the public hearings, the former US ambassador to Ukraine received a rare round of applause as she left the committee room after testifying. Canadian-born Yovanovitch was attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump while she was actually testifying, giving Democrats the chance to ask her to respond. She said she found the attack “very intimidating”. Trump had already threatened her in his 25 July phone call to the Ukrainian president saying: “She’s going to go through some things.” Yovanovitch said she was “shocked, appalled and devastated” by the threat and by the way she was forced out of her job without explanation.

REUTERS

Alexander Vindman

18/26 Alexander Vindman

A decorated Iraq War veteran and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Lt Col Vindman began his evidence with an eye-catching statement about the freedoms America afforded him and his family to speak truth to power without fear of punishment. One of the few witnesses to have actually listened to Trump’s 25 July call with the Ukrainian president, he said he found the conversation so inappropriate that he was compelled to report it to the White House counsel. Trump later mocked him for wearing his military uniform and insisting on being addressed by his rank.

Getty Images

Jennifer Williams

19/26 Jennifer Williams

A state department official acting as a Russia expert for vice-president Mike Pence, Ms Williams also listened in on the 25 July phone call. She testified that she found it “unusual” because it focused on domestic politics in terms of Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate his political opponents.

Getty Images

Kurt Volker

20/26 Kurt Volker

The former special envoy to Ukraine was one of the few people giving evidence who was on the Republican witness list although what he had to say may not have been too helpful to their cause. He dismissed the idea that Joe Biden had done anything corrupt, a theory spun without evidence by the president and his allies. He said that he thought the US should be supporting Ukraine’s reforms and that the scheme to find dirt on Democrats did not serve the national interest.

Getty Images

Tim Morrison

21/26 Tim Morrison

An expert on the National Security Council and another witness on the Republican list. He testified that he did not think the president had done anything illegal but admitted that he feared it would create a political storm if it became public. He said he believed the moving the record of the controversial 25 July phone call to a top security server had been an innocent mistake.

Getty Images

Gordon Sondland

22/26 Gordon Sondland

In explosive testimony, one of the men at the centre of the scandal got right to the point in his opening testimony: “Was there a quid pro quo? Yes,” said the US ambassador to the EU who was a prime mover in efforts in Ukraine to link the release of military aid with investigations into the president’s political opponents. He said that everyone knew what was going on, implicating vice-president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The effect of his evidence is perhaps best illustrated by the reaction of Mr Trump who went from calling Sondland a “great American” a few weeks earlier to claiming that he barely knew him.

AP

Laura Cooper

23/26 Laura Cooper

A Pentagon official, Cooper said Ukrainian officials knew that US aid was being withheld before it became public knowledge in August – undermining a Republican argument that there can’t have been a quid pro quo between aid and investigations if the Ukrainians didn’t know that aid was being withheld.

Getty Images

David Hale

24/26 David Hale

The third most senior official at the state department. Hale testified about the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch and the smear campaign that culminated in her being recalled from her posting as US ambassador to Ukraine. He said: “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.”

EPA

Fiona Hill

25/26 Fiona Hill

Arguably the most confident and self-possessed of the witnesses in the public hearings phase, the Durham-born former NSC Russia expert began by warning Republicans not to keep repeating Kremlin-backed conspiracy theories. In a distinctive northeastern English accent, Dr Hill went on to describe how she had argued with Gordon Sondland about his interference in Ukraine matters until she realised that while she and her colleagues were focused on national security, Sondland was “being involved in a domestic political errand”. She said: “I did say to him, ‘Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, this is going to blow up’. And here we are.”

AP

David Holmes

26/26 David Holmes

The Ukraine-based diplomat described being in a restaurant in Kiev with Gordon Sondland while the latter phoned Donald Trump. Holmes said he could hear the president on the other end of the line – because his voice was so “loud and distinctive” and because Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear – asking about the “investigations” and whether the Ukrainian president would cooperate.

REUTERS

Donald Trump

1/26 Donald Trump

Accused of abusing his office by pressing the Ukrainian president in a July phone call to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who may be his Democratic rival in the 2020 election. He also believes that Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails - a key factor in the 2016 election - may be in Ukraine, although it is not clear why.

EPA

The Whistleblower

2/26 The Whistleblower

Believed to be a CIA agent who spent time at the White House, his complaint was largely based on second and third-hand accounts from worried White House staff. Although this is not unusual for such complaints, Trump and his supporters have seized on it to imply that his information is not reliable. Expected to give evidence to Congress voluntarily and in secret.

Getty

The Second Whistleblower

3/26 The Second Whistleblower

The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower is also representing a second whistleblower regarding the President's actions. Attorney Mark Zaid said that he and other lawyers on his team are now representing the second person, who is said to work in the intelligence community and has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community's inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet filed their own complaint, but does not need to to be considered an official whistleblower.

Getty

Rudy Giuliani

4/26 Rudy Giuliani

Former mayor of New York, whose management of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001 won him worldwide praise. As Trump’s personal attorney he has been trying to find compromising material about the president’s enemies in Ukraine in what some have termed a “shadow” foreign policy. In a series of eccentric TV appearances he has claimed that the US state department asked him to get involved. Giuliani insists that he is fighting corruption on Trump’s behalf and has called himself a “hero”.

AP

Volodymyr Zelensky

5/26 Volodymyr Zelensky

The newly elected Ukrainian president - a former comic actor best known for playing a man who becomes president by accident - is seen frantically agreeing with Trump in the partial transcript of their July phone call released by the White House. With a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of his country, and the Crimea region seized by Vladimir Putin in 2014, Zelensky will have been eager to please his American counterpart, who had suspended vital military aid before their phone conversation. He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the “favour” he was asked for. Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference with Trump in New York during the United Nations general assembly, looking particularly uncomfortable when the American suggested he take part in talks with Putin.

AFP/Getty

Mike Pence

6/26 Mike Pence

The vice-president was not on the controversial July call to the Ukrainian president but did get a read-out later. However, Trump announced that Pence had had “one or two” phone conversations of a similar nature, dragging him into the crisis. Pence himself denies any knowledge of any wrongdoing and has insisted that there is no issue with Trump’s actions. It has been speculated that Trump involved Pence as an insurance policy - if both are removed from power the presidency would go to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican would allow.

AP

Rick Perry

7/26 Rick Perry

Trump reportedly told a meeting of Republicans that he made the controversial call to the Ukrainian president at the urging of his own energy secretary, Rick Perry, and that he didn’t even want to. The president apparently said that Perry wanted him to talk about liquefied natural gas - although there is no mention of it in the partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House. It is thought that Perry will step down from his role at the end of the year.

Getty

Joe Biden

8/26 Joe Biden

The former vice-president is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination, which would make him Trump’s opponent in the 2020 election. Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of, refusing to release US aid until this was done. However, pressure to fire the prosecutor came on a wide front from western countries. It is also believed that the investigation into the company, Burisma, had long been dormant.

Reuters

Hunter Biden

9/26 Hunter Biden

Joe Biden’s son has been accused of corruption by the president because of his business dealings in Ukraine and China. However, Trump has yet to produce any evidence of corruption and Biden’s lawyer insists he has done nothing wrong.

AP

William Barr

10/26 William Barr

The attorney-general, who proved his loyalty to Trump with his handling of the Mueller report, was mentioned in the Ukraine call as someone president Volodymyr Zelensky should talk to about following up Trump’s preoccupations with the Biden’s and the Clinton emails. Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr of being part of a “cover-up of a cover-up”.

AP

Mike Pompeo

11/26 Mike Pompeo

The secretary of state initially implied he knew little about the Ukraine phone call - but it later emerged that he was listening in at the time. He has since suggested that asking foreign leaders for favours is simply how international politics works. Gordon Sondland testified that Pompeo was "in the loop" and knew what was happening in Ukraine. Pompeo has been criticised for not standing up for diplomats under his command when they were publicly criticised by the president.

AFP via Getty

Nancy Pelosi

12/26 Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Speaker of the House had long resisted calls from within her own party to back a formal impeachment process against the president, apparently fearing a backlash from voters. On September 24, amid reports of the Ukraine call and the day before the White House released a partial transcript of it, she relented and announced an inquiry, saying: “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Getty

Adam Schiff

13/26 Adam Schiff

Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, one of the three committees leading the inquiry. He was criticized by Republicans for giving what he called a “parody” of the Ukraine phone call during a hearing, with Trump and others saying he had been pretending that his damning characterisation was a verbatim reading of the phone call. He has also been criticised for claiming that his committee had had no contact with the whistleblower, only for it to emerge that the intelligence agent had contacted a staff member on the committee for guidance before filing the complaint. The Washington Post awarded Schiff a “four Pinocchios” rating, its worst rating for a dishonest statement.

Reuters

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

14/26 Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

Florida-based businessmen and Republican donors Lev Parnas (pictured with Rudy Giuliani) and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of campaign finance violations at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC on 9 October. Separately the Associated Press has reported that they were both involved in efforts to replace the management of Ukraine's gas company, Naftogaz, with new bosses who would steer lucrative contracts towards companies controlled by Trump allies. There is no suggestion of any criminal activity in these efforts.

Reuters

William Taylor

15/26 William Taylor

The most senior US diplomat in Ukraine and the former ambassador there. As one of the first two witnesses in the public impeachment hearings, Taylor dropped an early bombshell by revealing that one of his staff – later identified as diplomat David Holmes – overheard a phone conversation in which Donald Trump could be heard asking about “investigations” the very day after asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his political enemies. Taylor expressed his concern at reported plans to withhold US aid in return for political smears against Trump’s opponents, saying: “It's one thing to try to leverage a meeting in the White House. It's another thing, I thought, to leverage security assistance -- security assistance to a country at war, dependent on both the security assistance and the demonstration of support."

Getty Images

George Kent

16/26 George Kent

A state department official who appeared alongside William Taylor wearing a bow tie that was later mocked by the president. He accused Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, of leading a “campaign of lies” against Marie Yovanovitch, who was forced out of her job as US ambassador to Ukraine for apparently standing in the way of efforts to smear Democrats.

Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch

17/26 Marie Yovanovitch

One of the most striking witnesses to give evidence at the public hearings, the former US ambassador to Ukraine received a rare round of applause as she left the committee room after testifying. Canadian-born Yovanovitch was attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump while she was actually testifying, giving Democrats the chance to ask her to respond. She said she found the attack “very intimidating”. Trump had already threatened her in his 25 July phone call to the Ukrainian president saying: “She’s going to go through some things.” Yovanovitch said she was “shocked, appalled and devastated” by the threat and by the way she was forced out of her job without explanation.

REUTERS

Alexander Vindman

18/26 Alexander Vindman

A decorated Iraq War veteran and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Lt Col Vindman began his evidence with an eye-catching statement about the freedoms America afforded him and his family to speak truth to power without fear of punishment. One of the few witnesses to have actually listened to Trump’s 25 July call with the Ukrainian president, he said he found the conversation so inappropriate that he was compelled to report it to the White House counsel. Trump later mocked him for wearing his military uniform and insisting on being addressed by his rank.

Getty Images

Jennifer Williams

19/26 Jennifer Williams

A state department official acting as a Russia expert for vice-president Mike Pence, Ms Williams also listened in on the 25 July phone call. She testified that she found it “unusual” because it focused on domestic politics in terms of Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate his political opponents.

Getty Images

Kurt Volker

20/26 Kurt Volker

The former special envoy to Ukraine was one of the few people giving evidence who was on the Republican witness list although what he had to say may not have been too helpful to their cause. He dismissed the idea that Joe Biden had done anything corrupt, a theory spun without evidence by the president and his allies. He said that he thought the US should be supporting Ukraine’s reforms and that the scheme to find dirt on Democrats did not serve the national interest.

Getty Images

Tim Morrison

21/26 Tim Morrison

An expert on the National Security Council and another witness on the Republican list. He testified that he did not think the president had done anything illegal but admitted that he feared it would create a political storm if it became public. He said he believed the moving the record of the controversial 25 July phone call to a top security server had been an innocent mistake.

Getty Images

Gordon Sondland

22/26 Gordon Sondland

In explosive testimony, one of the men at the centre of the scandal got right to the point in his opening testimony: “Was there a quid pro quo? Yes,” said the US ambassador to the EU who was a prime mover in efforts in Ukraine to link the release of military aid with investigations into the president’s political opponents. He said that everyone knew what was going on, implicating vice-president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The effect of his evidence is perhaps best illustrated by the reaction of Mr Trump who went from calling Sondland a “great American” a few weeks earlier to claiming that he barely knew him.

AP

Laura Cooper

23/26 Laura Cooper

A Pentagon official, Cooper said Ukrainian officials knew that US aid was being withheld before it became public knowledge in August – undermining a Republican argument that there can’t have been a quid pro quo between aid and investigations if the Ukrainians didn’t know that aid was being withheld.

Getty Images

David Hale

24/26 David Hale

The third most senior official at the state department. Hale testified about the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch and the smear campaign that culminated in her being recalled from her posting as US ambassador to Ukraine. He said: “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.”

EPA

Fiona Hill

25/26 Fiona Hill

Arguably the most confident and self-possessed of the witnesses in the public hearings phase, the Durham-born former NSC Russia expert began by warning Republicans not to keep repeating Kremlin-backed conspiracy theories. In a distinctive northeastern English accent, Dr Hill went on to describe how she had argued with Gordon Sondland about his interference in Ukraine matters until she realised that while she and her colleagues were focused on national security, Sondland was “being involved in a domestic political errand”. She said: “I did say to him, ‘Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, this is going to blow up’. And here we are.”

AP

David Holmes

26/26 David Holmes

The Ukraine-based diplomat described being in a restaurant in Kiev with Gordon Sondland while the latter phoned Donald Trump. Holmes said he could hear the president on the other end of the line – because his voice was so “loud and distinctive” and because Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear – asking about the “investigations” and whether the Ukrainian president would cooperate.

REUTERS

Frantic about the ramifications of Trump's meddling in Ukraine, I messaged my Ukrainian friends. "I think Zelensky wants to sell Ukraine to Putin. We started [to] buy Russian gas,” my friend Anya said.

Another friend, Anna, sent me a note saying: "Everything what is going on in Ukraine after elections is a big mess." My friend Lois, a fellow American living in Ukraine, told me, "You hear all kinds of rumors" and "it's all so murky." I began to despair that Trump had made everything worse for this innovative country.

Not everyone is pessimistic, however. My friend Alla said, of Zelensky, that "he is working, trying and that's important for me”. So I continue to have hope for the future of Ukraine and the country’s president. But I’m saddened to see how casually an American leader like Donald Trump can cause it damage without a second thought.

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