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Live Reporting

By Max Matza, Holly Honderich and Ritu Prasad

All times stated are UK

  1. Live coverage concludes

    Maguire testifying

    Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has finished testifying to the House Intelligence Committee, and is now due to face a closed-doors session with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    During this morning's testimony, he defended his decision to withhold the anonymous whistleblower's complaint about Trump, saying it pertained to US officials that are not under his command.

    Maguire said the whistleblower "did the right thing" and "acted in good faith", despite questions by Trump about whether the anonymous official is "on our side".

    Just before testifying, the complaint - which has triggered an impeachment inquiry into Trump - was publicly released weeks after it was first made.

    It contains several explosive claims, including that the White House sought to hide the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call in a top-secret computer protected by a covert code-word.

    Read more about the very Washington DC scandal here:

    White House 'tried to cover up details of Trump-Ukraine call'

  2. Maguire spars with top Democrat to close out testimony

    Adam Schiff

    Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff had the final chance to ask questions at the hearing and pressed Maguire on whether he agreed the complaint required immediate investigation and why he didn't act sooner.

    "I don't agree with any of that," Maguire says. "I complied with my requirement to send you the documents."

    He continues: "It is up to the chair, the ranking member and these committee members to decide what to do with that information."

    Schiff replies: "I find it remarkable that the director of national intelligence doesn't think credible allegations of someone seeking foreign assistance in a US election should be investigated."

  3. Giuliani hits back

    Giuliani and Trump

    "I believe that Mr Giuliani is the president's personal lawyer, and whatever conversation that the president has with his personal lawyer" would be covered under attorney-client privilege, says Maguire as the hearing neared its end.

    "I am in no position to criticise the president of the United States on how he wants to conduct that and I have no knowing of what Mr Giuliani does or does not do," continued the intelligence chief.

    Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, now Trump's personal lawyer, has dismissed a whistleblower's claim that US officials were "deeply concerned" about Giuliani's efforts relating to Ukraine, and that they took efforts to "contain the damage" to US national security.

    In a call with CNN on Thursday, which he said was placed from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, Giuliani told the network he has "no knowledge of any of that crap".

    He says he remained in touch with Kurt Volker, US special representative for Ukraine, and other State Department officials "at least 10 times".

    Giuliani maintains he has text messages that prove the US government was aware of his efforts on behalf of Trump.

  4. Ex-Ukrainian prosecutor clears Hunter Biden

    Hunter Biden

    A former top Ukrainian prosecutor - and key figure in the ongoing controversy - told the Washington Post newspaper on Thursday that "from the perspective of Ukrainian legislature", Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, "did not violate anything".

    The comments from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko contradict claims by Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

    Trump and his allies have circulated unsubstantiated allegations that Biden encouraged the firing of Ukraine's top prosecutor because the prosecutor was investigating a company that employed Hunter Biden.

    “Hunter Biden cannot be responsible for violations of the management of Burisma that took place two years before his arrival," Lutsenko said, echoing comments he made to Bloomberg News in May.

    Read more on the Biden nexus here.

  5. Maguire: 'I set a new record'

    Sean Maloney
    Image caption: Sean Maloney

    In a rare display of humour in today's hearing, Maguire jokes that he "set a new record in the administration for being subpoenaed", noting the complaint - dated 12 August - was filed just four days before his first day on the job, on 16 August.

    "You had a heck of a first week," says Democrat Sean Maloney, of New York.

    "I think that Dan Coats' timing is better than mine," Maguire replies, referencing his predecessor.

    On Tuesday, Coats said he felt "so bad" for Maguire, according to the Indianapolis Star.

    "Nothing came to me," Coats said of the whistleblower report. "I left on August 15. The very next day that was presented to Joe.

    "He is caught in a squeeze here."

  6. More 2020 Democrats react

    Democrats vying for their party nomination to take on Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election have been responding to today's testimony and the release of the whistleblower's complaint, which was initially withheld from Congress by the Trump administration.

    View more on twitter
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  7. Maguire: 'This is just an allegation'

    Eric Swalwell

    "The president is working improperly with a foreign government, is that right?" asks California Democrat Eric Swalwell, who recently dropped his own bid for the White House because of low poll numbers.

    Maguire takes a deep breath before responding.

    "Congressman, there is an allegation of a cover-up. I'm sure an investigation before this committee might lend credence or disprove that. But right now, all we have is an allegation with second-hand information from a whistleblower.

    "I have no knowledge on whether or not that is a true and accurate statement."

  8. Maguire: Whistleblower 'did the right thing'

    Watch a key moment from the hearing as Maguire tells the House intelligence Committee that the whistleblower "did the right thing" and "followed the law every step of the way".

    Video content

    Video caption: Trump impeachment: Joseph Maguire testifies
  9. Who gets to listen into presidential calls?

    Donald Trump

    All the talk of transcripts begs the question: who gets to listen in on the president's calls in the first place?

    There are generally several officials present during calls, but they may not physically be in the room with the president. The president is also not recorded, but notes are taken.

    These select few participants could be the president's chief of staff, defence and state department officials, and national security council members.

    There are also nonpartisan career staff with military or security backgrounds that are present to monitor the Situation Room.

    In this case, the whistleblower's complaint noted that there were "approximately a dozen White House officials who listened to the call - a mixture of policy officials and duty officers in the White House Situation Room, as is customary", though it is unclear whether anyone was actually in the room with Trump.

    Curious about the dos and don'ts of the Situation Room? Check out the BBC's Tara McKelvey's analysis here.

  10. Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi: 'This is a cover-up'

    Pelosi

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress who announced the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump on Tuesday, says the complaint released today amounts to a "cover-up".

    Mr Trump, she says, "betrayed his oath of office, our national security and the integrity" of US elections.

    "There is no rush to judgment, and in some ways we are a jury... But every day the sadness grows because the disregard for our constitution that the president has becomes more clear," she added.

  11. Maguire: 'Election integrity' is US' greatest challenge

    Joseph Maguire

    Asked by Democrat Will Hurd about the greatest threat faced by the US right now, Maguire responds, "first and foremost... protecting the sanctity of our elections within the United States".

    "I think that the greatest challenge that we face, is not necessarily from a kinetic strike, or with Russia or China or Iran or North Korea," Maguire says. "I think the greatest challenge that we do have, is to maintain the integrity of our election system."

    He continues: "We know right now that there are foreign powers who are trying to get us to question the validity" of US elections.

  12. 'You're owed an apology'

    John Ratcliffe

    Texas Republican John Ratcliffe, who was praised by Republicans for his committee grilling of special counsel Robert Mueller, says Maguire has been falsely accused of committing a crime for initially withholding the whistleblower complaint from Congress.

    Ratcliffe points out that Department of Justice lawyers determined that Maguire behaved appropriately.

    "You were publicly accused. You were also falsely accused," Ratcliffe tells Maguire.

    "Yet here today I haven't heard anything close to an apology for that.

    "Welcome to the House of Representatives with Democrats in charge."

  13. Where do Americans stand on impeachment?

    Since 2017, an average of all national polls showed over 55% of the public opposed removing the president through the process of impeachment, according to analysis by Five Thirty Eight.

    But a recent poll that asked specifically about the Ukraine allegations found 55% would be in favour of impeachment if it's confirmed Trump tried to pressure the country into investigating his political opponent.

    A similar poll by Business Insider found 53% backed an impeachment inquiry; 49% said an official who asks a foreign power to intervene in a US election should be removed. Only 30% opposed impeachment.

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  14. Schiff defends 'parody' of Trump call

    Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff

    In his statement opening today's hearing, Democratic House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff summed up the Trump-Zelensky call by depicting the Republican president as a Mafia boss.

    "I hear what you want. I have a favour I want from you though... I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand?" said Schiff, referencing Trump's request that Ukraine investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.

    "It would be funny, if it weren’t such a graphic betrayal of the president’s oath of office," he finished.

    Republicans reacted with outrage, pointing out that the president never said such things, according to the summary of the call released by the White House on Wednesday.

    Schiff clarified that his account was "meant to be at least part, in parody".

    "The fact that that's not clear is a separate problem in and of itself," he added.

    But Republicans were sceptical.

    "It's a shame that we started off this hearing with fictional remarks," said Ohio Republican Brad Wenstrup. "The chairman described it as 'parody' and I don't believe that this is the time or the place for parody when we are trying to seek facts."

    "I'm not going to improvise for parody purposes like the committee chairman did," said Republican committee member Elise Stefanik, as she quoted the actual Trump-Zelensky call in a question to Maguire.

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  15. Maguire: I am 'not aware' what Giuliani does for Trump

    Mike Quigley

    Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley pushed Maguire on Rudy Giuliani's appearance in the report - in which Trump's personal lawyer is described as a "central figure" in the president's alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine.

    But Maguire denies any awareness of Giuliani's role, beyond what is found in the transcript.

    "My only knowledge of what Mr Giuliani does, I have to be honest with you, I get from TV and from the news media," Maguire says. "I am not aware of what he does, in fact, for the president."

    "I lead, and I support, the intelligence committee," Maguire says. "I do not lead the president and I have no authority or responsibility over the White House."

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  16. Who has actually been impeached?

    It's a short list of just two US presidents.

    Bill Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998, but the move failed the Senate in 1999.

    He was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice after he lied about the nature of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and asking her to lie.

    And the second?

    Andrew Johnson, way back in 1868, just after he fired his secretary of war (who disagreed with Johnson's policies).

    He was impeached by the House for attempting to disgrace Congress and being "unmindful of the high duties of his office and the dignity and proprieties thereof".

    But the Senate also failed to convict him by the required two-third majority.

    Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before he could be impeached over the Watergate scandal.

    Andrew Johnson (L) Richard Nixon (M) and Bill Clinton
    Image caption: Andrew Johnson (L) Richard Nixon (M) and Bill Clinton
  17. Maguire: 'I did not look to be sitting here'

    Joseph Maguire

    Answering questions from congressman Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican, Maguire rejected the notion that he was motivated by politics.

    "No congressman," Maguire says. "I am not political, I am not partisan and I did not look to be sitting here as the acting director of national intelligence."

  18. Did Biden or his son do anything wrong?

    Hunter Biden (L) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
    Image caption: Joe Biden (right) and his son Hunter

    First, what are the allegations against the Bidens?

    Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani have accused Joe Biden of trying to force out Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2016, while Biden was US vice-president. Shokin was looking into a Ukranian gas company where Biden's son, Hunter, was a board member.

    The president accuses Joe Biden of withholding US aid to Ukraine to protect his son and the company, Burisma.

    But no evidence has come to light thus far showing Biden acted corruptly or was influenced by his son's work in Ukraine.

    Biden was also not the only public official in the US or European Union who wanted Shokin ousted.

    And when Shokin was replaced, his successor continued to investigate the same company for 10 months before the inquiry ended.

    Read more about all things Trump-Ukraine here.