Dana Farrington

Ambassador Gordon Sondland says he was directed by President Trump to talk to Rudy Giuliani about Trump's concerns over Ukraine, bypassing normal foreign policy channels.

That "disappointed him," he says — but even as he went along, he also was kept out of Trump's strategy to pressure Ukraine to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sondland says he didn't know about it in real time and, for example, the account he received of Trump's now-famous phone call with Ukraine's president did not mention Trump's request about Biden.

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is speaking to Congress behind closed doors on Thursday as part of the House's impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In his prepared remarks, the former businessman says: "as we go through this process, I understand that some people may have their own specific agendas: some may want me to say things to protect the President at all costs; some may want me to provide damning facts to support the other side. But none of that matters to me. ... Simply put, I am NOT here to push an agenda. I am here to tell the truth."

Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that his door might be open for meetings with Iran's president and China's leader as he concluded his visit to the G-7 summit in France, but it isn't clear what if any action may come next.

Trump said he believes Beijing "wants a deal very badly" to end its trade war with Washington and that he'd consider meeting with Iran's president if Tehran came to terms over its nuclear program.

"If the circumstances were correct or right I would certainly agree to that," Trump said.

The Senate intelligence committee has released its report on foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The report, which also includes recommendations for future security, came out the day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified about his office's investigation into Russian attacks.

Mueller and intelligence officials have warned that the threat from 2016 persists, though Congress has been slow to take action.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

President Trump announced an executive order on gathering citizenship information, a shift from an earlier effort to get a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

Trump spoke alongside Attorney General William Barr, who praised his decision.

Sen. Cory Booker is "a big fan" of researcher and speaker Brené Brown. The Democratic presidential candidate embraces Brown's mantra that vulnerability is a strength — and his openness shows on the campaign trail.

Booker regularly tells the story of one of the most painful moments of his life, which happened when he first became the mayor of Newark, N.J.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr declined to appear before a hearing scheduled on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee following hours of sometimes tough back-and-forth on Wednesday in the Senate.

The chairman of the House panel, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said that Barr was risking a contempt of Congress citation and that he would go ahead with his planned hearing — with an empty witness chair if necessary.

Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to Congress and the public.

The special counsel spent nearly two years investigating attacks on the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians behind it.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Democrats have long called for President Trump to release his tax returns, and now a key congressman has put in a formal request with the IRS.

Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is requesting six years of Trump's personal tax returns and the returns for some of his businesses for the years 2013-2018. Neal argues that Congress, and his committee in particular, need to conduct oversight of the IRS, including its policy of auditing the tax returns of sitting presidents.

Leaders of the Justice Department have sent a summary of Robert Mueller's main findings to key members of Congress. The special counsel's office completed its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on Friday.

The Russia investigation has ended, and special counsel Robert Mueller's report is now in the hands of Attorney General William Barr. Barr sent a letter on Friday notifying Congress that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election had concluded.

Following Justice Department regulations, Barr addressed his letter to the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees.

Read the text of the letter below.

In a prime-time address from the Oval Office, President Trump argued there is a "crisis of the heart" when it comes to border security. He pressed Congress yet again to pass $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border, a demand Democrats have refused.

Updated at 8:21 p.m. ET

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says he is reimbursing U.S. taxpayers for his official travel on private charter planes.

In a statement released on Thursday, he said, "Today, I will write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes. The taxpayers won't pay a dime for my seat on those planes."

The expense for his seat on those planes comes out to $51,887.31, according to an HHS spokesperson.

President Trump shifted his tone again on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., while answering questions from reporters on Tuesday.

Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET

In a stunning reversal from comments he made just one day prior, President Trump said on Tuesday "there's blame on both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix says. McCain, 80, underwent surgery for a blood clot on July 14.

The hospital says testing revealed that a tumor "known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot."

"The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation," the hospital statement said.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

President Trump said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House "at the right time" when asked by a reporter on Air Force One Wednesday night.

"I don't think this is the right time, but the answer is yes I would," he said, according to a pool report released on Thursday. "Look, it's very easy for me to say absolutely, I won't. That's the easy thing for me to do, but that's the stupid thing to do."

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

President Trump's fiscal plan released on Tuesday claims to balance the budget deficit while cutting funding for safety net programs like food stamps and increasing defense spending. Read more about budget' aims.

President Trump pledged to "confront anti-Semitism" at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony on Tuesday. His remarks at the U.S. Capitol follow a number of controversies relating to anti-Semitism and his administration.

Updated with announcement

President Trump has named R. Alexander Acosta as his replacement for labor secretary nominee. Trump's earlier pick, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday afternoon after losing support on both sides of the aisle.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that it was "highly likely" that the Senate Intelligence Committee would look into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador in December regarding sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

McConnell would not directly answer whether he was confident that Donald Trump did not direct Flynn's conversation on sanctions.

"You ought to ask the White House those kinds of questions," McConnell said.

The governor of North Dakota has issued an evacuation of the area used to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline, citing "anticipated harsh weather conditions" and the unauthorized camps erected by the thousands of demonstrators. The order, issued Monday, is effective immediately and will stay in place indefinitely.

For Michelle Obama, this election is about the kids. On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the first lady wove her vision for the next generation with her hope for the next president.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET.*

Dr. Henry Heimlich didn't hesitate. When a fellow diner started choking, the 96-year-old was ready to perform the maneuver that he invented.

This year's Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be "near-normal," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. The season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Nineteen people have been rescued from a cave in south central Kentucky, officials say. Seventeen cavers and two police officers who tried to help them had been trapped by floodwaters in Hidden River Cave, WBKO reports.

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