Updated on Nov. 4 at 12:45 p.m. ET
The Democratic-led House of Representatives is pursuing an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. While momentum toward impeachment had been building among Democrats for months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced an inquiry in September — after a whistleblower complaint about a White House phone call with Ukraine. The House formalized the inquiry and outlined their path forward with a vote on Oct. 28.
In a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump asked for an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election and into potential 2020 rival and former Vice President Joe Biden. The White House is also accused of withholding military aid to Ukraine for Trump's personal political gain. Trump maintains that he has done nothing wrong.
Here is the key information you need in order to understand an increasingly complicated affair. Read the latest coverage of the inquiry here.
Timeline: The Ukraine Affair
Who And What: Key People And Concepts
Since the original whistleblower complaint was released, the list of names of those connected to Trump's call with Zelenskiy or to broader Ukraine policy has grown substantially.
From the president to career diplomats to private lawyers, here is a quick guide to people connected to the events being investigated.
In-depth profiles and features:
- John Bolton: Democrats now have an unlikely ally
- Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman: A complicated web connects two Soviet-born businessmen with the inquiry
- Rick Perry: How the energy secretary became a key figure
- Quid pro quo: From simple exchange to shakedown, here's how the phrase evolved
- Adam Schiff: The surprising face of the impeachment inquiry
- Gordon Sondland: The ambassador whose texts put him at the center of the Ukraine scandal
- Trump and the CIA: How the relationship between Trump and his spy chiefs soured
- Kurt Volker: Ex-U.S. special envoy to Ukraine caught in whirlwind of impeachment inquiry
- Marie Yovanovitch: How the former ambassador became a target in Ukraine
- Volodymyr Zelenskiy: How Ukraine's president wound up in the middle
Special audio report
NPR's Steve Inskeep hosts a special report on the impeachment inquiry. Inskeep, along with NPR's hosts, correspondents, and producers, step through the story as we know it so far — explaining who the key players are and what they knew. Listen to the special.
Documents: Primary Sources
Written words are central to the Ukraine affair. The significance of the whistleblower's original complaint and the White House's record of its call with Ukraine are debated, but the text is public. Here are the documents to refer to as the inquiry proceeds:
Texts and memos
- Call: The White House memorandum (Sept. 25)
- Aid: The Pentagon letter on military aid to Ukraine (Sept. 25)
- Complaint: The whistleblower complaint (Sept. 26)
- Texts: Batch of texts between diplomats released by House Democrats (Oct. 4)
- Michael McKinley: Former State Department adviser's deposition transcript (released by Congress Nov. 4)
- Gordon Sondland: U.S. ambassador to EU's prepared testimony (obtained by NPR Oct. 17)
- William Taylor: Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine's prepared testimony (confirmed by NPR Oct. 22)
- Alexander Vindman: Top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council's prepared testimony (obtained by NPR Oct. 29)
- Marie Yovanovitch: Ex-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine's deposition transcript (released by Congress Nov. 4)