* John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, and Colby Itkowitz report that things just keep getting clearer with regard to Ukraine:

House investigators released a transcript Wednesday of the closed-door testimony of William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, who told lawmakers that it was his “clear understanding” that U.S. military aid would not be sent until that country pursued investigations that could politically benefit President Trump.
The impeachment inquiry moved forward on other fronts, with House Democrats announcing that the first public hearings would be held next week and David Hale, the State Department’s third-ranking official, testifying privately at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Democrats hope Hale can shed more light on the removal of Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine after she became the target of false rumors questioning her loyalty to Trump.

So have they abandoned “No quid pro quo” in favor of Quid pro quos are actually good now” yet?

Revelations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unwilling to defend career State Department officials under political attack have damaged his standing within the Department and devastated morale there, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
Details of the inner workings of the Department have emerged this week after House Democrats conducting the impeachment probe began releasing the full testimony of senior State officials, including the ousted former ambassador to Ukraine. Those details have put a spotlight on Pompeo's role in the unfolding impeachment drama and compounded concerns inside the Department that he has prioritized his relationship with President Donald Trump over the well-being of his own staff.
One senior administration official who has been a consistent defender of Pompeo told CNN that conditions within the Department have gotten significantly worse since the start of the impeachment inquiry.
“Morale in the building is always bad, but this is different,” said the official. “I think part of it is Ukraine, it is a game changer.”

Here’s hoping Pompeo comes out of this whole thing appropriately discredited.

* Rep. Ayanna Pressley, member of “The Squad” and possessor of weapons-grade smirking powers, endorses Elizabeth Warren for president.

* Michael Macagnone reports that the impeachment inquiry transcripts reveal that many Republicans who complain about the process not being transparent aren’t bothering to show up.

* The court-reform group Take Back the Court calls on Justices Kavanaugh and Alito to recuse themselves from upcoming civil rights cases on the grounds that they posed for a photo with a conservative group that filed briefs in those cases, lest they feed perceptions that the court isn’t impartial.

* And Phillip Bailey and Joe Sonka report that the Republican president of the Kentucky Senate says Matt Bevin should be declared the winner of the governor’s race he just lost. Why? Because there was a libertarian candidate taking away votes from Bevin, and his partisans may now push to have the legislature decide the outcome.