- The second week of public testimonies in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump have finished.
- In week two, at least nine government officials and diplomats testified, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council; Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union; and Fiona Hill, formerly the top Russia specialist on the National Security Council.
- The first week of public hearings saw testimony from acting US ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, State Department official George Kent, and former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
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The second week of public testimonies in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has finished after nine more government officials and diplomats spoke in front of the House Intelligence Committee.
House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump in September. They’re investigating whether or not Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine on the condition that the country’s top officials investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Much of the inquiry is focused on a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The public phase of the inquiry began with testimony from acting US ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, State Department official George Kent last Wednesday, and testimony from former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch last Friday.
The second week saw testimony from nine officials, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council; Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union; and Fiona Hill, formerly the top Russia specialist on the National Security Council.
Several officials confirmed that Trump tried to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens as part of the quid pro quo at the centre of the inquiry. The House Intelligence Committee also heard testimony on Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s role in Ukraine diplomacy and a yearlong “smear campaign” against Yovanovitch.
It appears that public testimony is over for now, but the investigation is still ongoing. The inquiry is still in its discovery phase and could take months to play out.
Here’s information on everyone who has testified publicly in the inquiry.
Bill Taylor, acting US ambassador to Ukraine.
Bill Taylor, the US’s chief envoy in Ukraine, said in his testimony that Trump withheld back military aid from Ukraine unless the country agreed to investigate a company linked to Joe Biden’s family, directly confirming a quid pro quo that has become the centre of the impeachment probe.
George Kent, deputy assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasian affairs.
As a key witness in the inquiry, George Kent testified about former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts on Trump’s behalf to get information about former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukraine.
Marie Yovanovitch, former US ambassador to Ukraine.
Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted US ambassador to Ukraine, spoke about Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and top officials at the State Department in her testimony.
She described her ousting as a nearly yearlong “smear campaign” that was based on fabrications and lies.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council, listened to the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky at the centre of the impeachment inquiry.
In closed-door hearing earlier this month, Vindman confirmed that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with Zelensky.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the gain would be for the president in investigating the son of a political opponent,” he testified.
He said he was so concerned about the phone call that he reported it to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer for the National Security Council. He said Eisenberg told him not to tell anyone else about the phone call.
In his public testimony, Vindman vehemently denied his involvement in the inquiry was motivated by partisan leanings.
His first-hand knowledge of the call and his expertise on Ukraine made him a key figure in the inquiry.
Jennifer Williams, a State Department official and advisor to Vice President Mike Pence.
Jennifer Williams, a State Department official and adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.
She testified alongside Vindman. In their public testimony, they said that they believed the call was “inappropriate” and “unusual.”
Kurt Volker, Special envoy to Ukraine.
Kurt Volker, the former US special representative to Ukraine, was on a list of witnesses requested to appear by Republican members of the Intelligence Committee, according to NPR.
In earlier statements he made in closed-door testimony, Volker contradicted Trump’s claims that Biden urged Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a natural-gas company that Hunter Biden was working for.
Volker said in his testimony that the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was not investigating the natural-gas company or any other corruption cases.
Volker said that Joe Biden was execution US policy in pushing for Shokin to be fired.
Additionally, Volker said in testimony that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was a “direct conduit” between Trump and Ukraine.
Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide.
Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide, also heard the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.
In closed-door testimony, he said he didn’t view Trump’s actions as illegal or inappropriate.
“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” Morrison said in remarks that were obtained by the Associated Press.
Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union.
Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union, has faced scrutiny over his closed-door testimony and a three-page amendment he sent afterward that revised his original testimony.
In closed-door testimony, Sondland told the committee that he was involved in a campaign to pressure Ukraine.
In his amendment to the testimony, Sondland, once a top donor to Trump, revised his account, admitting that he told senior aide to Zelensky that Trump would “likely” leverage hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid as a way to get Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens.
In his public testimony, Sondland confirmed Trump’s quid-pro-quo arrangement with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and he implicated several other government officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former national security adviser John Bolton.
He also testified that Trump instructed him to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.
Laura Cooper, a senior Pentagon official responsible for Ukraine, said in closed-door hearings that in conversations with Volker and Taylor, it was clear that Ukraine knew about the freeze on military aide before it was reported on in August.
“I knew from my Kurt Volker conversation and also from sort of the alarm bells that were coming from Ambassador Taylor and his team that there were Ukrainians who knew about this,” she testified, according to the transcript.
Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defence, told the House Intelligence Committee that her staff received two emails from the State Department on July 25 about US military aid to Ukraine.
She said that one of her staffers got a question from a Ukrainian embassy official saying, “What’s going on with Ukraine security assistance?”
David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
In a closed-door hearing on November 6, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, testified about his knowledge of the ousting of US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Hale told the committee that ahead of his visit to Ukraine in March 2019, Congressman Pete Sessions had told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Yovanovitch was “saying derogatory things about President Trump.” He said he didn’t believe the accusation was valid.
He said by the end of March, the criticism against Yovanovitch had grown so strong, that she emailed him, saying “she felt she could no longer function unless there was a strong statement of defence of her from the State Department.”
During her testimony, Yovanovitch said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was reticent to release such a statement because he feared a critical tweet from the president.
In his public testimony, Hale said that Trump and the Office of Management and Budget were at odds over the military aid decision.
When referring to a July interagency meeting, he said: “The State Department advocated, as I did in that meeting, for proceeding with all of the assistance, consistent with our policies and interests in Ukraine.”
Fiona Hill, formerly the top Russia specialist on the National Security Council.
Fiona Hill, the former director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council, told the House Intelligence Committee that officials including Gordon Sondland sidestepped the NSC to conduct diplomacy in Ukraine.
She told the committee about a July 10 meeting at the White House, where she intercepted Sondland to tell him that the NSC needed to be part of diplomacy discussions with Ukraine.
Later in her testimony, Hill said that she believed the ousting of Yovanovitch was motivated by sexism.
David Holmes, a US Embassy in Ukraine official.
David Holmes, a State Department aide who worked at the US Embassy in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, told the House Intelligence committee about how Rudy Giuliani became involved in UK-Ukraine policy.
He said the US’s diplomatic interest in Ukraine “became overshadowed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a cadre of officials with a direct channel to the White House.”
He also said it was “made clear” that Ukraine had to announce an investigation into Burisma before officials could visit the White House.
He said that Sondland, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and former US special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker dedicated themselves to securing a meeting between Trump and Zelensky.