House official says Trump's former Ukraine envoy will testify this week

Kurt Volker, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE's former special envoy for Ukraine, has confirmed he will appear at a deposition before Congress this Thursday, a House official said.

The House Intelligence Committee official also said that Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will appear for a deposition on Oct. 11. She was previously scheduled to appear this Wednesday.

The committee official confirmed that Volker’s appearance before three House committees would remain as scheduled after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE signaled Tuesday he would block current and former State Department officials from testifying before Congress as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, citing “significant legal and procedural concerns” raised by the requests.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Ambassador Volker has confirmed he will appear this Thursday. Ambassador Yovanovitch, who was previously scheduled for this Wednesday, will now be appearing on Oct. 11 with the agreement of both the Committees and counsel. The Committees will provide additional information in the coming days,” the committee official said.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

House Democrats have requested testimony from five current and former State Department officials in connection with the inquiry, which centers on a July 25 conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During the call, Trump encouraged the foreign leader to open an investigation into unsubstantiated allegations against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers MORE, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Pompeo responded to the request for testimony Tuesday, accusing Democrats of trying to “intimidate” and “bully” State Department officials. He raised legal concerns regarding the depositions, accusing the committee of not giving the department proper notification and refusing to allow State Department counsel to participate in the interviews.

“This amounts to an attempt to circumvent the Executive Branch’s unquestionably legitimate constitutional interest in protecting potentially privileged information related to the conduct of diplomatic relations,” Pompeo wrote.

“Therefore, the five officials subject to your letter may not attend any interview or deposition without counsel from the Executive Branch present to ensure that the Executive Branch’s constitutional authority to control the disclosure of confidential information, including deliberative matters and diplomatic communications, is not impaired,” Pompeo continued.

He asserted that the current deposition schedule was “not feasible.”

Legal experts say Pompeo would have little power to prevent the former officials from testifying now that they are private citizens.

It’s unclear whether the other officials will ultimately agree to testify.

Democratic chairmen Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (N.Y.), Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSupreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records Democrats approve two articles of impeachment against Trump in Judiciary vote McConnell, White House lawyer huddle on impeachment strategy MORE (Calif.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCongressional investigation finds Coast Guard leadership fell short on handling bullying Trump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list Impeachment can't wait MORE (Md.) responded by accusing Pompeo of witness intimidation, suggesting he could be accused of obstructing the probe. The Democrats cited reports that Pompeo participated in the July call between Trump and Zelensky, saying that would make him a “fact witness.”

Democrats have also requested State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland appear for depositions.