Key impeachment witnesses to know as public hearings begin

Key impeachment witnesses to know as public hearings begin
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House Democrats are setting the stage for the public phase of their impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE’s dealings with Ukraine, with three key witnesses slated to appear starting Wednesday.

The impeachment inquiry so far has played out through closed-door hearings, press leaks and several published deposition transcripts. But with televised hearings ahead, Democrats hope to make their case to the public that Trump improperly used U.S. aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine into opening politically motivated investigations.

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During their closed-door phase, Democrats had a mixed level of success bringing in witnesses to testify, despite White House orders not to comply. Here is a list of the key witnesses Democrats received depositions from and those they sought testimony from.

 

Witnesses who are scheduled to publicly testify:

William Taylor, top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine

Taylor is slated to be one of Democrats’ first witness to testify in an open hearing next Wednesday, a sign that Democrats view him as a strong witness.  

Taylor, who testified under subpoena, told House investigators last month that it was his “clear understanding” that nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine was conditioned on Kiev investigating Trump’s political rivals.


George Kent, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs

Kent, who is testifying Wednesday, described a “campaign of lies” led by Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTop diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Press: Another billionaire need not apply Condoleezza Rice says reports of an unofficial US policy in Ukraine are 'deeply troubling' MORE, Trump’s personal attorney, to undermine then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Kent testified despite State Department orders not to appear.

 

Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine

Yovanovitch laid out what she viewed as a successful pressure campaign that led to her removal in May, calling her ousting a “dangerous precedent." The career diplomat was subpoenaed to appear.



Witnesses who have given closed-door testimony:

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union 

Sondland, a major Trump donor who previously had no diplomatic experience, initially dismissed claims that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine. 

But after other witnesses contradicted his testimony, Sondland revised his testimony shortly before its public release on Tuesday to say the president’s dealings “likely” did amount to a quid pro quo.

 

Fiona Hill, former top White House expert on Russia

The testimony of Hill, a former top Russia expert on the National Security Council (NSC), offered a dramatic view of two foreign policy channels clashing over Ukraine foreign policy. 

She described a White House meeting between U.S. and Ukrainian officials in which Sondland linked “investigations” with setting up a White House meeting for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

 

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council

Vindman, a participant on the Trump-Zelensky July 25 phone call, told House investigators he was “concerned” that there was a push to have “a foreign power investigate a U.S. citizen.”

Vindman, a career officer and Purple Heart recipient, also said he believed there was a quid pro quo. He testified that in order for Zelensky to secure a White House meeting with Trump, he felt Trump officials had made it clear Kiev “had to deliver an investigation.” The security official, whose transcripts were released Friday, is reportedly willing to testify in a public hearing. Vindman was the first current White House official to testify.

 

Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerTop diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Pentagon official cited alarm over hold on aid to Ukraine READ: Former assistant to special envoy for Ukraine's testimony in impeachment inquiry MORE, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine

Volker has offered Republicans the strongest defense yet as it relates to the delay in Ukraine aid. The diplomat, who was tapped to serve as the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine weeks before Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, said he was never told why the military aid was withheld, but that the hold was “not significant.” And Volker also testified there was no “linkage” between the investigations sought by Trump and a White House meeting sought by Zelensky.

 

Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Cheney calls for Turkish leader's bodyguards to be banned from re-entering US Pompeo: Trump to discuss political solution for Syria in meeting with Erdoğan MORE

McKinley, a former top adviser to Pompeo, described being so alarmed by the State Department’s lack of support to senior diplomats facing outside attacks and pressure from the White House, that he resigned in protest after decades of public service.

 

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia 

Cooper, a top Pentagon official, described the two ways in which funding provided by Congress can be put on hold, according to a source familiar with her deposition.

 

Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs

Reeker, a top U.S. diplomat, told impeachment investigators that he worked to garner support for Yovanovitch, but that his efforts were unsuccessful, The New York Times reported.

 

Catherine Croft, State Department official

Croft, a foreign service officer assigned to the White House, testified that Robert Livingston, a former Louisiana congressman (R) turned lobbyist, repeatedly urged her to fire Yovanovitch. Croft complied with a subpoena.

 

Christopher Anderson, former assistant to Volker

Anderson testified that National Security Adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTop diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment House Democrats, ex-Bolton aide ask judge to block Mulvaney from joining lawsuit MORE, who wanted more White House involvement with Ukraine, “cautioned” him that Giuliani had the president’s ear when it came to Ukraine, which he described as a likely “obstacle” to their efforts. 

 

Timothy Morrison, National Security Council aide

Morrison, a senior National Security Council aide who was recruited by Bolton, confirmed to impeachment investigators that the substance of Taylor’s damning testimony was accurate. Morrison, who is not a lawyer, also said he believed the requests Trump made in his July 25 phone call with Zelensky were “not illegal.”

 

David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs 

Hale reportedly testified about the shadow campaign by Trump and other associates to remove Yovanovitch as ambassador.

 

Jennifer Williams, national security adviser to Vice President Pence

Williams, a career foreign service officer, is said to have voiced concern over the Ukraine aid being withheld. One source said she felt puzzled by the administration’s decision to delay, but the Pence aide noted to investigators that she was not part of the decision-making process.

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Individuals who have not testified: 

Rick PerryRick PerryOvernight Energy: BLM may boost staff numbers at new Colorado headquarters | Perry backers reportedly got Ukraine gas deal after he met with president | Paris exit toughens US path to green future Perry backers secured lucrative Ukraine gas deal after his meeting with new president: report The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week MORE, Energy secretary 

Perry has refused to comply with a House subpoena for his testimony. Democrats want to know about Perry's interactions with Ukraine, particularly because Perry, along with Sondland and Volker, was described as being one of the “three amigos” who took lead on Ukraine policy for the Trump administration.

 

Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney to file separate suit to fight impeachment subpoena Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment MORE, acting White House chief of staff 

Mulvaney did not comply with Democrats’ subpoena for his testimony on Friday. 

An official working on the impeachment inquiry said his outside counsel alerted House investigators “one minute” before his scheduled deposition that the acting White House chief of staff would not testify, citing White House claims of “absolute immunity.”

 

John Bolton, former national security adviser

A lawyer for Bolton informed lawmakers this week that the longtime GOP hawk would file a lawsuit if Democrats subpoenaed him for testimony. 

Democrats in response said Thursday they would not move forward with trying to obtain Bolton's testimony, fearing that a court battle would delay their inquiry.

In response, a lawyer for Bolton expressed “dismay” Friday that they would not allow the courts to determine whether Bolton and his former aide Charles Kupperman must testify. The lawyer, Charles Cooper, said that Bolton has participated in "many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed" in the House's impeachment inquiry.

 

Charles Kupperman, former deputy national security adviser to Bolton

Kupperman, Bolton’s former deputy, shared the same lawyer with his former boss. He filed a lawsuit after House Democrats subpoenaed his testimony, asking the courts to decide whether he should comply with the executive branch’s claims of executive privilege or the legislative branch’s subpoena for his testimony. Democrats on Wednesday withdrew their subpoena for Kupperman's testimony, signaling a desire to not slow down their inquiry.

 

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney 

A lawyer for Giuliani said his client would not comply with a subpoena issued by House Democrats, arguing that the impeachment inquiry is not legal. 

Witnesses have testified that Giuliani a key figure in pushing for the removal of Yovanovitch and in spreading allegations about Biden and his family.

 

Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate

Parnas and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani associate, were recently charged with campaign finance violations. Parnas initially told House investigators he would not cooperate with their inquiry, but is now in talks with impeachment investigators. 

 

Igor Fruman, a Giuliani associate

Fruman, who has been charged in a federal investigation, would not comply with a subpoena seeking his testimony early last month, his lawyer told The Miami Herald.

 

Robert Blair, top aide to acting White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney

Blair did not comply with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.

 

Ulrich Brechbuhl, State Department counselor

Brechbuhl has not complied with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.

 

Mark Sandy, associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget

It is unclear if Sandy was under subpoena to testify. He did not appear for his scheduled deposition on Friday.

 

Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget

Duffey did not comply with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.

 

Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget

Vought did not comply with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.

 

Wells Griffith, senior director for International Energy and Environment at the National Security Council

Griffith did not appear for his deposition in early November. It is unclear whether he was asked to testify voluntarily or if he was under subpoena.

 

John Eisenberg, legal adviser to the National Security Council

Eisenberg did not comply with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.

 

Michael Ellis, legal adviser to the National Security Council 

Ellis did not comply with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.

 

Brian McCormack, former chief of staff to Energy Secretary Perry 

McCormack did not comply with House Democrats’ subpoena seeking his testimony.