Published: Sun, November 17, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

White House budget official to testify in impeachment probe on Saturday

White House budget official to testify in impeachment probe on Saturday

Tim Morrison, a top aide at the National Security Council, testified on October 31, while Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and top adviser to Vice President Pence, testified on November 7.

Jennifer Williams, who serves as Pence's special adviser for Europe and Russian Federation, was listening in on the call which is now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Williams is due to appear at an open hearing on November 19.

Morrison, who was on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky, said he had reviewed Taylor's testimony and did not dispute it on any significant points. House Democrats say that aid was withheld from Ukraine until its government launched investigations into Biden, his son Hunter and their dealings in the eastern European county - particularly the younger Biden's work with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings. Mark Sandy, a career official of the Office of Management and Budget, was the first person from OMB to testify before the inquiry after three political appointees defied congressional subpoenas to appear.

You can read the full testimony of Jennifer Williams here.

"In that (Holmes) statement that was released there was a lot to be concerned about, particularly that more witnesses described the president's obsession with investigating his political opponents", Swalwell said.

The testimony by Holmes, an aide to top USA diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor, ties Trump more directly to a pressure campaign in Ukraine to investigate the Bidens led by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Williams had listened in on the phone call while it was happening, and a whistleblower revealing the controversial contents of that call prompted the current impeachment inquiry into Trump.

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Pence told Zelensky that the US fully supports Ukraine, but said he wanted an update on corruption reform efforts "that he could then convey back to the president", according to Williams.

Williams, who defied the White House's orders in agreeing to appear for her deposition, told investigators that she read a cable from the top USA diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, outlining his concerns about the hold on military aid.

'This is a technical part of our investigation, ' Raskin told reporters outside the interview room.

Trump defended his attack on Yovanovitch, saying he had the right to free speech.

The phone call occurred on July 26, one day after the now-infamous phone conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy. Investigators have sought to learn whether - and when - Pence knew that Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani were specifically seeking investigations into the Bidens. Morrison also testified that, when it came to the investigations and military aid, Sondland had "related to me he was acting - he was discussing these matters with the President".

Morrison said he understood that Sondland and Trump had spoken "half a dozen times" between mid-July and mid-September, adding that he, National Security Adviser John Bolton and other officials viewed Sondland's involvement as "a problem".

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