Published: Wed, November 20, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Top aides air fears over Donald Trump's Ukraine call

Top aides air fears over Donald Trump's Ukraine call

The investigation could lead the House to approve formal charges against Trump - called articles of impeachment - that would be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial on whether to remove him from office.

Later in the day, Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Kyiv, and Tim Morrison, another top NSC aide, testified before the powerful House Committee.

Schiff responded that under a House resolution that outlines the impeachment proceeding procedures, the Democrats "can have successive rounds of up to 45 minutes" to question witnesses.

A U.S. official said Vindman and his family might be moved to a military base because of security threats.

"I remember, the meeting was essentially over when Ambassador Sondland made a generic comment about investigations", Sondland's new statement read, referring to U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and Trump's desired political investigations.

Williams told the hearing that Trump's call with Zelenskiy was unusual and inappropriate because "it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter".

Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the White House National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, testified at the third public hearing in the impeachment investigation before the US House of Representatives intelligence committee.

Sondland's appearance at Wednesday morning's hearing, and his closeness to Trump, is of particular concern to the White House as the historic impeachment inquiry reaches closer to the president, pushing through an intense week with nine witnesses testifying over three days in back-to-back sessions.

JNU students protesting against fee hike break barricades, march towards Parliament
Credit: PTIA Jawaharlal Nehru University student baton-charged by police during a protest march towards Parliament. The students have demanded that the detainees which included JNUSU President be released by the police.

During a July 25 call, Trump repeatedly pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a corruption probe into Democratic front-runner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, asking for a "favor".

Volker and Morrison said that the call with Zelensky were not in line with American national security goals. Afterward, Sondland said he had relayed to the Ukrainian that USA aid might be freed if the country would announce the investigations, Morrison testified.

This was about getting a White House meeting.

In almost more than seven hours of testimony, four witnesses described the months-long push for the Ukraine investigations by Trump and aides, particularly his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland, the US Ambassador to the European Union. "I never saw the man", Trump said.

As the damaging testimony piled up, Republicans turned to character assassination to undermine Vindman, so far one of the most potent witnesses in the impeachment investigation.

"However, buried among the witnesses" personal opinions and conjecture about a call the White House long ago released to the public, both witnesses testified the July 25 transcript was "accurate" and nothing President Trump has done or said amounts to "bribery' or any other crime", she added.

"It's just not credible to me that a vice president of the United States is going to do anything other than act as how he sees best for the national interest", Volker said, citing his 24-year history with the elder Biden.

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