Currents News Staff
The public impeachment hearings enter a second week, with eight witnesses scheduled to testify before the house intelligence committee over the next three days.
This week, nine more witnesses in the impeachment inquiry are set to come before the House Intelligence Committee. Four of them — who previously gave testimony behind closed doors — do so publicly today.
Last week’s hearings showed that there still could be surprises in the form of either new information or responding to the president, in real time.
“A member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations,” said Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine.
“And now the president in real time is attacking you,” explained Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee.
“It’s very intimidating,” said Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
A theme of the Republican defense of President Trump last week was that witnesses didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the July 25 phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, dismissing elements of their testimony as hearsay.
“They’ve had three hearings. Three witnesses with no firsthand knowledge,” said Republican Representative Jim Jordan.
But three of today’s witnesses were on that phone call: Jennifer Williams, a foreign policy aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Timothy Morrison and Alexander Vindman of the National Security and from the National Security Council. Vindman told lawmakers in his closed door testimony that he reported concerns about the call within hours, and was later told not to discuss it with anyone.
Also on the schedule: Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine who was one of the so-called “three amigos” — along with energy secretary Rick Perry and ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland — tasked with handling Ukraine policy by the president.