Pence adviser on Ukraine call testifies in impeachment probe

Dick Durbin

Dick Durbin

That request, which sparked the impeachment inquiry, included a public investigation into Ukrainian activities by Democratic former vice president Joe Biden and his son and Mr Trump's allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

President Donald Trump is denying he wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference to declare that Trump broke no laws when he pressed Ukraine's president to investigate Democrats. Pence has said that he and the Ukrainian president did not discuss Biden during their closed-door meeting, but they had discussed the White House's decision to halt security aid to the nation meant to counter Russian aggression.

Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, said that President Donald Trump's latest attack on the publication was a "repugnant attempt to intimidate and harass" its staff. Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly pulled from her post as USA ambassador to Ukraine in May, will testify on November 15.

Sondland said the remarks were the culmination of months of pressure placed on Kyiv, mainly through Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to open "anti-corruption" investigations into the Bidens and into Trump's unsubstantiated belief that Ukraine assisted the Democrats in the 2016 election. Perry did not show up for his Wednesday interview and Mulvaney was not expected to appear for his scheduled deposition on Friday.

Sondland's additions were revealed Tuesday when Democrats released transcripts of some witnesses' testimony.

Schiff said in his statement that the witnesses will demonstrate that "the most important facts are largely not contested" in the inquiry.

The White House later released the transcript of the phone call showing that President Trump did not explicitly leverage military aid in order to get Ukraine to investigate.

The information nugget will appear in the book "A Warning", written by the same current or former senior government official who wrote an anonymous op-ed past year in the New York Times claiming that "senior officials in [Trump's] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations".

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Trump loyalists in Congress have been disparaging the impeachment process, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sought to do after Schiff's announcement.

Investigators are wrapping up the private interviews as they prepare to start public hearings next week.

The marquee appearance teed up for next week may well be Taylor's.

Kent, who had served as a top diplomat in Ukraine, also said he was subject to attacks by Giuliani and was told to "keep his head down" by a senior State Department official.

He would likely confirm previous witness accounts of the Trump administration's efforts to push Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son in exchange for military aid, according to a Thursday report from The Washington Post, citing "people familiar with his views". "It had still not occurred to me that the hold on security assistance could be related to the investigations", Taylor said.

An aide to Vice President Mike Pence has arrived on Capitol Hill to testify behind closed doors in the Democrats' impeachment investigation.

In transcripts released Monday and Tuesday, State Department officials detailed Yovanovitch's ouster and Giuliani's dealings with the department, White House and Ukraine. He later walked back those comments.

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