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Westlake Legal Group > Biden, Joseph R Jr

Pete Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162874992_cc8f58c0-1b2f-42cc-a719-b7d0bd11c395-facebookJumbo Pete Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Polls and Public Opinion Des Moines Register Democratic Party Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

DES MOINES — Pete Buttigieg continues to surge in Iowa, leapfrogging Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to hold a commanding lead among likely Democratic caucusgoers, according to a new poll from The Des Moines Register and CNN.

The poll showed that Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., was the first choice for 25 percent of would-be Democratic caucusgoers, a significant increase from the 9 percent he held in September, when The Register last polled the state. The support placed him far ahead of the rest of the field — with the other three top candidates in a virtual tie for second: Ms. Warren at 16 percent and Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders at 15 percent.

The results are the latest evidence of Mr. Buttigieg’s strength in Iowa, where his moderate political views, plain-spoken style and military history have resonated in the early voting state. Since September, when he placed fourth in the Register poll, he has more than doubled his on-the-ground staff to over 100 and has opened more than 20 field offices. He recently completed another bus tour in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday night during the state’s Democratic convention, Mr. Buttigieg said the just-released poll numbers were “extremely encouraging.”

“We have felt a lot of momentum on the ground,” he said.

His rise also suggests that voters, in Iowa at least, are increasingly favoring a centrist agenda — a view that has drawn two new entrants, Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, into the race this month.

The poll results reflect the deep split within the Democratic Party over whether it is veering too far to the left to defeat President Trump. Speaking on Friday to a room of wealthy liberal donors, former President Barack Obama expressed concern about some of the policy ideas being promoted by some of the candidates, citing health care and immigration as issues where the proposals may not align with public opinion.

Though he did not single out any candidates directly, his remarks were seen as an implicit criticism of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, two of the leading candidates who are pushing policy plans once considered too liberal, like “Medicare for all,” with the broader goal of “political revolution” and “big, structural change.”

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Mr. Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Ms. Warren, who led the Register’s September poll, with 22 percent, fell 6 percentage points. Her poll numbers are now roughly what they were in June, when she was at 15 percent. Mr. Sanders, who suffered a heart attack shortly after the last poll results were released, climbed 4 percentage points.

Mr. Biden, who has seen his standing in Iowa slowly slip, dropped 5 percentage points.

In addition to identifying a new Iowa front-runner, the poll has once again delineated a clear divide between the top tier of Democratic candidates — Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders — and the rest of the field. The next-closest candidate in the poll was Senator Amy Klobuchar, with 6 percent, followed by a cluster of White House hopefuls with 3 percent, including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang.

Mr. Bloomberg, who has suggested he would skip the first four early nominating states, including Iowa, if he were to officially enter the race, was at 2 percent.

Jennifer Medina contributed reporting from Long Beach, Calif.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162874992_cc8f58c0-1b2f-42cc-a719-b7d0bd11c395-facebookJumbo Buttigieg Jumps Out to Lead in Iowa Poll Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Polls and Public Opinion Des Moines Register Democratic Party Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

DES MOINES — Pete Buttigieg continues to surge in Iowa, leapfrogging Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to hold a commanding lead among likely Democratic caucusgoers, according to a new poll from The Des Moines Register and CNN.

The poll showed that Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., was the first choice for 25 percent of would-be Democratic caucusgoers, a significant increase from the 9 percent he held in September, when The Register last polled the state. The support placed him far ahead of the rest of the field — with the other three top candidates in a virtual tie for second: Ms. Warren, at 16 percent and Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders at 15 percent.

The results are the latest evidence of Mr. Buttigieg’s strength in Iowa, where his moderate political views, plain-spoken style and military history have resonated in the early voting state. Since September, when he placed fourth in the Register poll, he has more than doubled his on-the-ground staff to over 100 and has opened more than 20 field offices. He recently completed another bus tour in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday night during the state’s Democratic convention, Mr. Buttigieg said the just-released poll numbers were “extremely encouraging.”

“We have felt a lot of momentum on the ground,” he said.

His rise also suggests that voters, in Iowa at least, are increasingly favoring a centrist agenda — a view that has drawn two new entrants, Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, — into the race this month.

The poll results reflect the deep split within the Democratic Party over whether it is veering too far to the left to defeat President Trump. Speaking on Friday to a room of wealthy liberal donors, former President Barack Obama expressed concern about some of the policy ideas being promoted by some of the candidates, citing health care and immigration as issues where the proposals may not align with public opinion.

Though he did not single out any candidates directly, his remarks were seen as an implicit criticism of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, two of the leading candidates who are pushing policy plans once considered too liberal, like “Medicare for all,” with the broader goal of “political revolution” and “big, structural change.”

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Mr. Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Ms. Warren, who led the Register’s September poll, with 22 percent, fell 6 percentage points. Her poll numbers are now roughly what they were in June, when she was at 15 percent. Mr. Sanders, who suffered a heart attack shortly after the last poll results were released, climbed 4 percentage points.

Mr. Biden, who has seen his standing in Iowa slowly slip, dropped 5 percentage points.

In addition to identifying a new Iowa front-runner, the poll has once again delineated a clear divide between the top tier of Democratic candidates — Mr. Buttigieg, Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders — and the rest of the field. The next-closest candidate in the poll was Senator Amy Klobuchar, with 6 percent, followed by a cluster of White House hopefuls with 3 percent, including Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang.

Mr. Bloomberg, who has suggested he would skip the first four early nominating states, including Iowa, was at 2 percent.

Jennifer Medina contributed reporting from Long Beach, Calif.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Embassy Official Confirms Trump Asked About Ukraine Investigation

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-holmes-facebookJumbo Embassy Official Confirms Trump Asked About Ukraine Investigation Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Republican Party KIEV, Ukraine impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Holmes, David (Diplomat) Foreign Service (US) Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he had overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president asked whether Ukraine was going to move forward with an investigation he wanted.

The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, when he overheard Mr. Trump on a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct an investigation into one of his leading political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who had just come from a meeting with top Ukrainian officials and the country’s president, replied in the affirmative.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to a copy of Mr. Holmes’s opening statement posted by CNN and confirmed by The New York Times.

Mr. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and political donor turned ambassador, told Mr. Trump that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine “loves your ass,” and would conduct the investigation and do “anything you ask him to,” according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

After the call ended, Mr. Holmes asked if it was true that the president did not care about Ukraine. Mr. Sondland, he testified, agreed. According to Mr. Holmes’s account, the ambassador said Mr. Trump cared only about the “big stuff.” Mr. Holmes noted Ukraine had “big stuff” going on, like a war with Russia.

But Mr. Sondland had something else in mind. He told Mr. Holmes he meant “‘big stuff’ that benefits the president,” like the “Biden investigation” that his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was pushing for, because it affected him personally.

The account could prove significant as Democrats continue to build an impeachment case against Mr. Trump. It illustrates how preoccupied he was with persuading Ukraine’s president to go along with his demand that the country commit publicly to investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading political rival, and how he actively used his power and the instruments of American foreign policy to see that it happened.

It adds significant new detail to a conversation that was first revealed on Wednesday during public testimony by Mr. Holmes’s boss, William B. Taylor Jr., the top American envoy in Ukraine. Mr. Taylor said then that he had only recently learned of the episode from Mr. Holmes. And it raised the possibility that Mr. Holmes could be called to testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry and presented Democrats with new leads to track down even as they conduct a string of high-profile public hearings with other witnesses.

Mr. Holmes, a career Foreign Service officer who is the political counselor in the American Embassy in Kiev, said he had been following the impeachment inquiry from afar in recent weeks and came to understand only belatedly that he had pertinent information to share. He testified under subpoena by the House Intelligence Committee after the State Department directed him not to appear, according to an official working on the inquiry.

“I came to realize I had firsthand knowledge regarding certain events on July 26 that had not otherwise been reported, and that those events potentially bore on the question of whether the president did, in fact, have knowledge that those officials were using the levers of our diplomatic power to induce the new Ukrainian president to announce the opening of a particular criminal investigation,” he testified.

Mr. Holmes’s account of the relationship between the two countries in his opening statement was broader, though, and closely resembles that offered by other top officials who have offered public and private testimony to the House.

He described how Mr. Sondland and two other American officials — Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the United States special envoy to Ukraine — styled themselves as the “Three Amigos” and took charge of Ukraine policy within the administration. On the outside, Mr. Giuliani exercised significant influence over what they did.

“Beginning in March 2019, the situation in the embassy and in Ukraine changed dramatically,” Mr. Holmes said, according to his statement. “Specifically, our diplomatic policy that had been focused on supporting Ukrainian democratic reform and resistance to Russian aggression became overshadowed by a political agenda being promoted by Rudy Giuliani and a cadre of officials operating with a direct channel to the White House.”

The conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland took place on July 26, one day after Mr. Trump personally pressed Mr. Zelensky in a now-famous phone call to investigate Mr. Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as unproven allegations that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump specifically wanted an investigation into unsubstantiated corruption allegations related to Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma Holdings.

Mr. Sondland did not mention the episode to investigators last month when he answered their questions in private. He will almost certainly be asked about it next week when he appears for public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

He has already revised his initial testimony once, admitting to the panel last week that he told a top Ukrainian official that the country would probably not receive a package of nearly $400 million in security assistance Mr. Trump froze in July unless it committed publicly to the investigations Mr. Trump sought. And Republicans have argued that he may be overstating his access to and influence with the president.

On Thursday, two people familiar with the matter said that a second embassy official, Suriya Jayanti, also overheard the call and could corroborate Mr. Holmes’s account. It is unclear if investigators will also call her to testify. On Friday, Mr. Holmes indicated there was a third person present who would have overheard it, as well.

Mr. Holmes told investigators that he did not take notes during the conversation, but said he immediately told other embassy officials about it.

The conversation took place not long after Mr. Sondland had met directly with Mr. Zelensky and other officials. Mr. Holmes’s account gave hints that Mr. Trump’s request may have been on Mr. Zelensky’s mind, but it does not indicate what, if anything, he or his aides may have communicated to Mr. Sondland. In the meeting, Mr. Holmes recalled, Mr. Zelensky said that Mr. Trump had raised “some very sensitive issues” “three times” on the call — issues the Ukrainian leader noted they would have to follow up on in person.

Mr. Holmes described sitting on the terrace of a Kiev restaurant a little while later during lunch with Mr. Sondland, sharing a bottle of wine, when Mr. Sondland called Mr. Trump. The president was speaking so loudly, he said, that Mr. Sondland held the phone away from his ear and Mr. Holmes and others could hear Mr. Trump’s voice.

In addition to discussing the investigations, Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland discussed ASAP Rocky, an American rapper imprisoned in Sweden at the time on charges of assault. Mr. Sondland told the president the rapper “should have pled guilty,” according to Mr. Holmes’s written statement.

Mr. Sondland then advised Mr. Trump that he should “let him get sentenced, play the racism card, give him a ticker-tape when he comes home,” Mr. Holmes testified. The ambassador added that Sweden “should have released him on your word,” and added, referring to an American reality show celebrity family pressing for Mr. Trump’s help in the case, “you can tell the Kardashians you tried.”

Mr. Sondland noted after the call that the president was in a “bad mood.”

Mr. Holmes’s account included other potentially significant details new to investigators about Trump administration officials using a White House meeting and the frozen military assistance as leverage for what Mr. Trump wanted. He testified that Mr. Taylor told him at the time about a June 28 call with him, the “Three Amigos” and Mr. Zelensky in which “it was made clear that some action on a Burisma/Biden investigation was a precondition for an Oval Office meeting.”

Mr. Taylor described the same call in his testimony, saying that Mr. Sondland had said he “wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring” the call. But Mr. Taylor did not say that investigations or preconditions had been discussed.

“It is important to understand that a White House visit was critical to President Zelensky,” Mr. Holmes said. “He needed to demonstrate U.S. support at the highest levels both to advance his ambitious anti-corruption agenda at home and to encourage Russian President Putin to take seriously President Zelensky’s peace efforts.”

By late summer, Mr. Holmes testified, he had a “clear impression” that a hold on the military aid was also “likely intended by the president either to express dissatisfaction that the Ukrainians had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigations or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.”

Mr. Holmes also described frustrations among American officials.

At one point, he said, Mr. Sondland vented: “Dammit, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f—s everything up.”

He said that John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, openly discussed strategies for marginalizing Mr. Giuliani on a trip to Kiev during the summer. Mr. Holmes testified that he also complained about Mr. Sondland’s “expansive interpretation of his mandate.” And he recalled Mr. Bolton saying that a hold on the security assistance would be lifted only if Mr. Zelensky could “favorably impress” during a face-to-face meeting scheduled for early September. The meeting never happened.

Other witnesses have described similar concerns by Mr. Bolton, and investigators would like to speak with him, but he has declined to appear given White House orders not to.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Embassy Official Confirms Trump Asked About Ukraine Investigation

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-holmes-facebookJumbo Embassy Official Confirms Trump Asked About Ukraine Investigation Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Republican Party KIEV, Ukraine impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Holmes, David (Diplomat) Foreign Service (US) Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he had overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president asked whether Ukraine was going to move forward with an investigation he wanted.

The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, when he overheard Mr. Trump on a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct an investigation into one of his leading political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who had just come from a meeting with top Ukrainian officials and the country’s president, replied in the affirmative.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to a copy of Mr. Holmes’s opening statement posted by CNN and confirmed by The New York Times.

Mr. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and political donor turned ambassador, told Mr. Trump that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine “loves your ass,” and would conduct the investigation and do “anything you ask him to,” according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

After the call ended, Mr. Holmes asked if it was true that the president did not care about Ukraine. Mr. Sondland, he testified, agreed. According to Mr. Holmes’s account, the ambassador said Mr. Trump cared only about the “big stuff.” Mr. Holmes noted Ukraine had “big stuff” going on, like a war with Russia.

But Mr. Sondland had something else in mind. He told Mr. Holmes he meant “‘big stuff’ that benefits the president,” like the “Biden investigation” that his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was pushing for, because it affected him personally.

The account could prove significant as Democrats continue to build an impeachment case against Mr. Trump. It illustrates how preoccupied he was with persuading Ukraine’s president to go along with his demand that the country commit publicly to investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading political rival, and how he actively used his power and the instruments of American foreign policy to see that it happened.

It adds significant new detail to a conversation that was first revealed on Wednesday during public testimony by Mr. Holmes’s boss, William B. Taylor Jr., the top American envoy in Ukraine. Mr. Taylor said then that he had only recently learned of the episode from Mr. Holmes. And it raised the possibility that Mr. Holmes could be called to testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry and presented Democrats with new leads to track down even as they conduct a string of high-profile public hearings with other witnesses.

Mr. Holmes, a career Foreign Service officer who is the political counselor in the American Embassy in Kiev, said he had been following the impeachment inquiry from afar in recent weeks and came to understand only belatedly that he had pertinent information to share. He testified under subpoena by the House Intelligence Committee after the State Department directed him not to appear, according to an official working on the inquiry.

“I came to realize I had firsthand knowledge regarding certain events on July 26 that had not otherwise been reported, and that those events potentially bore on the question of whether the president did, in fact, have knowledge that those officials were using the levers of our diplomatic power to induce the new Ukrainian president to announce the opening of a particular criminal investigation,” he testified.

Mr. Holmes’s account of the relationship between the two countries in his opening statement was broader, though, and closely resembles that offered by other top officials who have offered public and private testimony to the House.

He described how Mr. Sondland and two other American officials — Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the United States special envoy to Ukraine — styled themselves as the “Three Amigos” and took charge of Ukraine policy within the administration. On the outside, Mr. Giuliani exercised significant influence over what they did.

“Beginning in March 2019, the situation in the embassy and in Ukraine changed dramatically,” Mr. Holmes said, according to his statement. “Specifically, our diplomatic policy that had been focused on supporting Ukrainian democratic reform and resistance to Russian aggression became overshadowed by a political agenda being promoted by Rudy Giuliani and a cadre of officials operating with a direct channel to the White House.”

The conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland took place on July 26, one day after Mr. Trump personally pressed Mr. Zelensky in a now-famous phone call to investigate Mr. Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as unproven allegations that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump specifically wanted an investigation into unsubstantiated corruption allegations related to Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma Holdings.

Mr. Sondland did not mention the episode to investigators last month when he answered their questions in private. He will almost certainly be asked about it next week when he appears for public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

He has already revised his initial testimony once, admitting to the panel last week that he told a top Ukrainian official that the country would probably not receive a package of nearly $400 million in security assistance Mr. Trump froze in July unless it committed publicly to the investigations Mr. Trump sought. And Republicans have argued that he may be overstating his access to and influence with the president.

On Thursday, two people familiar with the matter said that a second embassy official, Suriya Jayanti, also overheard the call and could corroborate Mr. Holmes’s account. It is unclear if investigators will also call her to testify. On Friday, Mr. Holmes indicated there was a third person present who would have overheard it, as well.

Mr. Holmes told investigators that he did not take notes during the conversation, but said he immediately told other embassy officials about it.

The conversation took place not long after Mr. Sondland had met directly with Mr. Zelensky and other officials. Mr. Holmes’s account gave hints that Mr. Trump’s request may have been on Mr. Zelensky’s mind, but it does not indicate what, if anything, he or his aides may have communicated to Mr. Sondland. In the meeting, Mr. Holmes recalled, Mr. Zelensky said that Mr. Trump had raised “some very sensitive issues” “three times” on the call — issues the Ukrainian leader noted they would have to follow up on in person.

Mr. Holmes described sitting on the terrace of a Kiev restaurant a little while later during lunch with Mr. Sondland, sharing a bottle of wine, when Mr. Sondland called Mr. Trump. The president was speaking so loudly, he said, that Mr. Sondland held the phone away from his ear and Mr. Holmes and others could hear Mr. Trump’s voice.

In addition to discussing the investigations, Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland discussed ASAP Rocky, an American rapper imprisoned in Sweden at the time on charges of assault. Mr. Sondland told the president the rapper “should have pled guilty,” according to Mr. Holmes’s written statement.

Mr. Sondland then advised Mr. Trump that he should “let him get sentenced, play the racism card, give him a ticker-tape when he comes home,” Mr. Holmes testified. The ambassador added that Sweden “should have released him on your word,” and added, referring to an American reality show celebrity family pressing for Mr. Trump’s help in the case, “you can tell the Kardashians you tried.”

Mr. Sondland noted after the call that the president was in a “bad mood.”

Mr. Holmes’s account included other potentially significant details new to investigators about Trump administration officials using a White House meeting and the frozen military assistance as leverage for what Mr. Trump wanted. He testified that Mr. Taylor told him at the time about a June 28 call with him, the “Three Amigos” and Mr. Zelensky in which “it was made clear that some action on a Burisma/Biden investigation was a precondition for an Oval Office meeting.”

Mr. Taylor described the same call in his testimony, saying that Mr. Sondland had said he “wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring” the call. But Mr. Taylor did not say that investigations or preconditions had been discussed.

“It is important to understand that a White House visit was critical to President Zelensky,” Mr. Holmes said. “He needed to demonstrate U.S. support at the highest levels both to advance his ambitious anti-corruption agenda at home and to encourage Russian President Putin to take seriously President Zelensky’s peace efforts.”

By late summer, Mr. Holmes testified, he had a “clear impression” that a hold on the military aid was also “likely intended by the president either to express dissatisfaction that the Ukrainians had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigations or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.”

Mr. Holmes also described frustrations among American officials.

At one point, he said, Mr. Sondland vented: “Dammit, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f—s everything up.”

He said that John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, openly discussed strategies for marginalizing Mr. Giuliani on a trip to Kiev during the summer. Mr. Holmes testified that he also complained about Mr. Sondland’s “expansive interpretation of his mandate.” And he recalled Mr. Bolton saying that a hold on the security assistance would be lifted only if Mr. Zelensky could “favorably impress” during a face-to-face meeting scheduled for early September. The meeting never happened.

Other witnesses have described similar concerns by Mr. Bolton, and investigators would like to speak with him, but he has declined to appear given White House orders not to.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Former G.O.P. Lawmaker Pressed for Ambassador’s Ouster, Diplomat Will Say

Westlake Legal Group 30dc-impeach-1-facebookJumbo Former G.O.P. Lawmaker Pressed for Ambassador’s Ouster, Diplomat Will Say Zelensky, Volodymyr Yovanovitch, Marie L Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Foreign Aid Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — Robert Livingston, the former Republican congressman turned lobbyist, repeatedly told a foreign service officer assigned to the White House that the American ambassador to Ukraine should be fired because of her association with Democrats, the officer plans to tell impeachment investigators on Wednesday.

The officer, Catherine M. Croft, will testify that she “documented” multiple calls from Mr. Livingston about the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, while she was working at the National Security Council from mid-2017 to mid-2018. She plans to say she informed two other officials — Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the council, and George P. Kent, a Ukraine expert at the State Department — about them at the time.

“He characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as an ‘Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” she will say, referring to the billionaire liberal philanthropist, according to a copy of Ms. Croft’s opening statement reviewed by The New York Times. “It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch.”

The testimony shifts forward by several months a timeline of known attacks on Ms. Yovanovitch by conservatives questioning, without evidence, her loyalty to President Trump. It is not clear if Mr. Livingston’s work, or those financing it, were in any way connected to efforts by two Americans with business interests in Ukraine who wanted her gone and, later, by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Nor did Ms. Croft have anything to say about who else Mr. Livingston spoke with.

Still, the outreach is certain to interest impeachment investigators, who are scrutinizing smears against Ms. Yovanovitch to understand if they were part of a larger pressure campaign by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to secure from Ukraine politically beneficial investigations into Democratic rivals. Mr. Trump eventually recalled her this spring from Kiev, months ahead of schedule.

Ms. Croft is one of two witnesses the House committees leading the inquiry will summon on Wednesday. Both served as advisers to Kurt D. Volker, the United States’ special envoy to Ukraine, and in other diplomatic capacities related to that country. The other is Christopher J. Anderson, who preceded Ms. Croft as Mr. Volker’s adviser.

Investigators will be keen to press both officers to confirm aspects of testimony given earlier by Mr. Volker and fill in details about his work trying to manage the demands of Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani on the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. They are expected to testify despite State Department orders not to.

Mr. Volker told investigators that he had not been aware of any quid pro quo demanded by Mr. Trump, but he detailed how Mr. Giuliani pressed the Ukrainians to publicly pledge that they would undergo investigations that could damage the president’s political domestic adversaries. And text messages he shared with Congress at least appeared to show that a coveted White House meeting for Mr. Zelensky would come only if they agreed to certain investigations.

According to a copy of his own opening statement, Mr. Anderson will testify that he and Mr. Volker worked to accommodate Mr. Giuliani’s influence as they tried to help Ukraine’s new government root out corruption in general and deepen its ties to the United States — but bumped up against it again and again.

Mr. Anderson plans to describe a June 13 meeting at the White House with Mr. Volker and John R. Bolton, then Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, in which Mr. Bolton indicated that Mr. Giuliani could pose a problem as they sought to build more support for Mr. Zelensky among senior White House officials.

“He cautioned that Mr. Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement,” Mr. Anderson planned to say. He will add that he wrote a summary of Mr. Bolton’s remarks about Mr. Giuliani and shared it with Mr. Kent and others at the State Department.

Other witnesses have testified that Mr. Bolton expressed alarm at Mr. Giuliani’s role in even more vivid terms on other occasions.

During another meeting of senior officials at the Energy Department a few days later, Mr. Anderson plans to testify, there were “vague discussions in the meeting about how to address Mr. Giuliani’s continued calls for a corruption investigation.”

Ms. Croft, who took over as Mr. Volker’s adviser in July, appears to have less to say about Mr. Giuliani.

As for Mr. Livingston, Ms. Croft does precisely date the outreach in her opening statement, but she was assigned to the National Security Council as Ukraine director from July 2017 to July 2018, when she left for another government posting.

In her own testimony before impeachment investigators, Ms. Yovanovitch said that she was informed upon removal that Mr. Trump had lost faith in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018. Ms. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat and veteran ambassador, said that she had no bias against Mr. Trump and that her bosses at the State Department had acknowledged she did “nothing wrong.”

Mr. Livingston was once a household name in Washington, and closely associated with the impeachment of another president, Bill Clinton. In 1998, Mr. Livingston was on the cusp of being elected House speaker as Republicans were preparing to impeach Mr. Clinton, but he abruptly resigned after details of his extramarital affair became public.

Foreign Agents Registration Act filings show that Mr. Livingston’s firm, the Livingston Group, has represented Ukrainian clients in the past, including in 2018.

Ms. Croft may also have other information of interest to investigators, including about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Mr. Zelensky’s predecessor. She plans to say that during her time at the National Security Council, she staffed a September 2017 meeting between Mr. Trump and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine and was involved that winter in Mr. Trump’s decision to sell Javelin missiles to Ukraine.

As part of their work, House Democrats are investigating whether Mr. Trump later tried to use $391 million in military aid as leverage to secure the investigations he wanted into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unproven theory about Democrats colluding with Ukraine in the 2016 election. Ms. Croft will say she learned that Mr. Trump had frozen the aid in July.

Both Ms. Croft and Mr. Anderson intend to warn about the risks of a failure by the White House to support Mr. Zelensky and Ukraine in their continuing military conflict with Russia.

“His best chance at success is with our support along with our European partners,” Ms. Croft will say. “It is my hope that even as this committee’s process plays out, we do not lose sight of what is happening in Ukraine and its great promise as a prosperous and democratic member of the European community.”

In one case, Mr. Anderson plans to say, the senior White House officials blocked the release of a statement prepared by the State Department that would have condemned Russia for attacking and seizing Ukrainian military vessels in November 2018. Mr. Volker ended up sending his own tweet.

Mark J. MacDougall, a lawyer for both witnesses, planned to tell investigators for the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees that neither Ms. Croft nor Mr. Anderson is the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint about Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine helped prompt the impeachment inquiry. But in a statement of his own, he will say that neither witness would be willing to answer questions they believe may be meant to identify the whistle-blower.

“To the extent we reasonably conclude that any questions directed to Mr. Anderson this afternoon are intended to assist anyone in establishing the identity of the whistle-blower, we will make the necessary objections and will give the witness appropriate instructions,” Mr. MacDougall planned to say.

His decision to offer such introductory remarks was unusual, and reflected the extent to which accounts of Republican questioning related to the activity of the whistle-blower has spooked potential witnesses.

Sharon LaFraniere contributed reporting.

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White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call

Westlake Legal Group 29dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo White House Ukraine Expert Sought to Correct Transcript of Trump Call Zelensky, Volodymyr Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Ethics and Official Misconduct Burisma Holdings Ltd Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

Colonel Vindman did not testify to a motive behind the editing process. But his testimony is likely to drive investigators to ask further questions about how officials handled the call, including changes to the transcript and the decision to put it into the White House’s most classified computer system — and whether those moves were meant to conceal the conversation’s most controversial aspects.

The phrases do not fundamentally change lawmakers’ understanding of the call, which was first reported by the C.I.A. whistle-blower whose complaint set off the impeachment inquiry. There are plenty of other examples of Mr. Trump referring to Ukraine-related conspiracy theories and asking for investigations of the Biden family. But Colonel Vindman’s account offered a hint to solving a mystery surrounding the conversation: what Mr. Trump’s aides left out of the transcript in places where ellipses indicated dropped words.

In hours of questioning on Tuesday by Democrats and Republicans, Colonel Vindman recounted his alarm at the July 25 call, saying he “did not think it was proper” for Mr. Trump to have asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate a political rival, and how White House officials struggled to deal with the fallout from a conversation he and others considered problematic.

His testimony about the reconstructed transcript, the aftermath of the call and a shadow foreign policy being run outside the National Security Council came as Democrats unveiled plans for a more public phase of the impeachment process. They plan to vote on Thursday to direct the Intelligence Committee to conduct public hearings and produce a report for the Judiciary Committee to guide its consideration of impeachment articles. The measure will also provide a mechanism for Republicans to request subpoenas for witnesses and give Mr. Trump’s lawyers a substantive role in the Judiciary Committee’s proceedings to mount a defense.

Some lawmakers indicated Colonel Vindman would make a good candidate to appear again at a public hearing next month.

It is not clear why some of Colonel Vindman’s changes were not made, while others he recommended were, but the decision by a White House lawyer to quickly lock down the reconstructed transcript subverted the normal process of handling such documents.

The note-takers and voice recognition software used during the July 25 call had missed Mr. Zelensky saying the word “Burisma,” but the reconstructed transcript does reference “the company,” and suggests that the Ukrainian president is aware that it is of great interest to Mr. Trump.

The prosecutor general, Mr. Zelensky said, according to the document, “will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.”

The rough transcript also contains ellipses at three points where Mr. Trump is speaking. Colonel Vindman told investigators that at the point of the transcript where the third set of ellipses appears, Mr. Trump said there were tapes of Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump’s mention of tapes is an apparent reference to Mr. Biden’s comments at a January 2018 event about his effort to get Ukraine to force out its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin. Supporters of Mr. Biden have said Mr. Shokin was widely criticized for his lax anti-corruption efforts. Republicans charge, without evidence, that Mr. Biden was trying to stop an investigation into his son.

Colonel Vindman told House investigators Tuesday that he twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were pressuring Ukraine to undertake inquiries beneficial to the president, including of Mr. Biden. After the July 25 call, the colonel reported what happened to a superior, explaining that “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” according to his opening remarks. He added, “This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

He also described confronting Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, after the envoy pressed Ukrainian officials to help the Trump administration by investigating the Biden family. The colonel said he acted out of a “sense of duty,” and emphasized his military service in his remarks. “I am a patriot,” he said, “and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

As he spoke, House leaders were preparing for what was expected to be significant new private testimony from current and former White House officials in the coming days. On Wednesday, they will hear from two Ukraine experts who advised Kurt D. Volker, the former United States special envoy to the country. On Thursday, Timothy Morrison, the National Security Council’s Russia and Europe director, is scheduled to testify. And on Friday, investigators have called Robert Blair, a top national security adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.

There is no recording of the July 25 call by the American side. The White House uses note-takers listening in on the call as well as voice recognition software to create a rough transcript that is a close approximation of the call. But names and technical terms are frequently missed by the software, according to people familiar with the matter.

After the call, Colonel Vindman was given a hard copy of the rough transcript to make updates and corrections, according to a person familiar with the matter. Colonel Vindman went through the transcript, made changes and gave his written edits to his boss, Mr. Morrison, according to the person.

But after the call, Colonel Vindman went with his brother, a lawyer on the National Security Council staff, to see John A. Eisenberg, the council’s legal adviser, to raise his concerns about the conversation.

Colonel Vindman declined to detail to investigators his discussions with Mr. Eisenberg, citing attorney-client privilege, according to two of the people familiar with the testimony.

One explanation for why Colonel Vindman’s changes were not made could be that the transcript had been quickly placed into a highly secure computer system, the N.S.C. Intelligence Collaboration Environment, or NICE system, making it more difficult to alter.

Mr. Eisenberg ordered the transcript moved to ensure that people who were not assigned to handle Ukraine policy could not read the transcript, a decision he hoped would prevent gossip and leaks about the call.

Putting the transcript in the secure server would have made it more difficult to make further edits to the document, and in the case of the July call effectively stopped additional changes.

Mr. Eisenberg made the decision without consulting with his supervisor, Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. A White House review of the handling of the call is examining if Mr. Eisenberg acted properly in securing the notes.

Administration officials have said a number of calls between Mr. Trump and foreign leaders were put in the most secure server. But tightened security had been put in place for those calls ahead of time. The Ukraine call was put in the secure server only after the fact.

In the whistle-blower complaint that was made public, the C.I.A. officer wrote that placing the rough transcript in the server was part of an effort to lock it down, restrict access and a sign that “White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

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Army Officer Who Heard Trump’s Ukraine Call Reported Concerns

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-testimony1-facebookJumbo Army Officer Who Heard Trump’s Ukraine Call Reported Concerns Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) impeachment House of Representatives Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.

He will be the first White House official to testify who listened in on the July 25 telephone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, in which Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”

Burisma Holdings is an energy company on whose board Mr. Biden’s son served while his father was vice president.

“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” Colonel Vindman added, referring to Mr. Trump’s comments in the call.

The colonel, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb and whose statement is full of references to duty and patriotism, could be a more difficult witness to dismiss than his civilian counterparts.

“I am a patriot,” Colonel Vindman plans to tell the investigators, “and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

He was to be interviewed privately on Tuesday by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees, in defiance of a White House edict not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

The colonel, who is represented by Michael Volkov, a former federal prosecutor, declined to comment for this article.

In his testimony, Colonel Vindman plans to say that he is not the whistle-blower who initially reported Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. But he will provide an account that corroborates and fleshes out crucial elements in that complaint, which prompted Democrats to open their impeachment investigation.

“I did convey certain concerns internally to national security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command,” he plans to say.

He will testify that he watched with alarm as “outside influencers” began pushing a “false narrative” about Ukraine that was counter to the consensus view of American national security officials, and harmful to United States interests. According to documents reviewed by The Times on the eve of his congressional testimony, Colonel Vindman was concerned as he discovered that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was leading an effort to prod Kiev to investigate Mr. Biden’s son, and to discredit efforts to investigate Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business dealings in Ukraine.

His account strongly suggests that he may have been among the aides the whistle-blower referred to in his complaint when he wrote that White House officials had recounted the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky to him, and “were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call.”

Colonel Vindman did not interact directly with the president, but was present for a series of conversations that shed light on his pressure campaign on Ukraine.

He will also testify that he confronted Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, the day the envoy spoke in a White House meeting with Ukrainian officials about “Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”

Even as he expressed alarm about the pressure campaign, the colonel and other officials worked to keep the United States relationship with Ukraine on track. At the direction of his superiors at the National Security Council, including John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, Colonel Vindman drafted a memorandum in mid-August that sought to restart security aid that was being withheld from Ukraine, but Mr. Trump refused to sign it, according to documents reviewed by the Times. And he drafted a letter in May congratulating Mr. Zelensky on his inauguration, but Mr. Trump did not sign that either, according to the documents.

Colonel Vindman was concerned after he learned that the White House budget office had taken the unusual step of withholding the $391 million package of security assistance for Ukraine that had been approved by Congress. At least one previous witness has testified that Mr. Trump directed that the aid be frozen until he could secure a commitment from Mr. Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens.

While Colonel Vindman’s concerns were shared by a number of other officials, some of whom have already testified, he was in a unique position. Because he emigrated from Ukraine along with his family when he was a child and is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, Ukrainian officials sought advice from him about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani, though they typically communicated in English.

On two occasions, the colonel brought his concerns to John A. Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. The first came on July 10. That day, senior American officials met with senior Ukrainian officials at the White House, in a stormy meeting in which Mr. Bolton is said to have had a tense exchange with Mr. Sondland after the ambassador raised the matter of investigations he wanted Ukraine to undertake. That meeting has been described in previous testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

At a debriefing later that day attended by the colonel, Mr. Sondland again urged Ukrainian officials to help with investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

“Ambassador Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma,” Colonel Vindman said in his draft statement.

“I stated to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate” and that the “request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the N.S.C. was going to get involved in or push,” he added.

The colonel’s account echoed the testimony of Fiona Hill, one of his superiors, who has previously testified behind closed doors that she and Mr. Bolton were angered by efforts to politicize the interactions with Ukraine.

The colonel said that after his confrontation with Mr. Sondland, “Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.”

Ms. Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs, also reported the incident to Mr. Eisenberg.

The colonel went to Mr. Eisenberg a couple of weeks later, after the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky. This time, the colonel was accompanied by his identical twin brother, Yevgeny, who is a lawyer on the National Security Council.

The picture painted by Colonel Vindman’s testimony has been echoed by several other senior officials, including William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, who testified last week that multiple senior administration officials had told him that the president blocked security aid to Ukraine and would not meet with Mr. Zelensky until he publicly pledged to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

While the White House has urged witnesses subpoenaed by Congress not to participate in the impeachment inquiry, failing to comply with a congressional subpoena would be a risky career move for an active-duty military officer.

As tensions grew over Ukraine policy, the White House appears to have frozen out Colonel Vindman. Since early August, he has been excluded from a number of relevant meetings and events, including a diplomatic trip to three countries under his purview: Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.

Colonel Vindman said he had reported concerns up his chain of command because he believed he was obligated to do so.

“On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities,” he said. “I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same, thus providing his or her best advice to leadership.”

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Army Officer on White House Staff Reported Concerns on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings

Westlake Legal Group 28dc-testimony1-facebookJumbo Army Officer on White House Staff Reported Concerns on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) impeachment House of Representatives Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.

He will be the first White House official to testify who listened in on the July 25 telephone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, in which Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”

Burisma Holdings is an energy company on whose board Mr. Biden’s son served while his father was vice president.

“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” Colonel Vindman added, referring to Mr. Trump’s comments in the call.

The colonel, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb and whose statement is full of references to duty and patriotism, could be a more difficult witness to dismiss than his civilian counterparts.

“I am a patriot,” Colonel Vindman plans to tell the investigators, “and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

He was to be interviewed privately on Tuesday by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees, in defiance of a White House edict not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

The colonel, who is represented by Michael Volkov, a former federal prosecutor, declined to comment for this article.

In his testimony, Colonel Vindman plans to say that he is not the whistle-blower who initially reported Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. But he will provide an account that corroborates and fleshes out crucial elements in that complaint, which prompted Democrats to open their impeachment investigation.

“I did convey certain concerns internally to national security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command,” he plans to say.

He will testify that he watched with alarm as “outside influencers” began pushing a “false narrative” about Ukraine that was counter to the consensus view of American national security officials, and harmful to United States interests. According to documents reviewed by The Times on the eve of his congressional testimony, Colonel Vindman was concerned as he discovered that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was leading an effort to prod Kiev to investigate Mr. Biden’s son, and to discredit efforts to investigate Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business dealings in Ukraine.

His account strongly suggests that he may have been among the aides the whistle-blower referred to in his complaint when he wrote that White House officials had recounted the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky to him, and “were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call.”

Colonel Vindman did not interact directly with the president, but was present for a series of conversations that shed light on his pressure campaign on Ukraine.

He will also testify that he confronted Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, the day the envoy spoke in a White House meeting with Ukrainian officials about “Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”

Even as he expressed alarm about the pressure campaign, the colonel and other officials worked to keep the United States relationship with Ukraine on track. At the direction of his superiors at the National Security Council, including John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, Colonel Vindman drafted a memorandum in mid-August that sought to restart security aid that was being withheld from Ukraine, but Mr. Trump refused to sign it, according to documents reviewed by the Times. And he drafted a letter in May congratulating Mr. Zelensky on his inauguration, but Mr. Trump did not sign that either, according to the documents.

Colonel Vindman was concerned after he learned that the White House budget office had taken the unusual step of withholding the $391 million package of security assistance for Ukraine that had been approved by Congress. At least one previous witness has testified that Mr. Trump directed that the aid be frozen until he could secure a commitment from Mr. Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens.

While Colonel Vindman’s concerns were shared by a number of other officials, some of whom have already testified, he was in a unique position. Because he emigrated from Ukraine along with his family when he was a child and is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, Ukrainian officials sought advice from him about how to deal with Mr. Giuliani, though they typically communicated in English.

On two occasions, the colonel brought his concerns to John A. Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. The first came on July 10. That day, senior American officials met with senior Ukrainian officials at the White House, in a stormy meeting in which Mr. Bolton is said to have had a tense exchange with Mr. Sondland after the ambassador raised the matter of investigations he wanted Ukraine to undertake. That meeting has been described in previous testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

At a debriefing later that day attended by the colonel, Mr. Sondland again urged Ukrainian officials to help with investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

“Ambassador Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma,” Colonel Vindman said in his draft statement.

“I stated to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate” and that the “request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the N.S.C. was going to get involved in or push,” he added.

The colonel’s account echoed the testimony of Fiona Hill, one of his superiors, who has previously testified behind closed doors that she and Mr. Bolton were angered by efforts to politicize the interactions with Ukraine.

The colonel said that after his confrontation with Mr. Sondland, “Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.”

Ms. Hill, the former senior director for European and Russian affairs, also reported the incident to Mr. Eisenberg.

The colonel went to Mr. Eisenberg a couple of weeks later, after the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky. This time, the colonel was accompanied by his identical twin brother, Yevgeny, who is a lawyer on the National Security Council.

The picture painted by Colonel Vindman’s testimony has been echoed by several other senior officials, including William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, who testified last week that multiple senior administration officials had told him that the president blocked security aid to Ukraine and would not meet with Mr. Zelensky until he publicly pledged to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

While the White House has urged witnesses subpoenaed by Congress not to participate in the impeachment inquiry, failing to comply with a congressional subpoena would be a risky career move for an active-duty military officer.

As tensions grew over Ukraine policy, the White House appears to have frozen out Colonel Vindman. Since early August, he has been excluded from a number of relevant meetings and events, including a diplomatic trip to three countries under his purview: Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.

Colonel Vindman said he had reported concerns up his chain of command because he believed he was obligated to do so.

“On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities,” he said. “I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same, thus providing his or her best advice to leadership.”

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On ‘60 Minutes,’ Biden Questions Trump’s Legacy While Emphasizing His Own

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163367850_ba4061ad-2fad-4e1e-a53b-35e154c36518-facebookJumbo On ‘60 Minutes,’ Biden Questions Trump’s Legacy While Emphasizing His Own Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Biden, Joseph R Jr

In a wide-ranging “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. declared himself the Democratic front-runner, defended his son’s foreign business dealings and explained why it was critical for the country’s future to defeat President Trump in 2020.

“What I am worried about is the country,” Mr. Biden said. “Four years of Donald Trump will be very hard to overcome, but we can. Eight years of Donald Trump will fundamentally change the nature of who we are as a country. And it’ll take a generation, a generation or more for us to get back on track.”

Making a pitch for his presidential bid as the nomination contest tightens, Mr. Biden emphasized his experience.

“I think, as I said, we need somebody who, on day one, knows exactly what to do, can command the world stage,” Mr. Biden said. “No one wonders whether I know a great deal about these issues and foreign policy and domestic policy. They’re things I’ve done.”

Noting that the president calls Mr. Biden “Sleepy Joe,” the “60 Minutes” anchor Norah O’Donnell said some people worried about whether Mr. Biden was “quick enough” to defend himself against Mr. Trump.

“What they’re really trying to make the case is about age,” said Mr. Biden, who will turn 77 in November. “And with age comes experience, with experience comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes judgment.”

The CBS interview with Ms. O’Donnell, taped at Mr. Biden’s Delaware home days earlier, marked his first major network sit-down since Mr. Trump, 73, launched attacks on the international business dealings of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

Revelations that the president had pressured Ukrainian authorities to investigate the Bidens prompted the impeachment inquiry that Mr. Trump now faces in the House of Representatives.

Asked why Mr. Biden did not tell his son to avoid a role in the Ukrainian gas company Burisma for fear it might appear improper, Mr. Biden said, “He was already on the board. And he’s a grown man. And it turns out he did not do a single thing wrong, as everybody’s investigated.”

Mr. Biden added that he had never discussed business with his children. “They know where I have to do my job and that’s it and they have to make their own judgments,” he said.

Taking aim at Mr. Trump’s family, Mr. Biden said, “Look, I wasn’t raised to go after the children. Their actions speak for themselves,” adding, “If I’m president, get elected president, my children are not going to have offices in the White House. My children are not going to sit in on cabinet meetings,” Mr. Biden said.

“It’s just simply improper because you should make it clear to the American public that everything you’re doing is for them,” Mr. Biden said. “And the idea that you’re going to have his children, his son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about.”

The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, should not be negotiating Middle East peace, Mr. Biden said. “What credentials does he bring to that?”

With little more than three months until the first caucus, in Iowa, most national public polls show Mr. Biden leading his top opponents, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, although one poll recently placed Ms. Warren at the head of the pack.

Asked whether he was worried that his opponents were exciting young voters by offering dramatic change, Mr. Biden said that while he wants young people engaged, older voters — a demographic in which Mr. Biden has considerable support — will ultimately control the outcome of the nomination race.

“Overwhelmingly, people over the age of 50 vote in these primaries,” Mr. Biden said. He also took aim at his rivals for what he called far-reaching assertions.

“I mean, let’s talk about ‘Medicare for all,’” he said of the single-player health system that Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders support. “Do you think there’s been any truth in advertising on that? It’s going to raise taxes on middle class people, not just wealthy people.” Mr. Biden proposes a plan that would build on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, maintaining a public option for those who need it.

Ms. Warren’s recent advance — combined with the fund-raising difficulties of Mr. Biden’s campaign — have left some of his supporters worried.

Expressing optimism, Mr. Biden said, “I know I’m the front-runner,” adding that he wasn’t concerned about money. “We’re on a course to do extremely well,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not — I’m not worried about being able to fund this campaign.”

In the last fund-raising quarter, his campaign said it had only $9 million cash in hand, far less than that of his key rivals. But Mr. Biden’s campaign recently reversed course on its longstanding opposition to the assistance of super PACs, opening the door for wealthy supporters to spend unlimited amounts of money to assist his Democratic primary candidacy.

Mr. Biden was pressed by a CBS News reporter on this reversal after a campaign event in Durham, N.C., also Sunday night, and the former vice president pointed to the barrage of attack ads he has faced from Mr. Trump’s allies.

“I learned after the fact from, from my folks, there are a lot of people who said, ‘We can’t let this stand,’” he said “They are able to do that. I haven’t discouraged them from doing it, but I haven’t encouraged it either. I’ve just stayed away. Hands off. But if I’m the nominee and if I win, I promise you I’m going to continue to push for a constitutional amendment to make sure that there’s public funding of elections.”

During his “60 Minutes” interview, Ms. O’Donnell also hammered Mr. Biden about his debate gaffes. While he acknowledged that the Democratic debates had presented a “learning curve” for him, his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who sat in on part of the interview, expressed confidence that the public would overlook them.

“The American people know who Joe Biden is,” Dr. Biden said. “I mean, if he misspeaks one word — that doesn’t affect the way they’re going to vote, one way or the other.”

When Ms. O’Donnell asked Dr. Biden whether she had observed any “change in his ability to communicate in recent years,” she laughed, “No. Not at all.”

Katie Glueck contributed reporting.

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On ‘60 Minutes,’ Biden Questions Trump’s Legacy While Emphasizing His Own

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163367850_ba4061ad-2fad-4e1e-a53b-35e154c36518-facebookJumbo On ‘60 Minutes,’ Biden Questions Trump’s Legacy While Emphasizing His Own Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Biden, Joseph R Jr

In a wide-ranging “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. declared himself the Democratic front-runner, defended his son’s foreign business dealings and explained why it was critical for the country’s future to defeat President Trump in 2020.

“What I am worried about is the country,” Mr. Biden said. “Four years of Donald Trump will be very hard to overcome, but we can. Eight years of Donald Trump will fundamentally change the nature of who we are as a country. And it’ll take a generation, a generation or more for us to get back on track.”

Making a pitch for his presidential bid as the nomination contest tightens, Mr. Biden emphasized his experience.

“I think, as I said, we need somebody who, on day one, knows exactly what to do, can command the world stage,” Mr. Biden said. “No one wonders whether I know a great deal about these issues and foreign policy and domestic policy. They’re things I’ve done.”

Noting that the president calls Mr. Biden “Sleepy Joe,” the “60 Minutes” anchor Norah O’Donnell said some people worried about whether Mr. Biden was “quick enough” to defend himself against Mr. Trump.

“What they’re really trying to make the case is about age,” said Mr. Biden, who will turn 77 in November. “And with age comes experience, with experience comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes judgment.”

The CBS interview with Ms. O’Donnell, taped at Mr. Biden’s Delaware home days earlier, marked his first major network sit-down since Mr. Trump, 73, launched attacks on the international business dealings of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

Revelations that the president had pressured Ukrainian authorities to investigate the Bidens prompted the impeachment inquiry that Mr. Trump now faces in the House of Representatives.

Asked why Mr. Biden did not tell his son to avoid a role in the Ukrainian gas company Burisma for fear it might appear improper, Mr. Biden said, “He was already on the board. And he’s a grown man. And it turns out he did not do a single thing wrong, as everybody’s investigated.”

Mr. Biden added that he had never discussed business with his children. “They know where I have to do my job and that’s it and they have to make their own judgments,” he said.

Taking aim at Mr. Trump’s family, Mr. Biden said, “Look, I wasn’t raised to go after the children. Their actions speak for themselves,” adding, “If I’m president, get elected president, my children are not going to have offices in the White House. My children are not going to sit in on cabinet meetings,” Mr. Biden said.

“It’s just simply improper because you should make it clear to the American public that everything you’re doing is for them,” Mr. Biden said. “And the idea that you’re going to have his children, his son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about.”

The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, should not be negotiating Middle East peace, Mr. Biden said. “What credentials does he bring to that?”

With little more than three months until the first caucus, in Iowa, most national public polls show Mr. Biden leading his top opponents, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, although one poll recently placed Ms. Warren at the head of the pack.

Asked whether he was worried that his opponents were exciting young voters by offering dramatic change, Mr. Biden said that while he wants young people engaged, older voters — a demographic in which Mr. Biden has considerable support — will ultimately control the outcome of the nomination race.

“Overwhelmingly, people over the age of 50 vote in these primaries,” Mr. Biden said. He also took aim at his rivals for what he called far-reaching assertions.

“I mean, let’s talk about ‘Medicare for all,’” he said of the single-player health system that Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders support. “Do you think there’s been any truth in advertising on that? It’s going to raise taxes on middle class people, not just wealthy people.” Mr. Biden proposes a plan that would build on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, maintaining a public option for those who need it.

Ms. Warren’s recent advance — combined with the fund-raising difficulties of Mr. Biden’s campaign — have left some of his supporters worried.

Expressing optimism, Mr. Biden said, “I know I’m the front-runner,” adding that he wasn’t concerned about money. “We’re on a course to do extremely well,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not — I’m not worried about being able to fund this campaign.”

In the last fund-raising quarter, his campaign said it had only $9 million cash in hand, far less than that of his key rivals. But Mr. Biden’s campaign recently reversed course on its longstanding opposition to the assistance of super PACs, opening the door for wealthy supporters to spend unlimited amounts of money to assist his Democratic primary candidacy.

Mr. Biden was pressed by a CBS News reporter on this reversal after a campaign event in Durham, N.C., also Sunday night, and the former vice president pointed to the barrage of attack ads he has faced from Mr. Trump’s allies.

“I learned after the fact from, from my folks, there are a lot of people who said, ‘We can’t let this stand,’” he said “They are able to do that. I haven’t discouraged them from doing it, but I haven’t encouraged it either. I’ve just stayed away. Hands off. But if I’m the nominee and if I win, I promise you I’m going to continue to push for a constitutional amendment to make sure that there’s public funding of elections.”

During his “60 Minutes” interview, Ms. O’Donnell also hammered Mr. Biden about his debate gaffes. While he acknowledged that the Democratic debates had presented a “learning curve” for him, his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who sat in on part of the interview, expressed confidence that the public would overlook them.

“The American people know who Joe Biden is,” Dr. Biden said. “I mean, if he misspeaks one word — that doesn’t affect the way they’re going to vote, one way or the other.”

When Ms. O’Donnell asked Dr. Biden whether she had observed any “change in his ability to communicate in recent years,” she laughed, “No. Not at all.”

Katie Glueck contributed reporting.

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