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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 112)

Impeachment Hearings: Live Updates as Vindman and Williams Begin Testimony

Video

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-impeachbriefing-vid-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearings: Live Updates as Vindman and Williams Begin Testimony Zelensky, Volodymyr Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Whistle-Blowers Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party National Security Council impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a senior aide to Vice President Mike Pence, are scheduled to testify Tuesday morning. Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison, a senior national security aide, will appear in the afternoon.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Two senior national security officials at the White House will challenge President Trump’s description of his call with the Ukraine president as “perfect,” during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing by recalling their growing sense of alarm as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appeal for investigations into a political rival.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran and the top Ukraine official at the National Security Council, is expected to testify that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer. Jennifer Williams, a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, will also testify that she found the president’s call “unusual and inappropriate.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 19dc-impeachbriefing-sub2-articleLarge-v2 Impeachment Hearings: Live Updates as Vindman and Williams Begin Testimony Zelensky, Volodymyr Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Whistle-Blowers Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party National Security Council impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Jennifer Williams arriving Tuesday on Capitol Hill.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The pair will kick off three days of testimony from nine diplomats and national security officials as Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee continue to build their case that Mr. Trump tried to extort Ukraine by withholding security aid until the government agreed to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden.

Colonel Vindman arrived at the hearing room in his dark blue Army dress uniform with military ribbons on his chest. Democrats are betting that Mr. Trump’s defenders will have a difficult time dismissing the testimony of a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb.

Colonel Vindman’s previous testimony was filled with declarations of duty and patriotism as he described his concern at learning that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was leading a pressure campaign on Ukraine to announce the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted. Colonel Vindman is expected to say that at the direction of John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser at the time, he wrote a memorandum urging that security aid for Ukraine be restarted, but Mr. Trump refused to sign it.

Republicans are hoping to portray Colonel Vindman’s strong opinions about the president’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, as just that — his own opinions about a telephone call for which a reconstructed transcript has already been released. They intend to point out that the president makes no mention of security aid during the call.

Colonel Vindman has been the subject of character attacks by Mr. Trump’s allies since he testified privately in the impeachment inquiry. The campaign against him has become so intense that the Army has been assessing potential security threats to Colonel Vindman and his brother Yevgeny, who also works at the National Security Council. There have also been discussions about moving the Vindmans and their families on to a military base for their protection, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.

Kurt D. Volker, President Trump’s special envoy for Ukraine, will testify Tuesday afternoon that he was out of the loop as Mr. Giuliani effectively sought to pressure Ukraine for investigations of the Bidens. Other witnesses, however, have challenged Mr. Volker’s testimony, describing him as a member of a trio known inside the Trump administration as the “three amigos,” who were running a shadow foreign policy on Ukraine with Rick Perry, the energy secretary, and Gordon D. Sondland, a Trump megadonor and the United States ambassador to the European Union.

Mr. Volker will be joined on the afternoon panel by Timothy Morrison, a longtime Republican congressional aide who has previously testified about a conversation between the president and Mr. Sondland in which Mr. Trump insisted that Ukraine must publicly announce investigations.

But Republicans plan to focus on Mr. Morrison’s assessment of the president’s July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky. Mr. Morrison told lawmakers that he heard nothing illegal as he listened to the call, though he was concerned that it could leak and cause political problems.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured Mr. Zelensky to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.

Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Hearings: Live Updates as Vindman and Williams Begin Testimony Zelensky, Volodymyr Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Whistle-Blowers Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party National Security Council impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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Who Is Jennifer Williams? Pence Aide Listened to Trump-Zelensky Call

Westlake Legal Group 00DC-WILLIAMS-facebookJumbo Who Is Jennifer Williams? Pence Aide Listened to Trump-Zelensky Call Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry

WASHINGTON — As the special adviser on Europe and Russia for Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams was one of a handful of national security officials who listened in real time to President Trump’s July 25 telephone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine.

Her recollections of that call — based in part on extensive notes she took as the two leaders spoke — have made the veteran Foreign Service officer a key witness in the Democratic-led inquiry into whether Mr. Trump should be impeached for trying to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into his political rivals.

In closed-door testimony last month, Ms. Williams told lawmakers that she was taken aback by Mr. Trump’s insistence during the call that Mr. Zelensky open investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a candidate for president in 2020, and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was in office. She said that the conversation with Mr. Zelensky was “more political in nature” than other calls with foreign leaders that she had listened to and that she felt it was “unusual and inappropriate.”

Ms. Williams noted in particular the mention of “Burisma,” the name of the company that employed Hunter Biden.

The reconstructed transcript of the July 25 call released by the White House did not include the word “Burisma.” But Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, also testified that when Mr. Zelensky is shown to have referred to “the company you mentioned,” he actually said “Burisma.” Colonel Vindman said his attempt to correct the record of the call to include the company’s name, and to reflect that Mr. Trump said that he had recordings of Mr. Biden, failed.

On Tuesday, Ms. Williams is scheduled to testify in public, becoming the latest in a series of diplomats to express their concerns about the call.

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump lashed out at Ms. Williams — “whoever that is,” he tweeted — saying that she should read the transcripts of the July 25 call and another one between the two leaders that took place in April. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!” Mr. Trump wrote. A spokeswoman for Mr. Pence said merely, “Jennifer is a State Department employee.”

A White House official said some were not surprised by Mr. Trump’s attack on Ms. Williams, whom the official described as an innocent bystander in the impeachment mess, and expressed disappointment that senior staff on Mr. Pence’s team did nothing to defend her. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment. The person said it reflected poorly on the vice president that he was apparently unable to protect Ms. Williams from being publicly disparaged by the president.

Ms. Williams joined the Foreign Service in 2006 after spending a year as a political appointee working for Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, in George W. Bush’s administration. In addition to serving in Jamaica under Mr. Bush and in Beirut, Lebanon, under President Barack Obama, Ms. Williams spent about three years working for the State Department on the humanitarian crisis involving refugees in Syria. Six months before Mr. Trump became president, Ms. Williams was transferred to London to work as the deputy spokeswoman at the embassy there.

But in April, she was assigned to Mr. Pence’s staff, becoming one of his top foreign policy advisers even as the campaign intensified by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to pressure Ukraine on the investigations that the president wanted.

Democrats are interested in what Mr. Pence knew about the effort to withhold security aid in exchange for a commitment to investigate the Bidens. During the closed-door deposition, Ms. Williams told lawmakers that she was not aware that the vice president was involved in any discussions about the investigations. She said Mr. Pence did not mention investigations to Mr. Zelensky.

But Ms. Williams did shed light on one mystery related to Mr. Pence: why he abruptly canceled his planned trip to Ukraine to attend Mr. Zelensky’s inaugural. Ms. Williams told lawmakers that an assistant to the vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, told her in mid-May that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Pence to stay home.

Ms. Williams said she was never given a reason for the president’s change of mind. The decision not to have Mr. Pence attend the inaugural celebration in late May was cited by the anonymous C.I.A. whistle-blower in the complaint that prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi to officially begin impeachment proceedings.

Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting.

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

What to Expect From the Impeachment Inquiry Hearings

As Democrats enter the second week of public impeachment hearings, lawmakers on Tuesday will hear from four Trump administration officials about their alarm at President Trump’s call with the leader of Ukraine and efforts to pressure the country to announce investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Who: Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a senior aide to Vice President Mike Pence, will appear together in the morning. Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison, a senior national security aide, will appear in the afternoon.

What: The House Intelligence Committee, led by its chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, continues to examine the case for impeaching Mr. Trump.

When and Where: The morning proceedings start at 9 a.m. Eastern in the vaulted, columned chambers of the House Ways and Means Committee, and could last until the early afternoon. The second set of hearings is scheduled to start around 2:30 p.m., depending on when the morning session is finished.

How to Watch: The New York Times will stream the testimony live, and a team of reporters in Washington will provide real-time context and analysis of the events on Capitol Hill. Follow along at nytimes.com, starting a few minutes before 9.

Westlake Legal Group 00impeachment-archetypes-videopromo-image-articleLarge-v2 What to Expect From the Impeachment Inquiry Hearings Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Volker, Kurt D Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Morrison, Timothy A (1978- ) House Committee on Intelligence

The Impeachment Inquiry’s Main Players

Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds.

Two senior national security officials will open Tuesday’s hearings by recalling their alarm as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appeal for investigations into a political rival on a call with the president of Ukraine. Colonel Vindman is expected to testify that he reported the call to the National Security Council’s top lawyer. Ms. Williams will also testify that she found the president’s call “unusual and inappropriate.”

Democrats are betting that Mr. Trump’s defenders will have a difficult time dismissing the testimony of Colonel Vindman, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb. His previous testimony was filled with declarations of duty and patriotism, and he delivered it wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform with military ribbons on his chest. Colonel Vindman described his concern about a pressure campaign on Ukraine to announce the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

Republicans are hoping to portray Colonel Vindman’s strong opinions about the president’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, as just that — his own opinions. They intend to point out that the president made no mention of security aid during the call.

Mr. Volker is expected to say he was out of the loop as Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, effectively sought to pressure Ukraine for investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats. Other witnesses, however, have challenged Mr. Volker’s testimony. Mr. Volker will be joined on the afternoon panel by Mr. Morrison, a former longtime Republican congressional aide who has testified about a call between the president and Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, in which Mr. Trump insisted that Ukraine must publicly announce investigations. But Republicans plan to focus on Mr. Morrison’s assessment that he heard nothing illegal or improper on the president’s July 25 call with Mr. Zelensky.

  • The four witnesses have already appeared for closed-door depositions in the inquiry. Read key excerpts from their testimony here: Vindman, Williams, Volker, Morrison.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured Mr. Zelensky to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.

Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 What to Expect From the Impeachment Inquiry Hearings Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Volker, Kurt D Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Morrison, Timothy A (1978- ) House Committee on Intelligence

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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

How Not to Plot Secret Foreign Policy: On a Cellphone and WhatsApp

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-rudycyber1-facebookJumbo How Not to Plot Secret Foreign Policy: On a Cellphone and WhatsApp United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Taylor, William B Jr Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Nuland, Victoria J National Security Council Morrison, Timothy A (1978- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Cyberwarfare and Defense

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor at the center of the impeachment investigation into the conduct of Ukraine policy, makes a living selling cybersecurity advice through his companies. President Trump even named him the administration’s first informal “cybersecurity adviser.”

But inside the National Security Council, officials expressed wonderment that Mr. Giuliani was running his “irregular channel” of Ukraine diplomacy over open cell lines and communications apps in Ukraine that the Russians have deeply penetrated.

In his testimony to the House impeachment inquiry, Tim Morrison, who is leaving as the National Security Council’s head of Europe and Russia, recalled expressing astonishment to William B. Taylor Jr., who was sitting in as the chief American diplomat in Ukraine, that the leaders of the “irregular channel” seemed to have little concern about revealing their conversations to Moscow.

“He and I discussed a lack of, shall we say, OPSEC, that much of Rudy’s discussions were happening over an unclassified cellphone or, perhaps as bad, WhatsApp messages, and therefore you can only imagine who else knew about them,” Mr. Morrison testified. OPSEC is the government’s shorthand for operational security.

He added: “I remember being focused on the fact that there were text messages, the fact that Rudy was having all of these phone calls over unclassified media,” he added. “And I found that to be highly problematic and indicative of someone who didn’t really understand how national security processes are run.”

WhatsApp notes that its traffic is encrypted, meaning that even if it is intercepted in transit, it is of little use — which is why intelligence agencies, including the Russians, are working diligently to get inside phones to read the messages after they are deciphered.

But far less challenging is figuring out the message of Mr. Giuliani’s partner, Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, who held an open cellphone conversation with Mr. Trump from a restaurant in Ukraine, apparently loud enough for his table mates to overhear. And Mr. Trump’s own cellphone use has led American intelligence officials to conclude that the Chinese — with whom he is negotiating a huge trade deal, among other sensitive topics — are doubtless privy to the president’s conversations.

But Ukraine is a particularly acute case. It is the country where the Russians have so deeply compromised the communications network that in 2014 they posted on the internet conversations between a top Obama administration diplomat, Victoria Nuland, and the United States ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Geoffrey R. Pyatt. Their intent was to portray the Americans — not entirely inaccurately — as trying to manage the ouster of a corrupt, pro-Russian president of Ukraine.

The incident made Ms. Nuland, who left the State Department soon after Mr. Trump’s election, “Patient Zero” in the Russian information-warfare campaign against the United States, before Moscow’s interference in the American presidential election.

But it also served as a warning that if you go to Ukraine, stay off communications networks that Moscow wired.

That advice would seem to apply especially to Mr. Giuliani, who speaks around the world on cybersecurity issues. Ukraine was the petri dish for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the place where he practiced the art of trying to change vote counts, initiating information warfare and, in two celebrated incidents, turning out the lights in parts of the country.

Mr. Giuliani, impeachment investigators were told, was Mr. Trump’s interlocutor with the new Ukrainian government about opening investigations into the president’s political opponents. The simultaneous suspension of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine, which some have testified was on Mr. Trump’s orders, fulfilled Moscow’s deepest wish at a moment of ground war in eastern Ukraine, and a daily, grinding cyberwar in the capital.

It remains unknown why the Russians have not made any of these conversations public, assuming they possess them. But inside the intelligence agencies, the motives of Russian intelligence officers is a subject of heated speculation.

A former senior American intelligence official speculated that one explanation is that Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Sondland were essentially doing the Russians’ work for them. Holding up military aid — for whatever reason — assists the Russian “gray war” in eastern Ukraine and sows doubts in Kyiv, also known as Kiev in the Russian transliteration, that the United States is wholly supportive of Ukraine, a fear that many State Department and National Security Council officials have expressed in testimony.

But Mr. Giuliani also was stoking an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Mr. Putin has engaged in, suggesting that someone besides Russia — in this telling, Ukrainian hackers who now supposedly possess a server that once belonged to the Democratic National Committee — was responsible for the hacking that ran from 2015 to 2016.

Mr. Trump raised this possibility in his July 25 phone call with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. It was not the first time he had cast doubt on Russia’s involvement: In a call to a New York Times reporter moments after meeting Mr. Putin for the first time in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017, Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Putin’s view that Russia is so good at cyberoperations that it would have never been caught. “That makes sense, doesn’t it?” he asked.

He expressed doubts again in 2018, in a news conference with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland. That was only days after the Justice Department indicted a dozen Russian intelligence officers for their role in the hack; the administration will not say if it now believes that indictment was flawed because there is evidence that Ukranians were responsible.

Whether or not he believes Ukraine was involved, Mr. Giuliani certainly understood the risks of talking on open lines, particularly in a country with an active cyberwar. As a former prosecutor, he knows what the United States and its adversaries can intercept. In more recent years, he has spoken around the world on cybersecurity challenges. And as the president’s lawyer, he was a clear target.

Mr. Giuliani said in a phone interview Monday that nothing he talked about on the phone or in texts was classified. “All of my conversations, I can say uniformly, were on an unclassified basis,” he said.

His findings about what happened in Ukraine were “generated from my own investigations” and had nothing to do with the United States government, he said, until he was asked to talk with Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine, in a conversation that is now part of the impeachment investigation. Mr. Volker will testify in public on Tuesday.

Mr. Giuliani said that he never “conducted a shadow foreign policy, I conducted a defense of my client,” Mr. Trump. “The State Department apparatchiks are all upset that I intervened at all,” he said, adding that he was the victim of “wild accusations.”

Mr. Sondland is almost as complex a case. While he is new to diplomacy, he is the owner of a boutique set of hotels and certainly is not unaware of cybersecurity threats, since the hotel industry is a major target, as Marriott learned a year ago.

But Mr. Sondland held a conversation with Mr. Trump last summer in a busy restaurant in Kyiv, surrounded by other American officials. Testimony indicates Mr. Trump’s voice was loud enough for others at the table to hear.

But in testimony released Monday night, David Holmes, a veteran Foreign Service officer who is posted to the American Embassy in Kyiv, and who witnessed the phone call between the president and Mr. Sondland, suggested that the Russians heard it even if they were not out on the town that night.

Asked if there was a risk of the Russians listening in, Mr. Holmes said, “I believe at least two of the three, if not all three of the mobile networks are owned by Russian companies, or have significant stakes in those.”

“We generally assume that mobile communications in Ukraine are being monitored,” he said.

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

How Not to Plot Secret Foreign Policy: On a Cellphone and WhatsApp

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-rudycyber1-facebookJumbo How Not to Plot Secret Foreign Policy: On a Cellphone and WhatsApp United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Taylor, William B Jr Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Nuland, Victoria J National Security Council Morrison, Timothy A (1978- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Cyberwarfare and Defense

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor at the center of the impeachment investigation into the conduct of Ukraine policy, makes a living selling cybersecurity advice through his companies. President Trump even named him the administration’s first informal “cybersecurity adviser.”

But inside the National Security Council, officials expressed wonderment that Mr. Giuliani was running his “irregular channel” of Ukraine diplomacy over open cell lines and communications apps in Ukraine that the Russians have deeply penetrated.

In his testimony to the House impeachment inquiry, Tim Morrison, who is leaving as the National Security Council’s head of Europe and Russia, recalled expressing astonishment to William B. Taylor Jr., who was sitting in as the chief American diplomat in Ukraine, that the leaders of the “irregular channel” seemed to have little concern about revealing their conversations to Moscow.

“He and I discussed a lack of, shall we say, OPSEC, that much of Rudy’s discussions were happening over an unclassified cellphone or, perhaps as bad, WhatsApp messages, and therefore you can only imagine who else knew about them,” Mr. Morrison testified. OPSEC is the government’s shorthand for operational security.

He added: “I remember being focused on the fact that there were text messages, the fact that Rudy was having all of these phone calls over unclassified media,” he added. “And I found that to be highly problematic and indicative of someone who didn’t really understand how national security processes are run.”

WhatsApp notes that its traffic is encrypted, meaning that even if it is intercepted in transit, it is of little use — which is why intelligence agencies, including the Russians, are working diligently to get inside phones to read the messages after they are deciphered.

But far less challenging is figuring out the message of Mr. Giuliani’s partner, Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, who held an open cellphone conversation with Mr. Trump from a restaurant in Ukraine, apparently loud enough for his table mates to overhear. And Mr. Trump’s own cellphone use has led American intelligence officials to conclude that the Chinese — with whom he is negotiating a huge trade deal, among other sensitive topics — are doubtless privy to the president’s conversations.

But Ukraine is a particularly acute case. It is the country where the Russians have so deeply compromised the communications network that in 2014 they posted on the internet conversations between a top Obama administration diplomat, Victoria Nuland, and the United States ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Geoffrey R. Pyatt. Their intent was to portray the Americans — not entirely inaccurately — as trying to manage the ouster of a corrupt, pro-Russian president of Ukraine.

The incident made Ms. Nuland, who left the State Department soon after Mr. Trump’s election, “Patient Zero” in the Russian information-warfare campaign against the United States, before Moscow’s interference in the American presidential election.

But it also served as a warning that if you go to Ukraine, stay off communications networks that Moscow wired.

That advice would seem to apply especially to Mr. Giuliani, who speaks around the world on cybersecurity issues. Ukraine was the petri dish for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the place where he practiced the art of trying to change vote counts, initiating information warfare and, in two celebrated incidents, turning out the lights in parts of the country.

Mr. Giuliani, impeachment investigators were told, was Mr. Trump’s interlocutor with the new Ukrainian government about opening investigations into the president’s political opponents. The simultaneous suspension of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine, which some have testified was on Mr. Trump’s orders, fulfilled Moscow’s deepest wish at a moment of ground war in eastern Ukraine, and a daily, grinding cyberwar in the capital.

It remains unknown why the Russians have not made any of these conversations public, assuming they possess them. But inside the intelligence agencies, the motives of Russian intelligence officers is a subject of heated speculation.

A former senior American intelligence official speculated that one explanation is that Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Sondland were essentially doing the Russians’ work for them. Holding up military aid — for whatever reason — assists the Russian “gray war” in eastern Ukraine and sows doubts in Kyiv, also known as Kiev in the Russian transliteration, that the United States is wholly supportive of Ukraine, a fear that many State Department and National Security Council officials have expressed in testimony.

But Mr. Giuliani also was stoking an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Mr. Putin has engaged in, suggesting that someone besides Russia — in this telling, Ukrainian hackers who now supposedly possess a server that once belonged to the Democratic National Committee — was responsible for the hacking that ran from 2015 to 2016.

Mr. Trump raised this possibility in his July 25 phone call with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. It was not the first time he had cast doubt on Russia’s involvement: In a call to a New York Times reporter moments after meeting Mr. Putin for the first time in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017, Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Putin’s view that Russia is so good at cyberoperations that it would have never been caught. “That makes sense, doesn’t it?” he asked.

He expressed doubts again in 2018, in a news conference with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland. That was only days after the Justice Department indicted a dozen Russian intelligence officers for their role in the hack; the administration will not say if it now believes that indictment was flawed because there is evidence that Ukranians were responsible.

Whether or not he believes Ukraine was involved, Mr. Giuliani certainly understood the risks of talking on open lines, particularly in a country with an active cyberwar. As a former prosecutor, he knows what the United States and its adversaries can intercept. In more recent years, he has spoken around the world on cybersecurity challenges. And as the president’s lawyer, he was a clear target.

Mr. Giuliani said in a phone interview Monday that nothing he talked about on the phone or in texts was classified. “All of my conversations, I can say uniformly, were on an unclassified basis,” he said.

His findings about what happened in Ukraine were “generated from my own investigations” and had nothing to do with the United States government, he said, until he was asked to talk with Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine, in a conversation that is now part of the impeachment investigation. Mr. Volker will testify in public on Tuesday.

Mr. Giuliani said that he never “conducted a shadow foreign policy, I conducted a defense of my client,” Mr. Trump. “The State Department apparatchiks are all upset that I intervened at all,” he said, adding that he was the victim of “wild accusations.”

Mr. Sondland is almost as complex a case. While he is new to diplomacy, he is the owner of a boutique set of hotels and certainly is not unaware of cybersecurity threats, since the hotel industry is a major target, as Marriott learned a year ago.

But Mr. Sondland held a conversation with Mr. Trump last summer in a busy restaurant in Kyiv, surrounded by other American officials. Testimony indicates Mr. Trump’s voice was loud enough for others at the table to hear.

But in testimony released Monday night, David Holmes, a veteran Foreign Service officer who is posted to the American Embassy in Kyiv, and who witnessed the phone call between the president and Mr. Sondland, suggested that the Russians heard it even if they were not out on the town that night.

Asked if there was a risk of the Russians listening in, Mr. Holmes said, “I believe at least two of the three, if not all three of the mobile networks are owned by Russian companies, or have significant stakes in those.”

“We generally assume that mobile communications in Ukraine are being monitored,” he said.

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White House Denies Trump Health Emergency

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-trump1-facebookJumbo White House Denies Trump Health Emergency United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Reed, Walter, National Military Medical Center Diet and Nutrition Cholesterol

WASHINGTON — The White House sought on Monday night to quell a torrent of speculation about President Trump’s health two days after a mysterious, unannounced visit to the hospital, denying that he was treated for an emergency and insisting that it was just “regular, primary preventive care.”

“Despite some of the speculation, the president has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,” Cmdr. Sean P. Conley, the president’s Navy physician, wrote in a memo released by the White House in an unusual late-night statement. “Specifically, he did not undergo any specialized cardiac or neurologic evaluations.”

Mr. Trump was taken on Saturday to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in his motorcade in a trip that had not been listed on his public schedule. He stayed for about two hours for what White House officials said were routine tests, but since the visit had not been revealed in advance and came only nine months after his last annual physical, it touched off much discussion about whether the president had an undisclosed health issue.

Mr. Trump, 73, is the oldest man ever sworn in for a first term as president, and he is not known for a healthy diet or exercise other than weekend golf. At his February checkup, he weighed in at 243 pounds, which is considered obese for a man of his reported height of 6-foot-3. He has been reported in the past to be taking rosuvastatin, a lipid-lowering drug, to control his cholesterol.

Dr. Conley reported that his latest test showed Mr. Trump’s cholesterol at 165, down from 196 in February. His LDL has fallen to 84, from 122, while his HDL was 70, up from 58. The doctor did not release results of any other tests, if conducted, including an updated weight.

In his memo, Dr. Conley called Saturday’s visit “a routine, planned interim checkup as part of the regular, primary preventative care he receives throughout the year.” He said it was not announced in advance “due to scheduling uncertainties,” without explaining further.

Dr. Conley also made no mention of whether Mr. Trump underwent a routine colonoscopy, which his physician at the time said in January 2018 would be conducted at his next regular exam. The president’s doctors did not say in February whether he had one then.

After the February exam, Dr. Conley described Mr. Trump as being in “very good health.” He made no characterization one way or the other in Monday night’s statement, but brushed off concerns generated by the Saturday visit.

“Primary preventative medical care is something that occurs continuously throughout the year, it is not just a single annual event,” Dr. Conley said. “As such, I will continue to monitor the president’s health, planning on a more comprehensive examination after the new year.”

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Ex-Envoy to Testify He Didn’t Know Ukraine Aid Was Tied to Investigations

Westlake Legal Group 18DC-IMPEACH-facebookJumbo Ex-Envoy to Testify He Didn’t Know Ukraine Aid Was Tied to Investigations Zelensky, Volodymyr Volker, Kurt D Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Senate Johnson, Ron (1955- ) impeachment Foreign Aid

WASHINGTON — Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that he was out of the loop at key moments during President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to turn up damaging information about Democrats, according to an account of his prepared testimony.

As the House Intelligence Committee opens its second week of public impeachment hearings, Mr. Volker will say that he did not realize that others working for Mr. Trump were tying American security aid to a commitment to investigate Democrats. His testimony, summarized by a person informed about it who insisted on anonymity to describe it in advance, will seek to reconcile his previous closed-door description of events with conflicting versions offered subsequently by other witnesses.

Mr. Volker will be one of four witnesses appearing before the committee on Tuesday as it ramps up its investigation into the president’s effort to extract domestic political help from a foreign power while holding up $391 million in American security aid. The committee, which already had eight witnesses set for this week, added a ninth on Monday by calling David Holmes, a senior American Embassy official in Ukraine who overheard a conversation in which Mr. Trump asked about whether Ukraine was going to agree to carry out the investigations he wanted.

Mr. Trump, who remained out of public sight on Monday for the third straight day, wrote on Twitter that he would “strongly consider” testifying in the impeachment inquiry, after Ms. Pelosi raised the idea during a weekend television interview.

While Gerald R. Ford testified in 1974 about his decision to pardon Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton responded in writing to questions from the House when it investigated him for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998, no president has testified in person in his own defense in an impeachment hearing. Mr. Trump, who enjoys flashes of showmanship, appeared intrigued by the possibility.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Mr. Trump wrote.

That does not mean he will actually agree to do so, however. During the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into ties between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign, the president repeatedly suggested he might testify in person, but ultimately refused to do so and instead submitted written answers drafted with the help of his lawyers.

On Monday, the top lawyer for House Democrats said in a legal filing that impeachment investigators are exploring whether Mr. Trump lied in those written answers to Mr. Mueller.

The addition of Mr. Holmes to the witness list follows a closed-door deposition he gave Friday describing a cellphone conversation he listened to in July. While sitting on the outdoor patio of a restaurant in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital also known as Kiev, Mr. Holmes said he heard the president ask Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, if President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine would move forward with the investigations Mr. Trump sought.

Late Monday, the House Intelligence Committee released transcripts of the testimony of Mr. Holmes and David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs.

Mr. Holmes called the cellphone conversation he overheard in Kyiv between the president and Mr. Sondland “remarkable,” and he testified that it was clear to him that officials in Ukraine “gradually came to understand that they were being asked to do something in exchange for the meeting and the security assistance hold being lifted.” His account underscored that, contrary to Mr. Trump’s claim that Ukraine’s leaders never knew American aid was being withheld, top officials there were well aware that it was, and that they had to do what the president wanted before they could receive it.

Mr. Holmes gave a vivid account of the cellphone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland, and of a subsequent conversation in which the ambassador told Mr. Holmes that Mr. Trump did not care about Ukraine, only about “big things,” such as investigations of the Bidens.

“There’s just so much about the call that was so remarkable that I remember it vividly,” Mr. Holmes said, according to the transcript. He said he recounted the conversation to his boss at the embassy after the lunch and said she was “shocked” by it. Mr. Holmes said that in morning embassy staff meetings, he would often refer back to the call as a way of trying to explain Mr. Trump’s reluctance to schedule a White House meeting with Mr. Zelensky.

“I would say, ‘Well, as we know, he doesn’t really care about Ukraine. He cares about some other things,’” Mr. Holmes testified.

Mr. Hale offered new details about deliberations within the State Department over the recall of Marie L. Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine. By the end of March, he said the department was debating whether to issue a statement of support for her amid unrelenting attacks by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and others.

In his testimony, Mr. Hale said that he had reviewed two call records indicating that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke directly with Mr. Giuliani on March 28 and 29. He did not know the content of the calls. He also believed that Mr. Pompeo had called Sean Hannity, the conservative Fox News commentator.

Mr. Hale said that he advocated a strong statement of support, but that ultimately, no statement was issued because officials believed it would make things worse. “Our plan at that point was to try to contain this and wait it out,” he said. Mr. Hale is scheduled to testify publicly on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Holmes will sit at the witness table beside Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, when the committee convenes its final hearing of a jam-packed week on Thursday.

Republicans previewed an early rebuttal on Monday in the form of a meandering but at times caustic 11-page letter from Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. On the eve of testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a national security aide, Mr. Johnson suggested the colonel perhaps participated “in the ongoing effort to sabotage” the president’s policies “and if possible, remove him from office.”

“I believe that a significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch have never accepted President Trump as legitimate and resent his unorthodox style,” Mr. Johnson wrote, later adding, “It is entirely possible Vindman fits this profile.”

The letter comes after the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Intelligence Committees requested Mr. Johnson provide them with “any firsthand information you have about President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.” The Wisconsin Republican traveled to Ukraine as part of a delegation attending Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration this year and joined phone calls between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland, who is to testify publicly on Wednesday.

The senator has said that after Mr. Sondland told him the security aid was linked to investigations, he confronted Mr. Trump in a phone call in late August. The president, Mr. Johnson said, flatly denied it so vigorously that he uttered a number of curse words and insisted that he “barely knew” Mr. Sondland.

The hearings on Tuesday will start with a morning panel featuring Mr. Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, who were both disturbed when Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Zelensky during a July 25 phone call to “do us a favor” and investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But the afternoon panel will give Republicans their first chance to question witnesses they believe will undercut the allegations. Mr. Volker has previously said he knew of no quid pro quo between the security aid and the investigations. Tim Morrison, a former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, has said he found nothing inherently problematic about the July 25 call, although he testified that he was concerned that it might leak out and cause political problems.

Still, both have also provided testimony harmful to the president. Mr. Volker has said he warned Mr. Giuliani that there was nothing to the issues he wanted investigated. And Mr. Morrison has said Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainians that the release of the aid was probably tied to the investigations, forcing Mr. Sondland to revise his testimony and confirm that.

Mr. Volker will modify his account as well, addressing disparities between his testimony and that of other witnesses. While he has been lumped together with Mr. Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry as “the three amigos” working on behalf of the president, he plans to try to distinguish his role, insisting that he was not part of any inappropriate pressure and that he was unaware of certain events that he has only now learned about through other testimony.

In his testimony on Tuesday, according to the person informed about it, Mr. Volker plans to say that he never knew that Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainians that the aid and investigations were linked and that he did not know that Mr. Zelensky was being pressed to appear on CNN and announce that he would open the investigations Mr. Trump sought.

He also will seek to explain why his description of a key July 10 meeting in the White House with Ukrainian officials differed from those provided by several others. According to other witnesses, John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, abruptly ended the meeting when Mr. Sondland raised the investigations. Mr. Sondland then took the Ukrainians downstairs to the White House Ward Room, where he also discussed investigations.

Ms. Hill testified that she challenged Mr. Sondland about that in the Ward Room and later reported the conversation back to Mr. Bolton, who instructed her to tell a White House lawyer and make clear that he wanted nothing to do with the “drug deal” Mr. Sondland was devising.

Mr. Volker, who offered a blander description of the meeting in his original testimony, plans to say on Tuesday that he does not challenge any of the new testimony but did not remember hearing the comments. He plans to say that he may have been talking with Mr. Perry at the time and simply missed the exchanges.

He also will address his past statement that he was not aware of any effort to urge Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden specifically, even though others have testified that Mr. Volker was part of conversations involving Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption and that put Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, on its board.

Mr. Volker plans to tell lawmakers that while others interpreted any mention of Burisma to be synonymous with the Bidens, he did not make that assumption, perhaps because he was more steeped in Ukraine and the company’s role there, not focused on domestic American politics.

Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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Ex-Envoy to Tell Impeachment Inquiry He Was Unaware of Trump Ukraine Pressure

Westlake Legal Group 18DC-IMPEACH-facebookJumbo Ex-Envoy to Tell Impeachment Inquiry He Was Unaware of Trump Ukraine Pressure Zelensky, Volodymyr Volker, Kurt D Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Senate Johnson, Ron (1955- ) impeachment Foreign Aid

WASHINGTON — Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that he was out of the loop at key moments during President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to turn up damaging information about Democrats, according to an account of his prepared testimony.

As the House Intelligence Committee opens its second week of public impeachment hearings, Mr. Volker will say that he did not realize that others working for Mr. Trump were tying American security aid to a commitment to investigate Democrats. His testimony, summarized by a person informed about it who insisted on anonymity to describe it in advance, will seek to reconcile his previous closed-door description of events with conflicting versions offered subsequently by other witnesses.

Mr. Volker will be one of four witnesses appearing before the committee on Tuesday as it ramps up its investigation into the president’s effort to extract domestic political help from a foreign power while holding up $391 million in American security aid. The committee, which already had eight witnesses set for this week, added a ninth on Monday by calling David Holmes, a senior American Embassy official in Ukraine who overheard a conversation in which Mr. Trump asked about whether Ukraine was going to agree to carry out the investigations he wanted.

With political passions rising over the impeachment drive, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, defended the inquiry on Monday, arguing that lawmakers have no choice but to examine what she called clear evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Trump.

“The facts are uncontested: that the president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests,” Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democratic colleagues.

Mr. Trump, who remained out of public sight on Monday for the third straight day, wrote on Twitter that he would “strongly consider” testifying in the impeachment inquiry, after Ms. Pelosi raised the idea during a weekend television interview.

While Gerald R. Ford testified in 1974 about his decision to pardon Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton responded in writing to questions from the House when it investigated him for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998, no president has testified in person in his own defense in an impeachment hearing. Mr. Trump, who enjoys flashes of showmanship, appeared intrigued by the possibility.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Mr. Trump wrote.

That does not mean he will actually agree to do so, however. During the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into ties between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign, the president repeatedly suggested he might testify in person, but ultimately refused to do so and instead submitted written answers drafted with the help of his lawyers.

On Monday, the top lawyer for House Democrats said in a legal filing that impeachment investigators are exploring whether Mr. Trump lied in those written answers to Mr. Mueller.

The addition of Mr. Holmes to the witness list follows a closed-door deposition he gave Friday describing a telephone conversation he listened to in July. While sitting on the outdoor patio of a restaurant in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital also known as Kiev, Mr. Holmes said he heard the president ask Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, if President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine would move forward with the investigations Mr. Trump sought. The ambassador, fresh off meetings with top Ukrainian officials, told Mr. Trump that he would.

Mr. Holmes will sit at the witness table beside Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, when the committee convenes its final hearing of a jam-packed week on Thursday.

Republicans previewed an early rebuttal on Monday in the form of a meandering but at times caustic 11-page letter from Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. On the eve of testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a national security aide, Mr. Johnson suggested the colonel perhaps participated “in the ongoing effort to sabotage” the president’s policies “and if possible, remove him from office.”

“I believe that a significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch have never accepted President Trump as legitimate and resent his unorthodox style,” Mr. Johnson wrote, later adding, “It is entirely possible Vindman fits this profile.”

The letter comes after the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Intelligence Committees requested Mr. Johnson provide them with “any firsthand information you have about President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.” The Wisconsin Republican traveled to Ukraine as part of a delegation attending Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration this year and joined phone calls between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland, who is to testify publicly on Wednesday.

The senator has said that after Mr. Sondland told him the security aid was linked to investigations, he confronted Mr. Trump in a phone call in late August. The president, Mr. Johnson said, flatly denied it so vigorously that he uttered a number of curse words and insisted that he “barely knew” Mr. Sondland.

“I have accurately characterized his reaction as adamant, vehement and angry — there was more than one expletive that I have deleted,” Mr. Johnson wrote.

Republicans have argued that the fact that the security aid was ultimately delivered to Ukraine in September without any announcement of investigations proves that the two issues were not linked. But Ms. Pelosi noted in her letter that the money “was only released after the whistle-blower exposed the truth of the president’s extortion and bribery,” referring to an unidentified C.I.A. officer who reported the matter to authorities.

The hearings on Tuesday will start with a morning panel featuring Mr. Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, who were both disturbed when Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Zelensky during a July 25 phone call to “do us a favor” and investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But the afternoon panel will give Republicans their first chance to question witnesses they believe will undercut the allegations. Mr. Volker has previously said he knew of no quid pro quo between the security aid and the investigations. Tim Morrison, a former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, has said he found nothing inherently problematic about the July 25 call, although he testified that he was concerned that it might leak out and cause political problems.

Still, both have also provided testimony harmful to the president. Mr. Volker has said he warned Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer leading the effort to obtain help from Ukraine, that there was nothing to the issues he wanted investigated. And Mr. Morrison has said Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainians that the release of the aid was probably tied to the investigations, forcing Mr. Sondland to revise his testimony and confirm that.

Mr. Volker will modify his account as well, addressing disparities between his testimony and that of other witnesses. While he has been lumped together with Mr. Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry as “the three amigos” working on behalf of the president, he plans to try to distinguish his role, insisting that he was not part of any inappropriate pressure and that he was unaware of certain events that he has only now learned about through other testimony.

In his testimony on Tuesday, according to the person informed about it, Mr. Volker plans to say that he never knew that Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainians that the aid and investigations were linked and that he did not know that Mr. Zelensky was being pressed to appear on CNN and announce that he would open the investigations Mr. Trump sought.

He also will seek to explain why his description of a key July 10 meeting in the White House with Ukrainian officials differed from those provided by several others. According to other witnesses, John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, abruptly ended the meeting when Mr. Sondland raised the investigations. Mr. Sondland then took the Ukrainians downstairs to the White House Ward Room, where he also discussed investigations.

Ms. Hill testified that she challenged Mr. Sondland about that in the Ward Room and later reported the conversation back to Mr. Bolton, who instructed her to tell a White House lawyer and make clear that he wanted nothing to do with the “drug deal” Mr. Sondland was devising.

Mr. Volker, who offered a blander description of the meeting in his original testimony, plans to say on Tuesday that he does not challenge any of the new testimony but did not remember hearing the comments. He plans to say that he may have been talking with Mr. Perry at the time and simply missed the exchanges.

He also will address his past statement that he was not aware of any effort to urge Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden specifically, even though others have testified that Mr. Volker was part of conversations involving Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption and that put Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, on its board.

Mr. Volker plans to tell lawmakers that while others interpreted any mention of Burisma to be synonymous with the Bidens, he did not make that assumption, perhaps because he was more steeped in Ukraine and the company’s role there, not focused on domestic American politics.

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Ex-Envoy to Tell Impeachment Inquiry He Was Unaware of Trump Ukraine Pressure

Westlake Legal Group 18DC-IMPEACH-facebookJumbo Ex-Envoy to Tell Impeachment Inquiry He Was Unaware of Trump Ukraine Pressure Zelensky, Volodymyr Volker, Kurt D Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Senate Johnson, Ron (1955- ) impeachment Foreign Aid

WASHINGTON — Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that he was out of the loop at key moments during President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to turn up damaging information about Democrats, according to an account of his prepared testimony.

As the House Intelligence Committee opens its second week of public impeachment hearings, Mr. Volker will say that he did not realize that others working for Mr. Trump were tying American security aid to a commitment to investigate Democrats. His testimony, summarized by a person informed about it who insisted on anonymity to describe it in advance, will seek to reconcile his previous closed-door description of events with conflicting versions offered subsequently by other witnesses.

Mr. Volker will be one of four witnesses appearing before the committee on Tuesday as it ramps up its investigation into the president’s effort to extract domestic political help from a foreign power while holding up $391 million in American security aid. The committee, which already had eight witnesses set for this week, added a ninth on Monday by calling David Holmes, a senior American Embassy official in Ukraine who overheard a conversation in which Mr. Trump asked about whether Ukraine was going to agree to carry out the investigations he wanted.

With political passions rising over the impeachment drive, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, defended the inquiry on Monday, arguing that lawmakers have no choice but to examine what she called clear evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Trump.

“The facts are uncontested: that the president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests,” Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democratic colleagues.

Mr. Trump, who remained out of public sight on Monday for the third straight day, wrote on Twitter that he would “strongly consider” testifying in the impeachment inquiry, after Ms. Pelosi raised the idea during a weekend television interview.

While Gerald R. Ford testified in 1974 about his decision to pardon Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton responded in writing to questions from the House when it investigated him for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998, no president has testified in person in his own defense in an impeachment hearing. Mr. Trump, who enjoys flashes of showmanship, appeared intrigued by the possibility.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Mr. Trump wrote.

That does not mean he will actually agree to do so, however. During the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into ties between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign, the president repeatedly suggested he might testify in person, but ultimately refused to do so and instead submitted written answers drafted with the help of his lawyers.

On Monday, the top lawyer for House Democrats said in a legal filing that impeachment investigators are exploring whether Mr. Trump lied in those written answers to Mr. Mueller.

The addition of Mr. Holmes to the witness list follows a closed-door deposition he gave Friday describing a telephone conversation he listened to in July. While sitting on the outdoor patio of a restaurant in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital also known as Kiev, Mr. Holmes said he heard the president ask Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, if President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine would move forward with the investigations Mr. Trump sought. The ambassador, fresh off meetings with top Ukrainian officials, told Mr. Trump that he would.

Mr. Holmes will sit at the witness table beside Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, when the committee convenes its final hearing of a jam-packed week on Thursday.

Republicans previewed an early rebuttal on Monday in the form of a meandering but at times caustic 11-page letter from Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. On the eve of testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a national security aide, Mr. Johnson suggested the colonel perhaps participated “in the ongoing effort to sabotage” the president’s policies “and if possible, remove him from office.”

“I believe that a significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch have never accepted President Trump as legitimate and resent his unorthodox style,” Mr. Johnson wrote, later adding, “It is entirely possible Vindman fits this profile.”

The letter comes after the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Intelligence Committees requested Mr. Johnson provide them with “any firsthand information you have about President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.” The Wisconsin Republican traveled to Ukraine as part of a delegation attending Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration this year and joined phone calls between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland, who is to testify publicly on Wednesday.

The senator has said that after Mr. Sondland told him the security aid was linked to investigations, he confronted Mr. Trump in a phone call in late August. The president, Mr. Johnson said, flatly denied it so vigorously that he uttered a number of curse words and insisted that he “barely knew” Mr. Sondland.

“I have accurately characterized his reaction as adamant, vehement and angry — there was more than one expletive that I have deleted,” Mr. Johnson wrote.

Republicans have argued that the fact that the security aid was ultimately delivered to Ukraine in September without any announcement of investigations proves that the two issues were not linked. But Ms. Pelosi noted in her letter that the money “was only released after the whistle-blower exposed the truth of the president’s extortion and bribery,” referring to an unidentified C.I.A. officer who reported the matter to authorities.

The hearings on Tuesday will start with a morning panel featuring Mr. Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, who were both disturbed when Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Zelensky during a July 25 phone call to “do us a favor” and investigate Democrats including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But the afternoon panel will give Republicans their first chance to question witnesses they believe will undercut the allegations. Mr. Volker has previously said he knew of no quid pro quo between the security aid and the investigations. Tim Morrison, a former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, has said he found nothing inherently problematic about the July 25 call, although he testified that he was concerned that it might leak out and cause political problems.

Still, both have also provided testimony harmful to the president. Mr. Volker has said he warned Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer leading the effort to obtain help from Ukraine, that there was nothing to the issues he wanted investigated. And Mr. Morrison has said Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainians that the release of the aid was probably tied to the investigations, forcing Mr. Sondland to revise his testimony and confirm that.

Mr. Volker will modify his account as well, addressing disparities between his testimony and that of other witnesses. While he has been lumped together with Mr. Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry as “the three amigos” working on behalf of the president, he plans to try to distinguish his role, insisting that he was not part of any inappropriate pressure and that he was unaware of certain events that he has only now learned about through other testimony.

In his testimony on Tuesday, according to the person informed about it, Mr. Volker plans to say that he never knew that Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainians that the aid and investigations were linked and that he did not know that Mr. Zelensky was being pressed to appear on CNN and announce that he would open the investigations Mr. Trump sought.

He also will seek to explain why his description of a key July 10 meeting in the White House with Ukrainian officials differed from those provided by several others. According to other witnesses, John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, abruptly ended the meeting when Mr. Sondland raised the investigations. Mr. Sondland then took the Ukrainians downstairs to the White House Ward Room, where he also discussed investigations.

Ms. Hill testified that she challenged Mr. Sondland about that in the Ward Room and later reported the conversation back to Mr. Bolton, who instructed her to tell a White House lawyer and make clear that he wanted nothing to do with the “drug deal” Mr. Sondland was devising.

Mr. Volker, who offered a blander description of the meeting in his original testimony, plans to say on Tuesday that he does not challenge any of the new testimony but did not remember hearing the comments. He plans to say that he may have been talking with Mr. Perry at the time and simply missed the exchanges.

He also will address his past statement that he was not aware of any effort to urge Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden specifically, even though others have testified that Mr. Volker was part of conversations involving Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption and that put Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, on its board.

Mr. Volker plans to tell lawmakers that while others interpreted any mention of Burisma to be synonymous with the Bidens, he did not make that assumption, perhaps because he was more steeped in Ukraine and the company’s role there, not focused on domestic American politics.

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Impeachment Inquiry Calls Aide Who Overheard Trump Asking for Ukraine Investigations

Westlake Legal Group 18DC-IMPEACH-facebookJumbo Impeachment Inquiry Calls Aide Who Overheard Trump Asking for Ukraine Investigations Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Senate Johnson, Ron (1955- ) impeachment Foreign Aid

WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee on Monday unexpectedly added to its roster of public impeachment witnesses, announcing testimony this week from a United States Embassy official in Kyiv who overheard President Trump ask a top American diplomat in July if Ukraine would move forward with investigations he sought.

The official, David Holmes, testified before investigators privately on Friday. Now, he will sit at the witness table beside Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, when the committee convenes its final hearing of a jam-packed week on Thursday.

Behind closed doors, Mr. Holmes described being at a restaurant in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, also known as Kiev, over the summer when Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, called Mr. Trump on his cellphone. Speaking loudly enough for Mr. Holmes to hear, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Sondland if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct an investigation into one of his leading political rivals, Mr. Holmes said. And in colorful terms, the ambassador, fresh off meetings with top Ukrainian officials, told Mr. Trump that he had.

The addition to the week’s already busy public hearing schedule came as Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the impeachment inquiry, arguing that lawmakers have no choice but to dig into what she called clear evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Trump.

“The facts are uncontested: that the president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests,” Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democratic colleagues.

The House Intelligence Committee will now take testimony from nine witnesses this week in the impeachment inquiry, in public hearings intended to prove that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations to discredit his political rivals.

House Republicans, who will have their first chance to question witnesses they believe will undercut the allegations, have also requested that a Republican senator who has repeatedly found himself drawn into the impeachment inquiry tell them what he knows about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

The top Republicans on the Oversight and Intelligence Committees wrote to Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, that they were “reluctantly” requesting “any firsthand information you have about President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine,” according to their letter released Monday.

As Mr. Johnson appeared to mull their request, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he would “strongly consider” testifying in the impeachment inquiry, after Ms. Pelosi raised the idea during a weekend television interview.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Mr. Trump wrote.

Hours later, in her letter to Democrats, Ms. Pelosi rebutted what has emerged as a leading argument among Republicans against the inquiry: that the upcoming presidential election, not a vote on articles of impeachment, should decide Mr. Trump’s political fate.

“That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action because the president is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections,” Ms. Pelosi said.

House Republicans are hoping Mr. Johnson, a member of the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus, can help shed light on why Mr. Trump withheld a package of nearly $400 million in military assistance for Ukraine. Mr. Johnson traveled to Ukraine as part of a delegation attending President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration this year, and joined phone calls between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland, who is a witness in the inquiry.

Typically a staunch defender of the president, Mr. Johnson has said that he confronted Mr. Trump in a phone call in late August about allegations that the president was engaging in a quid pro quo with Ukraine tying the security aid for the country to a public commitment for investigations that Mr. Trump wanted. The president, Mr. Johnson has said, flatly denied it.

But the senator has also revealed information that could be damaging to Mr. Trump: that Mr. Sondland told him that the aid to Ukraine was, in fact, tied to Mr. Trump’s request to have Kyiv investigate Democrats. He told reporters at an event in Wisconsin that he had tried to get permission from Mr. Trump to tell Ukraine’s president that American aid was on its way in the wake of those allegations, but the president refused.

Republicans have argued that the fact that the military funding was ultimately delivered to Ukraine in September, without any announcement of investigations by the country, proves that there was never any effort to tie the two issues together.

But Ms. Pelosi noted in her letter that the money “was only released after the whistle-blower exposed the truth of the president’s extortion and bribery, and the House launched a formal investigation.”

Mr. Johnson was one of several senators in both parties who were deeply concerned about the hold that had been placed on the military aid for Ukraine, which had been allocated by Congress to help the former Soviet republic defend itself from attacks by Russia, and who pressed privately and publicly for it to be released.

Mr. Johnson said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he would not be called to testify before the House “because certainly Adam Schiff wouldn’t want to be called by the Senate.” But he added, “I’ll supply my telling of events.”

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