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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 22)

Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Morrison and Volker Begin Testimony

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Westlake Legal Group 19dc-impeachbriefing-vid-subPM-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Morrison and Volker 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

Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison, a former top National Security Council official will deliver testimony to the impeachment inquiry. Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified earlier.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164689233_f2cae21e-653b-4fce-a5cd-9ca6b367f9ab-articleLarge Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Morrison and Volker 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

Kurt D. Volker arriving to testify on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy for Ukraine, portrayed himself as left out of key moments and unaware that others working for President Trump were linking the release of American security aid to Ukraine committing to investigations of Democrats.

Opening the second panel of the day, Mr. Volker sought to reconcile his original closed-door testimony with the accounts of other witnesses who came after him. “I have learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question,” he said in his opening statement.

Among other things, he said that at the time he worked with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, to seek assurances from Ukraine about investigations he was pushing, he did not understand those investigations to include former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a target nor did he know that they would be tied to release of the frozen security aid.

“I did not know of any linkage between the hold on security assistance and Ukraine pursuing investigations,” Mr. Volker said. “No one had ever said that to me — and I never conveyed such a linkage to the Ukrainians.” He recalled telling the Ukrainians “the opposite,” that they did not need to do anything to get the hold lifted and that it would be taken care of. “I did not know others were conveying a different message to them around the same time,” he said.

Mr. Volker sought to clarify why his testimony about the now-famous July 10 meeting at the White House differed from those of Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, her Ukraine policy deputy.

Ms. Hill and Colonel Vindman testified that John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, ended the meeting abruptly when Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, brought up the investigations and that some in the room took the conversation downstairs where it turned heated. Mr. Volker mentioned none of that in his original testimony.

“As I remember, the meeting was essentially over when Ambassador Sondland made a general comment about investigations,” he said on Tuesday. “I think all of us thought it was inappropriate. The conversation did not continue and the meeting concluded. Later on, in the Ward Room, I may have been engaged in a side conversation or had already left the complex, because I do not recall further discussion regarding investigations or Burisma.”

More generally, he said he did not interpret the word Burisma to be tantamount to Mr. Biden. “In hindsight, I now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company Burisma as equivalent to investigating former Vice President Biden. I saw them as very different — the former being appropriate and unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable. In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”

Mr. Volker expressed annoyance at being lumped together with Mr. Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry as “three amigos,” as if they were somehow indistinguishable, and he rejected the notion that he was part of an irregular foreign policy channel.

The term “three amigos” has come to characterize how the usual foreign policy process was warped by Mr. Trump’s interest in obtaining damaging information about Democrats from Ukraine. It originated from an interview Mr. Sondland gave to Ukrainian television when he said “we have what are called the three amigos,” naming Mr. Volker, Mr. Perry and himself.

Mr. Volker in his testimony objected to the name and the implication. “I’ve never used that term and frankly cringe when I hear it,” he said. In his mind, he said, he associated the phrase with his mentor, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who died last year, and two allies who supported a troop surge in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, who has since left the Senate.

Mr. Volker said he was not part of a shadow foreign policy because he was the officially designated diplomat assigned to help resolve Ukraine’s war with Russia. “My role was not some irregular channel, but the official channel,” he said, noting that he reported to Rex W. Tillerson, the secretary of state who appointed him, and Mike Pompeo, his successor, and coordinated with diplomats and White House officials.

Democratic lawmakers responded angrily to attacks on Colonel Vindman, who testified during the morning session, as the White House and Republicans sought to discredit the colonel in real time during his appearance before the committee.

“There’s been a lot of insinuations and there’s been a lot suggestions, maybe, that your service is somehow not to be trusted,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York. He accused Republicans of trying to “air out some allegations with no basis and proof, but they just want to get them out there and hope maybe some of those strands of spaghetti I guess will stick on the wall if they keep throwing them.”

His angry remarks came after the official, taxpayer-funded Twitter account of the White House posted a critical quote about Colonel Vindman from Timothy Morrison, his former boss at the National Security Council, who testified later in the day on a separate panel.

Earlier, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio had cited that comment as well as criticism from Ms. Hill, Colonel Vindman’s former boss at the National Security Council.

“Any idea why they have those impressions?” Mr. Jordan inquired. Colonel Vindman, who apparently came prepared for the criticism, pulled out a copy the performance evaluation Ms. Hill wrote about him in July and read aloud from it.

“Alex is a top one percent military officer and the best army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service,” Colonel Vindman said, quoting Ms. Hill. “He is brilliant, unflappable, and exercises excellent judgment.”

Republicans also questioned the loyalty of Colonel Vindman, an American citizen and decorated Army combat veteran who was born in Ukraine, by asking him about three instances when Oleksandr Danylyuk, the director of Ukraine’s national security council, had approached to offer him the job of defense minister in Kyiv.

Under questioning by the committee’s Republican counsel, Colonel Vindman confirmed the offers and testified that he repeatedly declined, dismissing the idea out of hand and reporting the approaches to his superiors and to counterintelligence officials.

The line of questioning seemed to be designed, at least in part, to feed doubts about Colonel Vindman’s commitment to the United States, the subject of a wave of character attacks on him by Mr. Trump’s allies. Fox News quickly picked up on the tactic, sending out a news alert moments after Mr. Castor finished: “Vindman says Ukrainian official offered him the job of Ukrainian defense minister.”

Mr. Maloney said he was particularly outraged by questions from a Republican lawmaker questioning why Colonel Vindman wore his Army dress uniform to the hearing.

“That dress uniform includes a breast plate that has a combat infantryman badge on it and a purple ribbon,” Mr. Maloney said. “It seems if there is someone who should wear that uniform, it’s someone who has a breast plate on it.”

Two senior national security officials at the White House challenged Mr. Trump’s description of his call with the Ukraine president as “perfect,” testifying on Tuesday about how concerned they were as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appealing for an investigation of Mr. Biden.

Colonel Vindman testified that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he said under questioning about his first thoughts when he heard Mr. Trump’s mention of investigations into Mr. Biden and an unproven theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. “It was probably an element of shock, that maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out, and how this was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”

Earlier, Colonel Vindman explained why he felt it was his “duty” to report his concerns to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, said she found the president’s call unusual because it included discussion of a “domestic political matter.”

Their testimony kicked off three days of hearings featuring nine diplomats and national security officials as Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee continue to build their case that Mr. Trump abused his power by trying to enlist Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations that would discredit Mr. Biden, a leading political rival, and other Democrats.

In a cabinet meeting as the hearing unfolded, Mr. Trump praised his allies and dismissed the hearings as a “kangaroo court,” saying, “Republicans are absolutely killing it, because it’s a big scam.”

Colonel Vindman and Ms. Williams both testified that they were never aware of any other national security officials in the United States government who supported the decision to withhold nearly $400 million in security aid for Ukraine, which both said was directed by the White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Both witnesses said withholding the military assistance from Ukraine was damaging to relations between the two countries and to Ukraine’s ability to confront Russian aggression. Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois asked Colonel Vindman whether anyone else supported the decision to freeze the aid.

“No one from the national security?” Mr. Quigley asked.

“None,” Colonel Vindman said.

“No one from the State Department?”

“Correct.”

“No one from the Department of Defense?

“Correct.”

Ms. Williams testified that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told Vice President Mike Pence during a Sept. 1 meeting that continuing to withhold the aid would indicate that United States support for Ukraine was wavering, giving Russia a boost in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

“Any signal or sign that U.S. support was wavering would be construed by Russia as potentially an opportunity for them to strengthen their own hand in Ukraine,” Ms. Williams said, relating what Mr. Zelensky told Mr. Pence.

Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee, sought to turn the focus away from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden, leading the witnesses through a series of questions intended to suggest that the former vice president had intervened in Ukraine’s domestic affairs to benefit his son, Hunter Biden, despite the lack of evidence.

Mr. Biden, as vice president, pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was seen as tolerating corruption in keeping with the policy of the United States, European allies and international financial organizations at the time. But Mr. Nunes suggested that Mr. Biden was acting to benefit his son, who was on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption.

“Did you know that Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Poroshenko at least three times in February 2016 after the president and owner of Burisma’s home was raided on February 2 by the state prosecutor’s office?” Mr. Nunes asked, referring to Petro O. Poroshenko, then the president.

“Not at the time,” Ms. Williams answered. She added: “I’ve become aware of that through this proceeding.”

Mr. Nunes asked a series of similar questions and then repeated them for Colonel Vindman. Neither witness was working on the issue at the time, so neither could offer information to about it. But Mr. Nunes used the opportunity to introduce his allegations, anyway. He also tried repeatedly to extract information from Colonel Vindman about the identity of the whistle-blower who filed a complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, drawing objections from the colonel’s lawyer.

At one point, things turned testy when Mr. Nunes addressed Colonel Vindman as “Mr. Vindman.”

“Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please,” he shot back.

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House Moves to Stave Off Another Government Shutdown

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-spending-sub-facebookJumbo House Moves to Stave Off Another Government Shutdown United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Shutdowns (Institutional) Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy Law and Legislation House of Representatives House Committee on Appropriations Federal Budget (US) Amash, Justin (1980- )

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday voted to extend government funding for another month, rushing to ward off a government shutdown and setting up a pre-Christmas clash over spending just as the House is likely to be considering whether to impeach President Trump.

With just days before funding for the entire government is set to lapse on Thursday, lawmakers effectively postponed the spending fight for another day, approving another stopgap spending bill exactly two months after the first spending bill passed the chamber. The measure would extend funding through Dec. 20 for all federal government departments and agencies, as well as a number of health care and community programs.

That sets up a potentially explosive set of votes just before Christmas, when the House may be considering impeachment articles against Mr. Trump just as it is staring down a deadline to avoid a disastrous government shutdown.

The specter of last year’s 35-day shutdown drove a slim bipartisan margin on Tuesday, as most lawmakers agreed that a temporary spending bill maintaining current levels of funding for another four weeks was preferable to an encore of the breach last year, which lasted into January.

Lawmakers also included additional funds to accommodate the Census Bureau’s preparations for the 2020 survey, provide funds for a 3.1 percent military pay raise and stave off an automatic cut to highway funds. The legislation, which passed the House on a 231 to 192 margin, is expected to pass the Senate later this week, and will be signed by the president, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on Monday.

The bill “will allow additional time to negotiate and enact responsible long-term funding for priorities that make our country safer and stronger and give working families a better chance at a better life,” said Representative Nita Lowey, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Left unresolved, however, are the dozen must-pass bills that would maintain funding for the remainder of the fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1. Lawmakers on the traditionally bipartisan Appropriations Committees have failed to reach an agreement over funding Mr. Trump’s signature campaign promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico — the same fraught debate that led to the nation’s longest government shutdown nearly a year ago.

“The administration, and the Republicans and the Democrats, are very wary of a shutdown,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It helps no one. Everybody loses.”

Reminded that he offered a similar optimistic message a year ago, Mr. Shelby said, “Yeah, and I believe that.”

The measure had its share of critics in both parties. Some lawmakers voted against it in a show of solidarity for responsible governing and a need to provide full-year funding. Representative Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, noted on Tuesday that “no business in the world could survive on temporary funding, doled out on a month-to-month basis.”

Others specifically objected to provisions related to extending or reviving certain government surveillance powers that trace back to the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks. One provision would reauthorize for 90 days a system shut down earlier this year that permitted the National Security Agency to access and analyze bulk logs of Americans’ domestic phone logs.

The same part of the resolution would also briefly extend expiring F.B.I. surveillance powers, such as one that permits agents working on national security cases to get court orders to obtain relevant business records or to swiftly follow a wiretapping target who changes phones in an attempt to evade surveillance, for three more months. In effect, the resolution would delay until March a surveillance debate that advocates had been gearing up to have in November and early December.

“Congress should have ended this beleaguered spying program and enacted meaningful surveillance reform a long time ago,” said Neema Singh Guliani, a senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It is disappointing that Congress is instead extending spying powers that have repeatedly been used to violate Americans’ privacy rights, and trying to bury this extension in must-pass funding legislation.”

Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, the House’s sole independent, said his effort to add an amendment to the measure removing what he described as “the Patriot Act provisions” was rejected.

Over the summer, lawmakers and the White House reached a bipartisan agreement to raise government spending for the next two years, offering a rough framework for defense and domestic programs. The dozen bills will establish how that money will be divided across the federal government, but lawmakers have not agreed on top spending levels for each of the bills.

Republicans have pushed to adjust funding to accommodate the administration’s request for billions of dollars in wall funding, while Democrats have vowed to deny any money for that purpose. Democrats have also objected to replacing military funds that the president earlier this year unilaterally transferred to wall construction, after Congress again denied Mr. Trump wall money in the regular funding process.

“We have well over a trillion dollars’ worth of decisions to make, I don’t know why we would go to that,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I think that his comments about the wall are really an applause line at a rally, but they’re not anything that he’s serious about.”

The traditionally bipartisan appropriations process has become particularly rife with division in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to advance major legislation. While a package of four spending bills passed in late October, most Senate Democrats blocked a procedural vote that would allow a second package that would fund the Pentagon and a number of labor, health and education programs to move forward.

Democrats said that Republicans have not engaged in fair negotiations over raising spending limits for domestic bills, while Republicans have blasted their counterparts for violating the terms of the budget agreement.

Optimism peaked on Thursday, after Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary and a key broker of the budget deal, huddled with Ms. Pelosi, Ms. Lowey and Mr. Shelby to resolve the impasse. But negotiations fizzled over the weekend, again leaving lawmakers without an agreement on the spending limits.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to bridge that gap,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia and the top Republican on the appropriations subcommittee responsible for the Department of Homeland Security bill.

The temporary fix that the House approved Tuesday also includes additional funds to counter the spread of ebola in Africa and an extension of funding for community health centers. It also includes a payment to Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who died last month, a “death gratuity” that Congress traditionally approves for the surviving family of a sitting member who dies.

Left out of the spending bill, however, was a critical provision that would replenish $255 million for historically black colleges, tribal colleges and higher education institutions that serve Hispanic students in order to boost science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — over the next two years. Funding ran out Sept. 30 — the end of the fiscal year — although the Education Department has assured funding will continue through the current school year.

Ms. Pelosi, in a statement Monday, blamed Republicans for the removal of the provision. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, blocked passage of a measure that would have provided the funding, calling instead for a rewrite of parts of the Higher Education Act.

Proponents of the program vowed to continue fighting for the funding.

“After having worked so long for H.B.C.U.s and their issues to remain bipartisan, we are perplexed to be in the middle of a partisan ‘tug-of-war’ with our number one priority,” said Lodriguez V. Murray, the senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the United Negro College Fund. “We will continue to fight for it, as our colleges need it and so do the students. We started a campaign for it and we will not stop.”

Erica L. Green and Charlie Savage contributed reporting.

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Who Is Kurt Volker? Trump’s Former Special Envoy to Ukraine Will Testify

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-volker-facebookJumbo Who Is Kurt Volker? Trump’s Former Special Envoy to Ukraine Will Testify Volker, Kurt D United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

WASHINGTON — As the impeachment inquiry has picked up speed in recent weeks, Americans have heard a lot about the “three amigos” — a trio of Washington figures who worked with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to carry out Mr. Trump’s plan for Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Tuesday afternoon, the first of the amigos — Kurt D. Volker, Mr. Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine — will testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Volker is a career diplomat who served as the United States’ permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization under President George W. Bush and was most recently the executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, a Washington-based research group affiliated with Arizona State University.

In 2017, he volunteered to be Mr. Trump’s envoy to Ukraine, but resigned abruptly on Sept. 27, one day after the release of an explosive whistle-blower’s complaint that revealed he had been working as a go-between to connect Ukrainian officials to Mr. Giuliani in a back-channel effort at shadow diplomacy.

Republicans and Democrats both believe Mr. Volker has something important to say.

Democrats are eager to have him testify because of text messages between him, Mr. Giuliani and another of the amigos, Gordon D. Sondland, Mr. Trump’s ambassador to the European Union. The messages reveal that Mr. Trump was trying to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate a discredited theory about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 elections, as well as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, by dangling two things Mr. Zelensky coveted: a White House meeting with Mr. Trump, and $391 million in military aid that Congress had approved for Ukraine, but which the president was refusing to release.

(Mr. Sondland will testify Wednesday; the third amigo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, is not on the list of witnesses.)

“Heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington,” Mr. Volker wrote to a top aide to Mr. Zelensky on July 25, the same day that the two presidents spoke by phone in a conversation that is now central to the inquiry.

But Republicans believe Mr. Volker can help exonerate Mr. Trump, because during his closed-door testimony he said that he was not aware of any quid pro quo that tied the investigations Mr. Trump sought to military aid. Mr. Volker plans to testify that he was out of the loop at key moments during the events in question.

Mr. Volker was the first witness to testify in the impeachment inquiry behind closed doors in October. He told investigators that “at no time was I aware of or took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden.” He said that Mr. Biden was “never a topic of discussion” in the text messages. But the messages include references to Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden served.

On the surface, Mr. Volker appears more loyal to Mr. Trump than the other career diplomats who have testified. In 2016, he pleaded with two former Republican officials not to publish a letter promoting the “Never Trumper” movement.

Mr. Volker, 54, began his government career as an analyst with the C.I.A., and joined the State Department as a Foreign Service officer in 1988. His overseas assignments included London, Brussels and Budapest. He rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs under Mr. Bush, but was pushed out when President Barack Obama took office.

While serving as the unpaid, part-time special envoy, Mr. Volker also worked as a strategic adviser to BGR Group, a firm that has lobbied on behalf of Ukraine. But the Ukraine inquiry cost him his job at the McCain Institute, established by former Senator John McCain, which Mr. Volker had led since 2012. He resigned last month, saying the investigation would be a distraction.

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Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: White House Questions Vindman’s Judgment

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transcript

Trump Impeachment Hearings Highlights So Far

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert for the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, are testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.

“On July 25, along with several of my colleagues, I listened to a call between President Trump and President Zelensky, the content of which has since been publicly reported. I found the July 25 phone call unusual because in contrast to other presidential calls I had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.” “Dad, I’m sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected professionals — talking to our elected professionals, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. My simple act of appearing here today, just like the courage of my colleagues who have also truthfully testified before this committee, would not be tolerated in many places around the world. It was improper for the president to request, to demand an investigation into a political opponent, especially a foreign power where there is at best dubious belief that this would be a completely impartial investigation. And that this would have significant implications if it became public knowledge. And it would be perceived as a partisan play, it would undermine our Ukraine policy and it would undermine our national security.” “Colonel, you’ve described this as a demand, this favor that the president asked. What is it about the relationship between the president of the United States and the president of Ukraine that leads you to conclude that when the president of the United States asks a favor like this, it’s really a demand?” “Chairman, the culture I come from, the military culture, when a senior asks you to do something, even if it’s polite and pleasant, it’s not — it’s not to be taken as a request. It’s to be taken as an order. In this case, the power disparity between the two leaders — my impression is that in order to get the White House meeting, President Zelensky would have to deliver these investigations.” “Did you discuss the July 25 phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky or any matters associated with a phone call with any members of the press?” “No.” “To be clear, you never discussed these matters with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, CNN or any other media outlet?” “No, I did not.” “Lt. Col. Vindman, did you discuss the July 25 phone call with anyone outside the White House on July 25 or the 26th? And if so, with whom?” “Yes, I did. My core function is to coordinate U.S. government policy, interagency policy. And I spoke to two individuals.” “And what agencies were these officials with?” “Department of State — and an individual in the intelligence community.” “What — as you know, the intelligence community has 17 different agencies. What agency was this individual from?” “If I could interject here. We don’t want to use these proceedings —” “It’s our time, Mr. Chairman —” “I know, but we need to protect the whistle-blower. If — please stop. I want to make sure that there is no effort to out the whistle-blower through these proceedings.” “Lt. Col. Vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistle-blower was or is.” “I do not know who the whistle-blower is. That is correct.” “So how is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistle-blower?” “Per the advice of my counsel, I’ve been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community. What I can offer is that these were properly cleared individuals, or was a properly cleared individual, with a need to know.” “Well this is — I mean you can really, you can plead the Fifth. But you’re here to answer questions and you’re here under subpoena. So you can either answer the question or you can plead the Fifth.” “Excuse me. On behalf of my client, we are following the rule of the committee, the rule of the chair with regard to this issue. And this does not call for an answer that is invoking the Fifth or any theoretical issue like that. We’re following the ruling of the chair.” “What — counselor, what ruling is that?” “If I could interject: Counsel is correct. The whistle-blower has the right, statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used to out the whistle-blower.”

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-impeach-hilights-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: White House Questions Vindman’s Judgment 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 for the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, are testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164668644_4853b1f6-e1c4-4e93-8935-ee92f3b96152-articleLarge Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: White House Questions Vindman’s Judgment 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

Representative Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, right, and Daniel Goldman, the chief lawyer for the Democrats, on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Democratic lawmakers responded angrily to attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, as the White House and Republicans sought to discredit the colonel in real time during his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.

“There have been a lot of insinuations and suggestions, maybe, that your service is somehow not to be trusted,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York. He accused Republicans of trying to “air out some allegations with no basis or proof, but they want to get them out there, hoping some strands of spaghetti will stick on the wall. They keep throwing them.”

His angry remarks came after the official, taxpayer-funded Twitter account of the White House posted a critical quote about Colonel Vindman from Timothy Morrison, his former boss at the National Security Council.

Earlier, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio had cited that comment as well as criticism from Fiona Hill, Mr. Vindman’s former boss at the National Security Council.

“Any idea why they have those impressions?” Mr. Jordan inquired. Colonel Vindman, who apparently came prepared for the criticism, pulled out a copy the performance evaluation Ms. Hill wrote about him in July and read aloud from it.

“Alex is a top one percent military officer and the best army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service,” Mr. Vindman said, quoting Ms. Hill. “He is brilliant, unflappable, and exercises excellent judgment.”

Republicans also questioned the loyalty of Colonel Vindman, an American citizen and decorated Army combat veteran who was born in Ukraine, by asking him about three instances when Oleksandr Danylyuk, the director of Ukraine’s national security council, had approached to offer him the job of defense minister in Kyiv.

Under questioning by the committee’s Republican counsel, Colonel Vindman confirmed the offers and testified that he repeatedly declined, dismissing the idea out of hand and reporting the approaches to his superiors and to counterintelligence officials.

The line of questioning seemed to be designed, at least in part, to feed doubts about Colonel Vindman’s commitment to the United States, the subject of a wave of character attacks on him by Mr. Trump’s allies. Fox News quickly picked up on the tactic, sending out a news alert moments after Mr. Castor finished: “Vindman says Ukrainian official offered him the job of Ukrainian defense minister.”

Mr. Maloney said he was particularly outraged by questions from a Republican lawmaker questioning why Colonel Vindman wore his Army dress uniform to the hearing.

“That dress uniform includes a breast plate that has a combat infantryman badge on it and a purple ribbon,” Mr. Maloney said. “It seems if there is someone who should wear that uniform, it’s someone who has a breast plate on it.”

Two senior national security officials at the White House challenged Mr. Trump’s description of his call with the Ukraine president as “perfect,” testifying on Tuesday about how concerned they were as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appealing for an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Colonel Vindman testified that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he said under questioning about his first thoughts when he heard Mr. Trump’s mention of investigations into Mr. Biden and an unproven theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. “It was probably an element of shock, that maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out, and how this was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”

Earlier, Colonel Vindman explained why he felt it was his “duty” to report his concerns to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, said she found the president’s call unusual because it included discussion of a “domestic political matter.”

Their testimony kicked off three days of hearings featuring nine diplomats and national security officials as Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee continue to build their case that Mr. Trump abused his power by trying to enlist Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations that would discredit former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading political rival, and other Democrats.

Colonel Vindman and Ms. Williams both testified that they were never aware of any other national security officials in the United States government who supported the decision to withhold nearly $400 million in security aid for Ukraine, which both said was directed the White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Both witnesses said withholding the military assistance from Ukraine was damaging to relations between the two countries and to Ukraine’s ability to confront Russian aggression. Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois asked Colonel Vindman whether anyone else supported the decision to freeze the aid.

“No one from the national security?” Mr. Quigley asked.

“None,” Colonel Vindman said.

“No one from the state department?”

“Correct.”

“No one from the department of defense?

“Correct.”

Ms. Williams testified that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told Vice President Mike Pence during a September 1 meeting that continuing to withhold the aid would indicate that United States support for Ukraine was wavering, giving Russia a boost in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

“Any signal or sign that U.S. support was wavering would be construed by Russia as potentially an opportunity for them to strengthen their own hand in Ukraine,” Ms. Williams said, relating what Mr. Zelensky told Mr. Pence.

Mr. Trump offered his first response of the day to the testimony against him during a cabinet meeting at the White House.

“Republicans are absolutely killing it, because it’s a big scam,” the president said.

Rick Perry, the outgoing energy secretary who has been scrutinized for his role in the Ukraine matter, opened the meeting with a prayer in which he said everyone in the room was there because they have been “ordained” to be there.

The president railed anew against impeachment during the cabinet meeting, which is ostensibly about border policy and the proposed United States trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Mr. Trump called the proceedings “a kangaroo court” headed by “little shifty Schiff,” referring to Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. He also suggested that the impeachment attempt would backfire politically on Democrats.

This is the first time the president had been in front of the pool since leaving the White House for an unplanned visit to Walter Reed hospital on Saturday. In the Cabinet Room, he also addressed speculation that he may have visited the hospital abruptly because of heart problems, calling the media “sick.” He said he just had a routine physical.

The president also accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of stonewalling the trade pact because of her focus on impeachment, calling her “that woman” and saying she was “incompetent.”

Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee, sought to turn the focus away from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden, leading the witnesses through a series of questions intended to suggest that the former vice president had intervened in Ukraine’s domestic affairs to benefit his son, Hunter Biden, despite the lack of evidence.

Mr. Biden, as vice president, pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was seen as tolerating corruption in keeping with the policy of the United States, European allies and international financial organizations at the time. But Mr. Nunes suggested that Mr. Biden was acting to benefit his son, who was on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption.

“Did you know that Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Poroshenko at least three times in February 2016 after the president and owner of Burisma’s home was raided on February 2 by the state prosecutor’s office?” Mr. Nunes asked, referring to Petro O. Poroshenko, then the president.

“Not at the time,” Ms. Williams answered. She added: “I’ve become aware of that through this proceeding.”

Mr. Nunes asked a series of similar questions and then repeated them for Mr. Vindman. Neither witness was working on the issue at the time, so neither could offer information to about it. But Mr. Nunes used the opportunity to introduce his allegations, anyway. He also tried repeatedly to extract information from Colonel Vindman about the identity of the whistle-blower who filed a complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, drawing objections from the colonel’s lawyer.

At one point, things turned testy when Mr. Nunes addressed Colonel Vindman as “Mr. Vindman.”

“Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please,” he shot back.

Colonel Vindman used his opening statement before impeachment investigators to denounce the attacks leveled by President Trump and his allies against those who have appeared, or are scheduled to testify, in the impeachment inquiry.

“The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible,” Colonel Vindman said.

His remarks came after Mr. Trump has lashed out repeatedly against witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, disparaging their records and calling them “Never Trumpers” who are trying to take him down. Amid the threats, 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.

The colonel, who came to the United States as a refugee at the age of 3, referred to his family’s history in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, noting that in Russia, “offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.”

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family,” Colonel Vindman said. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

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.

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Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Williams Describes Pence-Zelensky Meeting

Video

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-impeachbriefing-vid-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Williams Describes Pence-Zelensky Meeting 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:

Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told Vice President Pence in September that continuing to withhold military aid would indicate that United States support for Ukraine was wavering, giving Russia a boost in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

Ms. Williams said that during a September 1 meeting, Mr. Zelensky told the vice president that the security aid was a symbol of support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and told lawmakers that Ukraine’s president “was stressing that to the vice president to really underscore the need for the security assistance to be released.”

“Any signal or sign that U.S. support was wavering would be construed by Russia as potentially an opportunity for them to strengthen their own hand in Ukraine,” Ms. Williams said, relating what Mr. Zelensky told Mr. Pence.

The vice president underscored the administration’s strong support for Ukraine and told Mr. Zelensky that he would report his concerns to Mr. Trump, Ms. Williams said, adding that she was not certain whether he did so in a conversation Mr. Pence had with the president later that night.

Ukraine’s security aid was not released for another 10 days, after the White House became aware that a whistle-blower had filed a complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164672871_33536350-463e-4c2c-ba74-e9612c83c06f-articleLarge Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Williams Describes Pence-Zelensky Meeting 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 delivering her opening statement on Tuesday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Two senior national security officials at the White House challenged Mr. Trump’s description of his call with the Ukraine president as “perfect,” testifying on Tuesday about how concerned they were as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appealing 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, testified that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer.

“What I heard was inappropriate, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg,” Colonel Vindman said, referring to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

Anticipating attacks from critics, Colonel Vindman, who appeared for his testimony wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform, said he expressed his concerns “in official channels” through his chain of command, adding that “my intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country.”

Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, said she found the president’s call unusual because it included discussion of a “domestic political matter.”

The pair is kicking 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.

Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee, sought to turn the focus away from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden, leading the witnesses through a series of questions intended to suggest that the former vice president had intervened in Ukraine’s domestic affairs to benefit his son, Hunter Biden, despite the lack of evidence.

Mr. Biden, as vice president, pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was seen as tolerating corruption in keeping with the policy of the United States, European allies and international financial organizations at the time. But Mr. Nunes suggested that Mr. Biden was acting to benefit his son, who was on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption.

“Did you know that Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Poroshenko at least three times in February 2016 after the president and owner of Burisma’s home was raided on February 2 by the state prosecutor’s office?” Mr. Nunes asked, referring to Petro O. Poroshenko, then the president.

“Not at the time,” Ms. Williams answered. She added: “I’ve become aware of that through this proceeding.”

Mr. Nunes asked a series of similar questions and then repeated them for Mr. Vindman. Neither witness was working on the issue at the time, so neither could offer information to about it. But Mr. Nunes used the opportunity to introduce his allegations, anyway. He also tried repeatedly to extract information from Colonel Vindman about the identity of the whistle-blower who filed a complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, drawing objections from the colonel’s lawyer.

At one point, things turned testy when Mr. Nunes addressed Colonel Vindman as “Mr. Vindman.”

“Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please,” he shot back.

Colonel Vindman used his opening statement before impeachment investigators to denounce the attacks leveled by President Trump and his allies against those who have appeared, or are scheduled to testify, in the impeachment inquiry.

“The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible,” Colonel Vindman said.

His remarks came after Mr. Trump has lashed out repeatedly against witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, disparaging their records and calling them “Never Trumpers” who are trying to take him down. Amid the threats, 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.

The colonel, who came to the United States as a refugee at the age of 3, referred to his family’s history in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, noting that in Russia, “offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.”

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family,” Colonel Vindman said. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Colonel Vindman was one of the officials who listened in to Mr. Trump’s July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and privately expressed concerns about it. On Tuesday, he was to testify that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was among the “disruptive actors” who were “promoting false information that undermined the United States’ Ukraine policy.”

He said the National Security Council and other agencies, including the State Department, “grew increasingly concerned about the impact that such information was having on our country’s ability to achieve our national security objectives.”

Colonel Vindman on Tuesday played down the decision by White House lawyers to put the transcript of Mr. Trump’s July 25 call on a more secure server, saying that “I didn’t take it as anything nefarious” on the part of the officials.

“I think it was intended, but again it was intended to prevent leaks and to limit access,” he said.

He also discounted the importance of two words being left out of the reconstructed transcript of the call. Colonel Vindman has said that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine used the word “Burisma” in reference to a company that employed Hunter Biden, former vice president’s son.

The word was not included, however, in the reconstructed transcript that was later released by the White House. Colonel Vindman said the transcript also did not include Mr. Trump’s use of the word “recordings,” a reference he said was to video of the former vice president.

But Colonel Vindman called the missing words “administrative errors” that “might be meaningful but it’s not that big of a deal.”

The lawyer for Ms. Williams told lawmakers that she could not answer questions about a Sept. 18 call between Vice President Mike Pence and the president of Ukraine because the White House had determined that it was classified.

In her closed-door deposition, Ms. Williams answered questions about the call, telling lawmakers that the two had a “very positive” discussion and that there was no discussion about investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

Ms. Williams said on Tuesday that she would be willing to answer questions in a classified setting or in writing to the committee.

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: Williams Describes Pence-Zelensky Meeting 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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Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Vindman and Williams Testify

Video

Westlake Legal Group merlin_164668287_f4fa921d-4748-4c48-827e-678544662d8c-superJumbo Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Vindman and Williams Testify 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 challenged Mr. Trump’s description of his call with the Ukraine president as “perfect,” testifying on Tuesday about how concerned they were as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appealing 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, testified that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer.

“What I heard was inappropriate, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg,” Colonel Vindman said in a halting statement, referring to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

Anticipating attacks from critics, Colonel Vindman said he expressed his concerns “in official channels” through his chain of command, adding that “my intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country.”

Jennifer Williams, a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, said she found the president’s call unusual because it included discussion of a “domestic political matter.”

The pair is kicking 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.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164668530_465c379a-4d62-4c66-98df-79e0614e8e4f-articleLarge Impeachment Hearings Live Updates: Vindman and Williams Testify 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 preparing to testify Tuesday before Congress.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Colonel Vindman used his opening statement before impeachment investigators to denounce the attacks leveled by President Trump and his allies against those who have appeared, or are scheduled to testify, in the impeachment inquiry.

“The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible,” Colonel Vindman said.

His remarks came after Mr. Trump has lashed out repeatedly against witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, disparaging their records and calling them “Never Trumpers” who are trying to take him down. Amid the threats, 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.

The colonel, who came to the United States as a refugee at the age of 3, referred to his family’s history in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, noting that in Russia, “offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.”

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family,” Colonel Vindman said. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.

Colonel Vindman was one of the officials who listened in to Mr. Trump’s July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and privately expressed concerns about it. On Tuesday, he was to testify that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was among the “disruptive actors” who were “promoting false information that undermined the United States’ Ukraine policy.”

He said the National Security Council and other agencies, including the State Department, “grew increasingly concerned about the impact that such information was having on our country’s ability to achieve our national security objectives.”

The lawyer for Ms. Williams told lawmakers that she could not answer questions about a September 18 call between Vice President Mike Pence and the president of Ukraine because the White House has determined that it was classified.

In her closed-door deposition, Ms. Williams answered questions about the call, telling lawmakers that the two had a “very positive” discussion and that there was no discussion about investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

Ms. Williams said on Tuesday that she would be willing to answer questions in a classified setting or in writing to the committee.

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 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.

“The uniform I wear today is that of the United States Army,” he said. “We do not serve any particular political party, we serve the nation. I am humbled to come before you today as one of many who serve in the most distinguished and able military in the world.”

Republicans were 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 have signaled they intend to point out that the president makes no mention of security aid during the call.

In his opening statement, Colonel Vindman insisted that he did not have a partisan motivation when he reported his concerns about the pressure campaign on Ukraine to his superior.

“My only thought was to act properly and to carry out duty,” he said. “I focused on what I have done throughout my career, promoting America’s national security interests.”

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: Vindman and Williams Testify 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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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.

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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

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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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