Politics Current White House official willing to testify publicly in impeachment probe: Source
Obey White House or subpoena? Witness in impeachment probe asks judge to decide
A witness in the House impeachment probe is asking a judge to decide whether he should obey a congressional subpeona or the White House, which wants to block him.The case is the latest twist in White House efforts to block all former and current administration officials from testifying or otherwise cooperating with the Democrat-led probe.
Lt. Col., the first current White House official to investigators and appear on Capitol Hill for a closed-door deposition, is willing to testify publicly in the next phase of the inquiry, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
A National Security Council officialspecialist, earlier this week that he was so "concerned" by the on a July phone call with the Ukrainian president, he notified a White House lawyer.
Judge fast-tracks case over former White House official's refusal to testify in impeachment inquiry
A federal judge on Thursday fast-tracked a case involving a key impeachment witness caught between House Democrats seeking to compel his testimony and a White House order to defy a congressional subpoena. Judge Richard Leon, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal district court in D.C., called the legal dispute over the testimony of Charles Kupperman, a former deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, a "matter of great publicJudge Richard Leon, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal district court in D.C.
Vindman, the first witness towith firsthand knowledge of the call, has not yet been formally contacted by House impeachment investigators about testifying in public, the source said.
"I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of," Vindman testified, according to a copy of his opening remarks obtained by ABC News.
An attorney for Vindman and a spokesman for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff declined to comment for this story.
Impeachment investigators ask Rick Perry to testify
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is being called to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Perry, the first member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet who has asked to appear before House investigators, is scheduled for Wednesday, according an official working on the impeachment inquiry but unauthorized to discuss it publicly. The person was granted anonymity. It's unclear if Perry would show up for the closed-door session. HousePerry, the first member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet who has asked to appear before House investigators, is scheduled for Wednesday, according an official working on the impeachment inquiry but unauthorized to discuss it publicly. The person was granted anonymity.
The Ukraine-born Vindman, who serves in the Army and was awarded a Purple Heart after an improvised explosive device attack in Iraq, could be a key witness for Democrats as they seek to take public their investigation into whether President Donald Trump improperly withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to open investigations into Burisma, an energy company that once employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and the 2016 election.
"I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play, which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained," Vindman said in his opening statement. "This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel."
Perry refuses to testify in House impeachment inquiry
House lawmakers have asked outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry to testify as part of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump, an official working on the probe told The Hill."The Secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency counsel is forbidden to be present," Department of Energy press secretary Shaylyn Hynes wrote in a statement to The Hill.
The House voted largely along party lines on Thursday to approve an impeachment resolution, laying out the procedures for the upcoming public hearings, which could begin as early as November, in the House Intelligence Committee.
The testimony of Vindman could provide insight into how White House officials work to restrict access to a rough transcript of Trump's call with the Ukrainian president.
Vindman, along with his twin brother Yevgeny, who also serves in the Army and on the NSC staff, approached John Eisenberg, the NSC’s top lawyer, with his concerns about Trump’s comments on the July 25 call and read-out notes he took during it, according to a source familiar with Vindman's testimony.
In that meeting, which also included Michael Ellis, a White House attorney and Eisenberg’s deputy, Eisenberg suggested moving the transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to a system meant to store classified, sensitive national security information, according to the source.
Impeachment investigators ask Mick Mulvaney to testify
House impeachment investigators asked President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to appear for a deposition later this week. © Leah Millis Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions from reporters during a White House news briefing on October 17, 2019. Lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry believe Mulvaney can provide firsthand details about Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine at a time he was pressing Ukraine's government to launch investigations into his political rivals.
House impeachment investigators are seeking to question Ellis and Eisenberg next week, though it's unclear if they will cooperate with the inquiry.
Vindman also testified that he suggested changes to clarify a rough transcript of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy, according to sources present for his testimony.
Two of the changes -- a mention of Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company, by Zelenskiy, and a reference to recordings of Biden discussing corruption in Ukraine by Trump -- were not adopted, Vindman told investigators, though he did not testify to any motive behind the White House’s review process.
Vindman also told impeachment investigators that he believed that the promise of a White House meeting, and later, nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, was being withheld in exchange for the investigations into Burisma and the 2016 election, according to sources familiar with his testimony.
Republicans who participated in the deposition on Wednesday dismissed Vindman’s opening statement and impression of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy.
"It doesn't trouble me," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, told reporters. "The facts have not changed."
Impeachment investigators subpoena Mick Mulvaney .
Impeachment investigators subpoena Mick MulvaneyMulvaney had already signaled he would likely refuse lawmakers’ demands to testify, and the White House has issued a blanket order against cooperating with the impeachment probe.
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