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Politics As public hearings loom, VP Pence aide meets with U.S. House committees

16:50  07 november  2019
16:50  07 november  2019 Source:   reuters.com

Donald Trump's White House braces for public impeachment hearings

  Donald Trump's White House braces for public impeachment hearings President Donald Trump and his allies are bracing for open hearings that will preoccupy Washington and bring to life the vivid picture of presidential behavior that until now has been confined to written statements and private testimony. © Win McNamee/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Vice President Mike Pence listen during a conference call with the International Space Station on October 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump spoke with NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch as the pair became the first women to conduct an all female space walk outside the space station.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U . S . congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump met on Thursday for the first time with a top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence , one of the last witnesses to testify behind closed doors before public hearings start next week.

U . S . congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump are due to hear for the first time on Thursday from a top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence , one of the last witnesses to testify behind closed doors before public hearings start next week.

WASHINGTON — U.S. congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump met on Thursday for the first time with a top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, one of the last witnesses to testify behind closed doors before public hearings start next week.

Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, arrives for a closed-door interview on Capitol Hill on Nov. 7, 2019. © Susan Walsh Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, arrives for a closed-door interview on Capitol Hill on Nov. 7, 2019.

Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russia, arrived at the U.S. Capitol to testify behind closed doors on Thursday morning with members of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees. Lawmakers will look to Williams for information about how much Pence knew about efforts by Trump and those around him to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

5 things to look for as public hearings begin in the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump

  5 things to look for as public hearings begin in the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump Here are five things to look for as the House Intelligence Committee begins public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump , on Oct. 30. 19/73 SLIDES © Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Christopher Anderson (C), a State Department employee arrives for a closed-door deposition at the US Capitol, on Oct. 30. 20/73 SLIDES © Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to reporters outside the House Intelligence Committee SCIF as U.S.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees have called Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russia, to testify behind closed doors on Thursday morning. Lawmakers will look to Williams for information

US congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump met on Thursday for the first time with a top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence , one of the last witnesses to testify behind closed doors before public hearings start next week.

Despite her cooperation, several other U.S. officials from the executive branch defied calls to testify this week, ratcheting up conflict between House Democrats and Trump's Republicans over the probe.

Former national security adviser John Bolton, whom Trump fired in September, was also called to appear on Thursday but was not expected to do so. Bolton's attorney said he would not appear voluntarily and he has not yet been subpoenaed.

Trump and his backers blast the House inquiry as a witch hunt and accuse Democrats of unfairly targeting him in hope of reversing his surprise election victory in 2016. In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump called the probe a "phony scam."

The House investigation is focused on a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, a leading Democratic rival as Trump seeks re-election in November 2020.

Historic impeachment hearings are set to begin, with GOP and Democrats pushing dueling messages on Trump’s conduct

  Historic impeachment hearings are set to begin, with GOP and Democrats pushing dueling messages on Trump’s conduct The two parties signaled how they planned to present radically different interpretations of the president’s actions and whether they were impeachable. Democrats expressed confidence that Wednesday’s hearing would begin a serious and somber process of publicly exposing Trump’s misconduct, narrated by career diplomats who were alarmed by the president’s push to have Ukraine investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as a debunked theory concerning the 2016 election, in exchange for military aid and a White House visit coveted by Ukraine’s new leader.

This week, the White House rebuffed a committee request for Mulvaney to appear. Mulvaney caused a stir with a statement at an Oct. An official of the House Intelligence Committee said Bolton had threatened to take the committee to court if it subpoenas him.

Congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump are due to hear for the first time on Thursday from a top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence , one of the last witnesses to testify behind closed doors before public hearings start next week.

They are trying to determine whether Trump froze $391 million in U.S. security assistance for Ukraine to put pressure on Zelenskiy to conduct the investigation, misusing U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain.

Democrats have been releasing transcripts of previous closed-door interviews this week, as they prepare for next week, when they will hold the first public hearings in the six-week-long probe.

Slideshow by photo services

Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday his committee would hold the first public sessions next week.

"Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn firsthand about the facts of the president's misconduct," he told reporters during a break in closed-door testimony from David Hale, the State Department's third-highest official.

Three U.S. diplomats who expressed alarm about Trump's dealings with Ukraine and have already testified in private will serve as star witnesses.

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, another career diplomat with experience in the country, will testify on Nov. 13. Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly pulled from her post as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May, will testify on Nov. 15.

Setting the stage for the public hearings, lawmakers have been making public transcripts of the closed-door depositions this week. Yovanovitch's testimony was released on Monday and Taylor's on Wednesday.

Sources familiar with the investigation said Kent's transcript would be made public on Thursday.

If the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate would then hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office.

Senate Republicans have so far shown little appetite for ousting the president.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Makini Brice; editing by Peter Cooney and Susan Heavey

Next up in impeachment hearings: A parade of key witnesses .
Several more witnesses scheduled to testify in the House impeachment hearings over the next week are expected to say they too worried about President Donald Trump’s push for Ukraine to investigate Democrats as the U.S. withheld military aid from the country. What’s ahead on the impeachment schedule:MORE WITNESSESThe House intelligence committee, which is conducting the impeachment hearings, has set a packed schedule of open hearings over the next week.On Friday, lawmakers will hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted in May at Trump’s direction.

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