- The Washington Times
Monday, November 18, 2019

The House inquiry embarks Tuesday on a busy three days of impeachment hearings, bringing nine key players to Capitol Hill in hopes of eliciting damning evidence against President Trump.

The impeachment probe kicks off Alexander Vindman, the U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who serves as the director for European Affairs on the National Security Council, Tuesday morning.

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, is scheduled to testify alongside Lt. Col. Vindman. She was also on the July 25 call Mr. Trump had with Ukraine’s president and has told lawmakers privately she thought it was “inappropriate” and politically motivated to obtain damaging information of Mr. Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, is scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon. He is a witness Republican lawmakers are eager to hear from because he was advising Ukrainian officials about how to navigate the president’s priorities as they sought U.S. political and military support.

Alongside Mr. Volker, Tim Morrison also will appear as a witness requested by Republicans. Mr. Morrison served as an adviser to Mr. Trump on Russian and European matters. He said in closed-door testimony to the inquiry that he did not see anything illegal with the president’s July 25 call, though he worried about political consequences in Washington if it leaked.

The week’s blockbuster hearing is expected on Wednesday when Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland faces the inquiry.

Mr. Sondland is at the center of the case that Mr. Trump withheld $391 million of military aid withheld from Ukraine until its leaders opened a probe of Mr. Biden and his son — an alleged quid pro quo deal Democrats say amounts to bribery.

The ambassador is a key go-between for Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He has said that the financial aid to Ukraine appeared to be contingent on the Biden investigation.

Wednesday afternoon, the committee will hear from Defense Department official Laura Cooper and State Department official David Hale. Ms. Cooper is expected to describe how the aid was released to Ukraine in September and details surrounding the delay, which lasted about two months. Mr. Hale likely will be quizzed about the president’s lack of support for former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, whom the administration removed from her post in May.

On Thursday, Fiona Hill and David Holmes are set to testify.

Ms. Hill, who served as a National Security Council expert on European affairs, told lawmakers behind closed doors that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, purportedly acting on Mr. Trump’s behalf, had pushed conspiracy theories about Ukraine.

Mr. Holmes, a State Department aid, has claimed he overheard a phone call in which Mr. Trump admitted his preoccupation with Ukraine investigating the Bidens.

House Democrats added Mr. Holmes to the witness list Monday. His name first came up in a public hearing last week, prompting the committee to bring him in for a closed-door hearing Friday. Mr. Holmes told lawmakers that he was in a restaurant with Mr. Sondland and overheard a phone call between Mr. Sondland and Mr. Trump discussing pressure on Ukraine to cooperate in finding information on the Bidens.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.