- The Washington Times
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the investigation has made “dramatic progress” over the two-week break, despite the administration’s attempts to slow roll Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Thanks to the testimony of several State Department officials that have come to meet with lawmakers, Mr. Schiff said lawmakers have learned about the “conditionality” of the July 25th phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky, which is at the center of the investigation.

They also found out more about the work to have Ukraine open an investigation into the Biden family and a theory involving the 2016 Clinton campaign both before and after the phone call.

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Mr. Schiff had high praise for the witnesses that have testified so far, saying the administration put them in an “impossible position” by urging them not to comply with the subpoena.

“Were it not for the fact that at least some witnesses have given us documents, we would not know that there was a paper record of efforts to condition this meeting and perhaps condition military support itself,” he said.

For example, last week Democrats released some of the text messages turned over by former Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, where American and Ukrainian officials discussed the setting up the Trump-Zelensky meeting and one U.S. diplomate expressed his concern about using military aid as leverage.

Republicans slammed the text messages as misleading and “cherry picked” to help further the Democrats’ narrative.

Despite the administration’s stance against cooperating with the investigation until it holds a full House vote, former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch have testified, while Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is set to testify later this week.

However, a handful of other officials — Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and acting OMB Director Russell Vought — along with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani have refused to comply with subpoena deadlines set by House Democrats on Tuesday.

The California Democrat slammed the administration’s stonewalling, but said the committee will continue its work.

“The case for obstruction of Congress continues to build,” he said. “But even as that case of obstruction continues to build, we are nonetheless continuing to get good and important information from these courageous witnesses.”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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