Impeachment hearings: Who is testifying next and when
WASHINGTON - The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump moves into its second week of public hearings, and the House Intelligence Committee will hear from nine more witnesses over the next three days.
Last week, three top diplomats spoke publicly about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and their concerns as he pushed the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and withheld military aid.
The committee heard from William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine; George Kent, deputy assistant to the secretary of state; and Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S ambassador to Ukraine who was removed by Trump.
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During the hearings, Taylor told the committee one of his staff members recently said he or she overheard Trump when they were meeting with another diplomat and U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland at a restaurant the day after Trump’s July 25 phone call.
The staff member explained that Sondland had called the president and they could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations,” Taylor said. Sondland then told the president the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, according to the acting ambassador.
Both Kent and Taylor, who was asked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to return to Ukraine as Trump was firing Yovanovitch, defended their ousted colleague. During her testimony, she recalled learning of her removal in May.
On Friday, David Holmes, political counsel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, spoke with the committee in a closed-door session. He discussed overhearing Trump talking with Sondland about “the investigations” in Ukraine.
So who will be testifying this week and when?
The hearings will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at 9 a.m. ET.
Here’s a breakdown on who is testifying and their significance to the inquiry:
Tuesday, first panel: 9 a.m. ET
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official. Vindman raised concerns in the White House about Trump’s push for investigations. Vindman told investigators during closed-door depositions about a July meeting at the White House in which Sondland told Ukrainian officials that Zelenskiy would have to open an investigation into the Bidens if he wanted a meeting with Trump.
- Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on Russia and Europe. Closed-door testimony from Williams raised fresh questions about what Pence knew regarding Trump’s actions toward Ukraine. She is among the staffers in the White House Situation Room who listened and took notes during Trump’s July 25 call where he asked Zelenskiy for “a favor.”
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Tuesday, second panel: 2:30 p.m. ET
- Kurt Volker, Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine for peace negotiations. He, along with Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, were part of the so-called “three amigos.” They were tasked with taking the lead on Ukrainian policy outside normal channels. Volker was also closely involved in negotiations with Ukrainian officials as they tried to figure out how to meet Trump’s demands.
- Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide. In his private testimony, he recounted that Sondland also told him he was discussing the Ukraine matters directly with Trump. The testimony also contradicts much of what Sondland told congressional investigators during his own closed-door deposition, which the ambassador later amended.
Wednesday, first panel: 9 a.m. ET
- Gordon Sondland, Trump’s European Union ambassador. He spoke to Trump about the Ukraine policy. Other witnesses’ testimony suggests Sondland was intimately involved in discussions over whether Trump held up the military aid to Ukraine to try to pressure the country’s president to announce the investigations into Democrats, including Biden and his son, Hunter.
Wednesday, second panel: 2:30 a.m. ET
- Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Defense. During her closed-door testimony, she told investigators that in a series of July meetings at the White House, she came to understand that Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was holding up the military aid for Ukraine.
- David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs. Hale, who is the highest-ranking career diplomat in the foreign service, testified in a closed-door session that political considerations were behind the agency’s refusal to deliver a robust defense of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Thursday, only one witness: 9 a.m. ET
- Fiona Hill, a former Russia adviser to the White House. She told lawmakers about former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s concerns about Ukraine. She also said that Bolton abruptly ended a meeting with Sondland when he brought up the investigations.
- David Holmes, a political counsel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. Holmes overheard Trump speaking to Sondland about "the investigations" in Ukraine. He said he heard Trump's voice through the earpiece of a phone because he was talking so loud. Sondland then called Trump as he and Holmes dined at a Kyiv restaurant for lunch. Holmes said Sondland told Trump on that call that Zelenskiy would do the investigations and would do "anything you ask him to."
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed to this report.