Analysis after Alexander Vindman, Jennifer Williams, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison 's impeachment testimony

Their testimony kicked off the second week of open hearings in the House's impeachment inquiry.

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The second week of public hearings in the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump kicked off on Tuesday with testimony from four current and former administration officials.

Former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council staffer Tim Morrison testified beginning around 3:30 p.m. ET. Earlier Tuesday, NSC staffer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified for around 4.5 hours starting at 9 a.m ET.

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Vindman details Ukranian concerns over aid

Vindman testified that he was asked by Ukrainian officials in August to substantiate rumors that the military aid was on hold. He said that he told the officials he was not aware of the hold. His testimony gives a behind-the-scenes picture of how Ukrainians were growing increasingly worried about the aid after Trump pressured the Ukrainian president on the July 25 call. Vindman's interactions with the Ukrainian officials also gave rise to conservative attacks on his loyalty, making his answers on his reasons for speaking with the officials important.

Vindman: No credible evidence to support theory that Ukraine interfered in 2016 election

Responding to a question about Trump's pushing the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory, Vindman said he was not aware of any credible evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

He said he was well aware, though, that Russia had promoted that theory.

The CrowdStrike theory, about which Trump asked Zelenskiy, essentially contends that Ukraine, and not Russia, was involved in hacking Democratic Party emails and that a Democratic National Committee server may be in Ukraine. The theory runs counter to the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, and former Trump homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said it was “debunked.”

Republicans have pointed to a 2017 Politico story reporting that Ukrainian embassy officials in Washington helped a DNC staffer research allegations involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is now in prison stemming from his business activity in Ukraine.

Williams says request for probes ‘sounded political to me’

Goldman, the counsel for House Oversight Committee Democrats, pressed Williams for her interpretation of Trump’s request on the July 25 call that Zelenskiy launch an investigation into the Bidens.

“I thought that the reference to specific individuals and investigations, such as former Vice President Biden and his son” was “political in nature,” she said.

She added, “I can’t speak to what the president’s motivation was" but “it sounded political to me.”

Vindman address father in opening statement: 'I will be fine for telling the truth'

Meet the two seasoned staff prosecutors now in the impeachment spotlight

The fast-moving impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals is not only putting the partisanship on the House Intelligence Committee on full display, it's also catapulting the lead lawyers for both parties into the national spotlight.

Daniel Goldman is the Democrats' lead counsel and Steve Castor represents the Republicans. Both lawyers have extensive experience in Washington and in the courtroom and led the questioning of the closed-door depositions of witnesses in the inquiry. 

Read more about the questioners here.

Vindman describes his 'real-time' reaction to the July 25 call

Responding to Schiff’s request for his “real-time reaction” to the July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy, Vindman answered bluntly:

“Without hesitation, I knew that I had to report this to the White House counsel. I had concerns and it was my duty to report my concerns to the proper people in the chain of command,” said Vindman, who was listening in on the call.

Vindman reiterated that it was “inappropriate” and “improper” for “the president to demand an investigation into a political opponent.”

He said what occurred on the call would “undermine Ukraine policy” and “undermine our national security.”

Schiff then asked Vindman whether he felt Trump put pressure on Zelenskiy when he asked for a “favor” on the call to open the investigations.

Citing his military background, Vindman said: “When a senior asks you to do something, even if it's polite and pleasant, it's not to be taken as a request. It's to be taken as an order."

Vindman testimony gets wide praise on Twitter

Vindman: ‘I did this out of a sense of duty’

Lt. Col. Vindman delivered a powerful opening statement, sharing his story as a son of immigrants who came to America for a better life and instilled a sense of duty to serve in the U.S. military. He said he never expected to testify about the president’s actions, but he did so out of a “sense of duty.” He also thanked his father for his sacrifice. 

Vindman’s account is significant because Republicans have attempted to paint previous witnesses as unreliable given their second- or third-hand knowledge about the pressure campaign. Vindman said that he witnessed Ambassador Sondland ask Ukrainian officials to open the investigation in order to get the aid — a meeting then-national security adviser John Bolton cut short. He also said that the July 25 call was “inappropriate” and he reported his concerns immediately. 

Vindman — whose loyalty to the United States has come under attack from some in conservative media — excoriated the “reprehensible” and “cowardly” attacks on career foreign service officers and others who have appeared or were expected to do so, saying they do this work out of patriotism and not partisanship. 

In a powerful close, Vindman thanked his father for deciding to come to America, saying his testimony was proof it was the right decision. "Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth," he said.

Read his full statement here:

Williams lawyer objects to question about Pence call

Schiff opened his questioning by asking Williams about a Sept. 18 call between Pence and Zelenskiy, but her lawyer chimed in, saying that the Office of the Vice President has deemed the call “classified.”

Schiff then asks if Williams could provide information of the call in a classified setting, and she says she’d be “happy to.”

The Hill reviewing and correcting articles from conservative reporter referenced by Nunes

Moments ago, Nunes lavished praise on John Solomon, the conservative reporter whose columns in The Hill play a major role in the Ukraine story, and accused the media of “furiously smearing and libeling him.” He noted that “The Hill told its staff yesterday it would conduct a review of Solomon’s Ukraine reporting.”

NBC News has obtained from an employee of The Hill the email sent Monday to staff by The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack. It says that "in light of recent congressional testimony and related events, we wanted to apprise you of the steps we are taking regarding John Solomon’s opinion columns which were referenced in the impeachment inquiry."

It goes on:

"Because of our dedication to accurate nonpartisan reporting and standards, we are reviewing, updating, annotating with any denials of witnesses, and when appropriate, correcting any opinion pieces referenced during the ongoing congressional inquiry. As previously stated, the views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill."

"We reiterate that we do not condone sending material out before publication," the letter adds. "The Hill remains committed to giving voice to views across the political divide."