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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Wallace: Nunes' questioning may backfire
Vindman says April 21 readout ‘not entirely accurate’
Vindman explained the disconnect between the readout on the April 21 call between Trump and the Ukranian president and the call summary released by the White House. The readout claimed rooting out corruption was discussed, but a summary released by the White House earlier this week did not mention that.
According to the summary, the tone of the call was largely congratulatory, with Zelenskiy quickly inviting Trump to visit his country, and later Trump issuing a general invitation to the White House.
Vindman told Goldman, the Democrat’s counsel, that he would not call the readout false necessarily, but rather "not entirely accurate," because readouts are often used as messaging to promote policies consistent with U.S. policy and indicate what is important to an administration.
Vindman outlines secret filing system for transcript
Vindman, under questioning from Goldman, said that it was explained to him that the summary of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy was transferred to a private, more secure server “to avoid leaks” and to help “preserve the integrity of the transcript.”
Vindman said he “didn’t take it as anything nefarious,” but that the decision to have it “segregated into a separate security system” was “made on the fly.” It's notable because the movement of the summary to the server has raised questions about whether anyone in the White House was trying to hide what was discussed on the call.
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."