EVENT ENDED

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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Transcript of Trump's conversation with Ukrainian president

Read the latest updates below:

Live Blog

Stefanik: Quid pro quo? Extortion? Treason?

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., sought to portray the 55-day hold on Ukrainian security assistance as a nothing-burger on Tuesday, by asking the two witnesses if anyone had bribed or extorted Ukraine or committed treason.

“Did either of you ever have any evidence of quid pro quo?” Stefanik asked. “Any evidence of bribery?”

“Any evidence of treason?” she continued.

The witnesses said no to all three questions.

Hearing room audience is thinning out

As the third day of impeachment hearing wears into its 11th hour, the audience section of the hearing room for the public has dwindled. About a couple of dozen members of the public are here. No lawmakers are in their section of the audience.

Stewart: 'It would be absurd' to suggest anyone is above the law

During his questioning, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, argued that no political candidate is immune from  investigation if they are suspected of unethical or criminal activity. 

Volker responded, “I don’t think anyone should be above the law.” 

Stewart seems to be arguing that Trump, without evidence, was trying to see if the Bidens were committing a crime in a foreign country. However, Volker stated that there are “channels for doing that” as well as treaties that can be triggered if an American commits a crime abroad. 

This defense -- that no one is above the law -- is aimed at defending probing the Bidens. However, the president’s own lawyers have argued in court filings that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. Trump's legal team made this point while attempting to block New York City prosecutors from obtaining the president's tax returns. A judge then ruled against Trump. 

Article II: Inside Impeachment — Public hearings edition

On Tuesday's episode, Article II host Steve Kornacki talks to NBC News correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell about the testimony provided by Pence aide Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.

The two discuss Williams and Vindman’s response to the July 25 phone Trump-Ukraine call (which both were on) and the Republican strategy to discredit Vindman and elevate the focus on the identity of the whistleblower. They also talk about the Democratic strategy to allow the witnesses to tell their stories.

Download the episode here.

Conaway: We’re not trying to out the whistleblower!

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, complained furiously that the whistleblower did not deserve “absolute right” to anonymity and that he was angry that Schiff keeps accusing House Republicans of trying to out the whistleblower. Republicans have repeatedly asked questions about who might have known about the July 25 call before it went public. Conaway also pointed out that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said in a dear colleague letter that the whistleblower would need to talk directly to the Intelligence Committee.

“This is about leveling the playing field between our two teams,” Conaway said. 

Schiff responded dryly, saying he would enter the whistleblower statute — and ranking member Nunes’ comments on the importance of anonymity for whistleblowers — into the congressional record. He did not acknowledge Pelosi’s letter.

White House, Trump associates trash Vindman's testimony

Several members of Trump’s White House, re-election campaign and his family trashed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Tuesday as he testified publicly that the July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart was “improper.”

Dan Scavino Jr., who serves as assistant to the president and director of social media at the White House, suggested that Vindman has dual loyalty to Ukraine after Vindman confirmed that he was offered a position as defense minister in Ukraine three times.

Scavino tweeted, “#ICYMI: Lt. Col. Vindman was offered the position of Defense Minister for the Ukrainian Government THREE times! #ImpeachmentSHAM."

Read more about the White House's attacks.

Morrison can’t remember Trump mentioning corruption on the July 25 call

After Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., pressed Morrison on his memory of the Ukraine call, Morrison said that he heard Trump mention Crowdstrike, the DNC server and the Bidens but not the word “corruption.” 

This is a significant exchange because, throughout this hearing and others, Republicans have argued that Trump was generally concerned about corruption in Ukraine that is the reason for the aid being withheld and placing conditions on the country. 

Democrats have said that the corruption concern is a pretense for Trump’s pressure campaign to help his reelection. Morrison, who was one of the officials on the call, has now said that corruption was not mentioned. And others have testified that corruption was not mentioned on the April call with the Ukrainian president either.

Volker, citing Biden link, becomes latest witness to revise testimony

Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy for Ukraine negotiations, told the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday he now sees that others in the Trump administration sought an investigation into the Biden family and that they told Ukraine's government that military aid depended on it — a shift in his account that he said reflected new information he'd only recently learned.

Volker, who was the first witness to be deposed behind closed doors last month in the inquiry, told the House at the time that "official representatives" of the U.S. had “never communicated to Ukrainians" that the aid had been suspended for a specific reason. He added, "We never had a reason."

But in the weeks since, other officials have testified that the ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, had, in fact, told a top Ukrainian presidential aide that the country would not likely get the money unless the investigations were announced, a fact Sondland himself ultimately conceded.

"I have learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question," Volker said Tuesday in his new account to Congress, which took place during the open, televised portion of the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment proceedings.

Read more about how Volker's testimony changed.

Schiff presses Morrison on concerns about Ukraine call

Schiff grilled Morrison about his concerns over Trump's Ukraine call. Morrison appeared uncomfortable describing the call as Trump pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into the Bidens. 

Schiff asked why, if it was a “perfect call” as Trump has repeatedly claimed, Morrison went to the national security council’s legal adviser. Morrison answered that he would have been concerned if the call leaked despite the content.

Morrison, however, agreed that it would be hypothetically problematic if Trump had asked to open an investigation into other U.S. political officials, including Pelosi and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican. But Morrison stopped short of saying asking a probe of Joe Biden was inappropriate. 

“I can only speak to what I understood at the time and why I acted the way I did at the time,” he told Schiff.