Ukraine military aid held up at Trump's direction, State Dept. witness expected to say
Catherine Croft, a Ukraine specialist who was an aide to former special envoy Kurt Volker, is expected to testify Wednesday that she was part of a July meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget in which an official said the hold on military aid to Ukraine came “at the direction of the president,” according to her opening statement.
The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, also has testified that the hold came at Trump's direction.
Croft is also expected to say that while working in a prior role at the at National Security Council, she would get calls from lobbyist Robert Livingston, a former congressman, saying now-former Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch should be fired because she was an “Obama holdover."
Meanwhile, former Volker aide Christopher Anderson is expected to testify Wednesday that Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to urge the Ukrainian government to open investigations into Trump's political rivals, including the Bidens, was discussed at a Ukraine strategy meeting at the Department of Energy in June.
Read the full story here.
State Department special adviser for Ukraine expected to appear in closed session
Catherine Croft, State Department special adviser for Ukraine, is expected to testify that closed session on Wednesday starting at 9 a.m., followed by former special adviser to Ambassador Kurt Volker, Christopher Anderson.
Anderson will testify that Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to urge the Ukrainian government to open investigations was discussed at a Ukraine strategy meeting at the Department of Energy in June.
Croft is expected to say that she was part of the July 18 meeting with the Office of Management and Budget and heard an official say that the hold on military aid came “at the direction of the president,” according to her opening statement obtained by NBC News.
The House Rules Committee is also meeting at to debate and amend the resolution to formalize the next steps of the impeachment inquiry.
Vindman testifies White House record left out details of Trump-Ukraine call
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told members of Congress Tuesday that he tried to edit a White House log of a July call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's president to include details that were omitted, one lawmaker present at the testimony and another source familiar with it confirmed to NBC News.
Read the full story here.
Tuesday's impeachment news roundup
In case you're just catching up on Tuesday's impeachment news, here's some of what you missed:
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, testified in front of House impeachment investigators about what he heard during Trump's call with the Ukrainian president and other matters related to the inquiry. (His appearance also sparked a bonus episode of NBC News' "Article II: Inside Impeachment" podcast, featuring congressional reporter Rebecca Shabad. Listen here.)
- Democrats said Vindman's testimony was "extremely disturbing" and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House. He also received praise from Republicans.
- House Democrats released text of the resolution that will detail their procedures as they move forward with the impeachment inquiry. They are expected to vote on the resolution on Thursday.
- South Carolina Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham, one of the last few House Democrats not to back impeachment, will be voting in support of the resolution setting procedures going forward in the impeachment inquiry, his spokesperson told NBC News.
Updated impeachment inquiry deposition schedule
Officials working on the impeachment inquiry tell NBC News:
Catherine Croft is expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday. Christopher Anderson is expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday.
Timothy Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council, is expected to appear in closed session on Thursday.
Robert Blair, Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser to the Acting Chief of Staff, is expected to appear in closed session on Friday.
The Committees will re-notice a future date for Kathryn Wheelbarger. The Committees are in ongoing discussions with other witnesses and we look forward to their testimony.
Dem holdout Rep. Cunningham will support the impeachment process resolution Thursday
South Carolina Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham, one of the last few House Democrats not to back impeachment, will be voting in support of the resolution setting procedures going forward in the impeachment inquiry, his spokesperson told NBC News.
Cunningham told the Post and Courier that he is still undecided on whether or not Trump should be impeached.
His support for the resolution is "something that my colleagues from across the aisle have been requesting for weeks now, so I hope this affords them some satisfaction, and overall it’s a good measure to shine some light on these hearings and make sure that we respect due process," he told the paper.
House Democrats release impeachment resolution
House Democrats released on Tuesday text of the resolution that will detail their procedures as they move forward with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
More broadly, the resolution appears to put in writing what several House committees handling investigations into Trump are already doing.
The resolution directs "certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes."
Read more about their resolution here.
Diplomat Bill Taylor receives rock star reception in Ukraine after House testimony
MARIUPOL, Ukraine — More than 5,000 miles from the congressional room where he testified that President Donald Trump tried to get a foreign government to investigate his political opponents, acting Ambassador Bill Taylor took to a stage here Tuesday and was greeted like a rock star.
Taylor was applauded by hundreds of attendees and swarmed by well-wishers at an economic conference days after his stunning testimony connected the president, his lawyer and other political appointees to an effort to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.
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Lawmakers on both sides decry attacks on Lt. Col. Vindman as 'shameful,' 'despicable'
Prominent Republicans joined Democrats on Tuesday in defending Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman against attacks from right-wing pundits who questioned his loyalty to the country ahead of his testimony in the House’s impeachment inquiry.
The reaction came after Fox News host Laura Ingraham and others suggested Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who fled the Soviet Union as child, could be demonstrating disloyalty — and even potentially traitorous behavior — to the United States because, according to a report in The New York Times, Ukrainian officials asked him for advice in dealing with Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani's efforts regarding their country.
“I think that we need to show that we are better than that as a nation," Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, said at a GOP leadership news conference Tuesday. "Their patriotism, their love of country — we’re talking about decorated veterans who have served their country, who have put their lives on the line. And it is shameful to question their patriotism and their love of this nation.”
Read the full story here.
Dem Rep. Van Drew, an impeachment holdout, says he won't vote for Thursday resolution
Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew told NBC News he does not plan to vote for the impeachment process resolution that is slated to be on the House floor on Thursday. Van Drew is one of the few Democrats in the House not to support impeachment.
"I would imagine that I'm not voting for," Rep Jeff Van Drew told NBC News heading to votes on Tuesday night when asked about the upcoming vote.
"I just feel that at the end of the day, certainly it is not going to get through the Senate in my opinion so you are going to have the same president, with, you know, the same candidate, same president, and he's going to feel he's exonerated and he is, he is exonerated from this,” Van Drew went on to say noting that Congress would “spend a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of energy” and would be unable to get a lot of other things done.
He made similar comments in an interview with NBC News earlier this month.
"Where are we going to be when it's all done?" he asked. "Further divided, more hateful, more distrustful, with the same president and the same presidential candidate. What have we accomplished?"
Read more on Van Drew's opposition to impeachment here.