Schiff Says 8 More Witnesses Will Testify: Impeachment Update

John Harney

(Bloomberg) -- Americans will get their first look at witnesses’ testimony against President Donald Trump when the House Intelligence Committee holds public impeachment hearings this week.

The hearings will begin Wednesday with William Taylor, the current top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and State Department official George Kent.

Here are the latest developments:

Eight More Officials to Testify Next Week (8:15 p.m.)

Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, on the eve of the start of impeachment hearings, announced that eight more witnesses will appear before his committee next week.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the director for European Affairs on the National Security Council; and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, are scheduled to testify on Nov. 19, Schiff said in a statement released on Tuesday night. Kurt Volker, who was Trump’s special envoy for Ukraine; and Tim Morrison, who has served on the NSC, are also set to appear on Nov. 19.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, will testify on Nov. 20, according to Schiff’s statement, as will Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, and David Hale, the under secretary of State for political affairs.

And on Nov. 21, the committee is to question Fiona Hill, a former NSC senior director.

Volker, Hale and Morrison were among the witnesses requested by House Republicans, though all have given depositions sought by Democrats. Schiff’s list did not include others that the GOP wanted, including Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, and the whistle-blower who filed the complaint that touched off the impeachment inquiry.

Mulvaney Drops Lawsuit Over House Subpoena (11:29 a.m.)

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reversed himself and said he won’t go to court to block a House of Representatives subpoena for him to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Mulvaney informed the court Tuesday that he won’t pursue his own lawsuit. On Monday, he said he would sue after withdrawing his request to join a suit filed by Charles Kupperman, the former deputy to then-National Security Adviser John Bolton. Kupperman is asking a court to decide whether he should obey Congress or the White House, which has told people not to cooperate with the investigation.

Mulvaney “does not intend to pursue litigation” over the subpoena, he said in the filing Tuesday morning. Instead, he said, he’ll “rely on the direction of the president” not to cooperate with the impeachment hearings. -- Bob Van Voris

Schiff to Announce More Witnesses This Week (10:26 a.m.)

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said he’ll announce additional witnesses for the public hearing this week, as well as the three who are set to testify on Wednesday and Friday.

In a memo on hearing procedures sent to House members, Schiff reiterated that he won’t allow lawmakers to use the sessions to pursue the “sham investigations” that Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to conduct.

“Nor will the committee facilitate any efforts by President Trump or his allies to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against the whistle-blower” whose complaint led to the investigation, Schiff’s memo said. -- Billy House

GOP Circulates Talking Points Before Hearing (8:30 a.m.)

Republicans staffers on the House Intelligence Committee have distributed an 18-page memo to GOP committee members describing what they call “key points of evidence from the Democrats’ closed-door ‘impeachment inquiry’.”

“Democrats allege that President Trump jeopardized U.S. national security by pressuring Ukraine to initiate politically-motivated investigations that could interfere in U.S. domestic politics,” according to the memo. “The evidence, however, does not support this allegation.”

The talking points argue that Intelligence Committee’s Democratic chairman, Adam Schiff, has broken the promises of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Trump would be treated with “fairness.” The memo outlines four pieces of evidence party members are encouraged to argue are “fatal” to the Democratic allegations:

The July 25 summary of the call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.”Both Zelenskiy and Trump have said there was no pressure on the call.The Ukraine government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call.Trump met with Zelenskiy, although not in the Oval Office, and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 -- both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating Trump’s political rivals.

“Simply put, the evidence gathered to date does not support the Democratic allegation that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the President’s political rivals for his benefit in the 2020 presidential campaign,” according to the memo. “The evidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense.” -- Billy House

Key Events

Pentagon official Laura Cooper told House investigators she and other Defense officials were told that Trump had “concerns” about nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine a week after a hold was placed on the funds, according to a transcript of her testimony released Monday.Trump said on Twitter that “to continue being the most Transparent President in history,” sometime this week he’ll release the transcript of his first phone call withZelenskiy.The Gordon Sondland transcript is here and here; former special envoy Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of state, is here. The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here.

--With assistance from Billy House and Bob Van Voris.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Harney in Washington at jharney2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Laurie Asséo

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