The impeachment probe of President Donald Trump extended into the weekend Saturday (November 16), with White House budget official Mark Sandy arriving for closed testimony before a House of Representatives committee.
Sandy, a career official at the Office of Management and Budget, is the first from that office to testify. Three political appointees, including the head of OMB Mick Mulvaney have defied congressional subpoenas to appear.
Saturday's closed door testimony could shed light on circumstances surrounding the Trump administration's decision to withhold military aid designated for Ukraine for several months, something the OMB would have intimate details of.
Trump is accused of delaying that military payment as a tactic to pressure Ukraine to launch a corruption probe into former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
Biden is a potential Trump opponent in the 2020 presidential race.
Trump's pressure on Ukraine is at the heart of the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into whether the Republican president misused foreign policy to benefit his political campaign.
Saturday's closed-door testimony was the follow up to a dramatic hearing on Friday involving ousted career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Democrats say Yovanovitch was recalled to Washington to clear the way for Trump allies to apply more pressure on Ukraine to launch that probe into Biden and his son.
As she testified on Friday, President Trump attacked Yovanovitch on Twitter, writing, "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," and asserting, "it is a U.S. President's absolute right to appoint ambassadors."
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING:
"As we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter."
Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff called this witness intimidation, then read it during her testimony.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ADAM SCHIFF SCHIFF, SAYING:
"What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrong-doing."
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE MARIE YOVANOVITCH, SAYING:
"Well, it's very intimidating."
President Trump in a press conference Friday said he didn't think his posts were intimidating.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:
"I have the right to speak, I have the freedom of speech, just as other people do.
Three more public hearings are scheduled for next week.