• Impeachment inquiry: Vindman, Volker, others testify Tuesday

    By: Debbie Lord , Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    A top Ukraine specialist for the National Security Council, a foreign service aide detailed to the vice president’s office and two witnesses requested by Republicans are testifying Tuesday before a House committee as the impeachment inquiry into a phone call made by President Donald Trump enters a week full of public hearings.

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    Testifying in the first session beginning at 9 a.m. ET will be Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a foreign service aide detailed to Vice President Mike Pence's office.

    In the afternoon session beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET, Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide, are set to testify.

    The hearings will be broadcast live on CSPAN, CNN, Fox News and other cable news channels. CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS are also expected to carry the hearings live.

    Livestream

    See the livestream of the proceedings below when the hearing begins.

    Live updates

    Closing comments now

    8:20 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The hearing is coming to an end. Nunes is giving his closing arguments. "Today we are seeing the Ukrainian hoax." He again asks the three questions about the whistleblower and Hunter Biden. He ends with "Good night. See you in the morning."

    Schiff recaps some testimony given this afternoon. He thanks Volker for his comments on Joe Biden. He repeats some of Morrison's testimony he says shows that what Trump did equals a bribe.

    The hearing is adjourned now.

    Is Pompeo out?

    8:15 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: In other political news, Time Magazine is reporting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told three "prominent Republicans" that he plans to resign to run for Senate in Kansas in 2020.

    Fox leaves the hearing

    8 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Fox News has left live coverage of the hearing for regular programming.

    Was Morrison worried about Vindman?

    7:59 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Jordan is asking Morrison about Vindman leaking information. Morrison answered yes to Jordan’s question about whether others told him Vindman might leak information. Morrison has testified that he was nervous that the contents of the call would be leaked out. Jordan says that is exactly what happened, right? Morrison said yes.

     

     

    Clarifying the whistleblower status

    7:40 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Conaway asks Schiff to point to the statute that gives whistleblowers an “absolute right” to anonymity. He told Schiff not to get angry about the request and that, in fact, he gets angry that the Republicans cannot have access to the whistleblower while Democrats have had access.

    He also pointed out that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said that the whistleblower would need to testify before the Intelligence Committee.

    ​​​​​​He knew it was wrong, Swalwell says

    7:32 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Swalwell challenges Morrison saying he believes Morrison knew what Trump asked for in the phone call was wrong.

    Welcome to impeachment-palooza

    7:10 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Stewart welcomes Volker and Morrison to "impeachment-palooza" as he slams Democrats for the length of the hearings and the lack of new evidence.

    Why wouldn’t Trump freeze the aid?

    6:57 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Jordan asks Volker if it was odd for Trump to freeze aid to Ukraine until an investigation could be conducted considering the history of corruption in that government. Volker said no he didn’t.

    Was a meeting contingent on an investigation

    6:35 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Turner asks Volker if Giuliani ever told him that to get a meeting with Trump they had to do the investigations. Volker said he took everything Giuliani said about Ukraine was only Giuliani’s opinion.

    Schiff upset at Volker’s memory

    6:25 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Schiff questions Volker about not bringing up in his private testimony the fact that Bolton abruptly ended a meeting about Ukraine at the White House.

    Schiff then challenges Morrison on whether he believed that asking for an investigation was appropriate. Morrison said at the time, he did not believe that the president was asking for improper investigations.

    More time allotted

    6:20 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Schiff gives himself 15 extra minutes to ask questions and Democrat counsel Goldman asks a few follow-up questions of Volker. Nunes complains about an extra 15 minutes. He says the American people aren’t “buying the drug deal you are trying to sell.” He then says he has no more questions for the two, but yields to the GOP counsel Caster to ask questions.

    The hearing is continuing

    6:02 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The hearing is starting again, with 15 minutes giving to the Democratic counsel Goldman.

    Taking a break

    5:40 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The hearing is recessed for a five-minute break.

    Morrison and Vindman clash

    5:34 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Morrison said Vindman should not have gone to the White House attorney – over Morrison’s head – to complain about the July 25 call. Morrison said that was his job as Vindman’s supervisor.

    Nothing wrong with the call

    5:30 p.m. Et Nov. 19, 2019: Did you see a problem with the July 25 call, Castor asks? “No,” Morrison said. He did have a concern about the contents of the call being leaked. He did not ask for the call to be moved to a compartmental system – or a secure server. He said he was told that the fact that the call was placed on a secure server was an accident by White House counsel John Eisenberg’s staff.

    No bribe, extortion

    5:24 Nov. 19, 2019: Volker says he saw no bribery or extortion in what when on with the call.

    A ‘sinking feeling’

    5:04 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Morrison said he had a ‘‘sinking feeling" that the fiscal year funds allocated to Ukraine aid would expire at the end of September, even though he said he didn’t necessarily tie the funds to the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. He went to John Bolton for advice, and he said Bolton told him to go “tell the lawyers.” He said he didn’t know why Bolton would say that.

    Call confirmed back channel

    4:50 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Morrison said that when he heard Trump ask for an investigation into Burisma it confirmed something his predecessor, Fiona Hill, had told him. “She mentioned the traditional process and the parallel process, and in the context of discussing the parallel process, she mentioned issues like Burisma, which were noteworthy to me at the time because I had never heard of them before," Morrison said. "Upon hearing them in the call, it wound up confirming, OK, there’s something here." Hill told him the process included Gordon Sondland and Rudy Giuliani, Morrison said.

    Investigation wasn't a prerequisite

    4:40 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Volker says he didn’t find it that unusual that Zelensky was asked to make a public statement about an investigation. He said he didn’t see the statement as a prerequisite for a meeting at the White House.

     

    Volker says he wasn't aware

     

    4:15 p.m. Nov. 19, 2019: Volker says he did not initially know that an investigation of Burisma was connected to an investigation of the Bidens.

    “At no time was I aware of or knowingly took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden,” Volker said. “ I was not made aware of any reference to Vice President Biden or his son by President Trump, until the transcript of that call was released on September 25, 2019.”

    Biden and the three amigos

    4:07 p.m. Nov. 19, 2019: Volker said he has known Biden for 24 years, and he knows him to be an honorable man. He said he knew nothing about Joe Biden being lumped into a plan of military money for an investigation. He also said he is not fond of the nickname “three amigos” which has been given to him, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

    Volker gives a lengthy opening statement

    4 p.m. Nov. 19, 2019:  In the midst of a long opening statement Volker says the flow of information and influence about Ukraine was not coming from Trump to Giuliani, but the other way – from Ukraine to Giuliani to Trump. He said Trump was getting a “chronically negative view” of Ukraine.

    Morrison, Volker opening statements

    3:50 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Morrison asks the committee to focus on Ukraine and what the country needs. He also said, "I have great respect for my former colleagues from the NSC...I am not here today to question their character or integrity.”

    Volker said he was not on the call and was not made aware that the Bidens were mentioned in the call. He said he recommended Bill Taylor to be the chargé d'affaires in Ukraine.

    Opening statements

    3:33 p.m. Nov. 19, 2019: Schiff is recounting much of what he did at the end of the first hearing today -- that there was a quid pro quo involving military aid for an announcement of investigations into the Bidens and election meddling that Trump said took place in Ukraine.

    Nunes, likewise, is repeating what he said earlier -- the impeachment inquiry is aimed at overturning the 2016 election.

    The hearing is starting

    3:27 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Two witnesses the Republicans have requested are about to answer questions as the second hearing of the day begins.

    Still waiting

    3:05 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The committee has not yet reconvened. Still waiting for word on when the second part of the hearing will start.

    The second hearing to begin soon

    2:35 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The second hearing of the day, in which Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide, will testify is expected to begin within the next 20 minutes.

    Closing remarks and adjournment

    1:40 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: As the hearing comes to an end, Nunes gives a short closing saying there has been no evidence put forward that an impeachable offense has occurred.

    Schiff, on the other hand, defends attacks on Vindman before he recounts the Democrats' case against Trump, saying that just because the effort to get an investigation launched failed, it is "no less odious because it was discovered and it was stopped."

    The hearing is adjourned.

     

     

    A tweet from the White House

    1 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The White House is questioning Vindman’s judgment via a tweet on the official Twitter account. 

     

    From one twin to another

    12:52 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Joaquin Castro, the twin brother of presidential candidate Julian Castro had this for "fellow identical twin" Vindman.

     

     

    Trump: 'I never saw the man'

    12:45 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Trump, at a Cabinet meeting at the White House, said he does not know the witnesses testifying this morning. 

    “I never saw the man, I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in,” Trump said. “No, I don’t know Vindman at all. What I do know is that even he said the transcript was correct.”

    Addressing his rank

    12:34 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, explained his family’s military service when telling Vindman that Rep. Nunes meant no disrespect when he addressed Vindman as “mister” instead of “lieutenant colonel.”

     “You always insist on civilians calling you by your rank?” Stewart asked. Vindman, who was injured in Iraq and received the Purple Heart, said he considered the correction he asked Nunes for in earlier testimony was appropriate. He said he was in uniform and had been the subject of attacks in the press.

    Outside the chain of command

    12:20 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, accused Vindman of going outside the chain of command when he reported to the White House counsel’s office rather than Tim Morrison, his direct superior that he had concerns on Trump’s call. Wenstrup is an Army reserve officer.

    Rep. Turner ask about Vindman's record

    12:15 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, goes after Vindman’s record.

     

     

    What happened to quid pro quo

    12:01 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, asks why we are talking about bribery instead of quid pro quo. He said it is because a focus group held by the Democrats suggested the American public would better understand the word bribery instead of the Latin term quid pro quo which means “this for that” “something for something.”

     

    Defending Vindman

    11:55 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut, defends Vindman and explains that Republicans wanted to embarrass Vindman when they brought up his job offer for defense secretary in Ukraine.

    Jordan goes after a name

    11:50 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Nunes asks if Vindman ever accessed a colleague’s computer. Vindman said he had not. Nunes then yielded his time to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Jordan first asks if Vindman has ever leaked information. “It’s preposterous,” Vindman said, to suggest such a thing.

    He asks Vindman who he talked to about the call. Schiff steps in again and says he will not allow the identity of the whistleblower to be revealed. Jordan says that if Vindman doesn’t know who the whistleblower is and if Schiff does not know who the whistleblower is why would he think the person’s name is about to be revealed. Schiff sat silent for a few moments then told Jordan to continue.

     

    Member questions begin

    11:40 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The five-minute question period has begun. Schiff asks Vindman if there was any ambiguity that Trump made a “demand” to Zelensky to probe the Bidens. “In my mind, there was none,” Vindman says.

    And we're back

    11:35 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The hearing has resumed.

    A short break

    11:13 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The committee called or a short break in the hearing.

    Vindman offered Ukraine post

    10:50 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: GOP counsel asks Vindman about being offered the defense ministry post for the new government in Ukraine. Vindman said he was offered the post, but declined.

     

     

    Transcripts of testimony

    10:40 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: If you want to read transcripts of those who have testified, see this Jamie Dupree's tweet for links.

     

     

    Nunes's questions begin, Schiff interrupts 

    10:30 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Nunes asks Williams and Vindman if they knew that the energy company Burisma put $3 million in Hunter Biden’s U.S. bank account. He asks Williams and Vindman if they talked to the press about the July 25 phone call prior to the hearings or if they asked anyone to talk with the press or knew of anyone who talked to the press about the call.

    Schiff stops Nunes's question of Vindman that Schiff says may lead to the identity of the whistleblower.

    Transcript on separate server not 'unprecedented'

    10:10 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Vindman says placing the transcript of the Ukraine call on a secure server was “not unprecedented,” but was “made on the fly.”

    Zelensky and Burisma

    10 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Vindman testifies that he felt Zelensky knew that if he wanted the aid, he would have to announce the investigations would take place. He later said he believed the Ukrainian president may have been briefed on Burisma and the Biden connection, given Zelensky knew of the company during his July call with Trump.

     

    Outside "actors" were promoting investigations

     

    9:50 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Williams answers Schiff’s questions about Pence’s decision not to attend Zelensky's inauguration. Her attorney stops her from testifying in public because what she is being asked about falls under a classified category. She volunteers to testify in private about a phone call she has been asked about.

    Vindman said that by the spring of 2919 that outside "actors" were pushing for Ukraine to announced investigations into the Bidens. Vindman said he advised Zelensky after his inauguration to "be particularly cautious with regards to Russia, and its desire to provoke Ukraine,.” He said he also told him to "stay out of U.S. domestic politics."  

    Vindman's opening statement

    9:40 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Vindman says he was so disturbed by Trump’s call to Zelensky that he told a White House attorney about it. He said it was unusual and that he reported it “out of a sense of duty.” He also said, “I never thought I’d be sitting here testifying.”

    “I was concerned by the call, what I heard was improper, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg,” Vindman said, referring to a senior White House lawyer. “It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

    He also addresses his father during the statement and tells him that his decision to leave the Soviet Union and start a new life in the United States when Vindman was a toddler was the correct one.

    Williams gives opening statement

    9:30 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Williams said the phone call between Trump and Zelensky was disturbing to her. She said in part, “I found the July 25th phone call unusual because, in contrast to other presidential calls I had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”

    Nunes opening statement

    9:20 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Nunes says in his opening statement that the media is helping the effort to impeach the president by promoting false narratives. He asks the same questions about the whistleblower he raised in the first two hearings such as which Democrat the whistleblower spoke to and who the whistleblower got first-hand information from. He also wants to know why the committee is not interested in finding out about Hunter Biden’s role in the Ukrainian energy company Burisma

    Schiff’s opening statement

    9:17 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Schiff is giving his opening statement which is a recap of what has been testified to over the past two months as he sets up the testimony by Vindman and Williams. He notes that Trump has tweeted about Williams and others have smeared Vindman.

    The hearing is beginning

    9:08 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019:The hearing is getting started. Williams will be giving her opening statement first, then Vindman’s will follow.

    Vindman’s family support

    8:57 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Vindman’s twin brother is attending the hearing. He works as an attorney at the White House.

    Vindman, Williams are there

    8:50 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Vindman and Williams have arrived at the Capitol. The hearing is set to begin in 10 minutes.

    The rules

    8:45 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: The rules for the hearing are the same as for the first two hearings, held last week. After opening statements, Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, will have 45 minutes to question the witnesses or to yield some or all of that time to Democratic staff counsel Daniel Goldman. The same goes for the Republicans. Rep. Devon Nunes, R-California, will have 45 minutes to use or to yield to the Republican staff counsel, Steve Castor. After both of the 45-minute question sessions are done, each member of the committee will be given 5 minutes each to question the witnesses.

    Who is testifying this week

    8:30 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Eight people will be testifying this week in the House impeachment inquiry. Today, Vindman, Williams, Volker and Morrison will testify. On Wednesday, Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, and Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary at the Defense Department, appear before the committee. On Thursday, Fiona Hill, who was the top Russia specialist on the National Security Council and David Holmes, a State Department aide who overheard a phone conversation between Sondland and the president on July 26.

    Vindman, Williams were both listening

    8:15 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Both Vindman and Williams listened in on the July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman testified in a closed-door deposition that he was so disturbed by the call he alerted a White House attorney.

    Let’s get started

    8 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2019: Good morning and welcome to live update from the third public hearing of the impeachment inquiry. The hearing begins in an hour, at 9 a.m. ET. Testifying first today will be Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams. Vindman is a top adviser on Ukraine for the National Security Council. Williams is a National Security Council aide to Vice President Mike Pence. This afternoon, Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, will testify, as will Tim Morrison, the former National Security Council aide who heard the July call.

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