WASHINGTON – Special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker amended his previous closed-door testimony during his opening statement in the public testimony on Capitol Hill in the Trump impeachment inquiry, saying that he and others thought it was “inappropriate” for Ambassador Gordon Sondland to mention investigation into Burisma during a July 10 meeting, reversing his previous statement that the subject of investigations had not been mentioned during the meeting.
Volker is currently testifying along with National Security Council official Tim Morrison.
Refresh this page for updates on the hearing.
Williams’ supervisor at Pence’s office weighs in her testimony
Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, issued a statement on earlier testimony from Jennifer Williams, a State Department aide detailed to the vice president’s office. He said he listened in to the July 25 phone call and said he heard “nothing wrong or improper on the call,” contradicting Williams, who testified she found the call “unusual” and “inappropriate.”
Williams said the call struck her as unusual because, in comparison to other calls she listened in on, the July 25 call “involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”
Kellogg also said in the statement that Williams, as she testified, never reported personal or professional concerns regarding the call to him as her direct supervisor.
“In fact, she never reported any personal or professional concerns to any other member of the Vice President’s staff, including our chief of staff and the vice president,” his statement read.
Kellogg added that she accurately testified about Pence’s preparations for his September 1 meeting with Zelensky and that the vice president “never mentioned former Vice President Joe Biden, CrowdStrike, Burisma, or investigations in any communications with Ukrainians.”
– Courtney Subramanian
Volker didn’t believe 2016 statement was a condition to host Ukraine
Volker said he did not believe that a statement he was working on with Ukrainians that specifically mentioned probes into Burisma and the 2016 election was a condition in order to host a White House meeting between Trump and Ukraine’s president.
When asked if it was his testimony that he was not aware that it was a condition, Volker said, “I didn’t believe it was a condition.”
Some of those in the crowded hearing room laughed and shook their heads at Volker when he asserted this.
Volker went on, explaining that he believed the statement would have been “very helpful” in getting the president on board, noting Trump had been “highly skeptical” of Ukraine because of its history of corruption.
“I wouldn’t have called it a condition. It’s a nuance, I guess,” Volker said. “I viewed it as very helpful. If we could get this done, it would help improve the perception that President Trump and others had.”
– Christal Hayes
Morrison: The July 25 call summary was mistakenly put in a secure server
Tim Morrison testified that he was told it was a “mistake” that the summary of the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky was placed on a secure server used for classified information.
Morrison said it was an “administrative error,” contradicting earlier testimony from NSC aide Lt. Col Alexander Vindman.
Vindman testified that White House Counsel John Eisenberg directed the call record to be placed on a secure server in order to prevent leaks.
– Courtney Subramanian
Volker: ‘Never conveyed’ linkage between aid and investigations to Ukrainians
Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker told lawmakers he “never conveyed” a linkage between security assistance and investigations to the Ukrainians.
“A great deal of additional information and perspectives have come to light,” Volker said, amending his previous Oct. 3 closed-door testimony.
Volker said was not aware of or knowingly took part in any efforts to pressure Kyiv to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
He explained he thought there was “an important distinction” between investigations into Ukrainian gas company Burisma and former Vice President Joe Biden. He added that he did not realize President Donald Trump or others had conflated an investigation of “possible Ukrainian corruption” with an investigation into Biden.
He continued that he saw the investigation into Burisma as “appropriate and unremarkable,” and the probe into Biden as “unacceptable.”
“In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”
He said Sondland had brought up investigations in a July 10 meeting with Bolton and Ukrainian officials, and he found it “inappropriate.” Previously, Volker said there had been no discussion of investigations during the July 10 meeting.
Prior testimony and documents released in the impeachment inquiry showed Volker involved in conversations with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and White House officials to set up Trump’s call with Zelensky and a potential White House visit.
“Assuming President Z (Zelensky) convinces trump he will investigate/”get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, we will nail down a date for visit to Washington. Good luck!,” Volker told his Ukrainian counterpart in a July 25 text message released as part of the impeachment inquiry.
-Nicholas Wu and Courtney Subramanian
Morrison: ‘My fears have been realized’ about the release of the Trump-Zelensky call
Timothy Morrison, the NSC senior director for Europe and Russia, said in his opening statement that his “fears have been realized” about the disclosure of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky.
“As I stated during my deposition, I feared at the time of the call how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate,” Morrison said. “My fears have been realized.”
Morrison had told lawmakers and staff during his closed-door testimony that he was concerned about the implications of a leak of the call with regards to how it would be viewed in “Washington’s polarized environment,” its potential effects on the “bipartisan support” for Ukraine, and impacts on Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
Morrison appeared to pre-empt Republican questions about his closed-door deposition in which he said he was concerned about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s judgment.
Morrison, who is Vindman’s superior, said he was not here to question the “character or integrity” of his NSC colleagues.
“My recollections are my own,” he continued. “Some of my colleagues’ recollections of conversations and interactions may differ from mine, but I do not view those differences as the result of an untoward purpose. “
He also told lawmakers he did not know the identity of the whisteblower and he didn’t intend to speculate.
Morrison also raised the importance of the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the reform of Ukraine’s politics and economy.
“Every day that the focus of discussion involving Ukraine is centered on these proceedings instead of those matters is a day when we are not focused on the interests Ukraine, the United States, and Western-style Liberalism share,” he said.
– Courtney Subramanian and Nicholas Wu
Schiff opens hearing with minority witnesses
After about a two-hour break, members of the House Intelligence Committee gathered for the second hearing of the day to question Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia.
Schiff started out the hearing outlining the evidence the committee has gathered, establishing a timeline on the Trump administration’s conduct toward Ukraine and what various witnesses have testified was a quid-pro-quo in holding up military aid and a key White House meeting until Ukraine agreed to launch investigations helping to the president politically.
“While Trump claimed there was no quid pro quo, his insistence that Zelensky himself publicly announce the investigations or they would be at a stalemate, made clear that at least two official acts — a White House meeting and $400 million in military aid — were conditioned on receipt of what Trump wanted, the investigations to help his campaign,” Schiff said.
Nunes called the hearing “part two” of a “circus.” He characterized the hearing as part of an effort to “overthrow a duly elected president.”
– Christal Hayes
GOP spars with Vindman
Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee focused much of their attention on undercutting the credibility of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council (NSC) aide and decorated Iraq war veteran who said he found President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart “inappropriate.”
Several members focused on his character and appeared to suggest he could have leaked information as he told two other people about his concerns over the phone call – State Department Deputy Sec. George Kent and a member of the intelligence community.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked about closed-door testimony from Timothy Morrison, an NSC senior director for Europe and Russia who said some officials had questioned Vindman’s judgment and that he was concerned Vindman might leak information.
Vindman responded by reading excerpts from a July performance evaluation from Morrison’s predecessor, Fiona Hill, who described him as “unflappable” and exercising “excellent judgment.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., appeared to suggest Vindman was speaking out of turn when he asserted himself as the “authority on Ukraine.” She pointed out Vindman’s chain of command included Morrison, former National Security Advisory John Bolton and the president. He clarified that he advises “up through the chain of command, that’s what I do.”
“Do you agree that the president sets the policy as commander in chief as you testified previously?” Stefanik asked.
“Absolutely,” Vindman replied.
In another exchange, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, appeared to mock Vindman for correcting Rep. Devin Nunes, the top GOP member on the committee, on referring to him by his military rank instead of “Mr. Vindman.”
“Do you always insist on civilians calling you by your rank?” Stewart asked.
The Purple Heart recipient said he was dressed in uniform, which is required for active duty officers appearing before Congress, and felt it was appropriate. He then added that the attacks he faced both in media and on Twitter “marginalized” the fact he was a military officer.
Steve Castor, the lead Republican lawyer for the impeachment hearing, pressed Vindman about whether he was offered the position of Ukraine’s defense minister three times by Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Castor’s line of questioning appeared to raise questions about Vindman’s loyalty to the U.S., but the national security aide said he “immediately dismissed the offers,” adding that he reported it up the chain of command.
“I’m an American. I came here when I was a toddler and I immediately dismissed these offers, did not entertain them.” Vindman said. “The whole notion is rather comical.”
Danylyuk told The Daily Beast on Tuesday the pair laughed over the offer and that it “was clearly a joke.”
– Courtney Subramanian
Vindman said he knew risk of testifying
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., got Vindman to sum up his testimony by asking for his first impression of the July 25 call.
“Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Vindman said. “There was probably an element of shock.”
Maloney asked whether Vindman was worried about stepping forward to testify.
“I knew there was going to be a lot of risk,” Vindman said.
But he said he was confident in the United States.
“Here right matters,” Vindman said, to scattered applause.
– Bart Jansen
Jordan: ‘the facts are on the president’s side’
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio closed the Republican questioning in the morning hearing by arguing that Democrats have tried to oust President Donald Trump since he was elected in November 2016, first with an FBI investigation of his campaign that found no collusion with Russia, then with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and now with the House impeachment inquiry.
But Jordan said the 63 million Americans who elected Trump could see through the unfairness of the process.
“This is scary what these guys are putting this country through. It is sad, it is scary and it is wrong,” Jordan said. “The facts are on the president’s side. The process certainly is not.”
“Here, here,” said somebody in the audience.
– Bart Jansen
Stewart presses Vindman over title
Throughout the hearings, Republicans sparred with Vindman, needling him over his reputation and peppering him with questions about his role in U.S.-Ukraine relations.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, appeared to take issue with Vindman’s exchange with Rep. Devin Nunes, in which he corrected the top Republican on referring to him by his military rank instead of “Mr. Vindman.”
Stewart noted that Vindman typically wears a suit to the White House and chose to wear his uniform to the hearing. Active duty service members are required to wear their uniforms when appearing before Congress.
Stewart then sharply asked: “Do you always insist on civilians calling you by your rank?”
The Purple Heart recipient noted he was dressed in uniform and thought it would be “more appropriate.” When Stewart continued to press Vindman, he added that “the attacks I’ve had in the press and Twitter have kind of eliminated the fact that, either, or marginalized me as a military officer.”
“I’m just telling you that the ranking member meant no disrespect to you,” Stewart said. Vindman agreed he did not think Nunes meant any disrespect.
– Courtney Subramanian
Trump on Vindman
Trump, who mocked Vindman for wearing his uniform last week in closed-door testimony, noted the exchange between Nunes and Vindman during his cabinet meeting.
When asked about today’s hearing, Trump said of Vindman: “I don’t know him. I don’t know, as he says, ‘Lt. Colonel.’ I understand somebody had him the misfortune of calling him ‘Mr.’ and he corrected them. I never saw the man. I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in. No, I don’t know Vindman at all.”
The president watched Vindman’s testimony for a while this morning, saying, “I’m going to let people make their own determination.”
“All of these people are talking about they heard a conversation, a conversation of another conversation that was had by the president. What’s going on is a disgrace, and it’s an embarrassment to our nation,” he said before going after the House speaker. “And in the meantime, we can’t get USMCA approved because Nancy Pelosi is grossly incompetent. She’s incompetent, and you’re about to find that out.”
– David Jackson and Courtney Subramanian
Castro jokes about identical twins
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, whose identical twin brother Julian Castro is a Democratic presidential candidate, joked with lieutenant colonel about the fact his twin brother was at the hearing.
“It is nice to talk to a fellow identical twin, and I hope that your brother is nicer to you than mine is me, and doesn’t make you grow a beard,” he said, to laughter from the audience.
Yevgeny Vindman, also a National Security Council official, is sitting in the audience at today’s hearing.
Witnesses deny partisan affiliation
Both witnesses were asked by Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., if they would consider themselves “Never Trumpers,” in response to previous tweets by the president attacking Williams and other witnesses.
“I’m not sure I know an official definition of a Never Trumper,” Williams said, “I would not, no.”
“Representative, I call myself ‘never partisan,'” Vindman said.
“Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just-released statement from Ukraine,” Trump tweeted Nov. 17. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”
– Nicholas Wu
Accusations of leaking
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said that Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, who is scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon, told lawmakers during his closed-door deposition that some officials had questioned Vindman’s judgment and that Morrison worried he might leak information.
“Any idea why they have those impressions?” Jordan said.
Vindman read a July performance evaluation from Morrison’s predecessor, Fiona Hill, who is scheduled to testify Thursday and described Vindman as “brilliant,” “unflappable” and someone who “exercised excellent judgment.”
“I think you get the idea,” Vindman said. “I can’t say why Mr. Morrison questioned my judgment.”
Vindman also denied ever leaking information.
“I never did, never would,” Vindman said. “That is preposterous that I would do that.”
– Bart Jansen
Vindman getting military protection
Vindman’s involvement in the impeachment inquiry has prompted the Army to provide protection to him and his family.
“The Army is providing supportive assistance to help Lt. Col. Vindman with the public attention,” said Col. Kathy Turner, an Army spokeswoman. “As a matter of practice, the Army would neither confirm nor deny any safety or security measures taken on behalf of an individual; however, as we would with any soldier, the Army will work with civilian authorities to ensure that he and his family are properly protected.”
– Tom Vanden Brook
Tensions over identity of whistleblower
Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, questioned Williams and Vindman on whether they leaked information regarding Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky.
The Republican then pressed Vindman on whether he knows anyone who discussed the phone call with members of the media. Vindman directed Nunes to the NSC communications office before saying he did not know anyone.
When Nunes asked if either witness discussed the call with anyone outside the White House, Vindman said he discussed the call with State Department Deputy Secretary George Kent and an individual in the intelligence community.
Nunes asked who the member of the intelligence community was, prompting Schiff to interject to ensure it was not an attempt to out the whistleblower, whose letter about the call sparked the impeachment probe. Vindman said he was advised by his lawyer not to identify anyone when asked about members of the intelligence community.
Nunes continued to press Vindman to identify the member of the intelligence community he spoke to but the National Security Council aide refused to concede. Tensions grew as Vindman’s lawyer intervened to say his client was not going to answer the question while Schiff supported the decision, arguing that it appeared Nunes was attempting to identify the whistleblower.
“I want to make sure that this is not an attempt to out the whistleblower,” said Schiff, who said the whistleblower is protected with anonymity by law.
Nunes stated Vindman had testified that he didn’t know who the whistleblower was.
“I do not know who the whistleblower is,” Vindman said.
Nunes then asked how it was possible he could identify the whistleblower, if he didn’t know the name.
“Sir, under advice of my counsel, I have been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community,” Vindman said.
Nunes reminded Vindman that he was testifying at the Intelligence Committee, to laughter in the audience. But Vindman declined to answer.
“Under advice of my counsel and instructions of the chairman, I have been advised not to provide any specifics on who I have spoken to inside the intelligence community,” Vindman said. “But I can offer that these people were properly cleared individuals with a need to know.”
Nunes said Republicans had tried to subpoena the whistleblower, but the motion was tabled by committee Democrats. Nunes ended his questioning by calling the hearings an “impeachment inquisition.”
A woman in the gallery gasped when Schiff told the room not to out the whistleblower and other members of the audience raised their heads to get a better look at the exchange.
“I was shocked,” said Mar Roberts of Washington, D.C., who gasped when the topic of the whistleblower came up because, she said, that’s a statutory issue. Roberts, 68, who was taking detailed notes on her phone, said she also attended the Watergate impeachment hearings.
– Courtney Subramanian and Bart Jansen
Vindman says Ukrainians offered him defense minister position
Republican counsel Steve Castor asked Vindman if the Ukrainians offered him the position of defense minister.
Vindman said he “immediately dismissed” the three offers and notified his superiors and counterintelligence officials.
“I’m an American. I came here when I was a toddler, and I immediately dismissed these offers. I did not entertain them,” he said. “It’s pretty funny for a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, which isn’t really that senior, to be offered that illustrious of a position.
“Just to be clear, there were two other staff officers, embassy Kyiv staff officers that were sitting next to me when this offer was made,” Vindman said. One of the officers, Vindman said, was David Holmes, who testified behind closed doors last Friday.
A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., told reporters during a recess that lawmakers weren’t challenging Vindman’s loyalty to the U.S.
“No, I don’t have any reason to question his loyalty, and I don’t think anyone on the committee is either, but I think we need to see the entire picture,” Perry said. “The American people need to see what happens in these discussions with foreign governments and the people who work for our government.”
He suggested the offer to Vindman was an example of how foreign governments try to “curry favor” with U.S. officials.
Perry said testimony revealed that Vindman disagreed with U.S. officials about whether Trump’s call for investigations coincided with national-security interests.
“The president will decide that,” Perry said.
– Nicholas Wu and Bart Jansen
Vindman corrects Nunes on his rank
Vindman corrected Nunes after the Republican referred to him as “mister,” rather than by his military rank.
“Mr. Vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistle-blower,” Nunes started to ask.
“Ranking Member, it’s Lt. Col. Vindman, please,” Vindman responded.
– Nicholas Wu
Vindman: Trump request sounded like a demand
In response to questions from Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., NSC aide Alexander Vindman said he knew without hesitation that he had to report his concerns about the July 25 call to White House lawyers. Vindman said that coming from a military culture, Trump’s request sounded more like a demand than a polite request that Ukraine could disregard.
“It was inappropriate,” Vindman said. “It was improper for the president to request, to demand an investigation into a political opponent, especially a foreign power where there is at best dubious belief that this could be an impartial investigation and that this would have significant implications if it became public knowledge.”
Vindman said that given the “power disparity” between the United States and Ukraine, it was clear that Trump’s request for investigations was more of a demand than a request.
“The culture I come from, the military culture, when a senior asks you to do something, even if it’s polite and pleasant, it’s not to be taken as a request. It’s to be taken as an order,” Vindman said. “In this case, the power disparity between the two leaders, my impression is that in order to get the White House meeting, President Zelensky would have to deliver the investigations.”
— Bart Jansen
Aide to give classified statement on Pence-Zelensky call
At the direction of her attorney, Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams declined to answer a question from Schiff about a Sept. 18 call between the vice president and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The September 18 call is classified,” said her attorney, adding that Pence’s office had said she could not talk about it in an open setting.
Williams said she would submit a classified statement to the committee in writing about the call.
Read opening remarks:Statements from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams
A summary from the vice president’s office of the call said Pence commended Zelensky’s administration for “bold action to tackle corruption through legislative reforms, and offered full U.S. support for those efforts.”
— Nicholas Wu
Vindman: ‘I was concerned by the call’
National Security Council aide Alexander Vindman told the House Intelligence Committee he reported his concerns about a July 10 meeting with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky. The decorated Army soldier said he privately reported his concerns through official channels out of a sense of duty.
“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman said. “What I heard was inappropriate.”
— Bart Jansen
Williams says she found the July 25 call ‘unusual’
Jennifer Williams, a State Department official detailed to Vice President Mike Pence’s office, testified about how she found Trump’s July 25 phone call “unusual” because of the discussion of “a domestic political matter.”
“I found the July 25 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,” she said.
She did not, however, discuss the call with the vice president or any of her other colleagues.
Williams also outlined her career in public service as a “career officer” rather than a partisan.
“As a career officer, I am committed to serving the American people and advancing American interests abroad, in support of the President’s foreign policy objectives,” she said.
— Nicholas Wu
Nunes slams Democrats, news media
Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, attacked the media and Democrats in his opening statement, slamming “fake news” and calling news outlets “puppets of the Democratic Party.”
“If you watched the impeachment hearings last week, you may have noticed a disconnect between what you actually saw and the mainstream media accounts describing it,” Nunes said.
“With their biased misreporting on the Russia hoax, the media lost the confidence of millions of Americans,” he added.
— Nicholas Wu
Schiff opens the hearing
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearing by noting how both witnesses were on the July 25 call, giving them firsthand knowledge of the events that day.
He laid out the case Democrats hope to make today as lawmakers debate whether to impeach the president.
“If the President abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections, if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts — a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid — it will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the Presidency,” Schiff noted.
Both witnesses were subpoenaed to appear today, Schiff noted.
“Today’s witnesses, like those who testified last week, are here because they were subpoenaed to appear, not because they are for or against impeachment,” Schiff said.
House Republicans have criticized previous witnesses for their indirect knowledge of events on the call, calling it “hearsay.”
— Nicholas Wu
Trump tweets about stock market
Just before the hearing began, President Donald Trump posted a tweet right before the hearing started, stressing the rise of the stock market.
Trump has previously slammed Vindman on Twitter as a “Never Trumper” and urged him to read a transcript of the call. The call occurred during a suspension in providing U.S. military aid to Ukraine, but Trump has insisted he didn’t demand the investigation in exchange for the funding.
Asked on Nov. 3 for evidence that Vindman was a “Never Trumper,” the president replied: “You’ll be seeing very soon what comes out.”
Schumer wants protections for whistleblowers
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter Monday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper urging him to notify all civilian and military personnel of their legal rights to make protected disclosures to Congress free from retaliation. Schumer said Vindman and Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, who is scheduled to testify Wednesday, have been attacked as traitors in the media.
“Bravely, in the face of these shameful attacks, these individuals have still chosen to come forward and tell the truth despite the risk of professional reprisals and threats to their personal safety,” Schumer said. “I fear, however, these attacks will only increase after their participation in these public hearings.”
Esper has said the Pentagon has protections for whistleblowers and Vindman “shouldn’t have any fear of retaliation.”
The hearing begins at 9 a.m.
Jennifer Williams also to testify
Also on Tuesday morning, the committee will hear from Jennifer Williams, a National Security Council aide assigned from the State Department to the office of Vice President Mike Pence. She listened to the July 25 call and provided a memo about the call to Pence, although she couldn’t say whether he read it. She told lawmakers at her closed-door deposition that it was “folly” to withhold military aid to Ukraine and that the call was “unusual.”
“I would say that it struck me as unusual and inappropriate,” Williams said when asked what her own personal reaction to the call was.
Trump has also criticized Williams as a “Never Trumper.”
Republicans had asked to hear from Volker and Morrison to compare their testimony to Vindman’s. Volker in his closed-door testimony described Trump’s longstanding presumption of corruption in Ukraine. The special envoy also said “no,” when asked if Trump asked Ukraine to manufacture dirt on the Bidens, in contrast to looking for evidence of whether Burisma tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election.
“Even if he’s asking them to investigate the Bidens, it is to find out what facts there may be rather than to manufacture something,” Volker said.
Republicans have argued that the dispute about the July 25 call amounts to policy disagreements, and that Trump has the authority to direct foreign policy.
Morrison told lawmakers in his closed-door deposition that he asked National Security Council lawyers to review Trump’s July 25 call because he thought it “would be damaging” if it “leaked.”
But Morrison also said the White House chief of staff’s office had informed the Office of Management and Budget that “it was the President’s direction to hold the assistance.”