Trump impeachment hearing: testimony of former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Walker
On Tuesday, November 19, Jennifer Williams, Alexander Windman, Kurt Walker and Tim Morrison spoke on the House Intelligence Committee.
On November 19, in the House Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives, several senior national security officials who heard a telephone conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky testified in the case of impeachment, writes Voice of America.
Testimony of Jennifer Williams and Alexander Windman
Jennifer Williams, Assistant Vice President Mike Pence, and Lieutenant Colonel of Ukrainian Descent Alexander Windman, chief expert of the National Security Council for Ukraine, spoke to lawmakers in the morning. Both expressed concern about a phone call at the center of an investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to encourage them to investigate the political rivals of the 45 President.
Opening the morning meeting, the head of the committee of the Congressman-Democrat Adam Schiff addressed the participants with opening remarks. According to Schiff, by exerting pressure on Ukraine to encourage Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into the Biden actions, President Trump placed his personal and political interests above the interests of the country.
Then came the chief Republican in the comet, Devin Nunes, who criticized the progress of the House Committee committees investigation. He called the informant, whose complaint contributed to the start of the investigation, a puppet in the hands of the Democratic Party.
After that, the floor was provided by Jennifer Williams. In a prepared statement, Williams noted that she found Trump's telephone conversation with the Ukrainian leader on July 25 unusual, as it clearly included a discussion of domestic political issues.
“It seemed to me that it was political in nature,” she said of Trump's request, noting that in 14 years of diplomatic work, she had never heard anything like this in high-level negotiations.
“I just noted that the reference to Biden seemed political to me,” Williams added.
She also noted that the White House Budget Office said that the head of the White House administration, Mulvaney, had ordered the suspension of security assistance to Ukraine.
Then speaking, Alexander Windman noted in his statement that last spring he learned that Trump's lawyer Rudi Giuliani worked with the former Prosecutor General of Ukraine against the interests of the United States. According to Windman, security officials felt growing concern about the impact of Giuliani's efforts.
Windman emphasized that he reported on a telephone conversation between Donald Trump and Vladimir Zelensky, obeying a sense of duty.
According to the witness, he heard Trump ask Zelensky for a “service” - an investigation into Biden. Windman called what he heard “inappropriate” and “inappropriate.” He noted that Trump’s request to investigate Biden’s actions “had nothing to do with US national security interests.” Windman added that, in anticipation of the conversation between Trump and Zelensky, he was preparing a list of possible topics for discussion and that there was nothing related to the Biden investigation.
The witness said he regarded Trump’s request as an “order” and considered that it could adversely affect US national security and Washington’s relations with Kiev. According to Windman, shortly after the conversation, he reported his concerns to the lawyer of the National Security Council, as well as the intelligence officer, whose name he refused to give. After that, Windman was expelled from the number of participants in meetings on security issues, at which he in other circumstances should have been present.
The head of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, did not allow Republicans to question Windman about which intelligence officer he was talking to.
Recall that the investigation was initiated after an informant from the intelligence filed a report on the conversation between Trump and Zelensky. Windman stated that he did not know the identity of the informant, and Schiff emphasized that “these hearings will not be used to reveal the identity of the informant,” whose anonymity is protected by law.
Republican lawyer Steve Castor suggested that Windman, a native of Ukraine, who came to the United States at the age of three with his parents, kept in touch with his homeland, emphasizing the fact that earlier this year Vladimir Zelensky asked Windman three times if he would like to take the post Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
Windman, however, rejected this suggestion, saying: “I am American. All such a representation is more likely comic. "I did not leave the door open (to discuss the proposal to join the Zelensky government)."
According to Windman, he reported on the proposal made to him by American officials.
In the afternoon, the committee was addressed by former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Walker and former senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council Tim Morrison, who resigned last month.
Testimony of Kurt Walker
During his speech, Kurt Walker said that he did not know anything and did not participate in attempts to put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities to resume the investigation against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. According to a former State Department spokesperson, he was aware of attempts to open an investigation into the Burisma energy company, but he did not associate this claim with Biden's name.
“As time passed, I now understand that other [people] viewed the idea of an investigation into possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company Burisma as the equivalent of an investigation against former Vice President Biden. I saw them as two very different [investigations]: first, as acceptable and unremarkable; the second - as unacceptable, ”reads the text of Volcker's speech.
“Remembering this today, I should have seen this connection differently, and if I did, I would have raised my objections,” added the former special envoy.
Walker also said that he and other State Department officials, in an interview with the US president, emphasized that the new president, Vladimir Zelensky, represents the “best opportunity” to free Ukraine from corruption in which this country is mired. Walker and his colleagues called on Trump to invite Zelensky to the White House.
“The president was very skeptical. Given the history of corruption in Ukraine, this is understandable. He [Trump] said that Ukraine is a corrupt country full of terrible people. They, he said, “tried to take me out,” Volcker said, quoting Donald Trump.
During this conversation, Volcker said in a statement, Trump referred to conversations with his personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani.
“It was clear to me that despite the positive news and recommendations that the official delegation gave to the new [Ukrainian] president, President Trump held a deeply negative view of Ukraine based on [the country's] past,” Volcker said.
Walker called the allegations of Joe Biden's corruption "conspiracy theory."
“During a one-on-one meeting I had with Mayor Giuliani on July 19, Mayor Giuliani raised, and I rejected it, the conspiracy theory that Vice President Biden was influenced to fulfill his vice presidential duties by paying money to his son. As I testified earlier, I have known Vice President Biden for 24 years. He is a respectable man and I respect him a lot, ”added Kurt Volcker.
Tim Morrison's testimony
Tim Morrison, a former adviser to the National Security Council, said that he resigned of his own free will, and that he was not pressured into this decision.
Morrison also said that he was not familiar with the informant whose message about the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky was the reason for the investigation of the impeachment.
He added that the United States should continue to support Ukraine, and that this requires help from both parties.
On the subject: U.S. Congress Holds First Open Trump Impeachment Hearing
Trump: impeachment investigation is a "farce"
The meetings mark the beginning of a busy week on Capitol Hill. A total of nine witnesses are expected to attend five hearings, which will be held from Tuesday to Thursday.
Trump, speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, said: “Right now there is a lynching led by slippery Schiff, where we have no lawyers, no witnesses, nothing. And yet I looked at what was happening, and the Republicans were doing a great job. They are so great, because all this is a farce, a big farce. They do what the founding fathers could not imagine and what the founding fathers did not want. They use this farce with impeachment for their own political gain. ”
Trump added that he was not familiar with Windman and had never heard of him, and of all the witnesses who had testified, he only knew the ambassadors he had seen a couple of times.
Trump said Monday that he would “seriously consider” a written testimony for the House Intelligence Committee.
“Despite the fact that I did nothing wrong and do not like to give greater conviction to this deception (ongoing) without due (legal) procedure, I like the thought ... (about) and the will to re-focus the attention of Congress; I’ll take it seriously! ”Trump wrote on Twitter.
The President answered the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who had previously stated, speaking on the CBS channel in the “Face to the Country” program: “The President could come directly to the committee and say, tell all the truth that he wants (say) ... or he could do it is in writing. ”
She added that if Trump “has information that justifies (him) ... then we look forward to it.”
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