- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

House Democrats announced the lineup for a packed second week of public impeachment hearings, scheduling eight witnesses over the course of three days.

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman will be first up on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Mr. Vindman, who had firsthand knowledge of the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, told lawmakers that he was concerned that the investigations — specifically referencing both the Biden family and Burisma — would jeopardize both Ukraine and U.S. national security.

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He said that Mr. Trump asking for a favor left him with “no doubt” the entire call was a demand for investigations.

“There was no ‘It’s okay, if you don’t want to do the investigations we can still do a White House meeting.’ The demand was in order to get the White House meeting, they had to deliver an investigation,” he said. “When when the president of the United States makes a request for a favor, it certainly seems — I would take it as a demand.”

Some suggested that Mr. Vindman, who was born in Ukraine, favored the foreign government’s interests over American interests — prompting strong backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and National Security Council official Tim Morrison — two of the witnesses Republicans requested — are slated for later that afternoon.

Mr. Volker is a key witness for Republicans, saying he didn’t believe there was no quid pro quo in the administration’s push for Ukraine to open investigations.

The crux of the impeachment inquiry centers on allegations that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Zelensky via a quid pro quo to open investigations into alleged 2016 election interference and Vice President Joe Biden’s connection to Burisma corruption.

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will have his own hearing on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Both Mr. Volker and Mr. Sondland were involved in trying to set up a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky, but warned that the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was pushing for specific investigations into Burisma and 2016 election interference.

Mr. Sondland was the one who told Ukrainian officials that both military aid and a White House visit were contingent on them agreeing to open the investigations pushed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani.

He had direct contact with a number of key players in the Ukraine incident, including the president himself.

On Wednesday afternoon, Department of Defense official Laura Cooper and Under Secretary of State David Hale — another one of the witnesses requested by the GOP — will testify.

Much of Ms. Cooper’s testimony focused on what she saw as the vital national security interest of delivering the military aid to Ukraine for its ongoing clash with Russia. She said White House moves to block $391 million in aide because of corruption concerns raised red flags.

Mr. Hale and Ms. Williams were the only witnesses that appeared for their scheduled depositions last week.

Fiona Hill, a former White House expert on Russia, will round out the week with a hearing on Friday, Nov. 22.

Ms. Hill and Mr. Vindman were part of a July 10 meeting with Ukrainian officials that included Mr. Sondland and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

In addition to sharing her concern about former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s abrupt ouster, Ms. Hill explained Mr. Gordon “blurted out” a White House meeting was on the table if investigations were agreed to.

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