Witnesses fill in the blanks
Hours of closed- door queries: What has been revealed so far
WASHINGTON – Over the past month, more than a dozen witnesses have been called before a trio of House committees and questioned for hours about President Donald Trump and Ukraine.
Each has provided details and color in the quickly moving impeachment inquiry examining whether Trump abused his power as president in asking Ukraine to investigate a political opponent while dangling military aid for the country and a White House meeting. Their testimonies combined span about 100 hours.
Read inside for the witnesses who have been interviewed by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, why they matter in this saga and what we know about their testimony.
Oct. 3: Former U. S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker
A career State Department official, Volker worked with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and White House officials to set up Trump’s phone call July 25 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and a potential White House visit. Military aid for the country was on pause.
Volker said he never saw anything that made him believe there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. His testimony made clear the influence Giuliani had on policy, including Giuliani dictating a statement to Volker that he wanted the Ukrainians to issue on corruption.
Oct. 11: Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
A career diplomat, Yovanovitch was forced out of her role.
Yovanovitch was confused by her ouster and the comments made by conservatives and Trump, who called her “bad news.” She said she raised concerns about the shadow campaign pushed by Giuliani and how it ran counter to U. S. policy.
Oct. 14: Trump’s former Russia expert Fiona Hill
Hill worked for years on the National Intelligence Council and as Trump’s senior adviser on the Kremlin and Europe. She held a key role in U. S. policy in Ukraine and was part of several meetings where she expressed concerns over the shadow policy led by Giuliani and White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Hill told lawmakers national security adviser John Bolton likened the policy in Ukraine to a “drug deal” and called Giuliani a “hand grenade” who was going to blow everyone up, according to The New York Times and NBC News.
Oct. 15: State Department Ukraine- Russia expert George Kent
Kent serves as a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department.
Kent told lawmakers he raised red flags about Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a front- runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, more than six months ago.
Oct. 16: Michael McKinley, ex- adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
McKinley boasted a career that spanned decades at the State Department and resigned just before his testimony because of low morale at the department and because he said Pompeo did not stick up for career employees, such as Yovanovitch.
McKinley didn’t oversee issues related to Ukraine, so his testimony did not deal with the core allegations against Trump. He outlined his concerns about the ouster of Yovanovitch and said he was troubled that the State Department did not have her back and that she and the department were being politicized.
Oct. 17: U. S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland
A businessman and major Trump donor, Sondland was in communication with the president and Giuliani and attempted to get Ukrainians to investigate several political matters, according to witnesses.
Sondland told lawmakers he communicated a quid pro quo to a Ukrainian official, linking military aid for Ukraine to a public statement committing to investigations Trump and Giuliani wanted.
Oct. 22: Bill Taylor, top U. S. diplomat in Ukraine
Taylor voiced concerns about conditioning military aid and a White House meeting on investigation of a Trump political rival.
Taylor directly tied Trump and his allies with a quid pro quo. He said Trump made the order to pause military aid for Ukraine, and it was his “clear understanding” that “security assistance money would not come until the ( Ukrainian) president committed to pursue the investigation,” according to a transcript of his testimony.
Oct. 23: Defense official Laura Cooper
Cooper serves as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.
Oct. 26: State Department official Philip Reeker
Reeker serves as the acting assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
According to The Wall Street Journal, he discussed with lawmakers failed efforts to help Yovanovitch.
Oct. 29: Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
Vindman is one of several officials who listened to Trump’s phone call with Zelensky on July 25. He served as the
White House’s top Ukraine expert.
Vindman said in prepared remarks he twice reported concerns to superiors that the president and those working for him linked foreign aid to Ukraine with political investigations. He said he worried the efforts undermined U. S. national security.
Oct. 30: State Department official Catherine Croft
Croft worked for Volker at the State Department and has expertise on Ukrainian issues. She focused on arms sales and security assistance for the country as it fended off Russia.
According to a copy of her opening statement, Croft told lawmakers she received calls from a lobbyist trying to oust Yovanovitch. She said she learned that aid was put on hold stemming from an order from the president.
Oct. 30: State Department official Christopher Anderson
Anderson worked for Volker at the State Department and was present for at least one meeting where political investigations were discussed.
In his opening statement, Anderson said Giuliani’s efforts were discussed at a Ukraine strategy meeting over the summer. At that meeting, Bolton said Giuliani’s efforts “could be an obstacle.” Anderson said he believed it was important to not request specific investigations from the Ukrainians.
Oct. 31: NSC official Timothy Morrison
Morrison is the top Russia and European adviser to Trump’s National Security Council and was cited by multiple witnesses in conversations about a quid pro quo. He is a political appointee and not a career official.
Morrison confirmed testimony given by Taylor that outlined a quid pro quo. Morrison testified that he didn’t believe Trump’s call July 25 was illegal.
Nov. 6: State Department official David Hale
Hale is the third highest- ranking official at the State Department.
Hale told lawmakers about the political considerations in dismissing Yovanovitch and how those decisions affected military aid for Ukraine, according to The Associated Press. AP reported that Hale said Pompeo and other officials believed that backing Yovanovitch could hurt efforts to free the military aid, and some officials worried about the reaction from Giuliani.
Read witnesses’ testimony at impeachment docs. usatoday . com.