Four key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry just wrapped up their day-long public testimonies before the House Intelligence Committee. Our live coverage has ended.
In case you missed them, here are some of highlights from the two hearings:
From Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams
- They were very careful during their testimonies. They are clearly conscious of revealing information improperly and inviting retribution.
- They described the July 25 call: They said the July 25 call between President Trump and the Ukrainian leader was not “perfect.” The President was acting on his own in the July call in asking for the investigations and was provided with no talking points to back that up.
- Meeting at the White House: Vindman described a July 10 meeting in which there was a demand in the White House of a direct quid pro quo by Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland..
- Republicans question Vindman's integrity: They suggested there was mixed loyalty because Ukraine offered him a government position (Vindman turned it down). They also suggested he inflated his position.
From Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison
- "Not a policy objective": Morrison said he never asked his Ukrainian counterparts to investigate the Bidens because "it was not a policy objective."
- Why support for Ukraine is important: Volker said the US is "not pushing back hard enough on Russia, and we owe Ukraine a great deal of support."
- Morrison and Volker were the GOP's witnesses: It’s worth remembering they are the witnesses Republicans — not Democrats — wanted to hear from in the impeachment inquiry. It’s notable because their testimony is not entirely flattering to President Trump. They have described their unease at Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine and their skeptical view of efforts to launch an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company.
- What Volker admitted: He told lawmakers that he drew a “sharp distinction” between Burisma and Biden, but admits that he was wrong to view them separately. “In hindsight, I now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company, “Burisma,” as equivalent to investigating former Vice President Biden. I saw them as very different. The former being appropriate and unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable,” Volker said in his opening statement. “In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”