Axios provides a viewer’s guide to witnesses appearing in the impeachment hearings beginning today. I am making modifications and adding links to their prior deposition testimony. A viewer’s guide to the impeachment hearings:
Testifying Wednesday, November 13:
- Ambassador Bill Taylor: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. He says it was his “clear understanding” that Trump would not release military aid to Ukraine until its president promised to conduct the investigations Trump wanted. [The testimony of Ambassador William Taylor can be found here. Key excerpts from Ambassador Taylor’s testimony can be found here.]
- Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent: He says Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to go to the microphones “and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton.” [The testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent can be found here. Key excerpts from Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent can be found here.]
Testifying Friday, November 15:
- Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She says she was pushed out over unsubstantiated allegations that she was critical of Trump and didn’t want Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. [The testimony of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch from October 11, 2019 can be found here. Key excerpts from Yovanovitch’s testimony can be found here.]
Testifying Tuesday, November 19:
- Jennifer Williams: An aide to Vice President Mike Pence, on detail from the State Department. She was on the July call between Trump and Zelensky and said she had concerns with the political nature of the call. [The testimony of Jennifer Williams can be found here. Key excerpts of Jennifer Williams’s testimony can be found here.]
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman: A decorated war veteran and the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert. He was on the July call and says Mulvaney coordinated the plan to push Ukraine for the Biden investigations. [The testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman can be found here. Key excerpts of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman’s testimony can be found here.]
- Kurt Volker, former Special Envoy to Ukraine: He describes what officials saw as Rudy Giuliani’s improper role in U.S. diplomacy. [The testimony of Ambassador Kurt Volker can be found here. Key excerpts from Ambassador Volker’s testimony can be found here. In addition, the Committees released all additional Volker text messages received by the Committees, which can be found here.]
- Former National Security Council adviser Tim Morrison: He was also on the July call, and says he was told directly about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to open political investigations. [The testimony of Timothy Morrison can be found here. Key excerpts of Timothy Morrison’s testimony can be found here.]
Testifying Wednesday, November 20:
- EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland: He revised his initial testimony to say he told a Ukrainian official that the country wouldn’t get military aid unless it caved to Trump’s demands. [The testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland can be found here, including an addendum he filed on November 4, 2019. Key excerpts from Ambassador Sondland’s testimony can be found here.]
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs Laura Cooper: She says it was her understanding that Trump himself directed the freeze on aid to Ukraine, and that officials raised concerns after the aid was suspended. [The testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper can be found here. Key excerpts of Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Cooper testimony can be found here.]
- Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale: He spoke to what many officials described as Yovanovitch’s questionable removal. [The testimony of David Hale can be found here. Key excerpts of David Hale’s testimony can be found here.]
Testifying Thursday, November 21:
- Former Russia aide Fiona Hill: She reported to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, and says Bolton believed Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were cooking up a “drug deal” with Ukraine. [The testimony of Dr. Fiona Hill can be found here. Key excerpts of Dr. Fiona Hill’s testimony can be found here.]
- David Holmes: He is a nonpartisan career Foreign Service officer, testified that he was present when Ambassador Gordon Sondland spoke directly with President Trump on July 26—the day after President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.“Mr. Holmes overheard President Trump asking Ambassador Sondland whether President Zelensky committed to ‘do the investigation’ into the Bidens and the 2016 election, which Trump pressed Zelensky for in his call the previous day. Sondland responded to President Trump stating, ‘Oh yeah, he’s going to do it’ and added that President Zelensky will ‘do anything you ask him to.’ [The testimony of Mr. Holmes can be found here. Key excerpts of Holmes’ testimony can be found here.]
Note: If you do not have time to read all of these depositions, the lawyers at Lawfare Blog have done it for you and put together summaries you can read instead. We Read All 2,677 Pages of Ukraine Testimony So You Don’t Have To. (Lawfare Blog will add more summaries as further transcripts are released.)
Democrats have also shown interest in having the following individuals appear, but they have rejected Congress’ requests/subpoenas:
- Former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bolton is Said to Know of ‘Many Relevant Meetings’ on Ukraine, but Will Not Testify without a court order.
- Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney’s OMB Held Up Ukraine Aid Fearing Russia Reaction.
- Former deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman. Former Bolton deputy who was on July 25 Ukraine call caught in middle of impeachment fight.
- Acting Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought. (Presumably involved in the actions of his superior, Mick Mulvaney.)
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon of Washington ordered final arguments to be held Dec. 10 at the request of Charles Kupperman, the former national security aide who requested the courts to decide whether he must comply with a White House order not to testify or Congress’s subpoena in the House impeachment inquiry. U.S. judge fast-tracks hearing over House impeachment subpoena to former national security aide Charles Kupperman:
The accelerated hearing came after Leon last week had said the December date is intended to focus only on whether the lawsuit should be dismissed, leaving any debate over the conflict’s substance to next year.
The judge’s new schedule still leaves it doubtful — even if a court upholds the subpoena — that Kupperman’s case will wind through the courts in time for him to testify before hearings that House Democratic leaders have said they want to finish by year’s end.
However, basically the same legal arguments were just made in the Don McGahn case at oral argument on October 31. Judge Pushes Back On DOJ Claim She Can’t Enforce McGahn Subpoena: At the end of Thursday’s hearing, Judge Brown Jackson noted that she is about to start presiding over a two-week trial, but that she will do her “best” to turn around a ruling as “quickly as possible.”
Sooo, maybe a ruling before the end of the month? A decision in favor of enforcing congressional subpoenas and rejecting the administration’s bogus “absolute immunity” clam would free up these witnesses to testify.
Presumably the corrupted Trump “Injustice” Department would appeal in an effort to run out the clock, acting as Trump’s public defender rather than following its mission statement:
To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.