Day 3 of parliamentary hearings continued Tuesday afternoon with two witnesses requested by Republicans: Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official who was on President Donald Trump's July 25 talks with Ukraine President.
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Republicans want Morrison. a political appointee, to repeat what he said in his closed-door deposition: that he heard nothing illegal in the conversation, even though he was worried that if it leaked it could be politically fallout.
Volker, one of the so-called "three amigos", communicated with William Taylor, the US's best diplomat in Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, about what Trump wanted from Ukraine, but according to task will claim he was out of the loop when it came to specific requirements for investigations.
Earlier Tuesday, two White House national security assistants appeared on the July phone call expressing concern over statements Trump made to Ukraine's leaders on Capitol Hill, becoming the first current White House officials to testify publicly in the Democrats' impeachment investigation.
Army, Colonel Alexander Vindman, National Security Council's Ukraine expert, testified together with Jennifer Williams, a national security assistant to Vice President Mike Pence.
Here is how the afternoon portion of the hearing develops. Update for updates.
When Schiff began his questioning, Volker repeated his earlier testimony that he did not suspect Democrat Joe Biden was wrong.
He said "it is not credible to me that former Vice President Biden would have been in any way influenced by financial or personal motives for performing his duties as Vice President."
Volker said he also did not believe charges against Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine. He said they were not credible either.
"I have known former Vice President Biden for a long time. I know how he respects his duties as higher office, and it is simply not credible to me that a US vice president will do anything but act as he sees best for the national interest, "Volker said.
The afternoon session begins with statements from President Adam Schiff and ranking member Devin Nunes.
"Welcome back to Team Two of the Circus, Ladies and Gentlemen , "Nunes said at the beginning of her opening statement.
Nunes and his Republican colleagues have firmly defended the president's behavior towards Ukraine and tried to throw the weapons investigation as a partisan attack.
The two witnesses were then answered and made their initial statements.
In opening remarks, Kurt Volker noted "a lot of additional information" that he has learned since his October 3 deposition with closed doors in front of impeachment investigators, including details of the alleged quid pro quo effort by President Trump .
"Then I joined [Ukrainian chief of staff Andriy] Yermak and Giuliani and discussed with Yermak and Amb. Sondland a possible statement that could be taken by the Ukrainian president, I did not know of any link between the security support team and Ukraine conducting investigations, "Volker said.
He insisted that he never "deliberately participated in an attempt to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden."
Volker said he was not aware of many important disclosures that have emerged since his first appearance before the committee in October, including Ambassador Gordon Sondland's telephone conversation with President Trump during which the president alleged that his priority in Ukraine was "investigations."
He also said that he has never used the term "The Three Amigos," which other witnesses in the impeachment probe have used to describe Volker, Ambassador Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Volker said he does not believe that Ukrainians were aware of a military aid hold until August 29, a day after Politico reported that the money had been frozen.
Other witnesses testified in separate hearings with closed doors that their Ukrainian counterparts had figured it out earlier than that. The Ministry of State's Catherine Croft could not specify the exact date the Ukrainians found out, other than that it was "earlier than I expected them."
Bill Taylor, the US diplomat in Ukraine, testified last week in open testimony that he thinks there is still no question when they may have heard.
When exactly Ukraine knew the money was on is a key point for Republicans, who claim that Trump cannot be accused of personally imposing a "quid pro quo" in his July 25 phone call because they say Ukraine had no idea that military aid was on hold at that time.
When the first part of Tuesday's hearing ended, Schiff thanked Williams and Vindman for their testimony.
"We have brave people like yourself who come forward, who report things, who do what they should do, who have a meaning, as you put it, Colonel, service, duty. Not to the President, but to the Presidency. and to the country. And we thank you for that, "Schiff said.
He added that although other witnesses have testified about allegations the president did not care about Ukraine outside the investigations of Bidens, members of Congress still care about the longstanding US policy in Ukraine.
"The president may not care, but we do. We care about our defense, we care about the defense of our allies. And we wondered about our constitution," Schiff said.
Rep. Schiff to Colonel Vindman: "We have brave people like yourself who show up, who report things, who do what they need to do, who have a sense … of duty. Off duty! Not the person's president. But to the presidency and to country. "https://t.co/wJIckfThSv pic.twitter.com/DZgOMhcuhm
– ABC News (@ABC) November 19, 2019
In his closing comments, Republican Rep. Rope. Devin Nunes says "Act One of today's circus is over … Democrats are no closer to impeachment than they were three years ago."
The second hearing was expected to begin in about an hour.
Democrat Representative Sean Maloney asked Vindman what went through his mind when he heard Trump on the July 25 call.
"Honestly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was probably a shock element that, in some cases, perhaps my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy might play out, how this would probably have significant implications for US national security," said Vindman.
"And you went immediately and reported it, right?" Maloney asked.
"I did," replied VIndman
"Why?" Maloney then asked.
"Because it was my duty," Vindman replied.
Maloney then asked Vindman to re-read the section on his opening statement that mentioned his father.
After Maloney asked why he told his dad not to worry about his safety to testify, Vindman said, "Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have earned and here, the right things. "
A number of people in the audience then began to applaud.
Rep. Maloney urges Colonel Vindman to read the message to his father, which he shared in his opening statement.
Vindman says his father "deeply worried" for him to testify about the president, but "this is America … and this means right." Https://t.co/xAXyojJvAX pic.twitter.com / ddj1q7DSqi
– ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 19, 2019
Democratic Rep. Sean Maloney lamented the political attacks against Vindman during the hearing during his interrogation.
"We even had a member on this committee issue – this is my favorite – ask why you would wear your clothing uniform today. Although that clothing uniform has a chest plate that has a combat infantry badge on it and a purple heart medal band, he said.
"It seems that someone is going to wear the uniform, someone has a breastplate with praise for it."
Republican Rep. Chris Stewart noted that Vindman was wearing his clothing uniform "knowing it is not today's uniform" earlier in the hearing, although active military officers must be in uniform when appearing in an official capacity.
Vindman told Stewart that he felt that the attacks against him "marginalized" him as a military officer. An Army spokesman told ABC News that they support Vindman with concerns about his family's safety as he testifies in the investigation into the remuneration.
Referring to a theory by Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, and President Trump that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that disrupted the 2016 presidential election, Vindman called it a "Russian story that President Putin has promoted. "
"And are you aware of any part of the US government, its foreign policy or intelligence apparatus that supports that theory?" Rep. Castro, D-Texas, asked Vindman.
"No, I don't know," Vindman said.
The theory that Ukraine framed Russia in election disputes 2016 has been widely criticized. Tom Bossert, Trump's former home security adviser and now an ABC News contributor, targeted Giuliani in September on ABC's "This Week" and told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the theory is "completely false."
During questioning from Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, Vindman suggests that he may have already experienced retaliation from the White House.
"In both your situations since you have made deposits and have you seen your experience of your respective jobs change or have you been treated slightly differently?" Speier asked.
Williams said she had not done so, but Vindman said he was excluded from meetings because he raised concerns about the July 25 call.
"I noticed that I was excluded from several meetings that would have been appropriate for my position," Vindman said.
"So in some respects there have been reprisals?" Speier sa.
"I am not sure I could make that judgment. I would say that it is beyond normal issues to not get me involved in any of these events," Vindman said.
Down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol hearing, President Trump, who spoke to reporters at the White House, struck a dismissive tone when asked if he thinks Colonel LL Vindman is a credible witness and notes the moment when Vindman corrected Nunes for he referred to him as "Mr. Vidman ”and also seemed to question their motives in wearing a military uniform to testify.
"I do not know him because he says Lieutenant Colonel, I understand that someone had the misfortune of calling him" loser "and he corrected them. I have never seen the man, I now understand that he is wearing his uniform when he enters. No, I don't know Vindman at all, ”Trump said during a cabinet meeting, reports ABC's Jordyn Phelps.
President Trump: "Vindman, I saw him for a little while this morning and I think he – I will let people make their own determination. But I don't know Vindman, I've never heard of him, I don't know to any of these people. " https://t.co/I5tJy8CV9K pic.twitter.com/nfBA44BWVv
– ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 19, 2019
An American official told ABC News & # 39; Elizabeth McLaughlin at the Pentagon as Vindman testifies before Congress means that he is serving in his official capacity and is therefore required to wear the uniform.
Separately, a spokesman for ABC told Luis Martinez: "A soldier who performs duties in an official capacity will normally be in uniform. In cases where a soldier is described to an agency outside the DoD, the individual would follow the policy of that agency. "
On the question of Hunter Biden's role on the Board of Burisma may have shown the appearance of a conflict of interest, both Vindman and Williams replied in the affirmative.
"Sure the potential, yes," Vindman said.
"Yes," Williams chimed in.
Republicans have called on Hunter Biden to testify as part of the impeachment investigation, but Democrats have so far declined to call him before the committee.
Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe began her questioning session by referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Thursday conference where she said the president was engaged in "bribery."
Ratcliffe, stacked copies of all deposition transcripts in front of him, argued that not even some witnesses have used that word to describe what the president did, even though they were worried.
President Schiff then returned to this argument and defended using the term.
"I want to make one thing clear to people watching today. Bribery means a quid pro quo. Bribery means that a specific act is about something of value," Schiff said.
He added "The reason why we do not ask witnesses, who are actual witnesses, to judge whether a crime or bribe has been committed…. First, you may not be aware of all the facts of the present case."
"The reason why we do not ask … actual witnesses to judge if a violation of bribery has been committed," the rep says. Adam Schiff, "Are You Actual Witnesses? It will be our job to determine if the impossible bribe has occurred." Https://t.co/wJIckfThSv pic.twitter.com/I2XmRjFtLV
– ABC News (@ABC) November 19, 2019
Democratic Representative Jim Himes also hinted that Republicans accused Vindman of disloyalty to the United States in his question about when Vindman was offered the post of Secretary of Defense for Ukraine, which Vindman said he denied.
"It may have come covered in a Brooks Brothers suit and in parliamentary language, but it was designed exclusively to give right-wing media an opening to question your loyalties," Himes said.
"And I want people to understand what it was about. It's that kind of attack – it's the kind you say when defending the indefensible," Himes said.
"Colonel Vindman, would you call yourself & # 39; Never Trumper? & # 39;" Himes asked at one point.
"Representative, I would call myself 'Never Partisan'" replied Vindman.
Moments earlier, Himes suggested the president be engaged in "witness intimidation" when he called Jennifer Williams a "Never Trumper" on Twitter.
"ms. Williams, are you involved in a presidential attack? "Asked Himes, D-Conn.
"No, sir," she replied emphatically.
Williams went on to say that the president's tweet "really surprised" her and that she did not consider herself a "never-ending drummer."
"It surprised me too," Himes said. "It looked like witness intimidation and manipulation in an attempt to perhaps shape your testimony today."
11:50 p.m. 1945
In the first extended effort to undermine Vindman's credibility read the rope. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, testified from another former National Security Council official, Tim Morrison, who said he heard concerns that Vindman may have leaked classified information to the press.
"It's delusional that I would," Vindman shot back. " can't say why Mr. Morrison questioned my assessment. "
Vindman read from a performance review prepared by his former head at NSC, Fiona Hill, who gave him glowing feedback on his work.
President Schiff returned the debate to the chairman.
Vindman said there was no "ambiguity" in President Trump's invocation of the name "Biden" during his July 25 talks with the President of Ukraine.
"It was pretty clear that the president wanted Zelenskiy to commit to investigating Bidens?" Schiff asked.
"That's right," Vindman said.
"One of the 'favors' that you correctly characterized as a demand," Schiff added.
"That's right," Vindman replied.
Schiff asks Vindman if he wants to take a short break and Vindman says he would.
Republican Attorney General Steve Castor asked Vindman if he was offered the position of Ukrainian Secretary of Defense during the trip to Ukrainian President Zelensky's inauguration.
Vindman said he was offered the service three times but dismissed it each time and reported it to his master.
"I'm an American. I came here when I was a toddler and immediately turned down these offers. Didn't entertain them, he said.
"The whole idea was pretty comical," Vindman added, noting that he "didn't leave the door open at all" for the offer.
The GOP Council's questions question Col Vindman about offers of Defense Minister for Ukraine.
Vindman: "I'm American. I came here when I was a toddler and immediately rejected these offers. Didn't entertain them … the whole idea is pretty comical." https://t.co/I5tJy8CV9K pic.twitter.com/6mtDTGi8Xe
– ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 19, 2019
ABC's Siege notes this exchange between Castor and Vindman:
Vindman said that he recalled that Sondland discussed "Burisma, Bidens and the 2016 election" in the July 10 meeting of the White House with Ukrainian officials.
GOP lawyer Steve Castor followed up, claiming that Vindman, behind closed doors, did not initially remember if the election was coming. Vindman said he clarified this later in his testimony.