mcloudy.png
Wednesday July 8th, 2020 7:29PM

About that call: What to watch on Day 3 of Trump impeachment

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — They heard the July 25 phone call for themselves.

And now, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and adviser Jennifer Williams are set to tell Americans and the world about its content and their concerns as the lead witnesses in perhaps the most consequential week of the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

They are the first two of nine witnesses called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week. The procession includes officials closest to Trump as lawmakers grind through their investigation of the 45th president.

Vindman and Williams were listening with others in the White House Situation Room and heard Trump pressure Ukraine’s president to do him the “favor” of investigating Joe Biden and his son, all while the U.S. had placed a hold on aid to Ukraine.

What to watch as the marathon week of hearings opens at 9 a.m. EST Tuesday:

___

WHO’S UP FIRST

Vindman is a Soviet-era immigrant who came to the U.S. as a toddler and grew up to become a decorated soldier and a White House aide. Now, he is a 20-year Army officer assigned to the National Security Council at the white-hot center of the inquiry.

Vindman, 44, testified last month in closed session that he twice raised concerns about Trump and his European Union ambassador, Gordon Sondland, inappropriately pushing Ukrainian leaders to investigate the former vice president and his son.

"I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics," Vindman said in written remarks.

He earned the Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq in 2004 leading infantrymen.

In October, Vindman attended his closed-door testimony wearing his Army service uniform, with a chest full of military ribbons and other commendations. The visual underscored Trump’s conflict with the military and national security establishment.

Republicans are expressing concern about Vindman’s “judgment” in handling his concern about the call.

___

‘JENNIFER WILLIAMS, WHOEVER THAT IS’

Trump and the world are about to find out. Williams is Vice President Mike Pence’s special adviser for Europe and Russia, on detail from the State Department.

On July 25, she was in the Situation Room taking notes as Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy about potential 2020 rival Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company.

“It was President Trump who raised Burisma,” Williams testified on Nov. 7. Later, she says that “I believed those references to be more political in nature and so that struck me as unusual.”

The word Burisma does not appear in the rough transcript of the call released by the White House.

“Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls,” Trump tweeted in part over the weekend. He called her a “Never Trumper.”

___

ZELENSKIY FELT PRESSURED BEFORE THE CALL

The president and his allies have pointed to Zelenskiy’s statement during a September press conference, shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump, in which the Ukrainian president said he didn’t feel any pressure in the July 25 call.

But even before that call, Zelenskiy had reported feeling pressure from the Trump administration to investigate Biden, The Associated Press reported.

Zelenskiy was concerned Trump and associates were pressing him to take action that could affect the 2020 election, two individuals said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic and political sensitivity of the issue.

State Department officials in Kyiv and Washington were briefed on Zelenskiy’s concerns at least three times, the two individuals said, and notes summarizing his worries were circulated within the department.

___

DOES TRUMP WEIGH IN?

He did last week, castigating the ambassador he fired, Marie Yovanovich, on Twitter and giving weight to her account of being bullied out of her job by members of the administration.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi several times over the past few days has suggested that if Trump wants to testify — she mockingly explained the word “exculpatory” — he’s welcome to do so in person or in writing.

He hasn’t said he will do so. But Trump did tweet: “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”

___

WHITE HOUSE VIEW

The administration is confident about the testimony of all the impeachment witnesses this week except for that of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland on Wednesday, according to two White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal thinking.

Like all the witnesses, Sondland will testify under oath and penalty of perjury. Sondland already has had to amend his earlier account after contradicting testimony from others.

The White House is happy with the role of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as the committee’s Republican bulldog questioner. But privately these officials pointed to concerns in the White House about the performance of GOP counsel Steve Castor.

___

REPUBLICAN UNITY

The president’s allies have mostly stayed together so far during the hearings, but they are hopping between strategies for pushing back.

One argument against the inquiry is that witnesses, including the whistleblower and charge d’affaires William Taylor last week, are reporting the goings-on second- or third-hand. Look for whether they abandon that argument when Vindman and Williams testify.

Republicans now say the president is innocent because the military money was eventually released. In fact, it was released Sept. 11 after Congress began looking into the holdup.

___

LATER IN THE DAY

Testifying in a second session Tuesday are Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who oversaw Europe and Russia Policy.

___

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

___

Follow Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Patrick defends corporations and capitalism in primary bid
Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick is centering his fledgling campaign on a defense of corporations and capitalism that puts him at odds with some of the party’s most progressive figures
12:30AM ( 10 minutes ago )
US prison system long plagued by staffing crisis, violence
Federal Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by systematic failures, from massive staffing shortages to chronic violence
12:09AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Could Haley’s role in Trump administration taint a 2024 bid?
With the launch of her new memoir, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has again ignited speculation that she may be gearing up for a possible bid for the White House, perhaps as early as 2024
12:08AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Mahomes, Chiefs hold off Chargers 24-17 in Mexico City
The Kansas City Chiefs stayed on top of the AFC West with a 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at Azteca Stadium
11:52PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Rancher gets life in prison in beating death of his fiancee
A jury has conceited a Colorado rancher of beating his fiancée to death while their 1-year-old daughter was in a nearby room
11:43PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Long-running coal plant on Navajo Nation stops production
A massive coal-fired power plant that served customers in the U.S. West for nearly 50 years has shut down
11:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Police: Home in California backyard shooting was targeted
Police say the California home where 10 people were shot at a backyard party was deliberately targeted
10:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
100 protesters still holed up in Hong Kong university
Hong Kong’s leader says an estimated 100 protesters remain holed up in one of the city’s main universities
10:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Holmes: I’d ‘never seen anything’ like Trump-Sondland call
State Department official David Holmes said he’d “never seen anything like” the phone call he witnessed between President Donald Trump and Ambassador Gordon Sondland
8:58PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Diplomat says of Trump Ukraine call: ‘I remember it vividly’
State Department official David Holmes said he’d “never seen anything like” the phone call he witnessed between President Donald Trump and Ambassador Gordon Sondland
9:44PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump suggests he may give written testimony in House probe
President Donald Trump suggested Monday that he might be willing to offer written testimony in the ongoing impeachment inquiry over whether he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden and his son
6:18PM ( 6 hours ago )
Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ plan reignites health care clash
Elizabeth Warren wants to move the country to a government-funded health care system in stages over three years rather than immediately push for a full “Medicare for All”
5:59PM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: State Department’s Holmes to testify publicly
A State Department official who overheard a phone call between President Donald Trump and diplomat Gordon Sondland over the summer will testify publicly in Thursday’s impeachment hearing
11:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Deval Patrick defends work for subprime mortgage lender
Deval Patrick is defending his work for one of the nation’s largest subprime mortgage lenders
10:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: China body criticizes court ruling on mask ban
China’s rubber stamp parliament has criticized the Hong Kong high court’s ruling to strike down a ban on face masks
10:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Chief justice orders delay in House fight for Trump records
Chief Justice John Roberts is ordering an indefinite delay in the House of Representatives’ demand for President Donald Trump’s financial records
5:24PM ( 7 hours ago )
Crucial impeachment hearings break into open for all to see
Impeachment hearings enter a crucial second week as Democrats prepare to hear from nine witnesses
4:53PM ( 7 hours ago )
PG&E boss faces lawmakers as new California blackouts loom
The CEO of the nation’s largest utility is expected to face angry California lawmakers over the company’s decision to turn off power for millions of people to prevent its outdated equipment from starting wildfires
4:36PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
New life likely for lawsuits from Michael Jackson accusers
A California appeals court will likely give new life to lawsuits filed by two men who accuse Michael Jackson of molesting them when they were boys
5:42PM ( 6 hours ago )
Police search for suspects in California shooting; 4 killed
Police are searching for the assailant or assailants who sneaked into a backyard party in Fresno and opened fire while a crowd watched football on television
1:44PM ( 10 hours ago )
Derek Jeter among 18 newcomers on Hall of Fame ballot
Derek Jeter among 18 newcomers on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot; shortstop likely an overwhelming choice
12:20PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Ex-ambassador’s testimony shines light on conservative media
Ex-ambassador’s impeachment hearing testimony speaks to role of conservative media, and power of social media to amplify it
6:01PM ( 3 days ago )
Hulu again raising prices for online live-TV service
Hulu is again raising prices for its online TV bundle, as other streaming-TV providers do the same
1:53PM ( 3 days ago )
N. Scott Momaday remembers 1969 Pulitzer, promises memoir
Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his novel “House Made of Dawn,” says he’s not done writing and is vowing to finish his long-anticipated memoir
12:29AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Online TV News
Patrick defends corporations and capitalism in primary bid
Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick is centering his fledgling campaign on a defense of corporations and capitalism that puts him at odds with some of the party’s most progressive figures
12:30AM ( 11 minutes ago )
US prison system long plagued by staffing crisis, violence
Federal Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by systematic failures, from massive staffing shortages to chronic violence
12:09AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Could Haley’s role in Trump administration taint a 2024 bid?
With the launch of her new memoir, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has again ignited speculation that she may be gearing up for a possible bid for the White House, perhaps as early as 2024
12:08AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Georgia’s ‘turning point’? Debate signals Democratic hopes
Growth and urbanization, along with President Donald Trump’s struggles among previously GOP-leaning white college graduates, have put Georgia on the cusp of presidential battleground status
12:07AM ( 33 minutes ago )
House Dems set to choose leader of powerful Oversight panel
As impeachment hearings resume on Capitol Hill, House Democrats are set to choose who will lead the powerful Oversight and Reform Committee _ a key role in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump
12:06AM ( 34 minutes ago )