House Democrats Release Transcripts of Impeachment Testimony of Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill

Impeachment inquiry: NSC official says Mulvaney helped coordinate Ukraine quid pro quo

White House Chief Of Staff Mick Mulvaney Skips House Deposition Friday

Mulvaney was set to give a deposition before the three investigating House committees as a witness to Trump's Ukraine policy.

Since the reconstructed transcript was released, a number of current and former administration officials have said that the aid and/or a coveted White House meeting between Zelenskiy and Trump were put on hold at least in part to pressure Ukraine to announce the two investigations.

The transcript of Taylor's closed-door testimony before the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into Trump - the latest in a series of witness transcripts made public - confirms NBC News' reportingabout his more than nine hours of testimony last month.

Kent's testimony is the fifth released this week in a new public phase of the impeachment inquiry.

Vindman, a veteran of the Iraq War, then added: "This was about getting a White House meeting".

In his opening statement, Vindman told the Democratic chairs that he didn't think it was right for the White House to call on Ukraine's leader to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and their dealings with Burisma, which employed Hunter Biden.

"I hardly know the gentleman", he said.

Ambassador Kurt Volker, the former special US representative for Ukraine negotiations, also put some distance between Trump and the alleged quid pro quo. The panels released the transcript from that closed-door hearing, along with that of Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russian Federation at the NSC, on Friday.

In subsequent conversations with William Taylor, the charge d'affaires to Ukraine, he said he was told that President Trump "wanted nothing less than President Zelenskyy to go to microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton". She claimed that former national security adviser John Bolton described Giuliani's efforts with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in Ukraine as a "drug deal", according to a transcript.

He told lawmakers that there was "no doubt" Trump was asking for a "deliverable" from Zelenskiy - a public announcement about investigating Democrats before Trump would agree to let the newly-elected leader of the embattled USA ally visit the White House. And, as in the case of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's report, there are cases when Trump was kept out of potentially damaging situations by the principled actions of his subordinates.

On 5 November Mr Sondland abruptly changed his testimony to Congress, saying he now recalled telling a top adviser to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky that almost $400m in military aid to Kyiv would not be released unless the Ukraine government announced an investigation - that President Trump wanted - into the business dealings of Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

Mr Trump on Friday objected to the public sessions, even though he, the White House and Republican allies, had objected to interviews taking place behind closed doors.

"It's sad that that's where we find ourselves but the fact is there is nothing that the president has done, that Rudy Giuliani has done, that anybody I have worked with over there has done that I would consider not in the proper purview and done appropriately", he told Dallas-based KLIF. "The testimony has all been fine". I mean, there was no ambiguity. Moreover, we have very few people coming to Brussels. "It seems that nobody has any first-hand knowledge".

He added that during a July 10 meeting between US and Ukrainian officials, Sondland said "the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens".

In other words, Volker viewed some of what was going on in the July 25 phone call as puffery.

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