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Impeachment Probe deepens the gap between the Trump teams



The fault lines are most easily recognized by the witnesses summoned to testify at open hearings: Taylor, Kent and Yovanovitch attended the first public hearings of the Democrats last week. among other. The Republicans have meanwhile requested nine more witnesses, only a few of which were greened by the majority, including Volker, National Security Council official Tim Morrison, and Trump's appointed David Hale.

Several of the witnesses have offered contradictory representations or interpretations of specific events, which makes it sometimes difficult to make a conclusive judgment on who is right. Listed below are some of the best-known examples that distinguished the main witnesses:

A White House meeting on July 1
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A meeting in John Bolton's office with two Ukrainian officials – leading Zelensky consultant Andriy Yermak and National Security Advisor Oleksandr Danyliuk, which included former NSC officials Fiona Hill, Vindman, Sondland and Volker, has become a focal point of the impeachment investigation because it underpinned the suspicion of White House officials that a shadow policy was persecuting Ukraine was to advance Trump's political goals to Hill and Vindman's testimonies.

Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman have so far refused to testify.

Kupperman had asked a federal judge to settle the lawsuit between the legislature and the executive, but his suit was cited as being time-constrained when Congress withdrew its subpoena for him.

Meanwhile, their joint lawyer Chuck Cooper told lawmakers that Bolton "knows many relevant meetings and discussions that have not been discussed in the statements yet", but will only testify when a federal judge settles the dispute between them Congress and the White House.

Both Hill and Vindman informed legislators that Bolton had broken off the meeting when Sondland began discussing specific investigations that Ukraine would have to initiate to meet with Trump. However, Sondland continued the discussion in a later debriefing at the White Room Ward Room Bolton was absent. Taylor also said that Hill and Vindman informed him in a phone call on July 19 about the meeting in Bolton's office and about Sondland's mention of an investigation.

" Ambassador Sondland began to talk about Ukraine and initiate specific investigations to meet with the Protecting Presidents, "said Vindman At this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing session, during which Ambassador Sondland stressed the importance of Ukraine carrying out its investigations into the 2016 elections, the Bidens and Burisma."

Hill said that Sondland "basically started talking about the conversations with which he had spoken to the chief of staff," Mick Mulvaney. "He mentioned Mr. Giuliani, but then I interrupted him because I did not want to get into this discussion at all."

also directly approached Volker when she was asked if she had personally heard of Sondland's mention of Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden sat. Hill was asked, "Right," she replied, "and Kurt Volker."

Volker testified that during the meeting, neither Giuliani nor investigations were mentioned. "No," said Mr. Vindman. he replied when asked if Giuliani's activities in Ukraine or "anything about the investigation" were being raised.

Sondland said he did not "remember" addressing Burisma or investigations I can not say that the word "Burisma" was not mentioned, "he said," I do not know if I mentioned it or if it was done by Ambassador Volker, or Mr. Vindman – I have no idea. "

The call of July 25

The interpretations of the witnesses about the appropriateness of the appeal of July 25 between Trump and Zelensky, in which Trump Zelensky has explicitly asked to look at the Biden and possible The investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 has also changed, also in the context of certain officials' statements.

Morrison, a former republican senator and arms control specialist selected by Bolton to succeed Hill as NSC's senior adviser to Europe and Russia, said he was "not worried that something illegal was being asked in the summons was discussed ".

However, he informed the White House lawyer, John Eisenberg, about the conversation immediately after it ended, fearing that it would expire, and recommended restricting access to recordings of the call.

However, Morrison also said that Giuliani, Burisma and the electoral influence of 2016 "were all issues I wanted to keep away from … because they had nothing to do with our political process" and noted that he was "worried " has been. about how "submissive" Zelensky Trump was and about the "parallel process" in Ukraine Hill had warned him about before replacing it.

According to texts exchanged between Volker and Sondland on August 9, Morrison reluctantly agreed to arrange a meeting between Trump and Zelensky, as Trump, according to Sondland, wanted "the result," presumably because of the promise of Ukraine to initiate the requested investigations.

Morrison also told lawmakers that he had kept Taylor up to date on the return channel's efforts, and informed him about the July 25 call, calls between Sondland and Trump, calls between Sondland and Yermak, and Trump's desire to do anything Withholding Assistance from Ukraine Taylor said he was ready to resign.

Morrison said his talks with Taylor had been "a normal part of the co-ordination process" as he had been Taylor's "main source of information in connection with White House deliberations" about Ukraine. According to Taylor, Morrison informed him that the July 25 request could have been "better". This comment reflected his disappointment that the two leaders had not discussed Zelensky's "reform agenda."

stated that he was deeply concerned about the July 25 phone call. He said that although he could not determine if anything illegal had happened because he was not a lawyer, he also informed Eisenberg of its content and Trump's request that Ukraine investigate a US citizen was considered inadmissible.

Volker testified that he had warned the Ukrainians not to "get involved" in US domestic politics after being informed about the phone call. On the morning of July 25, he sent a text message to Yermak, where a meeting of the Trump Zelensky White House was scheduled for investigation, and he negotiated a public statement from Zelensky that would oblige him to accept the probes Trump had requested to open.

"Assuming that President Zelensky trumps him to investigate what happened in 2016, we will set the date for a visit to Washington. Good luck, "Volker wrote on 25 July.

Using the Call Log

It is debatable why the July 25th call log was filed in a top secret system where the NSC code stores verbal information and whether it has been edited to contain the word " Burisma "to remove.

Morrison informed the lawmakers that he had learned from the staff of the executive secretariat that he did not find the record of the call in the normal portal they had put it on Eisenberg's command in the highly classified system – but Eisenberg told Morrison that the staff had misunderstood his request to restrict access to the call and did not intend to include it in the codeword system. known as NICE.

However, the call was not removed from the system after this conversation. When Morrison prepared for Trump-Zelensky's meeting at the United Nations in September, he tried in vain to reopen the call list. "So I remember talking to John then, John, did we ever figure out how to put that thing in the background?" He said.

Meanwhile, Vindman's statement implied that the recording was intentionally put into the system. He told lawmakers that Michael Ellis, a White House attorney and Eisenberg's deputy, was the first to suggest recording the record of Trump's phone call to Zelensky on July 25. Eisenberg, the NSC's chief legal adviser, made the last call to place the call list there after Ellis proposed the idea, he said.

Vindman said he does not believe Ellis had a "malicious intent" to suggest that the call record be dropped on the top-secret server, and that Eisenberg eventually "gave permission."

Investigators of the impeachment case have requested testimony from Eisenberg and Ellis, but the White House denied them by citing an aggressive interpretation of the previous precedent of executive privilege and classifying the entire impeachment trial as unlawful and unconstitutional.

Morrison also did not seem to agree with Vindman and Williams whether the word "Burisma" was put forward during Trump-Zelensky's call on July 25.

Vindman and Williams, both listening to the call, testified that Zelensky mentioned Burisma by name.

Vindman, a fluent Ukrainian spokesman, said he eventually proposed several changes to the memorandum of the call that the White House finally published to the public in September – some of which he described as "significant" in the final release, which was published.

One of these changes was the addition of a phrase in which Trump referred to "recordings."

Vindman informed the investigators that while Zelensky mentioned only "the company", he remembered Zelensky and instead said, "Burisma, whom you mentioned."

The fact Vindman said it was important because "it was obvious to me that he was prepared for this call," and he knew that Zelensky Burisma had identified The White House does not mention Burisma, and Morrison said he did not "believe" that Burisma was specifically mentioned in the solicitation, nor did he remember anyone who made any changes to d he proposed file to reflect Zelensky's Menti on of Burisma.

"If I had remembered or mentioned in my notes, yes, I would have agreed to the editing," said Morrison.


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