Published: Tue, November 12, 2019

US House Democrats Release Testimonies of Volker Assistants, Top Pentagon Official

US House Democrats Release Testimonies of Volker Assistants, Top Pentagon Official

If the headlines of the past few weeks have not been enough to move congressional Republicans, however, it's unclear what - if anything - will. Democrats are unlikely to get Trump's inner circle, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, to tell their stories publicly before the House votes on articles of impeachment.

Croft and Anderson's testimonies were released several hours after the testimony of top Pentagon official Laura Cooper was also released on Monday.

In September, The New York Times all but outed the alleged whistleblower, identifying him as a CIA employee and Ukraine expert who had been detailed to the White House by former Obama CIA director John Brennan.

At issue is Trump's decision to tie military aid for Ukraine to investigations of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

But the U.S. told Ukraine up front that it had to take steps to end corruption before it would get the aid, and the country complied, she asserted.

House Democrats on Monday released a transcript of the testimony of a top Defense Department official who stressed the importance of U.S. military aid to Ukraine and detailed the country's anti-corruption efforts.

The transcripts, which were released last Friday, detail statements made by National Security Council Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill during their depositions.

"I knew from my Kurt Volker conversation and also from sort of the alarm bells that were coming from Ambassador (Bill) Taylor and his team that there were Ukrainians who knew about this", Cooper said, describing the Ukrainians as aware of the freeze on aid in August 2019.


According to Taylor, there was a concerted effort by what he referred to as this "irregular, informal channel of US policy-making" to pressure Ukraine to commit to opening investigations into unproven allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 USA election, as well as into the gas company Burisma.

"It's impossible to bring this case forward in my view fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross examine them about any biases they may have", said Republican Sen.

Public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry are set to begin.

"All of the senior leaders of the USA. national security departments and agencies were all unified in their - in their view that this assistance was essential", Ms Cooper said, according to the transcript. "And they were trying to find ways to engage the President on this". The party hopes its public hearings will move Americans further in support of impeachment, putting pressure on moderate Republicans to break with the president.

Vindman testified that "On the 10th of July.it became completely apparent what the deliverable would be in order to get a White House meeting". But he railed against his critics on Twitter, even accusing House Democrats of "doctoring" transcripts of impeachment witnesses without evidence to back up his claim. I don't buy that.

Cooper told investigators that she was visited in August by Kurt Volker, the USA special envoy to Ukraine, who explained there was a "statement" that the Ukraine government could make to get the security money flowing.

It was the first she had heard of what is now the quid pro quo central to the impeachment inquiry - the administration's push for the Ukraine government to investigate Trump's political rivals as the funding was being withheld.

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