Schiff Announces Impeachment Hearings Schedule, Says ‘More To Come’
Chuck Ross on November 6, 2019
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Wednesday that three diplomats will testify next week as part of the first wave of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Schiff announced on Twitter that William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, will testify in a public hearing next Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Marie Yovanovitch, a State Department official who preceded Taylor as ambassador to Ukraine, will testify on Nov. 15.
Schiff indicated that additional hearings will be scheduled.
“More to come,” he tweeted.
All three of the diplomats have appeared for closed-door depositions during the impeachment inquiry, which focuses on Trump’s actions towards Ukraine.
Taylor, who serves as charge d’affairs to Ukraine, testified that he believed that Trump improperly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open politically-charged investigations in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. military aid.
Trump has denied establishing a quid pro quo arrangement.
Taylor worked closely with two other diplomats, Kurt Volker and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, to establish closer relations between Trump and Zelensky. Text messages that have been released in the impeachment inquiry show the trio deliberating about how to arrange a phone call and meeting between the two counterparts.
They have all testified that Rudy Giuliani was the main conduit to Trump. Sondland testified on Oct. 17 that Trump repeatedly told him to “talk to Rudy” about Ukraine issues.
Volker, who resigned as special envoy to Ukraine on Sept. 27, told lawmakers in an Oct. 3 deposition that he was not aware of a quid pro quo from Trump regarding aid to Ukraine.
But Volker did express frustration that Giuliani was played such a key role in U.S. policy-making towards Ukraine. Volker also defended Yovanovitch.
Trump recalled the longtime diplomat in May after several of his allies accused her of making derogatory statements about him.
The first allegations against Yovanovitch surfaced in a May 9, 2018 letter that then-Rep. Pete Sessions sent to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo. It has since been revealed that Sessions sent that letter on the same day that he met with Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman who worked closely with Giuliani on his Ukraine-related efforts.
Prosecutors in New York indicted Parnas and one of his colleagues, Igor Fruman, on campaign finance charges on Oct. 10. They are accused of making straw donations to several Republican political committees and campaigns, including Sessions’.
Yovanovitch, who was deposed on Oct. 11, criticized the “concerted effort” on the part of Giuliani and his associates to force her removal as ambassador.
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