Bolton prepared to testify in impeachment probe pending court ruling

Bolton prepared to testify in impeachment probe pending court ruling

The first open impeachment hearings into US President Donald Trump will begin next week, the congressman leading the probe said Wednesday, as the investigation heads into a highly anticipated public phase.

Trump insisted in a pair of late night tweets that he had not asked Barr for a press conference.

Kent, along with William Taylor - the top USA diplomat in Ukraine - will testify publicly on November 13.

The Post reported that it was not clear why Barr declined the request, but "from the moment the administration released the rough transcript, Barr made clear that whatever the president was up to, he was not a party to it".

Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russian Federation, was testifying in a closed-door hearing in front of members of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees after receiving a subpoena to compel her testimony.

Former national security adviser John Bolton, whom Trump fired in September, was also called to appear on Thursday but was not expected to do so.

Williams is the first person directly connected with Pence to testify in the probe. Lawmakers will look to Williams for information about how much Pence knew about efforts by Trump and those around him to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and foreign interference in the 2016 US election.

An attorney for Bolton, Charles Cooper, said his client has not received a subpoena.

Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer detailed to US Vice President Mike Pence's office from the State Department, spoke to investigators Thursday after she was subpoenaed to appear.

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She is one of several White House aides who were listening in on a July phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump asked the new leader to investigate Democrats, according to an administration official who requested anonymity to discuss the conversation.

The battle is likely to go to the Supreme Court and could spill into next year.

A slew of current and former officials from the State Department and White House have appeared and largely corroborated the same narrative - that Trump had delegated his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to guide U.S. -Ukraine policy and that the two men were focused on pressuring Ukraine as the administration withheld military aid from the country.

Schiff said that moment in the fast-moving inquiry had arrived, and that Americans would be able to hear the accounts of potential abuse of power directly from witnesses who were caught up in the scandal.

In other words - pro quo, meet quid.

Democrats have countered that any quid pro quos are usually in furtherance of US interests overseas, not the personal interests of a president looking to damage a potential 2020 election rival.

If the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate would then hold a trial on whether to remove him from office.

People will be able to see "the degree to which the president enlisted whole departments of government in the illicit aim of trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent", said House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff.

Setting the stage for the public hearings, lawmakers have been making public transcripts of the closed-door depositions this week.

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