The Latest: Military officer raised concerns about Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the House impeachment investigation (all times local):
A 20-year military officer will testify in the House impeachment inquiry that he twice raised concerns over the Trump administration’s interest in having Ukraine investigate Joe Biden.
Alexander Vindman, an Army lieutenant colonel who serves on the National Security Council, will tell House investigators Tuesday that he listened to President Donald Trump’s call with new Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskiy and “did not think it was proper,” according to his prepared remarks.
Vindman will testify that he was first concerned during an earlier meeting, when U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stressed the importance of having Ukraine investigate the 2016 election as well as a company linked to the family of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Vindman reported both to NSC’s lead counsel.
For the first time, House investigators expect to hear Tuesday from a current White House official as the impeachment inquiry reaches deeper into the Trump administration and Democrats prepare for the next, public phase of the probe.
Alexander Vindman, a military officer and director for European affairs at the National Security Council, appears to be a possible key witness to events surrounding President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine. He attended President Voldymyr Zelenskiy’s inauguration with a delegation led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and he may have been on the phone call that launched the impeachment inquiry.
The focus comes as Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House will vote this week on a resolution to affirm the impeachment investigation, set rules for public hearings and outline the potential process for writing articles of impeachment against Trump.
The White House is claiming that evidence already gathered by House Democrats in their impeachment probe is “completely and irreversibly illegitimate.”
Press secretary Stephanie Grisham says in a statement that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to hold a floor vote this week on the impeachment investigation shows Democrats were conducting an “unauthorized” proceeding that denied President Donald Trump “due process.”
Grisham adds that Democrats’ “secret, shady, closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate.”
The White House has been complaining for a month that Pelosi initiated the investigation without a vote. Democrats say no vote is required to begin impeachment proceedings.
Pelosi announced Monday that Democrats are planning to begin public hearings on impeachment in the coming weeks.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will vote on a resolution setting procedures for the impeachment inquiry as Democrats try to counter the Trump administration’s stonewalling of the probe.
Pelosi told colleagues Monday in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that the vote will “eliminate any doubt” about whether the Trump administration must comply with the investigation.
Republicans argue the impeachment probe is not legitimate unless the House takes a vote to authorize it.
Pelosi disputes that view as having “no merit.”
The speaker says the House will vote this week to establish the process ahead. It involves holding public hearings, releasing transcripts from closed-door interviews and transferring evidence to the Judiciary Committee, which will be tasked with drawing up potential articles of impeachment.
— Mary Clare Jalonick
A key House committee chairman is moving ahead with a resolution that will detail the next steps in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Democratic Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts, who leads the House Rules Committee, says the resolution that could be voted on in the House this week is the “right thing to do.”
The action comes as House Democrats are preparing to launch the “public-facing phase” of the impeachment inquiry after a month of closed-door depositions and interviews with witnesses.
Republicans have protested the impeachment process and say it should be out in the open.
Democrats have been investigating Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine as he pushed the country’s new president to investigate Democrats and the family of rival presidential contender Joe Biden.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says President Donald Trump’s administration is “building a powerful case” for impeachment as a former White House national security adviser defied a subpoena on Monday.
Charles Kupperman failed to show up for a scheduled deposition Monday after asking a federal court in Washington for guidance on whether he was legally required to do so.
Schiff, who is leading the impeachment probe, says Kupperman’s suit has “no basis in law” and speculated that the White House didn’t want him to testify because his testimony could be incriminating. Democrats are investigating Trump’s overtures to the Ukrainian government to pursue politically motivated investigations.
Schiff says the three committees leading the inquiry will “move forward” even if witnesses don’t appear.
The Justice Department is appealing a judge’s order directing the department to produce to the House secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
The department also asked Monday that the judge’s order be put on hold until a federal appeals court has an opportunity to weigh in.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Friday directed the Justice Department to produce by October 30 grand jury testimony referenced in Mueller’s report. That information could be of value to House lawmakers conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
The department says that once the grand jury material is released to the House Judiciary Committee, there is no guarantee that it will remain secret.
A former deputy national security adviser expected to testify in the House impeachment inquiry is signaling that he won’t appear Monday as scheduled.
Charles Kupperman was supposed to testify behind closed doors, but last week asked the federal court in Washington for guidance on whether he was legally required to do so.
The court had yet to rule by Monday morning. At issue is whether the subpoena from Congress takes precedent over the White House’s position that Kupperman is immune from having to testify as a close adviser to the president.
In a letter Sunday obtained by The Associated Press, Kupperman’s attorney wrote that if a judge sides with Congress, Kupperman will comply with the court order.