US House announces hearing of witnesses in Trump impeachment inquiry

The head of a US House panel leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump over his dealings with Ukraine unveiled Tuesday the schedule for public hearings of eight more witnesses during the week starting November 18.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, announced on Twitter that the testimonies of the eight witnesses, all of whom had testified previously behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, will be held over three days.

Specifically, Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on Europe and Russia, and Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, will testify Tuesday morning.

Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a National Security Council aide, will appear on Tuesday afternoon. The lawmakers will hear the narration of events from US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Wednesday morning, and from Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, as well as David Hale, the undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, in the afternoon.

Former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill will testify on November 21. As has been announced by Schiff, William Taylor, Charge d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, are scheduled to testify publicly on Wednesday. Former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s public hearing is slated for Friday.

Among the witnesses who will show up next week, Morrison, Volker and Hale were requested by Republicans, who were given the right to call witnesses by a resolution passed in the Democratic-controlled House in October. The Republican-proposed witnesses, however, have to be signed off by Democrats, according to the rules set in the resolution.

The Democrats have rejected Republicans’ request for the whistleblower — whose revelation of the Ukraine controversy triggered House Democrats’ ongoing impeachment effort — and former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter — against whom Trump pursues an anti-corruption investigation from the Ukrainian government — to testify.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement that they “accepted all of the Minority requests that are within the scope of the impeachment inquiry”. -Xinhua

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