testimony preview
October 16, 2019

Ex-Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch wasn't the only career diplomat who ran into trouble under President Trump, at least according to former State Department official Michael McKinley.

McKinley will testify behind closed doors for Congress' impeachment investigation Wednesday, following his surprising resignation as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's senior adviser last week. But a person familiar with McKinley's testimony has told The Washington Post that McKinley saw career diplomats "mistreated" and "their careers derailed for political reasons" while serving under Trump, and that he'll tell Congress all about it.

McKinley had spent 37 years in the State Department until his apparently "bitter" resignation last week, the Post writes. His resignation likely stemmed from Yovanovitch's firing as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and how the State Department did not "defend" her or "interfere with an obviously partisan effort to intervene in our relationship with Ukraine" for Trump's political benefit, the source said.

But McKinley reportedly won't directly criticize Pompeo in his Wednesday testimony. He will instead will reiterate an August report from the department's inspector general that said Trump appointees alleged career diplomats were disloyal to Trump, the source says. McKinley will specifically focus on Yovanovitch's firing, "a punitive action he and many other rank-and-file diplomats viewed as wholly unjustified," the Post continues. Read more about McKinley's probable testimony at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 14, 2019

The first White House official to be deposed by House investigators in the impeachment saga is heading to Capitol Hill on Monday to testify about Ukraine.

The testimony from Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia and Europe adviser, is reportedly highly anticipated, and although she may limit answers regarding any direct interactions with President Trump, she is expected to hit a few important notes, a personal familiar with Hill's account told The New York Times.

Hill will reportedly testify that she and other officials opposed the removal of former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, that she objected to a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and that she was cut out of the loop by Trump allies like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on matters concerning Ukraine even though she was Trump's leading adviser on the country.

Hill reportedly considered Yovanovitch's removal an "egregious abuse of the system," and she didn't get why Trump was hopping on the phone with Zelensky for a "congratulatory" call months after a similar conversation. Hill left her post a few days before the phone call, which wound up being the catalyst for Trump's impeachment inquiry. As for Giuliani, Hill reportedly viewed his activities as "essentially co-opting American foreign policy toward Ukraine."

The testimony reportedly will not include anything about a quid pro quo involving Trump withholding military aid for Ukraine until Kyiv investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Read more at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

July 8, 2019

Attorney General William Barr still doesn't see the point of Robert Mueller's congressional testimony.

Ahead of the former special counsel's hearing before Congress next week, Barr told The Associated Press he is "not sure what purpose is served by dragging [Mueller] up there and trying to grill him." And if Mueller decides he "doesn't want to subject himself" to that testimony, he'll have the full support of the Department of Justice, Barr continued.

Barr became President Trump's attorney general during Mueller's two-year-long investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign, which ended with Mueller not concluding whether Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation and Barr declining to press charges for obstruction. Barr later appeared for a Senate hearing regarding the probe but skipped out on his House hearing, while Mueller previously declined to give a congressional hearing. Yet in response to a Democratic subpoena, Mueller agreed late last month to one joint hearing.

Democrats pushing for Mueller's testimony despite his reluctance is just their attempt to create a "public spectacle," Barr told AP in a Monday interview. "I don't think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn't want to," Barr continued. He also said that his separate probe into the origins of the Mueller probe is "essential" and ongoing, while he characterized his 30-year friendship with Mueller as "fine."

When asked previously about the possibility of Mueller testifying, Barr repeatedly said he was not opposed to it. Trump, meanwhile, has flipped from railing against a potential Mueller testimony to saying he'd let Barr "make a decision on that." Read more from Barr's interview at The Associated Press. Kathryn Krawczyk

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