Photo: Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, testified Tuesday morning as the House kicked off its second week of impeachment hearings.

Why it matters: The hearing was the first time the public heard directly from witnesses who listened to the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that lies at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

The highlights:

  • Reflecting their closed-door testimonies, Vindman and Williams both used their opening statements to say that they found the July call to be "improper" and "unusual," respectively.
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked Williams about a Sept. 18 call between Pence and Zelensky. Williams said she was on the call, but her counsel said the call is classified and that she can’t talk about it in an open setting.
  • Both Vindman and Williams testified that they are not aware of evidence suggesting misconduct by Joe Biden in Ukraine.
  • Vindman testified that two "substantive" phrases were omitted from the July 25 call, but that he did not believe there was anything nefarious about the omissions.
  • Vindman refused to answer a line of questioning from ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) regarding the officials with whom he discussed the July 25 call due to committee rules protecting the identity of the whistleblower.
  • GOP counsel Steve Castor asked Vindman at length about an offer to become Ukraine's defense minister, which he called "rather comical." Vindman has faced unsubstantiated cable news attacks questioning his loyalty to the U.S. because he was born in Ukraine.
  • Vindman and Williams, who have both been attacked by the president on Twitter, said they would not describe themselves as "Never Trumpers."

The other side: The White House's Twitter account tweeted a quote from former National Security Council official Tim Morrison's closed-door deposition stating that he had "concerns" about Vindman's judgment as Vindman was in the midst of his testimony.

What's next: The Vindman-Williams hearing isn't the only public hearing on Tuesday. Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Morrison are scheduled to begin their own hearing at 2:30 pm ET.



The past hearings:

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months — Trump claims COVID "will go away" during debate.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: How to help save 130,000 livesFDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
49 mins ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

2 hours ago - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.