Updated Nov 20, 2019

Highlights from Kurt Volker's and Tim Morrison’s testimonies

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council Russia adviser Tim Morrison — two witnesses called by Republicans — testified Tuesday afternoon in the second public impeachment hearing of the day.

The big picture: Volker was part of a cadre of officials who worked with Rudy Giuliani to push Ukraine to announce investigations into Trump's political rivals, though he testified Tuesday that he was not aware that the investigation would involve Joe Biden. Morrison testified that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland informed him that nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine would be released if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the investigations.

Highlights
  • In his opening statement, Volker testified that he did not understand until recently that a proposed Ukrainian investigation of the gas company Burisma — where Hunter Biden formerly served on the board — was equivalent to an investigation of the Bidens. He added that if he had known that was the case, he would have raised objections.
  • Volker testified that allegations by Ukraine's former prosecutor general against Joe Biden and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch are baseless and that he knows both to be honorable people.
  • Volker also said in his opening statement that he was not aware of a linkage between military aid and Zelensky's announcement of investigations and that he opposed the hold on security assistance. He said that he warned Zelensky that Rudy Giuliani was negatively influencing Trump's view of Ukraine.
  • In a major change from his closed-door testimony, Volker said that Sondland raised "investigations" in a meeting with Ukrainian officials in the White House and that he and others present thought it was inappropriate. Volker said that it would be appropriate to ask Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election and Burisma, but that the meeting at the White House was not the right time or place for Sondland to do so.
    • Of note: At this point, Volker said he had made a “distinction” between an investigation of Burisma and an investigation into the Bidens.
  • Morrison testified that he recommended that access to the Trump-Zelensky call transcript be restricted, but that its placement onto a highly classified computer system was an "administrative error."
  • Morrison testified that Sondland informed him on Sept. 7 that a hold on Ukraine military aid would be released if Zelensky announced investigations into Biden and the 2016 election. Morrison stated that he got a "sinking feeling" and reported his concerns to then-national security adviser John Bolton, who told him to notify White House lawyers.

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Read Kurt Volker's opening statement in the impeachment hearing

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified Tuesday in the second public impeachment hearing of the day.

Why it matters: Volker was part of a cadre of officials who worked with Rudy Giuliani to push Ukraine to announce investigations into Trump's political rivals, but he maintains that he never believed those investigations to include Joe Biden. In one major change from his closed-door deposition, Volker said in his opening statement that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland brought up "investigations" in a meeting with Ukrainian officials at the White House.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Volker-Morrison hearing

Photo: Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) gave an opening statement Tuesday in the second impeachment hearing of the day, featuring former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council official Tim Morrison.

The big picture: Schiff pointed out that both witnesses were requested by Republicans on the committee, but he also outlined a number of episodes detailed in both Volker and Morrison's closed-door depositions that could be perceived as damaging to President Trump.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Tim Morrison explains why conditions for Ukraine aid gave him "sinking feeling"

Former National Security Council official Tim Morrison testified Tuesday that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland informed him on Sept. 7 that a hold on Ukraine military aid would be released if Ukraine announced investigations into Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019