Trump demands whistleblower testify, as ex-aide talks to Congress

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrives on Capitol Hill Friday Oct. 11 2019 in Washington as she is scheduled to testify bef

Until recently, Hill served as the Russian Federation expert on Trump's National Security Council.

House Democrats are seeking to interview White House budget director Russell Vought on October 25, according to a copy of the letter to the Office of Management and Budget obtained by ABC News, the latest sign that they are increasingly focused on the withholding of almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as part of their impeachment investigation. That's according to a person familiar with his coming testimony in the impeachment probe. The White House released a rough transcript of the call last month. Sondland understood the discussions about combating corruption to be part of a much broader and publicized Trump administration push that was widely shared, the person said. It is unclear if McKinley will appear as requested.

"We expect to announce additional testimony from relevant witnesses in the coming days and remain prepared to compel testimony through duly authorized subpoenas as appropriate", Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a letter to House Democrats on Friday. "And I think the Democrats have got to pay very careful attention to the damage that they're doing with the impeachment proceedings".

"We're keeping our focus right now on the president's coercion of an ally, that is Ukraine, to create this sham investigations into his political opponent", he told CBS's "Face the Nation".

"Hill's departure has left a gaping hole in expertise at the White House, at a moment when Russia's ongoing efforts to interfere in the 2020 election require a whole-of-government response", Politico reported, citing current and former intelligence officials and other experts. He has not said whether he will comply. That person wasn't authorized to discuss the invitations and requested anonymity.

Sondland is expected to be asked why he relayed from Trump to other diplomats that the president said no "quid pro quos" connecting the Biden investigation with the USA aid and to respond to media reports that he may not believe Trump's insistence about no linkage between the two matters. He's expected to tell Congress that his text message reassuring another envoy that there was no quid pro quo in their interactions with Ukraine was based exclusively on what Trump told him, according to a person familiar with his coming testimony.

Last week, Yovanovitch, a career State Department diplomat, told lawmakers that Trump dismissed her based on "unfounded and false claims" after Trump's personal attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, assailed her performance in Kyiv. The elder Biden, who has called for Trump's impeachment, is one of the top contenders for the Democratic Party nomination to oppose Trump. "It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower's identity to do that, and we're going to make sure we protect that whistleblower".

Schiff said Sunday that Democrats "don't need the whistleblower, who wasn't on the call, to tell us what took place on the call".

"The Democrats politically motivated unconstitutional impeachment charade is unraveling before their eyes and even Adam - the cowardly, shifty - Schiff, he is backtracking tonight making a major admission that maybe the non-whistleblower whistleblower, who apparently his team coordinated with, well doesn't have to testify at all", Hannity said on his television program. "NO!" the Republican president tweeted early Monday.

Trump again defied federal whistleblower protection laws by adding in one tweet that "We must determine the Whistleblower's identity to determine WHY this was done to the United States of America". The House probe could prompt the approval of articles of impeachment leading to a trial in the Senate on whether to remove Trump from office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wants the committees to move "expeditiously". Democrats say Congress is well within its power as the legislative branch to conduct oversight of the president and it is Republicans, having grown tired of Trump's actions, who may be in the greater political bind over a vote.

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