On Nov. 4, the first wave of a forthcoming tsunami revealed statements from two witnesses in the House of Representatives who were previously questioned in closed-door testimony hearings.
The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels released transcripts of hour-long hearings they held with a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Yovanovitch and McKinley are just two of the current and former Trump administration officials who have been summoned to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry, which was formalized through a House resolution the last week of October.
Yovanovitch was recalled early from her post in the spring, and McKinley resigned in part over the lack of support from her among State Department officials.
The top Democrats on the committees leading the inquiry said the testimony of both diplomats highlighted the “contamination” of American foreign policy by allies of the president who sought to create an “irregular back channel” to accomplish Trump’s personal and political objectives.
“As we move toward this new public phase of the impeachment inquiry, the American public will begin to see for themselves the evidence that the committees have collected, Representatives Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.
The lawmakers said the testimony shows the president and his top aides relied on “public falsehoods and smears” to oust Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine earlier this year.
Yovanovitch testified that she was “shocked” and “apprehensive” when she learned that Trump privately told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj that she was “going to go through some things.”
McKinley, the former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said that he had talked to one senior State Department official who said he felt “bullied” by the department to not comply fully with the congressional impeachment inquiry.
The official, George Kent, had been questioning why the document requests from Congress were not being delivered to him from higher-ups at the State Department on a “timely basis.
“Kent challenged the deadline they were working against,” McKinley said.
By Tuesday, one headline in the New York Times signaled how the whole churning mess is beginning to become ever more confusing than before: “Key Witness Revises Testimony, Citing Quid Pro Quo with Ukraine.”