Lawmakers in the lower house of Congress are preparing to vote on a resolution setting the rules for the impeachment process. At the same time on Wednesday, two State Department officials testified in the House of Representatives as part of the impeachment investigation.
Ukraine experts Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson spoke to House committees a day after a senior White House official said President Donald Trump’s attempts to persuade Ukraine to investigate the actions of his political opponents raised national security concerns.
According to witnesses, President Donald Trump negatively assessed Ukraine, considering it a corrupt country, which hampered diplomatic efforts to strengthen relations between Washington and Kyiv and support Ukraine in the fight against Pro-Russian separatists in the East of the country.
Croft, who worked for the National Security Council, told lawmakers that in 2017 she worked on Trump’s plan to provide Ukraine with an anti-tank missile system, and also participated in organizing a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
I heard, both myself and from third parties, how President Trump called Ukraine a corrupt country,” Croft said in the prepared text of the testimony.
During her time as a national security aide, she said, she received repeated calls from Robert Livingston, a former Republican lawmaker now engaged in lobbying activities. He spoke to her about the need to dismiss the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Jovanovitch, calling her “a relic of the Obama era” and stating that she is associated with George Soros-a supporter of liberal ideas and an opponent of Trump.
“Neither then nor now was it clear to me on whose instructions and at whose expense Mr. Livingston sought the resignation of Ambassador Jovanovic,” Croft said.
A second witness, Christopher Anderson, said that last year when the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv escalated after the seizure of Ukrainian military vessels in the Sea of Azov, his colleagues at the State Department “immediately prepared a statement condemning Russia,” but senior White House officials blocked its publication.
Later on Wednesday, Democrats due to put to a vote a resolution propose the Committee on procedural issues that establishes procedures for impeachment.
Earlier, the Washington Post, citing prepared texts of testimony from Croft and Anderson, reported that they would tell lawmakers about how the White house suppressed attempts by state Department employees to express support for Ukraine.
More witnesses are expected to testify this week, including Timothy Morrison, Senior Director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and Robert Blair, senior adviser to the acting White House chief of staff.