Washington D.C. – Don’t miss our coverage of the House Impeachment Inquiry hearings Friday morning starting at 6am on FM News 101 and KXL.com. The House Intelligence Committee will hold more open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie “Masha” Yvanovitch, will appear before the House Intelligence Committee at an open hearing today. Reps. Schiff and Nunes will make opening statements, then the witness will be sworn in and give an opening statement. Questioning by committee members and attorneys will follow. Chairman Schiff and Nunes get 45 minutes each (along with staff). At 3PM Eastern, David Holmes, the diplomatic official who says he overheard President Trump ask about the status of “investigations” on a phone call, will give a deposition behind closed doors.
Read more from CBS NEWS:
Washington — A day after the first open impeachment hearings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the president of bribery in his dealings with Ukraine.
“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery,” Pelosi said. In an exchange with CBS News’ Nancy Cordes, the House speaker said, “I am saying that what the President has admitted to and says ‘it’s perfect’ — I said it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”
Pelosi also defined the president’s bribe: “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery.”
Bribery, she noted, is “in the Constitution attached to the impeachment proceeding.”
On Wednesday, testimony from a career diplomat at the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry opened new questions about what the president knew about the campaign to pressure Ukraine and when he knew it.
Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, relayed an account by a member of his staff, who said he overheard the president asking about “the investigations” one day after the now-infamous July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, then the newly elected president of Ukraine.
Taylor testified that the staffer recently told him about a phone call he overheard between Mr. Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland in July, one day after Mr. Trump urged the Ukrainian president to “look into” the Bidens.
Taylor said his staffer heard the president ask Sondland about “the investigations.” The staffer then asked Sondland how the president felt about Ukraine. Sondland replied that Mr. Trump “cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
The staffer in question is David Holmes, a political officer at the embassy in Kiev, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Holmes will appear behind closed doors on Friday, coinciding with the next public hearing, featuring testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
7:13 p.m.: A White House budget official plans to testify before the House committees leading the impeachment probe, his attorney said Thursday.
Mark Sandy, a career official and the deputy associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget, would become the first witness from the budget office to appear under oath. The White House has ordered officials not to cooperate with the probe, but many current administration have decided to appear when subpoenaed.
Barbara Van Gelder, an attorney for Sandy, confirmed he plans to appear, a development that was first reported by The Washington Post. — Paula Reid
7:07 p.m.: Republicans are going to try to establish three main points during the Yovanovitch hearing on Friday, a senior GOP aide tells CBS News.
First, they will try to demonstrate that the president had every right to recall her from her post and the reasons for him doing so were totally reasonable, arguing that the president had a good faith belief that there were problems with Yovanovitch and the situation in Ukraine. They’ll point out that Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, also said he had concerns with Yovanovitch on his July 25 call with Mr. Trump. If the host country doesn’t want her there, that in and of itself is a reason to recall her, not that the president needs a reason, this argument goes.
Second, they’ll emphasize that Yovanovitch was recalled in May and wasn’t involved during the relevant time period over the summer.
Lastly, the Republicans will note Yovanovitch is on the record talking about Ukrainian corruption and talked about it in an Oval Office meeting in 2017. — Rebecca Kaplan
5:55 p.m.: While testimony from Bill Taylor and George Kent on Tuesday was meant to provide a full timeline of efforts to pressure Ukraine, Democrats see former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as their messenger to highlight the consequences of a shadow foreign policy that emerged. Yovanovitch testifies Friday morning.
“She was removed in the spring of this year … because she was so effective, and of course that cleared the way for the president’s allies to take over Ukraine policy, and ultimately press for these political investigations beneficial to the president’s 2020 campaign throughout the summer,” said a Democratic aide working on the impeachment process. “She’s really witness to, and kind of a victim of, the first chapter of the story.”
Democrats will draw attention to Mr. Trump’s comments about Yovanovitch on the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the president called her “bad news” and said she was “going to go through some things.” In her closed-door testimony, Yovanovitch said, “I didn’t know what it meant. I was very concerned. I still am.” She told investigators she felt threatened.
She also said she learned Giuliani wanted her removed from office when she found out he had met with Yuriy Lutsenko, a former Ukrainian prosecutor. “Mr. Lutsenko … was in communication with Mayor Giuliani and that they had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me,” she said.
They’ll also highlight Yovanovitch’s exemplary record, as described by other nonpolitical witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. — Rebecca Kaplan