Impeachment Watch: Week 5

By: Liv George | Contributing Writer

Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican from Ohio, called the information that has been uncovered over the course of depositions  “alarming.” Specifically, the corroborating evidence that Gordan Sondland, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, was acting on the orders of President Trump to pressure the Ukranian President Zelensky into investigating the Bidens.

There has also been corroborating evidence to suggest it was very clear that military aid to Ukraine depended on President Zelensky’s decision to launch a probe into the Bidens. CNN reports that there is still no credible evidence that Joe Biden, nor his son Hunter, committed any wrongdoing when dealing with Ukraine.

To date, the House of Representatives has issued 36 requests, 24 subpoenas, held 23 testimony hearings, and have had two key votes. One of the most groundbreaking testimonies from last week came from Marie Yovanovitch, the former Top US Diplomat to Ukraine. Yovanovitch was removed from her station in Kiev this past May. Since then, President Trump has made many disparaging remarks about Yovanovitch, including ones found in transcripts of a call with President Zelensky. However, her testimony was particularly enlightening on political corruption in Ukraine.

As someone who had to emigrate from Ukraine at a young age due to political corruption, she knew how to navigate the issues. Her testimony revealed that it was those who wished to live by the old way or corruption that sought to remove her. What shocked her was that instead of being thwarted by American forces, they found allies among them. 

Yovancovitch alleged that she was a loose end, tied up by President Trump and replaced by Rudy Guilliani, who later acted in a diplomatic role to Ukraine. She also testified about feeling bullied by members of the Trump administration, to which President Trump responded to with a scathing tweet, accusing her of making the countries she works in worse. President Trump’s allies agreed that this was likely a risky move, with a member of Trump’s campaign team telling CNN’s Jim Acosta that, “It was idiotic for him to tweet about her. She seemed genuinely worried.”

Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council official, testified in a closed-door deposition that was made public on Saturday. Along with backing-up other important testimony, he shed some light as to why the July 25th call in question between Presidents Trump and Zelenky was moved to a private password-protected server, referred to as NICE. He attempted to claim that the call was moved into the system by mistake, the fault of his secretary. However, this seems unlikely, since several officials recalled being puzzled, as the call did not contain any information typically password-protected in NICE.

Mark Sandy, a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget, was called to testify about his directive to freeze $400 billion in aid to Ukraine. Sandy referred to the process of freezing aid was “unusual,” with one of President Trump’s political appointees, Michael Duffey, taking over and freezing both the monetary and military aid to Ukraine. This information seems corroborated, as CNN reports that paperwork pertaining to the delay in funds had Duffey’s signature on it. Normally, such paperwork would be filled out by an OMB official, rather than an appointee. 

This concludes this week’s impeachment watch. Tune in next week for an update on more public testimony.