Public impeachment hearings continue with four witnesses testifying Tuesday

The U.S. House of Representatives is holding open hearings in its impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

At the first impeachment hearing last Wednesday, Republicans repeatedly blasted Democrats for not calling an anonymous whistleblower to testify publicly or behind-closed doors.

Col. Vindman testified at the hearing beside Jennifer Williams, a State Department aide assigned to the office of Vice President Mike Pence.

Vindman also stated that it was his view that Trump demanded Zelenskiy conduct an investigation into the activities of former vice president and potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter's involvement in Ukraine.

Separately, House general counsel Douglas Letter told a federal appeals court in Washington that lawmakers were examining the truthfulness of the written answers the president provided in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The impeachment process has polarized USA politics, with Democrats arguing Trump's behavior toward Ukraine amounts to an abuse of power, and Trump and some of his supporters calling it a "witch hunt".

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California and the committee's chairman, and Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, will start the hearing with their opening statements.

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In the afternoon, the committee is due to hear from Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, who served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council before resigning last month.

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Ambassador Kurt Volker, who is a former envoy to the Ukraine.

Vindman told House investigators in his earlier deposition that he immediately was concerned about Trump's request for a "favor" from his Ukrainian counterpart.

Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday that he would "strongly consider" testifying in the impeachment inquiry, after Pelosi raised the idea during a weekend television interview. After that phone call, which Vindman also listened to, he directly advised Volodymyr Zelensky, the president, to avoid getting entangled in Trump's electoral drama. He is due to testify before the committee on Tuesday morning - hours before Volker's afternoon appearance.

Ms Williams told the committee that Mr Trump's call with Mr Zelenskiy was unusual because "it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter".

President Trump has since responded to Williams" testimony, slamming the aide as a "Never Trumper'. The ousted ambassador said to Trump impeachment investigators how she felt threatened upon learning that Trump had allegedly promised Ukraine's leader she was "going to go through some things".

  • Delia Davidson