A former adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke on Oct. 16 to House lawmakers conducting the impeachment inquiry, which is centered on allegations that President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The former adviser, Michael McKinley, is the latest witness to testify behind closed doors as Republicans continue to criticize the secrecy of the process and the White House refuses to cooperate unless Democrats vote to formally launch the inquiry.
Lawmakers are working to determine whether Trumps request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden amounted to an abuse of power for political gain against an election opponent. An anonymous whistleblower triggered the inquiry by disclosing details of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky to Congress.
McKinley served as ambassador to Brazil and Afghanistan.
While little is known publicly about the testimonies occurring behind closed doors, a congressional Republican involved in the impeachment proceedings told The Epoch Times that an assessment can be made based on leaks from the Democrats.
“Its actually fairly easy for observers to discover whats happening in each interview because the Democrats leak any statement that a witness makes that is either damaging to Trump or can be spun to be damaging to Trump,” the Congress member said. “If theres any single interview in which the Democrats dont leak anything, that means there was nothing damaging in there. Nothing happened. It was useless to them.”
Previous witnesses have alleged that policy staff were sidelined on Ukraine by Trumps personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others.
“Weve uncovered significant evidence of Trumps abuse of power. And well continue to expose the truth,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is leading the impeachment inquiry, said on Twitter on Oct.16.
Trump, in a series of early morning tweets, reiterated attacks on Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), denouncing the “impeachment witch hunt” for not giving Republicans more of a role in the process, which hes said is an unconstitutional attempt to oust him from the White House.
Trumps request to Zelensky referenced the treatment of a top Ukrainian prosecutor. Biden bragged in early 2018 about how he, as vice president during the Obama administration, forced the ouster of that prosecutor by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. Bidens son, Hunter Biden, held a paid position on the board of the company the prosecutor was investigating when he was fired. In a sworn statement, the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, said he was fired under pressure from Biden because he refused to close the investigation.
House Republicans also ramped up their attacks on Democrats, complaining that they were being denied access to transcripts of witness interviews and saying they would introduce a censure resolution against Schiff.
“This is a closed system,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said of the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry. “This is a system designed to already find an outcome.”
House Democrats on Oct. 15 said Schiff will, at some point, move the impeachment inquiry into a public hearing phase.
Democrats accuse Trump of pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden after withholding $391 million in U.S. security aid. Zelensky agreed to investigate but has said he wasnt pRead More – Source