POLITICS

Everyone You Need To Know In The Trump-Ukraine Investigation

A running list of who's who in the attempted quid pro quo between Donald Trump and Ukrainian leaders that fueled an impeachment inquiry.
Here are some of the key players involved in President Donald Trump's pressuring of Ukrainian officials to investigate his po
Here are some of the key players involved in President Donald Trump's pressuring of Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals.

The House has launched an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump over what Democrats consider an abuse of power and an attempted quid pro quo by pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals in exchange for releasing U.S. military aid.

The House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees are leading the investigation, questioning a long list of witnesses who have confirmed an attempted quid pro quo and provided information that has led investigators to ask more questions about Trump’s actions.

As the investigation progresses, the list of people involved in the scandal grows longer, and the roles that they played become more intertwined. This is a running list of who’s who in the Ukraine story, why they matter and how they fit into the congressional investigation surrounding them. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff have been coordinating on preliminary hearings in the
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff have been coordinating on preliminary hearings in the House.

 

 

DONALD TRUMP ― PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

President Donald Trump is accused of seeking dirt on one of his top political rivals from the Ukrainian president.
President Donald Trump is accused of seeking dirt on one of his top political rivals from the Ukrainian president.

The president is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House after reports emerged that he asked foreign leaders to investigate his political rivals in exchange for security aid, which would amount to an illegal quid pro quo and an abuse of power.

Trump called the Ukrainian president on July 25 and asked him to do a “favor” by investigating 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. He also requested that his Ukrainian counterpart investigate a cybersecurity firm that had found out Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers in 2016.

The president, who said Ukrainian officials should meet with his personal attorney, was simultaneously withholding nearly $400 million in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine. Trump has defended the call and does not see it as a quid pro quo.

The investigation comes just months after the release of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election specifically to benefit Trump and that there were several instances in which Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.

 

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY ― PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an all-day "press marathon" on Oct. 19 in Kyiv amid growing questions about his a
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an all-day "press marathon" on Oct. 19 in Kyiv amid growing questions about his actions as president.

Zelensky is a former comedian and actor who was elected president of Ukraine in April. He was at the receiving end of Trump’s July 25 call, in which the U.S. president asked him to do a favor and investigate his political rival.

In the call, Zelensky promised Trump he would look at Joe Biden and his son for instances of corruption in Ukraine. The Ukrainian president later said there was “no blackmail” in his call with Trump but stressed that he did not want to be involved in U.S. politics or elections.

In addition to allegations that the release of the military aid to Ukraine was contingent on investigating the Bidens, Trump is also accused of making a meeting between him and Zelensky contingent on such investigations.

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI ― SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that an official impeachment inquiry had begun soon after a whistleblower's complaint ab
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that an official impeachment inquiry had begun soon after a whistleblower's complaint about Trump's Ukraine call became public.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump on Sept. 24 after a whistleblower anonymously came forward about allegations that the president was abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to interfere in U.S. elections.

A growing list of Democrats had called for an impeachment inquiry after the April release of Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The speaker of the House had long argued that an attempt to impeach Trump would only further divide the country and distract Democrats from trying to take back the Senate and White House.

The House voted Oct. 31 along party lines to adopt a resolution that formalizes the impeachment inquiry. Pelosi said the resolution “establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.”

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF ― HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) walks to a secure area of the Capitol where Christopher Anderson, a State Department Foreign Serv
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) walks to a secure area of the Capitol where Christopher Anderson, a State Department Foreign Service officer, appeared for a closed-door meeting on Oct. 30.

Pelosi has virtually appointed Schiff (D-Calif.) to lead the House impeachment inquiry and investigate the whistleblower’s complaint. The Intelligence Committee chairman said “shaking down a foreign leader” is an impeachable offense and that White House stonewalling of the impeachment inquiry would be considered obstruction of justice.

Schiff was previously working with the whistleblower’s attorneys to set up a time for the anonymous intelligence official to potentially testify before the committee, something Republicans are still demanding. But the congressman eventually said that the House does not need to risk unmasking the whistleblower by having him testify because enough witnesses have already corroborated the complaint’s allegations.

Trump has ramped up his attacks on Schiff since the launch of the impeachment inquiry, accusing the congressman of treason. House Republicans angered by the inquiry tried to censure Schiff on allegations of “certain misleading conduct,” but the chamber’s Democratic majority blocked the measure.

 

JOE BIDEN ― FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appeared to be a main target of Trump's "favor" from the Ukrainian president.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appeared to be a main target of Trump's "favor" from the Ukrainian president.

Joe Biden’s name is at the center of Trump’s and his allies’ communications with Ukrainian leaders, with the president pressuring Zelensky in the July 25 call to investigate the former vice president and 2020 political rival ahead of the U.S. elections.

Trump made unsubstantiated allegations that Biden used his official capacity as vice president during the Obama administration to block an investigation into Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings while his son was a board member, saying he withheld $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukraine didn’t fire then-prosecutor Viktor Shokin.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, who have both repeatedly denied the allegations. Biden and others in the Obama administration have said they joined Western leaders’ calls for dismissing Shokin because he allegedly neglected to prosecute corruption cases, including those involving Burisma. 

 

HUNTER BIDEN ― SON OF JOE BIDEN, BUSINESSMAN

Hunter Biden, shown in October 2012, waits for the start of his father's vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danvil
Hunter Biden, shown in October 2012, waits for the start of his father's vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. In 2014, Joe Biden was at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to support Ukraine's fragile democratic government as it sought to fend off Russian aggression and root out corruption. 

Hunter Biden has also been accused by Trump of engaging in corrupt practices in Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son was hired by Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky to serve on the company’s board in 2014, when his father was vice president of the U.S. and was overseeing diplomatic relations with Kyiv. The company paid Biden as much as $50,000 a month for serving on its board of directors.

Ukraine’s current prosecutor general has said that the government is auditing all the cases that were closed or dismissed by former prosecutors, including 15 cases linked to Zlochevsky and related to potential money laundering and abuse of office. Zlochevsky used to head the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

Hunter Biden said that he never discussed Burisma with his father, and there has been no evidence of wrongdoing related to his work with the company.

 

THE WHISTLEBLOWER ― ANONYMOUS GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL

The whistleblower's complaint led to a series of revelations that then sparked the announcement of an impeachment inquiry.
The whistleblower's complaint led to a series of revelations that then sparked the announcement of an impeachment inquiry.

The whistleblower is an unnamed U.S. intelligence officer who filed a complaint Aug. 12 alleging several White House officials told the person that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call to investigate the Bidens ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections.

The whistleblower also alleged the White House tried to cover up the exchange by hiding the call’s transcript in a codeword-protected server meant only for highly classified documents. The complaint was released Sept. 26. 

Trump has repeatedly demanded to know who the whistleblower is and has suggested anyone who provided the information that’s in the complaint be punished the way “we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason.” The remarks led Democrats and attorneys for the whistleblower to fear for the person’s safety.

As Republicans demand to have the whistleblower testify, the intelligence official’s attorney said Nov. 3 that his client is willing to respond to GOP questions “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury.”

 

MICHAEL ATKINSON ― INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY

Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, arrives at the Capitol on Oct. 4 for closed-door quest
Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, arrives at the Capitol on Oct. 4 for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire gave Atkinson the whistleblower complaint after receiving it from the person who submitted it.

After reviewing the complaint, Atkinson wrote an Aug. 26 letter to Maguire describing the complaint as “credible” and of “urgent concern.” He also said that Maguire was legally required to give the complaint to congressional intelligence committees within seven days.

The New York Times reported Nov. 12 that Trump had discussed firing Atkinson from his post because of the inspector general’s decision to label the whistleblower complaint credible and making sure it was shared with Congress. Presidents have the authority to remove inspectors general but are only supposed to do so in instances of misconduct or a failure to fulfill duties.

 

JOSEPH MAGUIRE ― ACTING DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Sept. 26.

Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee about the complaint he received from the whistleblower. He said he initially withheld the complaint from Congress because his attorneys said Trump was not part of the intelligence community.

At the direction of inspector general Atkinson, Maguire eventually gave the complaint to the committee, which then declassified it for the public to read. Maguire defended the whistleblower’s decision to file a complaint, calling it “unique” and “unprecedented.”

 

MIKE POMPEO ― U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on the July 25 call to the Ukrainian president.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also on the July 25 call to the Ukrainian president.

Pompeo, a former CIA chief, was on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky in which the U.S. president tried get foreign help to win the 2020 election.

Pompeo’s name was not directly mentioned in the whistleblower complaint, but Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted multiple times that the State Department helped set up the meetings between Giuliani and top Zelensky aides. Pompeo also oversaw the abrupt removal in May of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

The House subpoenaed Pompeo for documents related to the impeachment inquiry, though the secretary has refused to comply and accused Democrats of intimidating his department. The secretary of state vehemently denied witnessing an attempted quid pro quo by Trump.

 

RICK PERRY ― U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY

The outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry talks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 26.
The outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry talks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 26.

Perry, the former governor of Texas, became relevant to the Ukraine investigation earlier in October when Axios reported that during a conference call with House Republicans, Trump said Perry was the one who arranged his July 25 phone call with Zelensky, a call that has become the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

The energy secretary also told The Wall Street Journal in October that Trump told him to communicate with lawyer Rudy Giuliani about the president’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

Perry notified Trump of his plan to resign as energy secretary by the end of the year. The House subpoenaed Perry for documents related to the impeachment inquiry, but the energy secretary has refused to comply. An Energy Department spokeswoman said Nov. 1 that Perry would not appear for his Nov. 6 closed-door hearing, but would consider testifying in a public session.

 

MIKE PENCE ― VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Vice President Mike Pence's name has come up several times in relation to Trump's interactions with the Ukrainians.
Vice President Mike Pence's name has come up several times in relation to Trump's interactions with the Ukrainians.

Pence has worked to distance himself from the Ukraine scandal after a report alleging that the vice president met Sept. 1 with Ukrainian President Zelensky to tell him that the U.S. was not going to release military aid unless Ukraine was more willing to combat corruption.

Pence told reporters after meeting the Ukrainian president that the two did not discuss Joe Biden, whom Trump had asked Zelensky to investigate in a July phone call. The vice president instead said he spoke about Trump’s wanting to end corruption in Ukraine and about the U.S. military aid for the country.

The House asked Pence to hand over documents related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, though the vice president’s spokesperson dismissed the new demand.

 

JOHN BOLTON ― FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER

Former national security adviser John Bolton has agreed to testify before Congress if subpoenaed.
Former national security adviser John Bolton has agreed to testify before Congress if subpoenaed.

Bolton was Trump’s national security adviser until his resignation earlier this year, and he reportedly grew so concerned about Giuliani’s shadow diplomacy that he ordered top Russia adviser Fiona Hill to warn White House attorneys about the behavior of Trump’s personal lawyer, whom he called “a hand grenade.”

Hill, who reported to Bolton, told lawmakers that she notified her boss of Giuliani’s foreign policy back-channel with Ukraine. A State Department Foreign Service officer who was previously the special adviser for Ukraine negotiations testified to the House Oct. 30 that Bolton cautioned him Giuliani “was a key voice with the president on Ukraine.” 

The House had invited Bolton to testify in the impeachment investigation on Nov. 7. Bolton’s lawyer said his client would not appear voluntarily but would show up if a court rules that House subpoenas to testify take precedent over White House orders to not testify.

 

RUDY GIULIANI ― PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has become Trump's personal attorney and chief defender on cable news shows.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has become Trump's personal attorney and chief defender on cable news shows.

Giuliani appears to be the driving force behind Trump’s pursuit of a quid quo pro with Ukraine, becoming a shadow diplomat to the country despite only being the president’s personal attorney.

The former New York mayor has had direct communication with Ukrainian officials for some time, and he said he went to the country initially to undermine the beginnings of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and protect now-imprisoned Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Giuliani has pushed the unsubstantiated allegations that Hunter Biden was involved in Ukrainian corruption, and that Joe Biden pushed for a prosecutor’s firing in order to block an investigation into such corruption. The attorney met with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukraine’s president, just days after Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky.

The president’s personal attorney has repeatedly gone on cable news to rant about Ukraine conspiracy theories, often revealing new compromising information in those interviews. The House has subpoenaed Giuliani in the impeachment investigation, though he has said he would not comply.

 

MICK MULVANEY ― WHITE HOUSE ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney admitted in a press conference that the Trump administration engaged in an attempted
White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney admitted in a press conference that the Trump administration engaged in an attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine.

Mulvaney put himself and the White House in a corner when he admitted on camera in October that the president engaged in an attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine by withholding military aid in order to get the country to investigate Trump’s political rivals, saying: “That’s why we held up the money.”

The acting chief of staff dug a deeper hole while trying to explain why Trump was attempting to hold the Group of Seven international summit at his private resort in Florida, saying: The president “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.” The comment further painted Trump as a president using the power of his office to further his business and personal interests.

Mulvaney has so far denied any rumors he might resign, and later denied acknowledging a quid pro quo despite the admission being on live television. Robert Blair, Mulvaney’s top aide who was on Trump’s July call with Ukraine, refused to testify before the House as requested on Nov. 4. The House asked Mulvaney to testify on Nov. 9, but he refused to comply.

 

WILLIAM BARR ― ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

Attorney General William Barr heads up a Department of Justice whose decisions involving Trump investigations have been quest
Attorney General William Barr heads up a Department of Justice whose decisions involving Trump investigations have been questioned.

Barr was in charge of overseeing the release of the special counsel’s report on the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. In a summary of Trump’s July phone call to Volodymyr Zelensky, the president also asked Zelensky to talk to Barr as part of the attorney general’s review of that investigation.

The Justice Department said its Criminal Division reviewed Trump’s call and decided not to investigate him for committing a potential campaign finance violation when he asked Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden.

The House has said it expects Barr to testify in the impeachment inquiry, though the attorney general has remained mum on his involvement.

 

YURIY LUTSENKO ― FORMER UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko was involved in the ouster of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko was involved in the ouster of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Lutsenko was Ukraine’s top prosecutor from 2016 under the country’s previous president, Petro Poroshenko, and was Giuliani’s initial point of contact in persuading Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

He was fired in August by current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Ukrainian authorities said earlier in October that they had opened a criminal investigation into him over allegedly abusing his power in dealings with politicians.

The former prosecutor was also involved in Marie Yovanovitch’s ouster in May, falsely accusing the ambassador of interfering with the 2016 U.S. elections by giving him a “do not prosecute” list and blocking Ukraine from giving evidence of corruption in the election. He later admitted that he was the one who requested the “do not prosecute” list.

Lutsenko initially took a hard stance against energy company Burisma but eventually closed all investigations into the company and owner Mykola Zlochevsky. During the time he was communicating with Giuliani earlier this year, Lutsenko tried to revive scrutiny of Burisma but stressed that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, who had been on the company’s board.

 

VIKTOR SHOKIN ― FORMER UKRAINE PROSECUTOR GENERAL

Viktor Shokin, Ukraine's former top prosecutor, was criticized for not pursuing corruption investigations.
Viktor Shokin, Ukraine's former top prosecutor, was criticized for not pursuing corruption investigations.

Shokin was Ukraine’s top prosecutor in 2015 under the country’s previous president, Petro Poroshenko, and allegedly faced criticism during his time in office for refusing to prosecute corruption by high-level officials. He was ousted in March 2016 and replaced by Yuriy Lutsenko.

Joe Biden was responsible for dealing with Ukraine relations as vice president in the Obama administration and, alongside other world leaders, encouraged Poroshenko to fire Shokin for not prosecuting instances of corruption by the political elite.

Trump has used Biden’s interaction with Ukraine to make unsubstantiated allegations that the former vice president pushed for Shokin’s ouster to benefit a Ukrainian energy company paying his son Hunter Biden.

 

LEV PARNAS and IGOR FRUMAN ― BUSINESS ASSOCIATES OF RUDY GIULIANI

Lawyer Kevin Downing, left, with Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and lawyer Thomas Zehnle in a courtroom sketch from Alexandria, Virg
Lawyer Kevin Downing, left, with Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and lawyer Thomas Zehnle in a courtroom sketch from Alexandria, Virginia, on Oct. 10.

Parnas and Fruman are Soviet-born American businessmen who helped Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine, where they also had business interests regarding an energy company. Parnas and Fruman were also allegedly involved in the removal of Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine.

The two were indicted on charges of making campaign contributions to a Trump-aligned super PAC using straw donors last year. They were arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia earlier in October while waiting to board an international flight, just hours before having lunch with Giuliani.

Giuliani was paid $500,000 last year for consulting work he did for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company run by Parnas. The payment occurred while Parnas was helping Giuliani find dirt in Ukraine against Joe Biden, though Trump’s personal attorney stressed that the payment was not connected to his work on behalf of the president.

Parnas’ lawyer said Nov. 4 that his client was prepared to cooperate with the House’s requests for records and testimony in the impeachment inquiry and alleged Nov. 11 that the businessman himself directly told Ukrainian officials that military aid was contingent on the Biden investigation. Parnas had previously refused to speak with impeachment investigators while being represented under a different lawyer. His stance changed after Trump openly denied knowing Parnas at the time of the businessman’s arrest.

 

ANDRIY YERMAK ― TOP AIDE TO VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY

Yermak is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s close friend, personal aide and chief international negotiator. Yermak met with Giuliani in Spain a week after Trump’s call with Zelensky, in which he urged the newly elected leader to speak with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian officials.

Several U.S. officials said the meeting between Giuliani and Yermak was a “direct follow-up” to the Trump-Zelensky call, according to the whistleblower complaint.

Gordon Sondland admitted in revised testimony released Nov. 5 that he told Yermak the U.S. would not release military aid to Ukraine unless the country publicly committed to investigating the Bidens.

 

THOMAS ULRICH BRECHBUHL ― U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT COUNSELOR

Brechbuhl was appointed in May 2018 as counselor of the State Department by his friend and former U.S. Military Academy classmate Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. The whistleblower complaint and ambassador George Kent alleged Brechbuhl listened in on Trump’s call to Ukraine, though the State Department denies it.

Yovanovitch testified to the House that Brechbuhl was in charge of handling her removal but that he refused to meet with her when she came back to Washington.

House Democrats sent a subpoena earlier in October requesting that Brechbuhl provide a closed-door deposition on Nov. 6 after he declined to voluntarily appear for an interview. The subpoena came the same day Democrats also subpoenaed Office of Management and Budget officials Russell Vought and Michael Duffey. Brechbuhl still has not testified.

 

KURT VOLKER ― FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY FOR UKRAINE

Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, leaves an Oct. 7 closed-door interview with House investigators as House Demo
Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, leaves an Oct. 7 closed-door interview with House investigators as House Democrats proceed with the impeachment investigation of President Trump.

Volker was the State Department special envoy to Ukraine until he resigned Sept. 27 after his name’s mention in the whistleblower complaint.

According to the complaint, Volker set up the meeting between Giuliani and Andriy Yermak, and tried to advise Ukrainian officials on how to work with Trump and his personal attorney.

Volker was the first witness that the House called in the impeachment investigation, in which he testified he was not “fully in the loop” of Trump’s call with Ukraine. But text messages between him and two other diplomats that Volker provided to Congress contradict the former ambassador’s story, as the texts showed clear concern over Trump’s withholding of military aid until Ukraine promised to investigate his political rivals.

The House on Nov. 5 released transcripts of Volker’s deposition, in which he said Ukrainian officials “asked to be connected” to Giuliani as a direct backdoor channel to Trump. Volker also testified he personally told Giuliani that Yuriy Lutsenko, the source of many of the conspiracy theories he was pushing, was “not credible.”

Volker will publicly testify in the impeachment inquiry on Nov. 19.

 

BILL TAYLOR ― FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE

Acting Ambassador Bill Taylor leaves the House Intelligence Committee hearing Oct. 22.
Acting Ambassador Bill Taylor leaves the House Intelligence Committee hearing Oct. 22.

Taylor was the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine after resigning as its U.S. ambassador. Taylor gave explosive testimony before House members in October confirming there was a quid pro quo demand in Trump’s July 25 call to Ukraine.

The acting ambassador was one of three diplomats who discussed the Ukraine talks in text messages released by the three House committees. Taylor was the only one in the group text with Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland to outwardly disapprove of Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine in order to get the country to interfere in U.S. elections.

Trump’s response to Taylor’s testimony was to compare the impeachment inquiry to a “lynching” and label all “Never Trumpers” as “human scum.” Many Senate Republicans questioned Taylor’s integrity despite his reputation as a highly respected diplomat who also served under President George W. Bush.

The House released transcripts Nov. 6 of Taylor’s private testimony, in which he said it was his “clear understanding” that the U.S. would not release military aid unless Ukraine committed to an investigation into Biden. Taylor publicly testified Nov. 13 alongside George Kent, stressing his concerns about the safety of Ukraine and the country’s relationship with the U.S.

 

GORDON SONDLAND ― U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, here at a forum in Brussels on Oct. 21, has reportedly agreed to testi
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, here at a forum in Brussels on Oct. 21, has reportedly agreed to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Sondland, a Republican donor and hotel owner, had no foreign policy experience when Trump hired him as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union in June 2018. Sondland is involved in Trump’s scheme to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.

The ambassador was one of the three diplomats in the group text that Bill Taylor talked to impeachment investigators about. In a Sept. 9 text, Taylor expressed dismay to Sondland about Trump involving the State Department in his attempted quid pro quo, to which the EU ambassador responded by dismissing Taylor’s concerns.

Sondland initially testified to impeachment investigators that he couldn’t recall having any discussions about the Bidens, or taking part in encouraging an investigation into them. But after depositions from Taylor and Army Lt. Col Alexander Vindman contradicted Sondland’s testimony, the diplomat significantly amended his story in an update released Nov. 5. He acknowledged he told top Ukrainian aide Andriy Yermak that U.S. military aid to the country was contingent on Ukraine publicly committing to investigate the Bidens, and that he knew it was illegal.

Sondland was expected to publicly testify in the impeachment inquiry Nov. 20.

 

MARIE YOVANOVITCH ― FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE

Marie Yovanovitch was ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May, reportedly for hindering efforts to investigated Trump
Marie Yovanovitch was ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May, reportedly for hindering efforts to investigated Trump rivals.

Yovanovitch was removed in May from her post as ambassador in Kyiv after complaints by Republicans and by Yuriy Lutsenko that she was undermining efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals.

The firing came after Yovanovitch insisted that Giuliani’s requests for Ukraine to conduct certain investigations be relayed through the proper foreign policy channels. Trump disparaged the former ambassador during his phone call with Ukraine, calling her “bad news” and saying she’s “going to go through some things.”

Yovanovitch appeared Oct. 11 for her deposition with impeachment investigators. According to the deposition’s transcript released Nov. 4 by the House, Yovanovitch said that Trump pressured the State Department to fire her as a politically motivated, “concerted campaign against me” because she refused to allow Giuliani’s shadow diplomacy. She also said she felt threatened by the president’s comments to Zelensky that she is “going to go through some things.”

Yovanovitch was the third witness to appear publicly, testifying Nov. 15 how Trump is the one who opened the door for corruption in Ukraine rather than trying to stop it, and how the president is largely responsible for the smear campaign that left her feeling threatened.

 

FIONA HILL ― FORMER RUSSIA ADVISER TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Fiona Hill, the former top White House adviser on Russia, leaves Capitol Hill on Oct. 14 after testifying before congressiona
Fiona Hill, the former top White House adviser on Russia, leaves Capitol Hill on Oct. 14 after testifying before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry.

Hill was Trump’s top Russia policy adviser with the National Security Council until she resigned in July. She was cited in the text messages between Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker and Bill Taylor that were provided to House impeachment investigators.

Hill spoke with House members on Oct. 14 in a closed-door session. She told lawmakers that she considered Sondland a national security risk as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union because of his inexperience, according to The New York Times.

Hill was allegedly told as early as May that there was a pressure campaign by Sondland and Giuliani concerning newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, NBC News reported on Oct. 28. Hill then reportedly briefed her boss, then-national security adviser John Bolton, about the shadow diplomacy he later described as a kind of “drug deal.”

Hill was scheduled to publicly testify in the impeachment inquiry on Nov. 21.

 

ARMY LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN ― EUROPEAN AFFAIRS DIRECTOR FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an expert on Ukraine for the National Security Council, arrives for an appearance before mem
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an expert on Ukraine for the National Security Council, arrives for an appearance before members of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees on Oct. 29.

Vindman is currently the top Ukraine expert for the National Security Council and the first witness with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s July 25 phone call to testify in the House’s impeachment investigation. Many Republicans previously dismissed the whistleblower’s allegations because the anonymous intelligence officer admitted to not being a direct witness to the call with Ukraine.

Vindman, who reported to Fiona Hill until her resignation, privately testified to lawmakers on Oct. 29 that he heard Trump’s call with Zelensky in real time and twice reported it internally to the NSC’s lead counsel John Eisenberg because he felt it was his duty to share his concerns about the attempted quid pro quo. He also said the White House’s summary of the phone call had key omissions that do not change the basic contents of the call but raise questions about its handling. 

Several Trump allies have questioned Vindman’s patriotism solely based on the fact that the Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient came to the U.S. from Ukraine as a child. Trump also dismissed Vindman’s testimony, calling him a “Never Trumper witness,” though several Republican lawmakers defended the veteran’s reputation.

Vindman will publicly testify in the impeachment inquiry on Nov. 19 alongside Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

 

JOHN EISENBERG ― LEAD COUNSEL AT NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Eisenberg was a key player in handling the White House transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine. The National Security Council lawyer was involved in moving the phone call’s transcript into a server meant for highly classified information.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified to lawmakers that he twice brought his concerns about the call to the NSC’s lead counsel, presumably Eisenberg. Tim Morrison, the NSC’s former Russia expert, said he also contacted the agency’s legal office about the call out of concern regarding potential leaks to the public. Fiona Hill told lawmakers that she too brought her concerns with Eisenberg.

The House issued a subpoena to Eisenberg to appear before lawmakers on Nov. 4, but the counsel did not show up.

 

TIM MORRISON ― FORMER RUSSIA EXPERT FOR WHITE HOUSE

Former top national security adviser to Trump, Tim Morrison, testified that he had raised concerns with White House lawyers a
Former top national security adviser to Trump, Tim Morrison, testified that he had raised concerns with White House lawyers about the president's call with Ukraine.

Morrison served as one of the top Russia experts for the National Security Council until he resigned Oct. 30. He was one of the several officials to raise concerns about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president’s political rivals. 

The former NSC official told lawmakers in Oct. 31 testimony that he contacted then-NSC adviser John Bolton and the agency’s lawyers about Trump’s call out of concern regarding potential leaks about it to the public. Morrison also said he first alerted diplomat Bill Taylor to concerns over the president’s call, telling him that Trump did not want to provide any security assistance at all to Ukraine. He reportedly had a “sinking feeling” when he first heard of the call from Gordon Sondland.

According to the transcript of his private testimony released Nov. 16, Morrison told impeachment investigators that Sondland informed Ukrainian officials that a White House meeting and U.S. military aid were contingent on the country’s government publicly announcing an investigation into the Bidens. He also said Sondland was acting on direct orders from Trump.

Morrison is scheduled to publicly testify in the impeachment inquiry on Nov. 19 alongside Volker.

 

MICHAEL McKINLEY ― FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE

Michael McKinley, a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testified Oct. 16 that he resigned in September becaus
Michael McKinley, a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testified Oct. 16 that he resigned in September because of his agency's unwillingness to support its ambassadors who got roped in the impeachment investigation.

McKinley was a U.S. ambassador to several countries and Pompeo’s top adviser from November 2018 until his resignation Sept. 30. As senior adviser, he was the conduit between ambassadors in the Foreign Service and the State Department’s top officials.

McKinley testified Oct. 16 as part of the House impeachment investigation. He said that he resigned because of both the State Department’s unwillingness to defend its ambassadors who are “caught up in the impeachment inquiry” and because of what he said was “the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political interests.”

The adviser asked the State Department to put out a statement of support for Yovanovitch in response to Trump’s comments disparaging her, but the recommendation was declined. That decision led McKinley to give his resignation.

 

GEORGE KENT ― DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN AFFAIRS

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent privately testified Oct. 15 before congressional lawmakers as part of the Hou
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent privately testified Oct. 15 before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He will publicly testify Nov. 13.

Kent is a top U.S. diplomat who has served as the State Department’s deputy secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs since September 2018. He worked under Yovanovitch while he was deputy chief of mission in Ukraine and said he learned of Trump’s call with Ukraine through Ambassador Taylor.

The State Department official privately testified Oct. 15 in the House impeachment investigation, in which he criticized Giuliani for his disparaging comments toward Yovanovitch that eventually led to her removal as ambassador to Ukraine.

He also testified that he was shut out from all Ukraine-related decisions after a May 23 meeting with Trump organized by Mulvaney, and that Volker, Sondland and Perry took over. The meeting, according to Kent, was about how to move forward with Ukraine after Zelensky was inaugurated just three days earlier.

Kent publicly testified alongside ambassador Bill Taylor on Nov. 13, where he stressed both his concern over the state of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, as well as his concern over Giuliani’s shadow diplomacy.

 

CATHERINE CROFT ― UKRAINE SPECIALIST FOR STATE DEPARTMENT, FORMERLY FOR NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Catherine Croft, a State Department adviser on Ukraine, arrives to testify in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Tru
Catherine Croft, a State Department adviser on Ukraine, arrives to testify in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump at the Capitol on Oct. 30.

Croft oversaw Ukraine relations for the National Security Council from July 2017 to July 2018, working under Fiona Hill. During her time at the NSC, the Foreign Service officer said she received multiple phone calls from lobbyist Robert Livingston, a former top Republican congressman from Louisiana, telling her that Yovanovitch should be fired.

Croft privately testified Oct. 30 in the House impeachment investigation, in which she said she was asked in May to become ambassador Volker’s adviser in Ukraine. She alleged that she was aware Volker was communicating with Giuliani but that those conversations were separate from her work.

The former NSC official also said she participated in a July 18 call in which an Office of Management and Budget official said that military aid for Ukraine was being suspended “at the direction of the president.”

 

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON ― UKRAINE SPECIALIST FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT

Foreign Service officer Christopher Anderson was a former adviser to Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine. He priva
Foreign Service officer Christopher Anderson was a former adviser to Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine. He privately testified Oct. 30 in the House impeachment investigation.

Anderson served in the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv from 2014 to 2017 and worked closely with Yovanovitch. He was Volker’s adviser for Ukraine from August 2017 to July 2019, holding the position until Croft took over.

The State Department official testified Oct. 30 in the House impeachment investigation, in which he talked about concerns over Giuliani’s shadow diplomacy in Ukraine and his campaign to paint Zelensky’s government as Trump’s enemy.

Anderson also alleged that he accompanied Volker to a June 13 meeting with Bolton, where the then-national security adviser cautioned that Giuliani was a “key voice” with Trump on Ukraine, “which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement.”

 

CHARLES KUPPERMAN ― FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER

Kupperman was the deputy national security adviser under Bolton until September. The House considers him a key witness in the impeachment investigation, and earlier subpoenaed him to testify before Congress.

He filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to decide whether a House subpoena has more power than a White House order. The White House has ordered Kupperman not to comply with the subpoena, but the former Bolton deputy has said he will appear before lawmakers if the judge rules in favor of the House.

The House eventually withdrew its subpoena for Kupperman as it asks the judge to dismiss his lawsuit. It’s unclear whether Kupperman has withdrawn or will withdraw his lawsuit in response to the withdrawn subpoena.

Bolton has also said he would testify if the judge says he must comply with the subpoena.

 

LAURA COOPER ― DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RUSSIA, UKRAINE AND EURASIA

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, returns to the Capitol to review her tes
Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, returns to the Capitol to review her testimony and documents from an appearance in the impeachment inquiry.

Cooper is the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy for Ukraine, Russia and Eurasia. Since the summer, she pushed within the agency for the military aid to Ukraine to be released and argued that withholding it was not in the national security interests of the U.S.

The Pentagon also reportedly warned the White House that the agency would not be able to spend all of the security assistance by the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30, if it were not released by Aug. 6, which would have put the Defense Department at risk of violating the Impoundment Control Act. It was reported Sept. 12 that the freeze on the assistance was lifted.

Cooper privately testified Oct. 23 in the House’s impeachment investigation. She will appear Nov. 20 to publicly testify in the inquiry, along with Sondland and Undersecretary of State David Hale.

 

DAVID HALE ― UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale will publicly testify Nov. 20 in the House's impeachment investigati
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale will publicly testify Nov. 20 in the House's impeachment investigation and is expected to shed light on why senior officials at the State Department didn't defend Marie Yovanovitch when she was recalled as ambassador to Ukraine.

Hale is the third-ranking official at the State Department and has served as ambassador to several countries in the Middle East since joining the Foreign Service in 1984.

As one of the most senior State Department officials, his private testimony to the House on Nov. 6 was meant to help lawmakers better understand why higher authorities in the department did not protect Marie Yovanovitch when she was being disparaged and eventually recalled as ambassador to Ukraine.

According to The Associated Press, Hale allegedly told lawmakers that the department believed publicly defending Yovanovitch would hurt efforts to lift the freeze on military aid to Ukraine and that senior officials were concerned about Giuliani’s reaction.

Hale is scheduled to publicly testify in the impeachment inquiry on Nov. 20.

 

JENNIFER WILLIAMS ― TOP FOREIGN POLICY AIDE TO MIKE PENCE

Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia who is a career foreign service offic
Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for Europe and Russia who is a career foreign service officer, privately testified in the impeachment inquiry that she was on President Donald Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and that she found the nature of the call "unusual and inappropriate."

Williams, a special adviser to the vice president for Europe and Russia affairs and a career foreign service officer, listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky. She testified that Trump insisting that Ukraine conduct politically sensitive investigations “struck me as unusual and inappropriate.”

The House released the transcript of Williams’ Nov. 7 private deposition, in which she also said she heard Zelensky mention Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company Hunter Biden used to serve on as a board member. The White House transcript of the call did not include Zelensky bringing up Burisma, which Trump alleged Joe Biden inappropriately favored while working against corruption in Ukraine during his vice presidency.

Pence was originally expected to attend Zelensky’s inauguration, but was ordered to skip it. Williams testified that she understood the order to have come directly from Trump.

Williams will publicly testify in the impeachment investigation on Nov. 19 alongside Vindman.

 

 

DAVID HOLMES ― POLITICAL COUNSEL AT U.S. EMBASSY IN UKRAINE, AIDE TO BILL TAYLOR

David Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, privately testified Nov. 15, 2019, before impeachment investiga
David Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, privately testified Nov. 15, 2019, before impeachment investigators that he heard Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, tell President Donald Trump that Ukraine will investigate the Bidens.

Holmes, a career diplomat since 2002, became relevant to the House’s impeachment investigation after Bill Taylor mentioned in his Nov. 13 public testimony that an aide of his overheard Gordon Sondland on the phone with Trump telling the president that Ukraine will cooperate in investigating the Bidens. That aide was later discovered to be Holmes.

Holmes privately testified Nov. 15 with impeachment investigators, in which he confirmed he overheard a phone call between Trump and Sondland on July 26, the day after Trump’s now-infamous call with Zelensky. Holmes reportedly said he could hear Trump asking Sondland if Zelensky will conduct an investigation into the Bidens, to which Sondland responded, “He’s gonna do it.” Sondland also told Trump that Zelensky would do “anything you ask him to,” according to Holmes, who was meeting with Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv at the time of the call.

The testimony by Taylor’s aide appears to contradict Sondland’s previous sworn private testimony about his interactions with the president, as the EU ambassador did not mention the July 26 phone call in his deposition. Sondland is publicly testifying in the impeachment investigation on Nov. 20.

 

JOHN SOLOMON ― FORMER COLUMNIST AT THE HILL

Solomon was a right-wing columnist at The Hill until he announced his resignation from the political news outlet in September. Many of the allegations and conspiracy theories that Trump and his allies cited in their defense to pressure Ukraine in investigating the Bidens gained traction because of Solomon, who is also a Fox News regular and now a contributor.

The former columnist is currently receiving backlash for straying from journalistic ethics and following questionable sources for a right-wing narrative, most recently regarding stories about corruption and Ukraine.

Solomon shared a copy of a March 26 story pre-publication about a Ukrainian anti-corruption organization with Lev Parnas, one of Giuliani’s business associates who is now involved in the impeachment investigation. One of Solomon’s main sources in his Ukraine series was Yuriy Lutsenko, the former prosecutor general widely accused of being corrupt and largely responsible for the ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Solomon was shifted from the role of reporter to “opinion contributor” after staff members at The Hill sent a memo to management complaining about his stories pushing unsubstantiated conspiracies, though Solomon claimed he requested the change.

Solomon’s stories showed how right-wing conspiracies easily reach the president of the United States — by moving up the partisan media pipeline and into shows on Fox News that Trump watches religiously.

 

This article has been updated throughout.

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