White House beefing up team to fight impeachment inquiry PR battle


Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russian Federation, arrived at the U.S. Capitol to testify in front of members of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees after receiving a subpoena to compel her testimony.

The Washington Post, citing people familiar with Bolton's views, said he is willing to testify but wants to see how a court battle between Congress and the White House over the constitutionality of the subpoenas shakes out first. The former USA ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who told investigators she was ousted from her post over "false claims" spread by Trump allies, is scheduled to testify on November 15.

Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, repeatedly raised concerns about linking USA military aid to investigations into the president's rivals.

"Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine", Trump said, indicating clearly that he had made the request, just as The Washington Post reported Wednesday night. And a senior administration official told the paper that Trump publicly and privately praised Barr on Wednesday.

Trump in July asked Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskiy to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

That aid is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

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Democrats have been releasing transcripts of previous closed-door interviews this week as they prepare the first public impeachment hearings next week. The assistance is alleged to have been held hostage until Ukraine agreed to investigate Trump political foe Joe Biden as well as the idea that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 USA election.

Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday his committee would hold the first public sessions next week.

Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, who heads the European and Eurasian bureau at the State Department, also testifies on November 13.

Setting the stage for the public hearings, lawmakers have been making public transcripts of the closed-door depositions.

"Ambassador Bolton was not interested in having - did not want to have the call because he thought it was going to be a disaster", Taylor testified, according to a newly-released transcript.

Senate Republicans have so far shown little appetite for ousting the president.