House Democrats on Monday, Nov. 11, released the second batch of transcripts from closed-door depositions, two days before they hold the first public hearings in their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
According to The Hill, the release included the transcripts of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper who oversees Ukraine, and Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson—two former assistants to former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.
The transcripts document the witnesses who allegedly have concerns about the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, where House Democrats claimed President Trump had withheld military aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings.
But both presidents sternly denied any wrongdoings. President Trump repeatedly said that the phone call was “perfect,” and Zelenskiy said that there was “no blackmail” in the call and that there was no pressure for him to get involved in American politics.
The aid, in fact, was released to Ukraine without condition on Sept. 11.
In a tweet on Monday, Nov. 11, President Trump made clear that he had until Sept. 30 to give the aid to Ukraine, but he got it out 3 weeks before the deadline, and Joe Biden was not investigated. The president questioned if it is an impeachable offense as the Democrats claimed.
“The President has until September 30th to give this aid to Ukraine. He gets it out on September 11th., 3 weeks before the deadline. So, we give our ally aid, and Joe Biden is not investigated. Remember that, they get the aid and we get nothing in return. The Democrats….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
All three are relatively minor witnesses. On Nov. 4, the Democrat-led committees released the first set of deposition transcripts from secret interviews, provided by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State Ambassador Michael McKinley.
However, the new release still did not include the transcript of Ambassador Volker, the very first witness to testify on Capitol Hill in the impeachment hearings, raising suspicion that Democrats are cherrypicking which transcripts they release and when.
Some Republican lawmakers blamed the Democrats for issuing the documents out of order to damage President Trump after the House intelligence, foreign affairs, and oversight committees, which are leading the closed-door proceedings, released their first testimony transcripts early last week.
The House Democrats are expected to begin their first series of open impeachment hearings from Wednesday, Nov. 13.