A National Security Council official who could confirm that President Trump was withholding Ukraine military assistance for investigations into his political rivals plans to testify in the House impeachment inquiry next week. And it looks like the White House will be unable to block him.
“If subpoenaed, Mr. Morrison plans to appear for his deposition,” a lawyer for Tim Morrison told TPM, after first confirming the intention to Politico.
House Democrats have been routinely subpoenaing administrations witnesses ahead of their scheduled interviews, after the White House imposed a blanket ban on participation in the impeachment probe. Many government officials have then shown up for their depositions.
Morrison is scheduled to testify on Thursday.
Morrison provided the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv accounts of several key conversations where a quid pro quo with Ukraine was communicated by the President, the diplomat testified this week.
According to the diplomat, Bill Taylor, Morrison said he had heard about the Trump conversations from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who had been deputized to run the President’s shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.
Sondland, through his attorney, claimed to have not recalled the most damning conversations that Taylor cited.
One of those conversations, according to Taylor’s testimony, was a Sept. 1 conversation Sondland had in Warsaw with an aide to Ukraine’s president. Sondland recalled to Morrison that he told the Ukrainian aide that, unless Ukraine probed a Hunter Biden-linked company, the assistance would not be released, according to Taylor’s account of what Morrison told him.
Taylor then confirmed that account with Sondland himself, Taylor’s opening testimony said.
Sondland, through his attorney, told the Washington Post that he didn’t remember the Warsaw conversation that way.
A second conversation that was allegedly relayed to Taylor by Morrison happened on Sept. 7.
Sondland and President Trump discussed on the phone that day Trump’s desire that the Ukraine president publicly announce investigations into 2016 and into “Biden,” according to Taylor’s account of what Morrison said he heard from Sondland.
Sondland’s attorney told the Post that the ambassador did not recall that conversation.
A CNN report Thursday evening said that Morrison is expected to corroborate key elements of Taylor’s testimony. The report, which was sourced anonymously, did not specify what episodes from Taylor’s testimony Morrison is expected to back up.
“We will not be commenting on what he will say to the Committees,” Morrison attorney Barbara Van Gelder told TPM.
Regardless, Morrison may be able to help House investigators clear up the inconsistencies between Taylor’s and Sondland’s versions of events.
Republicans, so far, have mostly dismissed Taylor’s claims as being based on third-hand and even fourth-hand hearsay.
Democrats say that Taylor was a meticulous notetaker who had memorialized the episodes he laid out in his testimony.
Morrison, according to CNN, took notes that are expected to be the basis of his testimony as well.