Bolton is asked to testify next week: Impeachment update

Kathleen Miller

Three House committees are scheduled to hear Wednesday from State Department Ukraine specialists Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson.

Here are the latest developments:

Bolton Is Asked to Testify Next Week (4:01 p.m.)

In this July 31, 2019 file photo, National security adviser John Bolton speaks to media at the White House.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has been asked to testify on Nov. 7 before the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Also asked to testify is NSC attorney John Eisenberg, who has been requested to appear on Nov. 4, the person said.

Republicans to Try to Amend Inquiry Rules (3:13 p.m.)

Republicans will offer amendments Wednesday to majority Democrats’ proposed rules for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry, GOP member Mark Meadows told reporters.

The House Rules Committee is expected to adopt the resolution to prepare for a vote by the full House on the rules Thursday.

Republicans want President Donald Trump’s lawyer to participate in public hearings to be held by the Intelligence Committee, Meadows said.

Meadows also said that if Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff would promise that he could bring four witnesses, Meadows would announce their names now.

Republicans contend the closed-door hearings held so far have been unfair. “Credible witnesses have been poisoned by what’s been reported and leaked out,” Meadows said. – Erik Wasson

Russia Envoy Nominee Undercuts Rudy Giuliani (12:51 p.m.)

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing to be the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. President Donald Trump's nominee faced questions about Russian election interference and the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan distanced the State Department from Rudy Giuliani’s claim that his work on Ukraine was done at the department’s request, suggesting it was part of a parallel process that Sullivan and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo weren’t engaged on.In a Sept. 26 interview on Fox News, Giuliani criticized a whistle-blower’s allegations that he was operating on his own, saying, “I went to meet Mr. Zelenskiy’s aide at the request of the State Department. Fifteen memos make that clear.”Instead, Sullivan – speaking at his nomination hearing to be the U.S. ambassador to Russia – said Giuliani was likely referring to communications about Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations.Sullivan, asked if he helped direct Giuliani’s efforts on Ukraine issues, replied, “I did not, and I’m not aware that the secretary did either.”

Schumer Seeks Army Protection for Vindman (11:17 a.m.)

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., turns to thank Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, after they and members of the Senate Democratic leadership spoke to the media, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote to top Army officials Wednesday demanding to know what protections will be afforded to Army officer Alexander Vindman after the National Security Council aide’s patriotism was questioned by critics as he testified as part of the House impeachment inquiry.

“Although he has served our country for more than 20 years and is a recipient of the Purple Heart after being injured while serving in Iraq, he has been called a variety of derogatory terms and some have even gone so far as to call him a spy and question his loyalty to the United States,” Schumer said in a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff James McConville.

Schumer called such attacks “outrageous and unacceptable” and requested a briefing to learn what the Army will do to ensure “Vindman and whistle-blowers like him are afforded appropriate protections” for themselves and their families. Vindman, a lieutenant colonel, joined the NSC staff in 2018.

Vindman testified Tuesday that he listened to Trump’s July telephone call with Ukraine’s president and was so disturbed by the conversation that he reported it to the NSC’s lawyer. – Laura Litvan

Former Lawmaker Pushed Firing Ukraine Diplomat (9:09 a.m.)

Catherine Croft, a State Department adviser on Ukraine, arrives for a closed door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Former Republican Representative Robert Livingston made “multiple calls” to a foreign service officer in an effort to get then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired because of alleged ties to the Obama administration, the officer, Catherine Croft, said in written testimony for her scheduled appearance before House committees Wednesday.

Livingston characterized Yovanovitch “as an Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” a billionaire and major Democratic donor, Croft said in her written remarks.

“I received multiple calls from lobbyist Robert Livingston, who told me that Ambassador Yovanovitch should be fired,” Croft said. Croft didn’t provide a specific date for the calls, but says they occurred while she served on the National Security Council, which was between 2017 and 2018.

Livingston is a former U.S. lawmaker from Louisiana who at one point was expected to succeed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich before stepping down after Livingston announced he’d committed marital infidelity.

“It was not clear to me at the time – or now – at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch,” Croft said. Croft says in her written remarks that she “documented” the calls and told her boss and a State Department official, George Kent, about them.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, also sought Yovanovitch’s ouster. She was recalled from her post early but remains a State Department employee.

Aide to Say Bolton Saw Giuliani as Obstacle (8:23 a.m.)

State Department Ukraine specialist Christopher Anderson will tell the impeachment inquiry that John Bolton saw Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, as an “obstacle” to getting the White House more invested in helping Ukraine’s new president, according to the diplomat’s opening statement.

In his testimony, the State Department official will recount how Bolton, then the national security adviser, agreed that the U.S. must help Ukraine fight corruption and boost energy and security ties.

Bolton “cautioned that Mr. Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement,” Anderson will say.

The testimony from Anderson, who was an adviser to Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, underscores how there had come to be two sometimes opposing forces on U.S. policy toward Ukraine: Giuliani, who was pressing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son on the one hand, and the diplomatic corps and Bolton’s National Security Council, who were seeking to limit Giuliani’s involvement but also recognized that the former New York mayor had Trump’s ear. – Nick Wadhams

Key Events

  • Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will take the lead in the next phase of the investigation as it moves into public hearings under the terms of a resolution released Tuesday. The House plans to vote Thursday on the resolution.
  • The Intelligence panel and other committees would then send their findings to the Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings that Trump and his lawyer would be invited to attend. The president’s lawyer would be allowed to question witnesses and seek permission to offer testimony, evidence and make a closing presentation.
  • Lawyers for House Judiciary Democrats told a federal judge that negotiations for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn have collapsed and that the court must rule on the House bid for an order compelling him to appear.

With assistance from Billy House and Nick Wadhams.