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Pence aide testifies in Trump impeachment inquiry

AFP
Washington
A NATIONAL security aide to Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Congress on Thursday to testify in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump as momentum in the investigation picked up ahead of next week’s open hearings.
Jennifer Williams listened to Trump’s controversial July 25 phone call with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky, and could either support or dampen allegations that Trump abused his powers by pressuring Zelensky to investigate Trump’s possible 2020 election rival.
Democrats allege that Trump held up $391 million in military aid for Ukraine to force Zelensky to find dirt on Democrat Joe Biden, and also to find evidence supporting a widely discredited theory that Ukraine helped Democrats in the 2016 election.
A veteran diplomat who advises Pence on Europe and Russia, Williams will be the first person from the vice president’s office to testify.
“We expect her testimony will largely reflect what is already in the public record,” her lawyer Justin Shur said in a statement to US media.
Trump has defended the July call as “perfect” despite a heavily edited transcript appearing to support the allegations against him.
The call shows Trump asked Zelensky for a “favour” and specified that Ukraine should open probes into Biden, as well as into the unsupported tale that Ukraine helped the Democrats in 2016.
That closely matched the claims of an intelligence community whistleblower, whose anonymous August complaint that Trump’s actions in the call were improper sparked the impeachment probe.

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