House Democrats leading the Trump impeachment inquiry publicly released the first transcripts from their closed-door interviews on Monday – and of course Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam “Shifty” Schiff released the testimonies of two witnesses that seem to be the most damning to President Trump.
Schiff released testimony from former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both have appeared on Capitol Hill for testimony as part of the inquiry.
Among revelations in the transcripts: Yovanovitch testified that Ukraine told her about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to oust her. Yovanovitch was pushed out of her job in May on Trump’s orders.
According to the transcript of her testimony, Yovanovitch said she learned from Ukrainian officials last November or December that Giuliani was in touch with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, “and that they had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me. Basically, it was people in the Ukrainian Government who said that Mr. Lutsenko, the former prosecutor general, was in communication with Mayor Giuliani,” she said.
Meanwhile, McKinley said in his deposition that part of the reason he resigned is because he was a witness to State Department officials trying to dig up dirt on the president’s opponents—something he hadn’t seen “in 37 years in the Foreign Service.” He went on to say, “To see the emerging information on the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes, combined with the failure I saw in the building to provide support for our professional cadre in a particularly trying time, I think the combination was a pretty good reason to decide … I had no longer a useful role to play.”
The interviews were released by Schiff, along with Rep. Eliot Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Rep. Carolyn Maloney of the Oversight and Reform Committee.
In a statement, the three Democrats said, “As we move towards this new public phase of the impeachment inquiry, the American public will begin to see for themselves the evidence that the committees have collected. With each new interview, we learn more about the President’s attempt to manipulate the levers of power to his personal political benefit.”
House Republicans in recent days have called on Democrats to release the full transcripts.
“The selective leaking in which the House Intelligence Committee has been engaged must end immediately and the full and complete record must be provided for the American people to see,” Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the House GOP leadership, wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week.
However, given the seeming randomness of which transcripts they released, Republicans still questioned the process. “Democrats cherry pick which transcripts they release and when,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. “Why not release Ambassador Volker’s testimony? He was the very first witness to testify!”