Live updates: House investigators plan to hear from first Pence staffer in accelerating Trump impeachment inquiry – The Washington Post

In closed-door testimony released Wednesday, Taylor said associates of President Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 U.S. election.

Trump, meanwhile, lashed out at the media early Thursday morning following a Washington Post report that he wanted Attorney General William P. Barr to hold a news conference declaring that Trump broke no laws during a July phone call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the investigations.

9:05 a.m.: Jordan says Republicans will request whistleblower as witness

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a staunch defender of Trump, told reporters that Republicans will request that the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry be included among the witnesses who will testify in open hearings.

Under rules adopted by the House, Republicans have the right to request witnesses, but they must be approved House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) or by a vote of the full committee, on which Democrats hold a majority of seats.

9 a.m.: Trump calls for end of impeachment inquiry, citing 2017 tweets by lawyer for whistleblower

Trump called for an immediate end to the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, citing 2017 tweets predicting his impeachment by Mark S. Zaid, one of the lawyers representing the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the Democratic-led inquiry.

“Based on the information released last night about the Fake Whistleblowers attorney, the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!” Trump tweeted. “There is no case, except against the other side!”

Zaid responded on Twitter in January 2017 to Trump’s firing of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce executive policies.

“#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately,” Zaid wrote.

In July 2017 tweets, Zaid also predicted on Twitter that CNN “would play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president” and said: “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.”

8:55 a.m.: Williams has arrived at the Capitol

Williams has arrived at the Capitol ahead of her scheduled closed-door deposition.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a senior National Security Council official, has also entered the secure area of the Capitol where depositions are being taken. It is customary for past witnesses to return to review transcripts of their depositions.

Vindman previously testified that a top White House lawyer instructed him not to discuss his grave concerns about Trump’s conversation with Zelensky with anyone outside the White House.

8:50 a.m.: ‘Read the Transcript!’ Trump urges his Twitter followers

Trump returned to Twitter to take another shot at The Washington Post, calling the publication “degenerate” for its report that he sought a Barr news conference, and to urge his more than 66 million followers to “Read the Transcript!”

He was referring to the rough transcript the White House released of the July call in which he pressed Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. Trump has repeatedly said the call was “perfect” and has argued that it shows he did nothing wrong because he does not explicitly condition the release of withheld military aid on the investigations he is seeking.

7:30 a.m.: Trump pushes back on reports he sought a Barr news conference

Trump dismissed as “FAKE NEWS” reports that he wanted Barr to hold a news conference declaring that Trump broke no laws during a phone call in which he pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Bidens.

According to a story first reported by The Washington Post, Barr ultimately declined to do so, and Trump has mentioned Barr’s demurral to associates in recent weeks, saying he wished Barr would have held the news conference.

Other outlets, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, later matched the Post report.

“Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “The story was a Fake Washington Post con job with an ‘anonymous’ source that doesn’t exist.”

His comments echoed other tweets sent after midnight in which he called the Post report “totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story.”

“The LameStream Media, which is The Enemy of the People, is working overtime with made up stories in order to drive dissension and distrust!” Trump contended.

His tweets came early Thursday morning after returning from a Wednesday night campaign rally in Monroe, La.

At that event, Trump accused Democrats of “trying to overthrow American democracy to impose their socialist agenda” and attacked one of the lawyers representing the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.

7 a.m.: Pence staffer expected to appear for closed-door deposition

House investigators expect to hear Thursday from the first person from Vice President Pence’s staff to give testimony in the impeachment probe.

Williams is Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, and could offer important insights into the vice president’s interactions with Ukrainian leaders and any contact that he might have had with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.

Williams’s attorney confirmed Wednesday night that his client intends to appear.

“Jennifer is a longtime dedicated State Department employee,” her attorney, Justin Shur, said in a statement. “If required to appear, she will answer the Committees’ questions. We expect her testimony will largely reflect what is already in the public record.”

Williams is among the last witnesses scheduled to provide a closed-door deposition before public hearings begin next week.

6:30 a.m.: Bolton expected to be a no-show for deposition

Former national security adviser John Bolton has been summoned to the Capitol for a deposition on Thursday but is not expected to appear.

Bolton, who left the White House amid acrimony with Trump in September, could offer direct testimony about the president’s alleged efforts to pressure Zelensky for information on the Bidens in exchange for U.S. military aid and a meeting with the president.

Top State Department and national security officials have already testified that Bolton was deeply concerned about those efforts.