Like any Trump scandal, the sheer number of names and variables involved in the president’s campaign of influence in Ukraine doesn’t exactly cater to simplicity. To help keep track of who thinks it’s okay for Trump to demand personal favors from foreign leaders and who’s already copped to the quid pro quo in Ukraine, Intelligencer is providing a daily rundown of the Trump impeachment hearings’ most important characters. Week two quickens the pace of the proceedings, with four witnesses testifying on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and two on Thursday.
The top National Security Council expert on Russia until he resigned before his closed-door testimony last month, Morrison confirmed the account of acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who testified that Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to publicly announce an investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings before aid would be released.
Who Is He According to Team Trump?
Though Morrison is another career diplomat, his testimony is likely to be the most friendly to the Republican line of argument that Trump did not break the law. “I want to be clear: I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” he said in his opening statement before the impeachment inquiry in a closed-door session in October.
Level of Devotion to Trump
Like the other career diplomats wrapped up in the hearings, it’s minimal — though the president has yet to berate Morrison on Twitter as he has done to other officials providing testimony. Expect Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to fall back on Morrison’s above claim as evidence that vindicates the president: “Mr. Morrison’s testimony was very damaging to the Democrats’ narrative,” said Republican Mark Meadows, following the closed-door testimony before the impeachment inquiry.
His Bombshell Revelation
Proving that Trump wanted Ukraine to announce a Biden investigation prior to the release of $250 million in military aid is a cornerstone of the Democrats’ argument for impeachment; Morrison’s confirmation of that account, as provided by Bill Taylor, will help cement the claim.