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Impeachment Inquiry: Witness Testimonies Continue This Week


We're going to start the program today with a look at what's expected this week in the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump. More witnesses have been called to tell lawmakers about the circumstances under which U.S. military assistance to Ukraine was held up. But will they show up? And what might we learn from them? Joining us for a preview is NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales.

Claudia, thanks so much for joining us.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: So who's being deposed this week?

GRISALES: So we're going to see officials with the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House National Security Council who are expected to testify behind closed doors. And one of the key witnesses this week includes William Taylor. He's the top U.S. diplomat in that country who voiced concerns about whether Trump allies pressured Ukrainians to find dirt on the current 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. And Democrats say these witnesses are corroborating these claims, and Taylor could add more to that this week.

MARTIN: So are there any others coming in? And what do we know about them?

GRISALES: Yes, there are other officials from various departments. We're less familiar with them. They include Phil Reeker, the acting top official at the State Department for European and Eurasian affairs. And he's slated to come in Wednesday. He's also a former State Department spokesman from the early 2000s. Also that day, Michael Duffy is expected to testify. He's the associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget. And then on Thursday, we expect two Pentagon officials to appear. An official familiar with the impeachment inquiry told NPR that the House committees are in ongoing discussions with additional witnesses, and they could appear as well next week.

MARTIN: Do we have any sense of when we're going to learn what these witnesses are saying? I mean, Republicans and the people who are allied with them are continuing to complain about the fact that these are happening behind closed doors, that these are closed sessions. So when might we learn what these witnesses are saying?

GRISALES: Well, we probably will see a repeat of what we've seen in recent weeks, which is a lot of this information is being released through congressional Democrats. And, like you mentioned, these Republicans have complained that this doesn't paint a complete picture of what is being presented in testimony. But it gives us some hints as to what that testimony will look like. We'll get it on a daily basis after every witness appears. Eventually, we're being told, these transcripts will be released. More of this inquiry will move into a public phase. But for now, it's going to be kind of these snippets that we're getting.

And in terms of timing, many Democrats have said they'd like to see this inquiry wrapped up by year's end. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his caucus that the impeachment trial could wrap up this year, that the House could end its inquiry by Thanksgiving. However, we should note that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday waved off that prediction and said the timeline will depend on the truth line.

MARTIN: That was NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales.

Claudia, thanks so much for joining us.

GRISALES: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
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