Official Breaks With White House, Will Testify in Impeachment Probe

WASHINGTON (CN) – Breaking from Trump’s orders to not comply with the impeachment inquiry, White House budget official Mark Sandy indicated Thursday he will testify before the House Intelligence Committee at a closed hearing on Saturday.

Unlike many officials who seemingly continue to abide by White House instructions to ignore congressional subpoenas related to the president’s Ukraine dealings, the former acting director of the Office of Budget and Management is reportedly expected to testify.

“If he is subpoenaed, he will appear,” said Sandy’s attorney Barbara “Biz” Van Gelder on Thursday.

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 6, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After weeks of closed-door sessions that featured prominent former U.S. ambassadors and other officials, public hearings kicked off on Wednesday.

About $400 million in U.S. aid for Ukraine was put on hold this year and, as the agency’s current associate director for national security programs, Sandy may be able to tell Congress why Trump withheld those funds.

That question is the crux of the inquiry, which focuses on whether the president illegally pushed Ukraine officials to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid.

Sandy’s testimony will mark the first in this case derived from a White House budget official. The testimony, however, is not expected to be a public one.

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post by Trump in May, is expected on Friday to expand on her closed-door deposition that took place last month. There, she told lawmakers that there was a “concerted campaign” against her by Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Eight more witnesses will testify next week during open hearings, including; National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Fiona Hill, former Russia adviser to the White House.

Hill previously told lawmakers about former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s concerns about Ukraine and his attempt to dissasociate himself from an effort to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating the Bidens.

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