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Career diplomat to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry after explosive appearance by ex-adviser

George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Meets with Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister and Olena Zerkal, Dec 3, 2018 (U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A long-time U.S. diplomat is set to appear in the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump a day after his former adviser on Russia reportedly testified to seeing “wrongdoing” in policy toward Ukraine.

George Kent, who has fought corruption in Ukraine and elsewhere, is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on October 15 in the probe focused on a July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

During the call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr on probing Biden and his son, Hunter, for alleged corruption.

Kent’s testimony comes after Fiona Hill, former senior director for European and Russian Affairs on Trump’s National Security Council, spent all day in Washington answering questions on whether Trump had abused his power during the July 25 call.

CNN and the New York Times, quoted sources with knowledge of Hill’s testimony as saying she “saw wrongdoing related to the Ukraine policy and reported it.”

One explosive detail to emerge from the sources was that Hill told the committees that former national-security adviser John Bolton warned that Giuliani — Trump’s personal attorney — was a “hand grenade” who was “going to blow everybody up,” the sources said.

According to Hill, Bolton characterized the actions taken by people around Trump as being like “a drug deal.”

One of those reportedly mentioned by Hill is Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who has been subpoenaed to appear in front of the committees on October 17 after the Trump administration blocked him from appearing voluntarily on October 8.

Trump has insisted there was nothing inappropriately said in his July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy.

At the time of the phone call, Trump was withholding $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that was intended to help Kyiv fight Russia-backed separatists in the two easternmost regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Giuliani faces an October 15 deadline to produce documents related to Ukraine that Congress has subpoenaed. Not a member of the Trump administration, the former two-term mayor of New York has not said whether he will comply.

He has described his actions as appropriate and beyond reproach.

On October 16, Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s senior adviser, will voluntarily be deposed in a transcribed interview.

Reuters reported that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper would be interviewed on October 18 by the House Intelligence Committee and two others in closed sessions.