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The Latest: Vindman speaks to late father during hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

A White House aide says that he recognizes that what he is doing — testifying before Congress — would not be tolerated in many other countries.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman says in Russia, for example, his “act of expressing my concerns to the chain of command in an official and private channel” would have cost him his life.

Vindman, dressed in uniform, testified that he felt Trump’s request on a July 25 call to a new Ukrainian leader to investigate a political rival was “improper.”

The U.S. Army official is an immigrant from Ukraine. He said that he is grateful his father came to the United States some 40 years ago, a place “where I can live free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.”

He then spoke to his late father, saying “Dad, my sitting here today … is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union.”

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9:38 a.m.

A White House aide tells lawmakers that what he heard on a July phone call between President Donald Trump and the new Ukrainian president was “improper.”

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is testifying Tuesday in a public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rivals as he withheld aid to the East European nation.

Vindman is a U.S. Army officer detailed to the National Security Council. He listened in on the July 25 call at the center of the impeachment inquiry. Trump asked the new Ukrainian president to look into whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and wanted the country to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Vindman said it was “improper” for Trump to demand a foreign government investigative a U.S. citizen and political opponent.

Vindman is one of several witnesses coming before the committee this week. He and the other witnesses have already testified behind closed doors.

Trump has denied doing anything wrong.

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9:30 a.m.

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is blaming the media for the impeachment drive against President Donald Trump.

Devin Nunes spent his opening statement at the third day of impeachment hearings excoriating journalists, saying “the media of course are free to act as Democratic puppets … at the direction of their puppet masters.”

Absent from Nunes opening remarks Tuesday was any significant defense of Trump as he faces the starkest test of his presidency. The Democratic-led House is investigating his pressure campaign against Ukraine to open a probe into Joe Biden and his son.

At the center of the impeachment drive is Trump’s July 25th call to Ukraine’s president, when he mentioned Biden and a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

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9:15 a.m.

The twin brother of a U.S. Army officer and White House aide is in the House intelligence hearing to support his appearance at the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is testifying Tuesday publicly on what he heard on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s new leader.

Vindman told his twin brother Yevgeny about the call and his concerns about it. His brother sat behind him Tuesday in the hearing room. Yevgeny Vindman is also a U.S. Army official who is an attorney in the White House.

The House intelligence panel is holding public hearings into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rivals while also withholding aid to the Eastern European nation.

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9:05 a.m.

An adviser to Vice President Mike Pence says she found a July phone call between President Donald Trump and the Ukraine leader “unusual” since it “involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”

Jennifer Williams was at the witness table Tuesday as the House intelligence public hearing got underway. The House impeachment inquiry is looking into the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine.

She listened to the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. She says that after the call, she provided an update in the vice president’s daily briefing book indicating that the conversation had taken place.

Williams says she did not discuss the call with Pence or any of her colleagues in the office of the vice president or the National Security Council.

The House intelligence panel is holding public hearings into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rivals while also withholding aid to the Eastern European nation.

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9:05 a.m.

An adviser to Vice President Mike Pence says she was told that White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had directed that a hold on military aid to Ukraine should remain in place.

Jennifer Williams is testifying Tuesday in the House impeachment inquiry into the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine.

Williams says she attended meetings earlier this year in which the hold on Ukraine security assistance was discussed.

She says representatives of the State and Defense departments advocated that the hold on the aid should be lifted, and that budget officials said that Mulvaney had directed that it remain in place.

Williams says she learned on Sept. 11 that the hold had been lifted. She says she’s never learned what prompted that decision.

The House intelligence panel is conducting public hearings into President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, while also withholding security aid to the Eastern European nation.

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8:47 a.m.

Key impeachment witnesses Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and adviser Jennifer Williams have arrived for their testimony at a House intelligence panel hearing. They are the Tuesday morning witnesses in a critical week of public hearings against President Donald Trump.

Vindman was wearing his dress uniform. Both Vindman and Williams, a State department employee deployed to Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, listened in on the key July 25 call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.

On the call, Trump prodded the Ukraine leader to do him a “favor” and launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son while crucial aid to Ukraine was being held up on his orders.

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12:05 a.m.

Two top national security aides who listened to President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine are scheduled to testify in the impeachment hearings, launching back-to-back sessions as Americans hear from those closest to the White House.

An Army officer at the National Security Council, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and his counterpart at Vice President Mike Pence’s office, Jennifer Williams, both had concerns as Trump spoke on July 25 with the newly elected Ukraine president about political investigations into Joe Biden.

They are set to testify publicly Tuesday morning. In the afternoon, the House will hear from former NSC official Timothy Morrison and the former Ukraine special envoy, Kurt Volker.

In all, nine witnesses are testifying in a pivotal week as the House’s historic impeachment inquiry accelerates and deepens.

Associated Press

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