Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik again questioned witnesses in the third installment of impeachment hearings on Tuesday, focusing on Joe Biden’s son and the United States giving aide to Ukraine.
In part one of the impeachment hearings, starting at 9 a.m. and continuing into the afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee questioned Jennifer Williams, a special advisor on foreign policy under U. S. Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert for the National Security Council.
“Today’s witnesses, like those who testified last week, are here because they were subpoenaed to appear, not because they are for or against impeachment,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in his opening statement. “That question is for Congress, not the fact witnesses.”
Mr. Vindman, who was awarded the Purple Heart, testified his concern over a recent phone call between Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. President Donald Trump. A whistleblower complaint at the heart of the inquiry calls into question whether Mr. Trump, during the call, conditioned the release of military aide to Ukraine on the country investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said she wanted to focus on the fact Ukraine has received aid from the United States and there was no investigation into the Bidens. She also said Hunter Biden has sat on the board of a company called Burisma. The owner of Burisma was the subject of an anti-corruption investigation in 2014 conducted by the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine for its questionable business dealings.
“I know my constituents in NY 21 have many concerns about the fact that Hunter Biden, the son of the vice president, sat on the board of a corrupt company like Burisma,” Ms. Stefanik said at the hearing. “The Obama administration’s state department was also concerned, and yet (House Intelligence Committee Chairman) Adam Schiff refuses to allow this committee to call Hunter Biden despite our requests.”
Ms. Stefanik then asked the witnesses if they agree Hunter Biden, by being on the board of Burisma, “has the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
“Certainly the potential, yes,” Mr. Vindman said.
“Yes,” Ms. Williams replied.
Ms. Stefanik, during her five-minute period to ask questions, also asked the witnesses if they agreed one of the reasons Mr. Zelensky was elected president was because his agenda promised to stand up to corruption. They both agreed.
“For the public listening,” Ms. Stefanik said, “we are not just talking about President Trump focusing on anti-corruption in Ukraine, but it is so critical, so important that hard-earned taxpayer dollars, when given to foreign nations, that by law, overwhelmingly bipartisan support, requires anti-corruption in Ukraine in order to get US taxpayer funded aid.”
After Ms. Stefanik finished her questioning, Congressman Eric Swalwell commented on it.
“The follow-up question my colleague from New York did not ask you but is relevant for everyone at home,” Mr. Swalwell said, “isn’t it true that the Department of Defense had certified that the anti-corruption requirements of Ukraine had been met when the hold was put on by the president?”
“That is correct,” Mr. Vindman said.
Two more witnesses were scheduled to testify at the hearing starting at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, including Kurt Volker, former envoy to Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison, director for Russia with the National Security Council.