House Democrats Release Impeachment Testimony of Top State Dept. Official

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent leaves Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, after testifying before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

House Democrats on Thursday published the testimony of top State Department official George Kent as part of their partisan impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Kent, who serves as the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, testified before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees on October 15, and is scheduled to publically testify on Wednesday. William Taylor, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, is also slated to testify on the same day.

According to Kent’s newly-released transcript, the State Department official told congressional investigators that, akin to former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch, he was worried that “the U.S. Government chose to move an ambassador based, as best she [can] tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives, at an especially challenging time in our bilateral [relations] with a newly elected Ukrainian President.”

“Potus wanted nothing less than President Zelenskiy to go to the microphone and say investigations, Biden and Clinton,” Kent testified.

“That was the message. … Zelenskiy needed to go to a microphone and basically there needed to be three words in the message, and that was the shorthand,” he said.

Kent told investigators that that was his understanding of what Trump wanted Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to say in public, based on conversations relayed to him by others in the administration who were in contact with Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Clinton, he clarified, was “shorthand” for the 2016 election. It was a reference to Trump’s view, pushed by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani but outside of mainstream U.S. intelligence, that Ukraine played a role interfering in the U.S. presidential election.

House investigators are releasing key transcripts from hours of closed-door interviews in the impeachment inquiry as they prepare for public sessions with witnesses next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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