Former senior National Security Council (NSC) official Tim Morrison confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he did not think President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July was illegal.
Morrison was testifying alongside former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker in the fourth public hearing before the House Intelligence Committee in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Both witnesses had already given closed-door depositions; their testimony had been so favorable to the president that Republicans asked committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to invite them back. Though Schiff could have vetoed the request, the fact that he himself had called them in for earlier testimony made that politically difficult, and so he acceded to the GOP’s request.
When Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman asked Morrison, “you indicated in your opening statement or at least from your deposition that you went to [NSC counsel] Mr. [John] Eisenberg out of concern over the potential political fallout if the call record became public and not because you thought it was illegal,” Morrison replied: “Correct.”
Goldman then asked whether “asking a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival is inappropriate.” Morrison deflected the question somewhat, saying it was not recommended.
(In his deposition, Morrison testified — much to Schiff’s apparent annoyance — that he did not even interpret the Ukraine call as particularly political.)
Morrison also confirmed that the transcript of the Ukraine call had been placed on a more secure server by mistake — not because of an attempted cover-up.
Asked by Republicans whether either of them had seen anything resembling bribery or extortion, both said no.
Morrison also added, in response to Republican counsel Stephen Castor, later that he had no concerns about the call.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.