Former US National Security Council's Russia and Europe director, Tim Morrison, has testified that US President Donald Trump and then-national security adviser, John Bolton had a private meeting in August on the issue of security aid to Ukraine, according to a transcript of the testimony that was released on Saturday, reported the New York Times.
"The President was not yet ready to approve the release of the assistance," Morrison said of the "one-on-one meeting" between Trump and Bolton.
“The extent of my recollection is that Ambassador Bolton simply said he wasn’t ready to do it,” the NSC official who has since departed the agency added.
Former National security adviser John Bolton departed the White House in September, with his name coming up in the testimony of several other impeachment inquiry witnesses.
The Democrats have invited Bolton to testify, but declined to subpoena him.
Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, recently wrote in a letter to House General Counsel Douglas Letter that Bolton knew about "many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in a statement said Morrison had also told congressional investigators that after a 1 September meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Vice President Mike Pence, US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had informed a top Ukrainian President aide that "American military aid was conditioned on the investigations" that could benefit Trump politically.
Tim Morrison also said he did not hear anything illegal during President Trump's call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the released transcript of his testimony.
Morrison, the former US National Security Council's Russia and Europe director, gave his testimony during a closed hearing on 31 October before the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, Oversight and Reform Committee, and Foreign Affairs Committee as part of the House's impeachment inquiry launched by the Democrats into President Trump over his dealings with Ukraine.
"I also reviewed the memorandum of conversation of the July 25 phone call that was released by the White House ... I want to be clear: I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed," Morrison said, according to the document.
First public impeachment hearing in 20 years
The public hearings, carried out as part of the impeachment probe launched by House Democrats in September, kicked off last week, with Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent and Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifying.
US House Democrats launched an impeachment probe into the US President on 24 September, following a complaint by an alleged intelligence community whistleblower that claimed Donald Trump might have committed an abuse of power by allegedly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate potential corrupt activities by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter during a phone conversation that took place on 25 July.
The Bidens dismissed Trump’s allegations as unfounded, while the US President denied any wrongdoing and insists that the phone call with his foreign counterpart was "perfect."
He dubbed the impeachment process a new stage of “witch hunt garbage” aimed at discrediting him ahead of the 2020 elections.