Despite a show from the White House of refusing to cooperate with any aspects of the ongoing impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats, investigators have already accumulated a significant and growing number of cooperating witnesses. This Wednesday, they’re hearing from former top Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley, who resigned just last week. He’s set to appear privately before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, and he’s cooperating without them having to issue a subpoena for his testimony like they’ve already done in the case of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
McKinley had worked in the State Department for decades in roles like ambassador to Peru, Colombia, Afghanistan, and Brazil. He’d been serving as a top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since May 2018, and his abrupt departure — which Pompeo explained away as him simply seeking to move on to another stage of his life — came as the Ukraine scandal’s heat on the State Department intensified.
That scandal is what has sparked the impeachment inquiry, which got underway after it came out that President Donald Trump had pressured Ukraine into producing politically useful dirt on the Bidens. The scandal doesn’t end there, though, and spilled out through means like the abrupt firing of Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who the Trump team perceived as getting in the way of their efforts to get that dirt.
‘McKinley was deeply concerned with the silence in the top ranks at State in not defending former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, and it was one reason he resigned, one source told CNN.’
An anonymous former senior State Department official added to the outlet, discussing McKinley:
‘If he had encountered something either that was happening in the State Department or he felt he could no longer carry out his duties without compromising his integrity and his principles, he is somebody who would feel he had no choice but to resign.’
Congressional investigators have actually already heard from Yovanovitch, who confirmed that she was fired at President Trump’s direction over baseless allegations that she was harboring some kind of conspiratorial animosity towards the president and his cronies. McKinley may be in a position to speak about this issue, as well as others — Pompeo himself was reportedly listening into a highly scrutinized July phone conversation in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for that Biden dirt.
The scheme took many other forms, too. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had personal meetings with figures like Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak — despite the fact that Giuliani has no official role in the U.S. government whatsoever, let alone any kind of security clearance. Before all of this, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney abruptly paused (at the president’s direction) large amounts of aid that had already been approved for Ukraine but whose delay they could potentially use as leverage against the country in their quest to get that dirt.
Congress is set to hear soon from Sondland, among other witnesses that they’ve also either secured testimony from or called to come in.