A top US official restricted access to the summary of Donald Trump’s Ukraine call that triggered an impeachment probe, fearing it would damage the president, testimony released Saturday showed.
White House Ukraine expert Timothy Morrison told House investigators he knew immediately how sensitive the call was when he heard Trump press Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former US vice president Joe Biden.
Morrison said in his October 31 deposition that he had asked National Security Council lawyers to review the call because he thought it would be “damaging” if it leaked.
“I recommended to them that we restrict access to the package... that we did not need quite so many people to have access to the package,” said Morrison, who left the NSC a day before testifying.
The conversation, which took place on July 25 while the White House was withholding military aid to Ukraine, is central to the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. Democrats leading the probe say the call summary shows the president abused his office by bullying a vulnerable ally into interfering on his behalf in the 2020 US election.
Morrison also broke with other witnesses who have spoken out against the call, telling House investigators he heard nothing wrong.
House investigators also released testimony Saturday from Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who told lawmakers Trump’s push for Ukraine to open investigations was “unusual and inappropriate.”