A senior National Security Council (NSC) official and John Bolton ally who resigned ahead of today’s testimony with House impeachment investigators reportedly witnessed Trump ally Gordon Sondland convey a quid pro quo arrangement whereby nearly $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine in exchange hinged upon investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The former official, Tim Morrison, was named during testimony earlier this month by William Taylor, Trump’s top envoy to Ukraine, according to Politico. He was on the July 25 phone call during which President Trump requested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, and is the second person who was on that call to testify in front of House Democrats.
Taylor also testified that following the call, Morrison informed him it “could have gone better,” and that Trump suggested Zelensky and his staff meet with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr.
Morrison’s hawkish views align with those of Bolton and he has been described as a creature of process by some close to him.
Bolton always told those who worked for him that process was their protector and sometimes you have to listen to the person elected — advice Morrison adopted, sources said.
Morrison is a lifelong Republican described as a Reaganite and is referred to as “‘Bolton’s Bolton,’ he is really hard right,” according to one source familiar with Morrison. –CNN
According to CNN, “Morrison is expected to corroborate key elements of a top US diplomat’s [Taylor’s] account that Trump pressed for Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, using military aid the country sought to fight back against Russian aggression as leverage.”
It is unknown whether Morrison will say if there was a quid pro quo if asked by congressional investigators during today’s testimony.
But Morrison will be asked to detail what he meant when he told Taylor, according to Taylor’s testimony, that he had a “sinking feeling” after learning about a conversation between Trump and Sondland. During that conversation Trump said he was not asking for a “quid pro quo” but he still “insisted” that Zelensky “go to a microphone” to announce investigations into Biden and 2016 election interference. –CNN
According to CNN, Morrison is also expected to “paint a picture of the NSC keeping the train on the tracks and not carrying out any illegal actions.”
“The NSC process does not allow anything that isn’t legal. It just, it would never get to the President. Certainly not any process that Tim was ever a part of,” said one source close to Morrison. “A piece of paper does not get to the national security adviser without first going through the lawyers, much less to the President.”
Taylor also described a conversation in which Morrison relayed word from Sondland that Trump had told Sondland directly that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky should publicly announce the investigations.
House impeachment investigators are exploring whether Trump conditioned nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine — and a White House visit for Zelensky — on Ukraine’s willingness to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Taylor told lawmakers that Morrison relayed concerns about Trump’s posture toward Ukraine to then-national security adviser John Bolton and to NSC lawyers. –Politico
“After more than a year of service at the National Security Council, Mr. Morrison has decided to pursue other opportunities — and has been considering doing so for some time. We wish him well,” said a senior administration official of Morrison – who had been expected to leave the NSC for some time to pursue work in the private sector. That said, the timing of his departure so close to his testimony was notable according to two people familiar with his plans.