A top White House budget official arrived in the Capitol on Saturday morning to testify privately in the Democrats’ swift-moving impeachment investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump opens new line of impeachment attack for Democrats Bloomberg to spend 0M on anti-Trump ads in battleground states New witness claims first-hand account of Trump’s push for Ukraine probes MORE‘s handling of foreign policy in Ukraine.
Mark Sandy, a senior official at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is expected to lend new insights into Trump’s decision to freeze almost $400 million in U.S. aid to Kyiv over the summer as he was simultaneously pressing Ukrainian leaders to open investigations that might help the president politically.
The White House has sought to prevent administration officials from cooperating in the impeachment investigation, which it deems invalid. Sandy is the latest in a long list of officials to defy that blockade and agree to be interviewed under a Democratic subpoena.
Sandy entered the Capitol at roughly 9:45 a.m. and was escorted into the secure room, three floors below ground, where staffers of three House committees — Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs — have been conducting their private depositions since Oct. 3.
He did not comment as he passed a crowd of reporters and a bank of TV cameras.
He will not be delivering an opening statement, his lawyer Barbara Van Gelder said Saturday morning.
Sandy’s name has popped up in previous depositions in reference to his role in freezing the aid to Ukraine in July. Laura Cooper, a senior Pentagon official overseeing Ukraine, testified last month that it was Sandy’s signature that appeared on the official memo imposing the hold.
The private deposition process is far different from the open hearings Democrats launched this week, featuring public testimony from some of the key witnesses who had previously appeared behind closed doors. Three of those witnesses have appeared so far: top diplomats William Taylor, George Kent and Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchFox Business host lashes out at ‘big dumb baby’ Trump for attacking Yovanovitch during impeachment hearing Trump opens new line of impeachment attack for Democrats New witness claims first-hand account of Trump’s push for Ukraine probes MORE. Eight others are expected to testify publicly next week.
Sandy’s appearance makes him the 17th witness to be deposed in private.