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US Congress holds 2nd week of public impeachment hearings

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Jennifer Williams, adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for European and Russian affairs, and National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman are sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

More damning revelations regarding the Ukraine Scandal poured in, prompting US President Donald Trump to describe the congressional impeachment inquiry a "disgrace".

The House's impeachment inquiry into Trump's breach of trust entered its 2nd week on Tuesday with testimony from four current and former administration officials.

Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council (NSC), and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, appeared during a morning session, while in the afternoon, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison, an outgoing top Russia expert on the NSC, will answer lawmakers’ questions.

Trump said he had watched the congressional impeachment hearings on Tuesday.

He called the public hearings a "disgrace", but said it was up to Americans to make their own judgment about the witness testimony.

    Such a disgrace that the Do Nothing Democrats are doing just as their name suggests, Doing Nothing! USMCA anyone?
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2019

Vindman, who had previously been slammed by Trump on Twitter for his earlier testimony, told lawmakers during the Tuesday session that he knew that Trump's use of his leverage as the US president to push his Ukrainian counterpart to launch a criminal investigation against ex-Vice President Joe Biden was "inappropriate".

He said that he decided right after hearing Trump's "improper demands" that he would report the phone call "without hesitation".

"It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and political opponent," Vindman said in his opening remarks on the third day of public impeachment hearings.

"It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play," he added.

Williams, in her testimony, described Trump’s July phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart as unusual.

The Williams and Vindman hearing concluded after roughly 4.5 hours.

The US president is accused of withholding $400 million dollars of Congress-approved military aid to Ukraine to press Kiev to investigate his Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.

Trump has called the impeachment inquiry a witch-hunt.

Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry in September after a whistleblower revealed the Republican president had pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – a Democrat -- has described the impeachment inquiry against Trump as a "sad thing" for the country, but necessary.

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