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The Latest: Pence aide found July 25 Trump call ‘unusual’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine (all times local): 9:05 a.m. An adviser to Vice President Mike Pence says she found a July phone call between President Donald Trump and the Ukraine leader “unusual” since it “involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”

Jennifer Williams was at the witness table Tuesday as the House intelligence public hearing got underway. The House impeachment inquiry is looking into the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine.

She listened to the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. She says that after the call, she provided an update in the vice president’s daily briefing book indicating that the conversation had taken place.

Williams says she did not discuss the call with Pence or any of her colleagues in the office of the vice president or the National Security Council. The House intelligence panel is holding public hearings into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rivals while also withholding aid to the Eastern European nation.

__ 9:05 a.m. An adviser to Vice President Mike Pence says she was told that White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had directed that a hold on military aid to Ukraine should remain in place. Jennifer Williams is testifying Tuesday in the House impeachment inquiry into the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine.

Williams says she attended meetings earlier this year in which the hold on Ukraine security assistance was discussed. She says representatives of the State and Defense departments advocated that the hold on the aid should be lifted, and that budget officials said that Mulvaney had directed that it remain in place.

Williams says she learned on Sept. 11 that the hold had been lifted. She says she’s never learned what prompted that decision. The House intelligence panel is conducting public hearings into President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, while also withholding security aid to the Eastern European nation.

__ 8:47 a.m. Key impeachment witnesses Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and adviser Jennifer Williams have arrived for their testimony at a House intelligence panel hearing. They are the Tuesday morning witnesses in a critical week of public hearings against President Donald Trump.

Vindman was wearing his dress uniform. Both Vindman and Williams, a State department employee deployed to Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, listened in on the key July 25 call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.

On the call, Trump prodded the Ukraine leader to do him the a “favor” and launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son while crucial aid to Ukraine was being held up on his orders.

12:05 a.m.

Two top national security aides who listened to President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine are scheduled to testify in the impeachment hearings, launching back-to-back sessions as Americans hear from those closest to the White House.

An Army officer at the National Security Council, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and his counterpart at Vice President Mike Pence’s office, Jennifer Williams, both had concerns as Trump spoke on July 25 with the newly elected Ukraine president about political investigations into Joe Biden.

They are set to testify publicly Tuesday morning. In the afternoon, the House will hear from former NSC official Timothy Morrison and the former Ukraine special envoy, Kurt Volker.

In all, nine witnesses are testifying in a pivotal week as the House’s historic impeachment inquiry accelerates and deepens.

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