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Impeachment investigators slate open hearings for 8 more witnesses next week

(CNN) The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday announced it will hear publicly from eight witnesses over three days next week, in another sign Democrats are pushing to complete their impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump before the end of the year.

The Intelligence panel announced it would hold five impeachment hearings next week over three days, all for officials who have already appeared for closed-door depositions:

  • Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council aide next Tuesday morning
  • Kurt Volker, the former US special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a National Security Council aide, next Tuesday afternoon
  • US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on the morning of November 20
  • Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense and David Hale, the under secretary of State for political affairs, on the afternoon of November 20
  • Former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill on the morning of November 21

The hearing schedule released Tuesday shows that the House will hear publicly from at least 11 of the 15 witnesses who appeared for closed-door depositions over the past five weeks.

The hearing list includes three witnesses who were requested by Republicans: Volker, Morrison and Hale.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, did not accept other witnesses requested by the GOP, including the whistleblower and former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter. The committee said in a statement it "accepted all of the Minority requests that are within the scope of the impeachment inquiry."

The division of the witnesses provides clues to how Democrats think the various officials fit together in the broader narrative they're trying to create about Trump's actions related to Ukraine. Sondland's solo testimony underscores that Democrats want him to clarify his previous testimony related to what Trump told him about Ukraine, which has been contradicted by others, including US diplomat Bill Taylor, who is testifying publicly on Wednesday.

The fact that the potential final day of public hearings features just Hill shows how strong a witness Democrats think she will be. In the closed-door deposition, Hill told lawmakers that former national security adviser John Bolton has described Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's work with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine as a "drug deal," and said she heard Sondland telling Ukrainian officials that a one-on-one meeting was contingent on opening investigations into the Bidens and alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 US election.

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