Tim Morrison, a senior National Security Council official, is set to step down amid an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, it has been confirmed.
Earlier reports on Wednesday had signaled the move, citing anonymous sources. In a statement Thursday, Morrison, the senior director for European affairs at the White House and the NSC, confirmed that he would leave the NSC. He distanced the move from his scheduled testimony on the same day with House impeachment investigators.
“After 19 years of government service, I have decided to leave the NSC,” he said in his opening statement to impeachment committees obtained by CBS News. “I have not submitted a formal resignation at this time because I do not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure. I plan to finalize my transition from the NSC after my testimony is complete.”
“During my time in public service, I have worked with some of the smartest and most self-sacrificing people in this country. Serving at the White House in this time of unprecedented global change has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump Administration to accomplish,” he added.
Morrison was among those who listened in on Trumps July 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. The call is the focus of a Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into Trump.
In Morrisons testimony on Thursday, he told House lawmakers conducting the impeachment inquiry that he thought there was nothing illegal in Trumps request for Zelensky to investigate the Bidens involvement in the 2016 firing of a top Ukrainian prosecutor, Victor Shokin.
“I want to be clear. I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” he said.
Late Thursday, Trump wrote to Twitter regarding Morrisons comment: “But the Crooked Democrats dont want people to know this! Thank you to Tim Morrison for your honesty.”
But the Crooked Democrats dont want people to know this! Thank you to Tim Morrison for your honesty. https://t.co/1AxrArFJ6c
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sept. 24 announced the impeachment inquiry into Trump, when she alleged that Trump “seriously violated the Constitution.” At the time, she had not yet read the transcript of the phone call, which was released by the White House on Sept. 25.
House Democrats havent specified what crime they believe Trump committed in his request to Zelensky.
The origin of the impeachment inquiry traces back to an anonymous person who, on Aug. 12, filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG). A redacted version of what is now commonly referred to as the “whistleblower complaint” was made public on Sept. 26, wherein the person accused Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country,” which may have constituted a campaign finance violation. The Justice Department