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Live from NPR News in Washington, I'm Jack Speer.

The second week of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into president Trump are continuing on Capitol Hill. NPR's Windsor Johnston reports lawmakers are now questioning additional witnesses as they continue to investigate whether Trump used military aid as a leverage to pressure Ukrine to dig up dirt on a political rival.

Former US special envoy to Ukrine Kurt Volker told the committee that at no time was he aware of or knowingly to pardon an effort to urge Ukrine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.

I was not on the July 25th on call between president Trump and president Zelenskyy. I was not made aware of any referrence to vice president Biden or his son by president Trump, until the transcript of that call was released on September 15th, 2019.

Lawmakers are also hearing from outgoing national security council official Tim Morrison who was on the July 25th phone call. In a close door deposition Morrison said he heard nothing illegal on the call but was concerned that they leaked there could be political fallout. Windsor Johnston NPR NEws, Washington.

But Volker did testify in hanging side issue of sin link between the withholding avid Ukrine and request for investigation of Joe Biden.

Earlier today national security council official lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman and  Jennifer Williams, an aid to vice president Mike Pence both testified. Vindman who is being viewed as a specially important witness says he is among those who listen to the July phone call in which president Trump ploted his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden. Vindman telling lawmakers he filed the cause for an investigation by the president by US embassador to EU, Gordon Sondland, were out of line.

When I report my concerns on July 10th, related to embassador Sondland, and then July 25th relating to the president, I did so out of sense of duty. I probably report my concerns in official channels to the proper authority in the chinny command. My intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country.

Republicans on the panel thought to cast doubt on Vindman's credibility and to go to demand revealing the identity of the whistleblower. In both cases prompting sharp rebukes from democrats.

Prison guards supposed to be checking on former financier Jeffrey Epstein now face federal charges. The charges againt the guards who were on duty the night the 66-year-old Epstein hung himself in his prison cell. The first to be charged in a criminal probe surrounding the incident. Epstein had been waiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Federal prosecutors say video footage shows Epstein was alone the night and killed himself. Guards were supposed to check on every half hour. Epstein's death has been ruled a suicide. Though a pathologist hired by the family said he is not convinced. He wants to see more evidence.

A mixed close on Wall Street today. The Dow was down 102 points. The NASDAQ closed up 20 points. The S&P was down a point. You are listening to NPR.

Hongkong has a new police commissioner, outgoing chief  Stephen Lo would be succeeded by a career commander Chris Tang. Most Tang in the past six months has been criticized as prodemocracy protest's become increasingly violent. NPR's Julie McCarthy has more from Hongkong.

Beijing signed off on the appointment of Chris Tang, who takes over at a time of prompting distrust of Hongkong's 3100 strong police force. It's beset with executions of brutality and abuse of power. The incoming commissioner rebutted the allegations calling them fake news. Tang called on the public not to be silent regarding the misdeeds of protesters, whatever you believe, do not glorify and put help with the violence, he said. Do not let the mob for their motivate themsleves. The once glimming images of Hongkong's police was a source of pride that the citizens said made Hongkong unique. Many are angered not just at the allegations, but by the punished reputation of the police. Julie McCarthy NPR News, HOngkong.

Amid heightened tensions in the Persian gulf, the aircarft carrier Abraham Lincoln and its strike group seal through the straight of Holmusx today. Officials say the action comes at the time of escalating tensions between the US and Iran since attacks against oil tankers this past summer. Washington has blamed Teheran for the attacks calling it part of an effort to target the global energy infrastructure. But Iran has denied those charges. The US has already deployed substantial military assets for the middle east.

Crude oil futures prices lost ground today. Oil down $1.84 a barrel to close at $55.21 a barrel in New York. I'm Jack Speer, NPR News in Washington.
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