House Investigators Question Kurt Volker, First Impeachment Witness

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the top House Republican, wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday requesting she “suspend” the impeachment investigation “until transparent and equitable rules and procedures are established to govern the inquiry, as is customary.”

Democrats are deviating from recent historical precedent for presidential impeachment proceedings. When the House conducted impeachment inquiries of Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, the full chamber held votes to authorize the inquiries. And the majority party established rules meant to clearly govern their work and give the president substantial due process.

This time, Ms. Pelosi and her team believe no House vote is necessary and do not intend to take one. And they have said little publicly about how they expect the investigation to play out, or what procedures will govern it. Mr. McCarthy demanded she offer an outline, and said that any deviation from past precedent would be unfair to the president and would “create a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy.”

For now, though, Democrats are pushing forward with haste, issuing near-daily requests or subpoenas for documentary evidence and witness testimony.

The session with Mr. Volker is expected to be the first in a fast-paced series of interviews in the coming weeks, when Democrats aim to bring a parade of witnesses behind closed doors for questioning. Ms. Yovanovitch is expected to appear next week.

Other State Department diplomats, including Mr. Sondland, and associates of Mr. Giuliani’s are scheduled to participate, as well, but it remains to be seen whether they will appear voluntarily. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the committee this week that its requests were inappropriately aggressive and untenable.

First, though, the Intelligence Committee will privately debrief the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, on Friday. Mr. Atkinson met with the panel once before, but he was barred from discussing a preliminary investigation he conducted to determine the credibility of the whistle-blower complaint. Now, lawmakers expect him to provide a list of which administration officials he interviewed before ultimately deeming the complaint “credible.”