Pence aide who testified during impeachment inquiry requests early departure

Jennifer Williams, a foreign service officer and aide to Vice President Pence who testified in the House impeachment inquiry, has asked to leave her post early.

Politico reported Thursday that Williams, who is on detail from the State Department, plans to leave her position in Pence’s office early in order to join Central Command.

Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short subsequently told The Hill in a statement that Williams had requested an early departure from her role, set to end in March, and that the office is “evaluating her request.”

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“Jennifer Williams, a State Department employee detailed to the Vice President’s office, requested in writing an early departure. Ms. Williams’ original scheduled departure date was the end of March,” Short said. “The Office of the Vice President is evaluating her request.”

The vice president’s office did not immediately respond to a question about when the office would conclude its evaluation of her request or where Williams planned to go.

According to Politico, Williams is expected to leave her position on Monday to join Central Command as a foreign policy adviser working on Middle East policy issues, beginning in the spring.

Williams testified both privately and publicly in connection with the House impeachment inquiry. She was among a handful of officials who listened in on President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats outraged over White House lawyer’s claim that some foreign involvement in elections is acceptable Senators take reins of impeachment trial in marathon question session White House announces task force to monitor coronavirus MORE’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and testified that she believed it to be “unusual and inappropriate.”

Trump criticized Williams on Twitter in November after a transcript of her closed-door testimony was released, calling her and other witnesses “Never Trumpers” and suggesting her testimony was meant as an “attack” against him.

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong on the phone call with Zelensky, during which he asked Ukraine to investigate a debunked theory about Kyiv’s alleged 2016 election interference and the Biden family, and has called the interaction “perfect.”

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Williams also provided classified evidence for senators to review in the impeachment trial. The evidence was related to a phone call between Pence and Zelensky a week before the Ukrainian leader met Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSenators take reins of impeachment trial in marathon question session How low will the president go? Live coverage: Senators query impeachment managers, Trump defense MORE (D-Calif.) asked Pence to declassify the evidence but said that he refused on the basis that it is classified.

Schiff brought up the issue during Thursday’s proceedings in the Senate impeachment trial, suggesting that Pence was suppressing evidence.

News of Williams’s resignation comes as the Senate considers the impeachment articles approved by the House accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Senators on Thursday entered their second day of asking questions to the president’s legal team and House impeachment managers. The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, is widely expected to acquit Trump at the conclusion of the trial. 

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