Teresa Hanafin writes Fast Forward for the Boston Globe:

Today’s witnesses giving depositions to the three House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry are two State Department diplomats who are experts on Ukraine: Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson. They both worked as deputies to Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine.

Both were considered stars in the department, deeply familiar with Ukraine and “steeped in the policy issues,” as one department official put it. Both have served under Republican and Democratic administrations.

In her opening statement, Croft says that when she was the Ukraine director on the National Security Council, she got several calls from a lobbyist, Robert Livingston,pushing for the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the US ambassador to Ukraine at the time. Croft says she wasn’t sure on whose behalf Livingston was advocating: A Ukraine politician he used to represent, or Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer with whom Livingston also had contacts. (Remember, Giuliani was trying to get rid of Yovanovitch because she wouldn’t go along with his off-the-books, rogue operation to dirty up the Bidens.)

Croft also says that she was on the July 18 video conference call in which a budget official announced that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had put an “informal hold” on critical Ukraine military assistance at Trump’s direction — a statement that astonished William Taylor, another Ukraine envoy who also was on that call.

Anderson will tell lawmakers of another astonishing episode: That Trump blocked a State Department statement last November condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine after Russia had seized three Ukrainian navy ships in the Sea of Azov and detained 24 Ukrainian sailors. We don’t want to upset Putie!