Diplomats and career government officials, they’re little known outside professional circles, but they’re about to become household names testifying in the House impeachment inquiry.
The witnesses will tell House investigators — and Americans tuning into the live public hearings — what they know about President Donald Trump’s actions, including the controversial July phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that ignited the impeachment inquiry.
Trump himself has urged American voters to read the phone call transcripts, rather than listen to the witnesses — all of which are hand selected by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and the Democrats.
First up will be William Taylor, the charge d’affaires in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau, both testifying on Wednesday.
On Friday, lawmakers will hear from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Meet the Democrats’ witnesses:
WILLIAM ‘BILL’ TAYLOR
A longtime diplomat with a 50-year career of government service, Taylor returned to Ukraine this year after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked him to lead the U.S. Embassy.
The graduate of West Point and infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam had a long career working around the globe, including on Iraq reconstruction and as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006-09.
Taylor replaced Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump had just recalled
Taylor has served under every presidential administration, Republican and Democrat, since 1985, and also worked for then-Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.
More recently he was an executive vice president at the nonpartisan U.S. Institute of Peace, which was founded by former President Ronald Reagan.
The bow-tie wearing career foreign service officer speaks Ukrainian, Russian and Thai and has worked in Poland, Uzbekistan, and Bangkok. He joined the State Department in 1992.
Kent testified on Oct. 15 there were three words Trump wanted to hear from the Ukraine president: “Investigations, Biden and Clinton.”[Sponsored] The Best Fruit for Fat-Burning
Kent is a graduate of Harvard and the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies, as well as National Defense University’s Eisenhower School. He is a fan of the Red Sox.
MARIE ‘MASHA’ YOVANOVITCH
She had twice served as an ambassador — to the Kyrgyz Republic and to Armenia — before being confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in a Senate voice vote in July 2016.
She was recalled from Ukraine by Trump last spring.
Sponsored: Try To Guess: Worst Kind Of Cholesterol
She is a career diplomat having served in several top positions as a principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, a senior adviser and the dean of the language school at the Foreign Service Institute.
She is now working as a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown University.
The Associated Press contributed to this article