The public spectacle unfurled during day three of the democrat faux impeachment proceedings. Schiff’s, cloaked in a basement dry run, produced a witness lineup broken into sessions in the morning and late afternoon. These included the following: Jennifer Williams, a Russia adviser for Vice President Mike Pence, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, Kurt Volker, the former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine, and Tim Morrison,who briefly served as the National Security Council’s top official for Europe and Russia.
By the close of the day’s marathon testimonies, There would be no bombshell headlines quoting witnesses using the words bribery, illegal, or even the phrase quid pro quo. The best the media could hype was to report that Vindman ” felt ” the president had been inappropriate in his July call with the Ukrainian president. The Associated Press headline revealed the total lack of evidence against the president presented by witnesses and instead chose to highlight what they deemed as GOP behaviors towards Schiff’s star witness seated behind the microphone in military regalia. It read, “Republicans assail security aid who reported Trump call.” Apparently, stating factual background about Vindman and asking pertinent questions about his testimony is according to AP a vigorous attack.
So just to recap, five witness open testimonies to date and over 3500 pages of transcripts from closed hearings, and still, the Lion cannot produce one witness to use the word bribery, except one witness in the basement inquisition who was describing the conduct of Vice President Biden. Taylor, Kent, Yovanovitch, Williams, and Vindman denied under oath that they had any evidence of the president committing illegal acts, bribery, or quid pro quo at any time on any matter.
But Lion’s role is to convince the crowd gathered for the slaughter that the prey deserves devouring, so Chairman Schiff ‘s opening statement was as expected a complete fabrication. Yes, He lied, Again. He falsely claimed Vindman stated he thought the president might have broken the law. “Lt. Col. Vindman feared that the president had broken the law, potentially,” Schiff told the committee. However, Vindman did not give that testimony behind closed doors in October or at Tuesday’s public hearing. In October, when explicitly asked if he thought the president’s actions were illegal, Vindman said,” “I wasn’t prepared to necessarily make that kind of judgment. I thought it was troubling and disturbing, but, you know, I guess, I guess I couldn’t say whether it was illegal. I’m not an attorney.” When asked in the open hearing, he stated he did not claim Trump had done something illegal. So what did we learn from Vindman’s testimony?
Vindman is a “real “patriot. No, that is how he distinguished himself in his opening remarks and telling us his father was worried his son was going up against the most powerful man in the world. One might assume this entry in his opening was in collusion with the Democrats on the committee after Rep. Maloney prompted Vindman to re-read the message for his father that he shared in his opening statement. The crowd swooned on cue as he delivered, saying his father was “deeply worried” about him testifying about the president, but “this is America … and here, right matters.” Vindman also wanted to share he has an identical twin brother who works at the NSC as an ethics lawyer. Their family immigrated when they were toddlers from where you ask? Ukraine!
The twins joined the US Army, and Vindman received the Purple Heart for his heroic service in Iraq. Vindman interrupted Rep. Nunez, correcting him demanding he is addressed by his full military rank while seemingly having no issue when democrats referred to him as Mr. rather than Lt. Col Vindman. When questioned on his closed-door testimony, he became belligerent but reluctantly affirmed that testimony by reiterating a resentment on his part for having his talking points not used by the president. He came off as arrogant when stating that interagency consensus by bureaucrats set foreign policy, and the president was not following the Ukraine objectives set forth. Vindman also confirmed the transcript released by the President is accurate.
There were bombshells in Vindman’s testimony just none the democrat/media wanted you to focus on. GOP lawyer, Castor confirmed Vindman had been in Ukraine to attend the Inaugural and then had the following exchange:
“At any point during that trip did Mr. Danylyuk offer you a position of defense minister with the Ukrainian government?” the Republican counsel Steve Castor asked Vindman.
“He did,” Vindman said.
“And how many times did he do that?” Castor asked.
“I believe it was three times,” Vindman.
“And do you have any reason why he asked you to do that?” Castor asked.
“No, I don’t know, but every single time I dismissed it, upon returning, I notified my chain of command and appropriate counterintelligence folks about the offer,” Vindman said.
“That was a big honor, correct?” Castor asked.
Vindman, who immigrated from Ukraine to America as a child, responded:
I think it would be a great honor, and frankly, I’m aware of service members that have left service to help nurture the developing democracies in that part of the world.
But, he added, “I’m an American, I came here as a toddler and immediately dismissed these offers, I did not entertain them.”
He called the notion “comical,” since he was just a lieutenant colonel, and he said he did not leave the door open at all.
“These are honorable people, and I’m not sure if he meant it as a joke or not,” he said.
Yes, not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions, Vindman was approached to consider becoming the head of the Ukrainian Military … let that sink in. He also admitted to making up elements about the July 25th call when he reported it to legal counsel in an official summary. Vindman clarified that the president did not bring up the topic rooting out corruption during the phone call, but he included it in his summary of the call anyway. When asked by the Democrat counsel about whether the summary he wrote was false, Vindman hesitated.“That’s not entirely accurate, but I’m not sure I would describe it as false, it was consistent with U.S. policy,” he said. Vindman said he included the rhetoric about corruption as a “messaging platform” to describe U.S. policy toward Ukraine, even though it was not discussed on the call.
He additionally appears to have outed himself as the conduit to the whistleblower, creating tense moments when Schiff jumped in to stop Nunez’s line of questioning as Vindman offered up he spoke with two individuals about the call and one was from the CIA. Schiff controlled Vindman’s response refusing to allow him to tell Nunez which interagency the individual belonged. Vindman agreed with previous witness testimonies that Ukraine has benefited more under Trump’s tenure than previously, and military aid was a key component of that change. When questioned, he seemed to give credence to some of Trump’s concerns, “As far as I can tell, he didn’t seem to be [qualified],” the lieutenant colonel said when asked about the younger Biden’s role. Finally, this, Vindman: “I’ve never had any contact with POTUS.”
Did the Lion have a bad day? I offer this clue.
MSNBC’s Ari Melber had to invent the following, “the most devastating we’ve seen in a public hearing to date” and falsely claimed that the witness “saw a bribery plot,” even though Vindman explicitly denied that during Tuesday’s public impeachment hearing.
Rep. Ratcliffe’s exchanges:
“I word searched each of your transcripts, and the world bribery or bribe doesn’t appear anywhere,” he continued. “Miss Williams, you’ve never used the word bribery or bribe to discuss president Trump’s conduct, correct?”
“Correct,” Williams said.
“Colonel Vindman, you haven’t either?” Ratcliffe said.
“That’s correct,” Vindman said.
What of the other three witnesses dragged into the arena, you ask? Williams was an afterthought in the proceedings based on what she said. However, the media talking point is both she and Vindman were “damning.” Williams weaved her bona fides in her opening statement identifying former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as her hero. She simply reviewed her closed deposition given under a subpoena. She tentatively scheduled VP Pence to attend Zelensky’s Inaugural, and then Trump decided Pence would not attend she testified. Williams was on the July call and stated she felt it was an unusual call related to domestic politics being discussed. When asked to be more specific and it was pointed out to her that the reference to election interference was in 2016 and not related to 2020, she conceded she had the 2020 election in her mind at the time of hearing the call and may have confused what the president meant. She went on to confirm the OMB held up the funds and then released funds, but she had no reason to give for what prompted either act. VP Pence did travel to meet Zelensky in August, and Williams confirmed, During the September 1st meeting, neither the Vice President nor President Zelensky mentioned the specific investigations discussed during the July 25th call.
“I was never asked to do anything that I thought was wrong” by President Trump, Morrison told lawmakers in an October 3rd closed deposition. Tuesday, he was emphatic again saying the same. “I left the NSC completely of my own volition. I felt no pressure to resign, nor have I feared any retaliation for my testimony.” “I feared at the time of the call on July 25 how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate,” Tim Morrison, a former White House official who served on the National Security Council, says. “My fears have been realized.”
Rep. Mark Meadows comments, “Timothy Morrison told us, in his deposition, he was worried the Trump/Zelensky phone call would be leaked from the inside and used by Washington, D.C. insiders for nefarious, unfair political purposes.” He stated he viewed the transcript from the President / Zelensky call as “complete and accurate.” he went on to state, “there was no malicious intent in placing the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call into a secret server. Vindman was upset he was cut out from some matters regarding Ukraine.” Morrison shared he felt Vindman did not follow the chain of command and expressed no concerns to him related to phone call despite being Vindman’s boss. Morrison described concerns about Vindman possibly leaking to the media and that Fiona Hill confided in him she had concerns about Vindman’s judgment.
Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker’s opening statement: “At no time was I aware of or knowingly took part in an effort to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden.” Volker’s statement says that at the time, he drew “a sharp distinction” between investigating Burisma (fine) and investigating Biden (“unacceptable”). Former U.S. Volker, when directly asked, stated, “No sir, none of my actions or what I witnessed amounted to quid pro quo, bribery or extortion. Volker said when he spoke to Zelensky, he mentioned corruption in general, rather than specifically discussing the Biden family or Burisma. Rep. Nunez asks if Trump policy improved Ukraine, and Volker said, “Trump had strengthened US Ukraine policy.”
Rep. Devin Nunes: “Did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during your time in the White House? “Volker: “No, sir. Nunez asks the same of Morrison, “No, sir.” Volker contended that the president had grave concerns about the depth of corruption in Ukraine and was probing the newly elected President to ascertain if he was the real deal or a continuation of that deep corruption. It was Volker’s understanding that both, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Sondland, and Mayor Giuliani were concerned about what they deemed as credible Ukranian reports of 2016 election interference and possible ongoing corruption and conveyed that to the president. Volker explained he viewed his task as facilitating the comfort level, rapport, and trust between the two presidents, so the continuation of the US bureaucratic interagency Ukraine initiatives could advance. Overall, Volker’s testimony was on policy differences that presented between the different agencies and the Commander and Chief, who constitutionally is charged with that duty.
Rep.Jim Jordan’s (OH) summary is profoundly informative:
Allow me to break it down more …,” Too many cooks in the kitchen!” Not to your liking,” Too many chiefs not enough Indians?” How about,” the right-hand does not know what the left- hand is doing ?” The Inter-agency bureaucracy is real cumbersome and has “feelings.” The Lion’s agenda is dictated by the Deep State however, the Deep State is chock full of witting and unwitting Indians who “feel” they are all Chief. The Gladiators have not only the Lion’s number but those who command the Lion number as well. Unfortunately, most of those in stadium seating are tuning out. What will the Lion and its handlers have to do next to get their undivided attention? Day four is on the horizon.