Sunday , January 17 2021

Vindman tells impeachment hearing he reported 'improper' Trump call immediately – live – The Guardian, Google News


The public impeachment hearing has resumed, andLt Col Alexander VindmanandJennifer Williamswill now take series of five-minute questions from members of the House intelligence committee.

However, it appears thatTrump‘s congressional allies have so far been unconvinced by the two officials’ damning testimony about the president’sUkrainecall.

Manu Raju(@ mkraju)

GOP Rep. Mike Conaway unmoved by Vindman’s national security concerns about Trump-Zelensky call.
“It’s his interpretation. He doesn’t lay out where the improperness came from – it’s his opinion, ”he told me.

November 19, 2019

Olivia Beavers(@ Olivia_Beavers)

Rep. Andy Biggs, who is in public hearing room, says to a reporter: “You say you know what hearsay is, you don’t.”

Wasn’t listening to whole convo, but this was said loudly.

November 19, 2019

Williams declines to answer questions about Pence-Zelenskiy call

As the hearing takes a short break, it’s a good time to return to one answer thatJennifer Williams,an aide to the vice president, provided at the beginning of the House intelligence committee’s questioning.

When chairmanAdam Schiffasked Williams aboutMike Pence‘s 18 call with Ukrainian PresidentVolodymyr Zelenskiy,the longtime foreign service officer said she could not take questions about it because the White House had determined the conversation to be classified.

POLITICO(@ politico)

The White House blocked Jennifer Williams, a State Department official on loan to the Vice President’s office as a special adviser for Russia and Europe, from speaking publicly about an additional call between Trump and Zelensky on Sept. 18, identifying the call as classifiedpic.twitter.com/iaxqa089 F6

November 19, 2019

Williams said she would be willing to discuss the call in a classified setting or through a written statement to House members.

Williams previously testified about the call in her closed-door deposition and said the two leaders had a “very positive” conversation that did not include discussion of investigations intoJoe Bidenor the 2016 election.

The House intelligence committee has called a five- to ten-minute break in this morning’s public impeachment hearing, which will likely become more like a 20 – minute recess.

GOP counselSteve Castor‘s questioning to Lt ColAlexander Vindmanabout whether he considered an offer to become Ukraine’s defense minister seemed to be getting at someRepublicans’baseless claims of the Iraq war veteran’s dual loyalty.

Noah Bierman(@ Noahbierman)

Vindman says repeatedly that he did not seriously entertain the offer and that he is first and foremost an American.

November 19, 2019

The Republican counsel questioned Lt ColAlexander Vindmanabout whether he entertained an offer to become the defense minister ofUkraine.

Vindman emphasized that he was an American and did not consider the offer, calling it “comical” given his current role, which he said was “not that senior.”

Jeremy Herb(@ jeremyherb)

Castor asks Vindman about being offered the position of defense minister for Ukraine, and he says he was in fact offered it three times.

“I’m an American … and I immediately dismissed these offers. I did not entertain them,” Vindman said. “The whole notion is rather comical.”

(November) , 2019

Lauren Gambino

While the press section of the stately hearing room is packed, the public section is scattered with several open seats. The front row is reserved for members of Congress, who have filtered in and out of the hearing.

For a brief period in the morning, congressmanEliot Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs committee, one of the three panels leading the impeachment inquiry, sat next to congressmanLee Zeldin, a Republican and a leading defender of the president. Several lawmakers sat hunched over their phones, tapping out messages and tweets.

But when chairAdam Schiffinterrupted ranking memberDevin Nunesto admonish the Republican for what he said were questions designed to unmask the whistleblower,Republicansin the room grumbled loudly.

Several seats to the left of the lawmakers, a man wore a Make America Great Again hat that jarred with the ornate setting. There were few other displays of partisanship among the audience.

Schiff, presiding over the hearing, sat ramrod straight, staring ahead intently at the witnesses.

Echoing last week’s hearings, the Republican counsel on the House intelligence committee asked today’s witnesses aboutHunter Biden‘s qualifications to join the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma.

“I don’t know much about Mr. Hunter Biden, ”Lt ColAlexander Vindmansaid in response to questions from GOP counselSteve Castor.

Yamiche Alcindor(@ Yamiche)

GOP counsel Castor asks Lt. Col. Vindman several questions about Hunter Biden’s qualifications and experience withUkraine. This echoes similar questions he posed to first three public witnesses to underscore GOP point that Hunter Biden was likely making money off of last name.

(November) , 2019

Schiff and Nunes squabble over protecting the whistleblower

WhileDevin Nuneswas questioningJennifer Williamsand Lt ColAlexander Vindman, Adam Schiffwarned his Republican colleague that he was not to use the proceedings to attempt to out the whistleblower whose complaint initiated the impeachment inquiry.

Nunes was pressing Williams and Vindman on which officials they spoke to afterTrump‘s July call with the Ukrainian president.

Schiff reminded Nunes that committee members were required to protect the identity of the whistleblower, prompting some jeering fromRepublicansin the hearing room.

Olivia Beavers(@ Olivia_Beavers)

Schiff, however, interjected at this point, saying that they “need to protect the whistleblower. ”

Several Republican lawmakers seated in the public viewing gallery immediately reacted with an“ Ah ha, ”to Schiff’s interjection.

(November) , 2019

Vindman responded that he did not know the whistleblower’s identity but had been instructed not to discuss his intelligence community contacts. Nunes told him he was free to plead the Fifth, but Vindman’s attorney pushed back that such protection was not necessary.

In another rather tense moment, Vindman corrected Nunes after the congressman referred to the Iraq War veteran as “Mr Vindman.” “Ranking member, it’s Lt Col Vindman, please,” he said.

Kenneth P. Vogel(@ kenvogel)

🔥 from VINDMAN, correcting@DevinNunesfor referring to him as “Mr. Vindman, ”instead of“ Lt. Col. Vindman. ”pic.twitter.com/rlpBrpsHUa

(November) , 2019

Updated

Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, is now using his time to questionJennifer Williamsand Lt ColAlexander Vindmanabout whether they ever leaked to the press aboutTrump‘sUkrainecall.

Williams and Vindman repeatedly said they only spoke to White House staffers and officials with the proper clearances about the call.

Republican questioning of Williams and Vindman begins

Adam Schiffand the Democratic counsel have concluded their 45 minutes of questions toJennifer Williamsand Lt ColAlexander Vindman, and RepublicanDevin Nuneshas now begun his questioning.

The ranking member of the House intelligence committee opened his questioning by asking the witnesses aboutHunter Biden‘s connections to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, even though Williams and Vindman quickly acknowledged they had very little familiarity with the matter.

Olivia Beavers(@ Olivia_Beavers)

Nunes now asking Vindman about Burisma / Ukraine and “role of the Bidens. “

Q: Did you know about Kent’s concerns about potential conflicts of Biden’s son sitting on board of Burisma?
A: Only from his deposition.

November 19, 2019

Vindman believed Zelenskiy would have to deliver investigations to get White House meeting

Lt ColAlexander Vindmansaid his impression fromTrump‘s communications with the Ukrainian president was thatVolodymyr Zelenskiy“would have to deliver these investigations” into (Joe Bidenand the 2016 election in order to secure a White House meeting.

ABC News(@ ABC)

Citing “the power disparity” between Pres. Trump and Ukraine Pres. Zelesnkiy, Lt. Col. Vindman says, “My impression is that in order to get the White House meeting, Pres. Zelenskiy would have to deliver these investigations.”https://t.co/ wJIckfThSv# ImpeachmentHearingspic.twitter.com/Y8kKLYYk19

(November) , 2019

Answering the Democratic counsel’s question about the placement of theUkrainecall transcript on a highly secure server, Lt ColAlexander Vindmansaid such decisions were “not unprecedented. ”

However, the NSC official noted the decision to move the transcript ofTrump‘s call to a more secure server was made “on the fly.”

Alana Abramson(@ aabramson)

Vindman’s assessment of why the Ukraine call was placed into a secure server – in part to avoid leaks – is an argument some in the GOP has not been emphasized enough

November 19, 2019

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