While questioning Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Tuesday, Rep, Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, worked to narrow down who may have provided the whistleblower with information about President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine.
Vindman, a National Security Council expert on Ukraine, was testifying in the second week of the Democratic Party’s dog and pony impeachment show trial and the matter of who he spoke with about the call was a central focus for Republicans.
Citing an earlier deposition, Jordan spoke about concerns from, the departing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, and others, to include former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, about Vindman’s judgment and the possibility that he may be the source of leaks.
He asked Vindman to respond to these concerns and the Army officer referenced an evaluation from Hill, where she said his judgment was “excellent,” before adding he had not “figured out” a relationship with Morrison.
“So you never leaked information?” Jordan asked.
“I never did, never would… that is preposterous that I would do that,” Vindman said.
Jordan methodically laid out that there were only three people listening to Trump’s call with Ukraine: Vindman, his boss Morrison, and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, who was testifying alongside Vindman today.
This being an important point because the Ukraine whistleblower, a CIA official, was not on the call and had to get his information on what was discussed from someone.
The Republican lawmaker said both Morrison and Williams were willing to answer their questions about who they spoke with about the call.
“But when we asked you, you first told us three individuals at the NSC, your brother, and two lawyers,” Jordan said. “And then you said there was a group of other people you communicated with, but you would only give us one individual in that group — Secretary Kent.
“When we asked you who else you communicated with, you would not tell us,” he added, before asking, “How many other people are in that group you communicated with outside the four individuals I just named?”
Vindman clarified that outside the NSC, he only spoke to two individuals, he named one in an earlier exchange with Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent — but declined to name the other, except to say that he was in the intelligence community.
When Jordan tried to clarify that Vindman wasn’t willing to say who the other person is, Vindman’s counsel interrupted to ask that House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., enforce the rule regarding the protection of the whistleblower.
“Mr. Chairman, I don’t see how this is outing the whistleblower,” Jordan said. “The witness has testified in his deposition he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is. You have said, even though nobody believes you, you have said you don’t know who the whistleblower is, so how is this outing the whistleblower to find out who this individual is?”
Schiff refused to answer the question.
Jordan then shifted gears to talk about Morrison testifying that there was nothing illegal or improper about Trump’s call, but that he was concerned about the contents being leaked in Washington’s polarized environment.
And while he noted what has transpired after it did leak, Jordan added that the one thing Democrats didn’t count on was President Trump releasing the transcripts of the call.
To drive home his point, he turned to Williams to ask, “How many people did you talk to about the call?”
“I didn’t speak to anyone about the call,” she answered.
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