Congressional Democrats’ faltering impeachment drive appeared to suffer three arguably devastating setbacks during Tuesday’s round of hearings.
All three setbacks happened later in the day after the original whistleblower, U.S. National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, testified before the House Intelligence Committee.
Unlike the partisan whistleblower who filed the notorious whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump based on second-hand information, Vindman actually listened in on the president’s July 25th phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky.
While this might, therefore, lead one to believe his testimony against the president Tuesday was credible, the problem is that the testimony delivered later that afternoon by former National Security Council aide time Tim Morrison and former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker seemed to suggest he has zero credibility.
How so? Because both men denied the cocky colonel’s claims that something “improper” occurred during the July phone call with the two world leaders.
(Source: RNC Research)
When asked by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican, whether the call contained “no quid pro quo,” “no bribery” and “no extortion,” Morrison said, “Correct.”
Like Vindman, Morrison also listened in on the July 25th call. Except that unlike the original whistleblower, he saw nothing “improper” about the call.
When asked a similar question, Volker confirmed Morrison’s account of the call.
“Ambassador Volker, I presume you got a readout of the call. … Was there any reference to withholding aid? Any reference to bribery? Any reference to quid pro quo? Any reference to extortion?” Stefanik asked.
“No, there was not,” he replied.
And when House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes asked the two a similar question — “Did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during your time in the White House?” — the two answered with a unanimous “no.”
“Did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during your time in the White House?”
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 19, 2019
“It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent,” he testified earlier Tuesday.
Except that the suggestion that the president used quid pro quo, bribery and extortion to demand Zelensky investigate former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be wholly false.
Morrison and Volker’s testimony about the call were the first two setbacks — and they were devastating enough to convince some, including the president’s 2020 campaign manager, that the Democrats’ case for impeachment doesn’t exist anymore; it’s officially kaput.
No evidence of quid pro quo.
No evidence of extortion.
No evidence of bribery.
No evidence of treason.
Ukraine didn’t know the aid was on hold, nor did they feel pressured at all.
This sham is over. 2020 landslide here we come!#impeachmenthearings
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) November 20, 2019
If the day couldn’t get worse for Democrats & their flailing impeachment sham, @RepStefanik helps to reiterate the truth for the American people in today’s testimony:
➡️ No mention of withholding aid on the call
➡️ No quid pro quo
➡️ No bribery
➡️ No extortion
Enough said. pic.twitter.com/HJctffam8Z
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 20, 2019
No quid pro quo. No bribery. No extortion. No nothing. @HouseDemocrats better convene another focus group ASAP.
Their impeachment narrative has flopped. https://t.co/HHAx0nBCD3
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) November 20, 2019
— Carl Higbie (@CarlHigbie) November 20, 2019
Another witness just told American people there was no bribery & no quid pro quo.
“I was never involved in anything that I considered bribery at all… or extortion.” pic.twitter.com/OdTYlYVB24
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) November 19, 2019
The fact that Volker and Morrison are quite willing to criticize aspects of President Trump’s foreign policy makes their most relevant testimony — that he did nothing illegal and there was no quid pro quo w/aid — even more credible. #ImpeachmentInquiry
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) November 19, 2019
No Quid Pro Quo?”
You can’t impeach a president because he hurt your feelings.
— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) November 20, 2019
What we’ve learned today from the Democrats sham impeachment hearings:
❌NO QUID PRO QUO
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) November 19, 2019
The third setback was a stunning revelation by Morrison that Vindman’s bosses were concerned about his judgment, his alleged leaking habit, and his overall behavior.
“You had indicated in your deposition that when you took over the [Ukraine] portfolio for [then-National Security Council official Fiona Hill], that you were alerted to potential issues in Colonel Vindman’s judgment?” GOP counsel Steve Castor asked him.
“Yes,” Morrison replied.
“Did she relay anything specifically to you why she thought that?” the counsel pressed.
“Yes. … It was more of an overarching statement from her and her deputy, who became my deputy, that they had concerns about judgment,” Morrison replied.
“Did any other NSC personnel raise concerns with you about Colonel Vindman?” Castor continued.
“Yes,” Morrison responded.
The concerns were that Vindman lacked good judgment, was leaking information to the press, wasn’t keeping his bosses in the loop on his activities, was going behind his boss’s backs, and was mad over being pushed out of the administration’s Ukraine-related efforts.
“Did he become frustrated that he was cut out of some of the Ukraine portfolio?” Castor asked.
“Yes,” Morrison replied.
Listen to the full back-and-forth exchange below:
If Vindman is the Democrats’ star witness, which he appears to be for now (though that could change if they were to allow the partisan whistleblower to testify), then it appears their case against the president is going nowhere fast.
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