Republicans target military witness in Trump impeachment probe

Henrietta Brewer
November 20, 2019

"I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, " said Vindman.

Ms Williams told the committee that Mr Trump's call with Mr Zelenskiy was unusual because "it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter".

The White House National Security Council (NSC)'s top Ukraine expert testified that he had been concerned by the president's demands to investigate Mr Biden.

The investigation could lead the House to approve formal charges - known as articles of impeachment - against Trump that would be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial that could result in his removal from office. That tension might push Trump's allies to other, more personal attack strategies, so it's likely today's hearing will get ugly fast.

The other witness in the morning session was Jennifer Williams, a foreign service adviser to Vice-President Mike Pence.

But both assigned more blame to an "irregular" diplomatic track in the hands of Giuliani and Sondland, while not attributing the policy directly to Trump.

At one point, US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff interrupted Mr Nunes' questioning of Lt Col Vindman that appeared to be aimed at revealing the identity of the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint about Mr Trump's 25 July phone call triggered the impeachment inquiry.

Vindman and Volker have clashed, for example, over a July 10 White House meeting.

Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and raged on Twitter against what he calls "a witch hunt" and a "hoax".

Later in the program, she repeated her call for Trump to ignore the proceedings.

"Do you have any reason why he asked you to do that?" counsel Stephen Castor persisted, asking whether it was a high honour to have been asked, and whether Vindman kept the "door open" to the offer.

During Tuesday's hearing Democrat and Republican committee members and their lawyers attempted to tease out comments from the witnesses which could bolster their cases in the impeachment battle which threatens Mr Trump's presidency.

Vindman, dressed in military uniform decorated with his Purple Heart and other commendations, called the attacks on fellow public servants "reprehensible".

Vindman moved to America as a child, and he movingly addressed his father during his testimony, saying he "made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union" and seek a better life for his family in the United States.

"Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth", he said. It ticks you off...

Mr Trump has criticised both Mr Williams and Lt Col Vindman on Twitter as "Never Trump" witnesses, a term to describe Republicans who oppose him.

They are the first two witnesses sought by minority Republicans to testify in the televised public hearings.

Other reports by iNewsToday