Two witnesses gave powerful and important testimony beginning Tuesday morning as the impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump continued.
Republicans finally got what they’ve been asking for in the form of two firsthand witnesses to President Donald Trump’s conduct — National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence — but they weren’t happy with what they heard. Both Williams and Vindman were stunned and disturbed by Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Here are seven remarkable moments from the hearing:
1. Vindman laid out why Trump’s “inappropriate” demand for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden was so disturbing.
“The Ukrainian judiciary is imperfect at the moment,” he said. “And the reliance on US support could conceivably cause them to tip the scales of justice in favor of finding a U.S. citizen guilty if they felt they needed to do it.”
ALEXANDER VINDMAN on TRUMP call for Ukraine investigations:
“The Ukrainian judiciary is imperfect at the moment. And the reliance on US support could conceivably cause them to tip the scales of justice in favor of finding a U.S. citizen guilty if they felt they needed to do it.” pic.twitter.com/DANb6vq5T7
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) November 19, 2019
2. Vindman made clear that — despite Trump defenders’ claims that the president only cared about fighting corruption Ukraine, not his own re-election campaign — he never mentioned “corruption” in his two phone calls with President Zelensky.
Schiff: "Did talking points [prepared for POTUS for April 21 call] include rooting out corruption in Ukraine?"
Schiff: "Did Pres. Trump ever mention corruption in the April 21 call?"
Vindman: "To the best of my recollection, he did not." https://t.co/lmTBBmoYVV pic.twitter.com/cvmg1FVRCg
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 19, 2019
3. Williams reacted to the president’s attacks on her.
“I was not expecting to be called out by name,” she said.
"I was not expecting to be called out by name," Jennifer Williams said about President Trump's tweet attacking her loyalty before her testimony.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 19, 2019
4. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) spoke out against the attacks on Vindman suggesting he was insufficiently loyal to the United States.
“From one immigrant American to another immigrant American, I want to say to you that you and your family represent the very best of America,” he said.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi blasts commentators who have questioned Vindman because he is an immigrant:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 19, 2019
5. Vindman read Fiona Hill’s evaluation of him.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to attack Vindman’s credibility, saying his supervisors had expressed concerns about him. But the witness was prepared for this line of questioning, and he responded by reading a glowing review of him from Hill.
— Brother Nyght (@wondermann5) November 19, 2019
6. “Lt. Col.”
Vindman corrected Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for not calling him by his rank.
Rep. Devin Nunes refers to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as "Mr. Vindman."
— ABC News (@ABC) November 19, 2019
Republicans have been trying to use the proceedings to out the whistleblower, but Schiff has said he won’t let the hearings be used for that purpose.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 19, 2019
Trump is facing the most serious impeachment allegations ever leveled against a sitting president
Trump’s Interior Department stacks environmental panel with anti-environmentalists
Trump’s Interior Department stacked an advisory committee for Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah with ranchers and politicians who opposed former President Barack Obama creating the 1.35-million acres of protected land and welcomed Trump shrinking it by 85%.
Democracy Forward, a nonprofit founded in 2017, asked the Inspector General of the Interior Department to investigate whether Secretary David Bernhardt violated federal law by packing the 15-person committee with opponents of the monument.
A startling trove of documents reveals the truth about Afghanistan
The disclosures are extreme, but, sadly, what we have come to expect of government–across administrations.
The Washington Post obtained 2,000 documents showing that over years, news of U.S. military deployment to Afghanistan was routinely and repeatedly manipulated to reflect a rosier picture than what was happening on the ground. Further, the documents show that there was confusion about military mission and what would amount to success across the 18 years of deployment under the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations.