Adam Schiff

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of Calif., speaks during the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP)

Alexander Vindman is going to finally testify today (it should be starting about now actually).

Vindman has managed to become one of the most contentious “witness” in the entire Trump-Ukraine impeachment fiasco. He notedly praised himself as a great patriot and fluffed his credentials in his first, closed door testimony before letting everyone know how gravely concerned he was with the Zelensky call.

Did he actually offer any evidence of a quid pro quo? Any kind of organized deal made from the top? No, of course not, but he had “concerns” so that made him relevant even though we already have the transcript to see for ourselves.

There was another point where he claimed the transcript had been altered. That “bombshell” quickly fizzled when it turned out to be nothingness.

Oh, and Vindman was almost certainly the illegal leaker who gave information to the whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella. That seems pretty important, as you’d hope we wouldn’t let such criminality go unchecked.

I’ll be updating this blog throughout the day with notable clips and quotes from the hearing. Be sure to check to back in routinely to see what’s happening. The first update should be around 9:30am EST, as I want to let him get through his opening statement before posting it.

UPDATE:

Apparently, there’s a woman named Jennifer Williams also testifying. I must of missed that on the schedule. I honestly have no idea who she is or what part she plays here. It’s smart of Schiff to not let Vindman testify alone, as he’s ripe to be picked apart if he’s the sole target.

I fully expect that Schiff will continually shut down Republican questions today, as Vindman will be asked about who he talked to and why he subverted U.S. foreign policy by advising Ukraine on his own.

Nunes is giving his opening statement now. Schiff gave his. It was a rehash of the last two he’s given. If I get text of them, I’ll post it.

UPDATE:

Imagine being this guy and thinking you are making a good point. No crap that they weren’t there to make those determinations. That’s why they shouldn’t have been there and that is Nunes’ point.

Meanwhile, Schiff is talking again and laying out Vindman like he’s Rambo and the most decorated veteran to ever walk the earth.

UPDATE:

Here’s Nunes’ opening statement. He takes the media apart, their failures, and their attempts to spin new conspiracy theories now. He then settles on three questions that Schiff is refusing to let be answered.

Williams and Vindman will now give their opening statements. There won’t be anything new gleaned there. The questioning phase will be the real show.

UPDATE:

Jennifer Williams just finished her statement. Why she’s here is a total mystery. She provided absolutely nothing relevant, as in not even a little bit. Perhaps even less than Yovanovitch added. She was on the July 25th call as an assigned staffer for VP Pence.

In her previous testimony, she admitted she was not aware of any conditionality placed on the aid and that Pence assured Ukraine had our support. There was no mention of investigations.

Vindman is speaking now. Both these “witnesses” are simply voicing their disagreements with Trump’s policy. Neither is speaking to any impeachable offense. Not yet anyway.

Vindman just now says it was “inappropriate” for a President to request investigations into a U.S. citizen and political opponent. Who knew that running for President gave you immunity from investigations? I’m sure Donald Trump would be keen to learn that.

Shorter Vindman: the President doesn’t get to set policy and bureaucrats should get to decide what U.S. foreign policy is.

UPDATE:

Shorter Vindman: the President doesn’t get to set policy and bureaucrats should get to decide what U.S. foreign policy is.

And now Vindman is talking to his dead dad, proclaiming that he’ll “be fine for telling the truth.” This guy is a total clown.

UPDATE:

Vindman is also saying that he believes Trump was giving “orders” to Zelensky on the phone call. He provides zero evidence for that except his own feelings, which is apparently all this hearing is about.

Vindman says that because Zelensky brought up Burisma, not Trump, that Zelensky was likely “prepped” for the call and that somehow proves the Ukrainians thought it would come up. He’s trying to connect the dots that some deal was already made and known about for the aid. He once again provides no evidence of his claim.

UDPATE:

Democrat counsel is questioning. All we’ve gotten so far are “it seemed that way” and other statements of feeling from Vindman. Williams is barely talking because she just has nothing to really add here.

Vindman is actually squashing some Democrat talking points right now about the “edits” not being included in the transcript and it being put on a secure server to avoid leaks.

And this seems noteworthy. Why are we here again?

UPDATE:

Williams says that no mention of withholding aid was made by Pence on his meeting with Zelensky. There were conspiracy theories out there, pushed by major left-wing figures, that Pence was somehow in on a quid pro quo and communicated it. That appears to be flatly untrue.

Williams also says that Pence assured Zelensky that we supported him and that the concern revolved around getting other EU countries to contribute more.

Both Vindman and Williams both admit just now they have no knowledge of why aid was held, nor why it was later released. In other words, they provide nothing of value to the idea of impeachment here.

Republicans are now about to start questioning. Here comes the fireworks.

UPDATE:

Nunes opens up by asking both a series of questions about Ukraine, Burisma, and Biden, as well as public reports on corruption in Ukraine. They both claim to have not even known about the issues, meetings, and payments in question until George Kent’s testimony.

It’s amazing how little these Ukraine experts actually know about Ukraine.

UPDATE:

Woah, Vindman just admitted he’s the source of the whistle-blower. He says he told someone in the intel community about the call. Schiff interjects and claims he’ll reveal the whistle-blower.

Now, Vindman is saying his counsel says he can’t answer the question. This dude committed a crime and is protecting himself.

UPDATE:

Here’s the exchange about the whistle-blower.

UPDATE:

We get our first recess. After this, they’ll be the 5 minutes rounds for individual committee members. I will likely slow down the updates down as much of this will be taken up by filibustering from Democrats and lavishing praise on the witnesses.

UPDATE:

This is kind of funny. Hill and Morrison both testified they were concerned about Vindman’s behavior. Morrison said he suspected him of leaking and going outside the chain of the command.

Jordan also drills down further on Vindman being the source for the whistle-blower.

He was the source.

UPDATE:

Here’s the exchange with Jordan.

UPDATE:

A few more highlights.

UPDATE:

I didn’t mention it earlier because it was so ridiculous petty, but Vindman chastised Nunes for not referring to him by his military title at the beginning of the hearing (something not required for civilians to do).

Vindman just got pushback on that.

UPDATE:

Rep. Stefanik is up and she’s killing it again. I’ll get video up as soon as I have it.

Meanwhile, Vindman gets caught in another lie.

UPDATE:

UPDATE:

Jordan nails Vindman.

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