The House’s impeachment inquiry wrapped up their third day of public hearings Tuesday evening, Nov. 19, with no sign of evidence that Democrats have sought to build up their accusations to remove President Donald Trump from office but underscore Republicans’ claim: the proceedings were politically motivated theater.
“Did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during your time in the White House?” House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) asked in Tuesday’s afternoon hearing, reported the Fox News.
Both witnesses, former National Security Council (NSC) aide Tim Morrison and former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker firmly replied in one word: “No.”
Later, Morrison, when asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) “There was no quid pro quo,” “No bribery,” “No extortion?” in the July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that he listened in, he said, “Correct.”
Volker also responded to Stefanik that there was no reference to such accusations.
Morrison, in another key moment, drown Democrats’ allegation that President Trump wanted to hide his conversation with Zelenskiy by putting it on a highly secured and classified computer system. Morrison said it was an “administrative error,” adding that there was no “malicious intent” in the decision to move the transcript to the compartmentalized system, and all essential personnel retained access to the transcript even after it was moved.
And, Volker testified repeatedly that he never received any indications at all that there was an improper quid pro quo with Ukraine provided by the Trump administration as a means of forcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in the country.
Kurt Volker destroyed Democrats’ entire impeachment sham! pic.twitter.com/i9j3Ncxp1P
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) November 19, 2019
“I have only seen an allegation of bribery in the last week,” Volker said, referencing to the “bribery” term used by Democrats after focus groups indicated that it would help them sell impeachment to voters. “I was never involved in anything that I considered to be bribery at all, or extortion.”
At one point, Volker said he was open to pushing Ukraine to launch an investigation into the country’s corruption and Burisma, the firm that allegedly paid Hunter Biden more than $50,000 per month to serve on its board when his father was vice president.
“It has long been U.S. policy under multiple administrations to urge Ukraine to investigate and fight internal corruption,” Volker said, adding that he didn’t “understand” at the time that an investigation of Burisma “was tantamount to investigating Vice President Biden.”
Earlier in the day, there was testimonies from NSC’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Vice President Pence aide Jennifer Williams.
Vindman’s admission of discussion about the phone call with an unnamed intelligence official was among the biggest revelations Tuesday morning, raising questions over whether he may have been a source of information for the anonymous whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry.
Adam Schiff and Lt. Col. Vindman know damn well who the Whistleblower is.
Today, Vindman told Congress Under Oath that he didn’t.
“I’d like them to be treated like I would be if I lied to Congress”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 20, 2019
Vindman also appeared to contradict his account when he said that he did not discuss his concerns about Trump’s July phone call with Morrison, his superior, because he was unreachable. Morrison confirmed that Vindman had given him edits of the transcript of the call.
Morrison also said there was an allegation that Vindman was a leaker and could not be trusted with key information. Vindman, in response to the allegation, read from a glowing performance review that portrayed him as an exemplary officer.
Another witness, Williams testified that she considered the call “unusual” since it “involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter,” according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, her direct supervisor, Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg’s said that he heard nothing wrong or improper on the call, adding that Williams “never reported any personal or professional concerns to any other member.”
The impeachment inquiry led by Democrats has centered on an alleged link between military aid to Ukraine and investigations sought by President Trump relating the Bidens and Democrats.
As the hearing concluded, President Trump tweeted, “A great day for Republicans, a great day for our Country!”
A great day for Republicans, a great day for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019