The impeachment inquiry hearings continued into the second week and one of the highly anticipated stars of the Democrat witness list, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, testified today in a contentious hearing that included him being questioned by Democrat lawyer, Daniel Goldman, and Republicans as well.
During the questioning, there were two points of interest that were focused on by both sides. The first was the assertion by Vindman that the initial call to Zelensky by President Trump was triggered by the desire of the president to “root out corruption” in Ukraine. Despite objections to that characterization of the call by the White House staff, stating that it was a congratulatory call, Democrats have run with Vindman’s version of the description.
When Republicans had a crack at Vindman, however, they focused on his written testimony in which he specifically stated that the primary reasons for the call were to “root out corruption.” When pressed, he admitted that this was not the case and finally said that he had written that into the testimony because it was more in line with our government policy.
Once it was established that he had embellished this report, the Democrat attorney turned to the previous testimony by Vindman that the Ukraine leader felt pressured by President Trump’s demand that he investigate the Bidens and Burisma Holdings. Once again, it appeared that a nervous Vindman decided that this was not quite accurate.
Goldman asked: “Col. Vindman, you testified that the president, President Trump’s request for a favor from President Zelensky would be considered as a demand to President Zelensky. After his call, did you ever hear from any Ukrainians, either in the United States or Ukraine about any pressure that they felt to do these investigations that President Trump demanded?”
Vindman answered: “Not that I can recall.”
The Democrat attorney pressed Vindman further on this point, asking about his discussions with other embassy officials. His question included the word “demand” when referring to the president’s request for investigations into the Bidens and Burisma Holdings. Vindman remained unable to shore up the claims of Adam Schiff and the Democrats. “Did you discuss at all the demand for investigations with them?”
Vindman: I did not.
These admissions certainly cast a negative shadow over his previous testimonies on the Ukraine phone call and further add questions to the already mounting list about the validity of this impeachment inquiry as a whole.