Indiana Daily Student

Trump tries to discredit Vindman before testimony

<p>President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands during a meeting Sept. 25 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.</p>

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands during a meeting Sept. 25 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

By Roll Call Staff
CQ-Roll Call


WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump attempted Tuesday to discredit an active duty Army officer who is set to tell House impeachment investigators about his concerns after the president asked Ukraine's new leader to investigate his domestic political rivals.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a National Security Council Ukraine expert who listened in on the July 25 telephone conversation that is at the center of the House impeachment inquiry, is poised to tell members conducting the investigation that he twice raised concerns about the call to NSC attorneys. But the president, hours before Vindman is to testify, relied on an old tactic in an attempt to undermine the Army officer.

Trump tweeted this (leaving off the necessary question mark and instead using a period): "Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call."

The commander in chief routinely tries to knock his political foes and those offering negative information about him down a peg in the public's collective mind by contending he does not know them.

Trump's implication, in this case, is Vindman is just a low-level NSC staffer who is offering weak testimony that offers a limited picture because he has no relationship to POTUS. But multiple public opinion polls suggest Trump's tactics aren't working, with clear majorities of Americans supporting impeachment.

Here's the latest on the impeachment investigation:

In writing: House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern is expected to introduce a resolution Tuesday that would affirm the authority of the impeachment inquiry and establish procedures for the public phase of the investigation.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday that the House will vote Thursday on the resolution.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham claimed victory that House Democrats would vote on the impeachment process.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming response House Democrats heard from the American people and Senate Republicans in support of my resolution forced their hand. Today's announcement is an acknowledgment of the success of our efforts last week," Graham said.

Pelosi disputed that: "This is a resolution on how we proceed in the committees. Understand, it is not a resolution of any inquiry. That is already done."

"Firsthand" information: Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the resolution the House will vote on will establish the format for open hearings that will be conducted by his committee.

"The American people will hear firsthand about the President's misconduct," he said.

It was unclear from Schiff's statement whether the Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, which have been working with the Intelligence panel to conduct closed-door witnesses depositions, will be able to participate or host their own public hearings.

Upcoming testimony: Other current or former Trump administration officials will follow Vindman's deposition, according to an official working on the inquiry.

Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs, Catherine Croft, special adviser for Ukraine at the State Department, and Christopher Anderson, a language student at the State Department, are expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday.

Timothy Morrison, special assistant to the president and senior director for Europe and Russia on the NSC, is scheduled to give testimony on Thursday.

Charles Kupperman, former deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs, did not appear for his deposition on Monday, setting up the latest showdown between the legislative and executive branches over fundamental constitutional powers.

An attorney for Kupperman had warned lawmakers that the former top deputy to ex-national security adviser John Bolton would not show up for his testimony on Monday unless a federal judge orders him to.

A status conference on the lawsuit is set for Thursday at 3 p.m., citing "the time-sensitive nature of the issues raised in this case."

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