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Though Lt. Col Alexander Vindman still has shrapnel under his skin, there were no bombshells in his testimony today.
Four current and former administration officials testified today as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. This morning, National Security Council staffer Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and aide to Vice President Mike Pence Jennifer Williams testified. Then, in the afternoon, there was testimony from Former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council staffer Time Morrison.
The hearings didn’t bring significant new information
The important take-aways from the day were the witnesses’ interpretations of the already public phone call transcript. Notably, Vindman and Ms. Williams both testified that no other national security officials, to their knowledge, supported withdrawing military aid from Ukraine, placing the blame on Trump and the White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Both witnesses also called the July 25th call between Trump and Zelensky was anomalous. Williams called it “unusual,” while Vindman was more severe, calling it ‘inappropriate.’
The afternoon witnesses were less harsh
Volker said he was “not aware of a linkage” between the withdrawal of security aide to the Ukraine and Morrison is “not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” in the Trump-Ukraine phone call.
When he was running for President, Trump proved expert at manipulating the media, creating interest, story after story about himself. Though the impeachment inquiry has dominated the news cycle since it began, throughout it, Trump has been demonstrating the opposite capability: the coverage has been boring.
Trump has taken tension away
By laying all his cards on the table, releasing the phone call transcript, he’s made the impeachment inquiry uninteresting to follow. The expected progression has been undermined. Any other president would have kept the transcript, let the pressure to release it build to a maximum for succumbing. But Trump sees, correctly, that the tension created by such expectations are exactly what makes for compelling news, and he’s taken that tension away.
Trump once said that he could walk out into Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and he wouldn’t lose any support, and he appears to be out to prove it. He’s in possession of the only smoking gun in this impeachment inquiry, and he’s shown it off, and still no progress has been made.
Some officials think the call was appropriate and others disagree, and the American people and our representatives have been left to pick a side based on our preexisting affiliations. Until some legal progress is made, until someone can make firm what has been until now just insinuation and speculation, Trump is safe.
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