President Trump Has Found His Plumbers

Speaking About News | 11/19/2019 | Staff
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Last week’s Republican rallying cry on impeachment was “Hearsay!” By this morning, the focus had turned back to the whistle-blower who started it all.

The consensus GOP retort to the first three public witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry—Ambassadors William Taylor and Marie Yovanovich, and George Kent, a deputy secretary of state—was that none of them had direct, firsthand knowledge of President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to condition aid to Ukraine on an investigation of his political rival.

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When they arrived at the Capitol this morning, however, Republicans could no longer make that complaint. The witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee—Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman of the National Security Council and Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence—were both listening in on the July 25 call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do him “a favor” by pursuing an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

As it turned out, the committee’s top Republican, Representative Devin Nunes of California, wasn’t much interested in that now-infamous call; instead, he most wanted to know whom Williams and Vindman told about it.

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For the last three years, Nunes has used his perch on the Intelligence Committee—first as chairman and now as ranking member—to do Trump’s bidding. That continued this morning, as he used his question time to try to get first Williams and then Vindman to publicly identify the whistleblower whose complaint set off the investigation that has become an impeachment inquiry against the president. Nunes asked both witnesses whether they had spoken with anyone in the press about the call. Both replied that they had not. Nunes then asked who inside or outside the White House each of them had spoken to in the immediate aftermath of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky. Williams replied that...
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