With just one week to hold hearings before Congress members left for Thanksgiving — and high hopes for a January Senate trial — the House Intelligence Committee lined witnesses up from wall to wall and ceiling to floor.
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff presided over three full days of witness testimony against President Donald Trump that included:
- Jennifer Williams, former aide to Vice President Mike Pence
- LTC Alexander Vindman, National Security Council director of European affairs
- Ambassador Kurt Volker, former envoy to Ukraine
- Tim Morrison, White House aide with the National Security Council
- Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union
- Laura Cooper, deputy assistant Secretary of Defense
- David Hale, undersecretary of State
- Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council
- David Holmes, political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv
As always, the Daily Caller wades through the most recent stories to break down the most important details and new information.
The key players:
- Sondland’s testimony garnered the most attention, especially after his opening statement appeared to omit one simple point of clarification that proved to be quite relevant. After multiple outlets published on his statement — which said he would testify that there was, in fact, a quid pro quo — Sondland conceded during the course of his interview that he presumed there was a quid pro quo, rather than it being explicitly directed.
There are headlines all over the place today that Gordon Sondland affirmed a ‘quid pro quo’ yesterday. That was his opening statement.
They must have missed the questioning part, where Sondland admitted: he had no evidence. It was an assumption.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 21, 2019
- Fiona Hill made headlines with a story from her childhood about the time another student set her hair on fire during an exam — she put it out with her bare hands and continued with her test, as one does. When she suggested that the Steele Dossier was possibly Russian disinformation, however, there was no response from Schiff — who had seized upon the dossier and attempted to use it against Trump.
“When she was 11, a schoolboy set fire to her pigtails when she was sitting an exam. She doused the burning hair and finished the test,” writes @julianborger about Fiona Hill, describing this accurately as “a metaphor for Thursday’s hearings”. https://t.co/Xwc8FuklGL
— Tara McKelvey (@Tara_Mckelvey) November 22, 2019
- Vindman set off a fierce exchange between Schiff and ranking member Devin Nunes over whether or not answering certain questions would “out the whistleblower” — a person whose identity both Vindman and Schiff claim not to know.
How Nunes Caught Vindman!
Nunes: who did you talk to?
Vindman: …George Kent & an individual in the Intel Community
Schiff: we cannot out the whistleblower!
Nunes: Vindman, you testified you don’t know whistleblower.
Vindman: I don’t know who the whistleblower is.
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) November 19, 2019
- Vindman also revealed during his testimony that he had been asked to step into a role as Ukraine’s defense minister —three times.
— Dan Scavino Jr.???????? (@Scavino45) November 19, 2019
- South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham made his long-awaited first move Thursday, announcing that he had sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents related to all communications between former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Ukrainian officials and other Obama administration officials. Graham also told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the long-awaited report on FISA abuse would be made available December 9.
Today, I sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents related to contacts between:
➡️ Vice President Biden
➡️ Hunter Biden
➡️ other Obama administration officials and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 21, 2019
The White House response:
The president responded to Amb. Sondland’s testimony as he prepared to leave the White House Wednesday, repeating that he had asked Ukraine for nothing in exchange for military aid. “I want nothing. I want nothing. No quid pro quo,” he said.
The White House also confirmed that Trump is ready to take on an impeachment trial in the Senate.
Trump Confirms He Would Want The Senate To Hold An Impeachment Trial https://t.co/fechOjyKfT
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 22, 2019
The hot takes:
- First Daughter Ivanka Trump weighed in with a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville: “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.”
“A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 21, 2019
- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who presided over the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, was not impressed with Schiff’s handling of the process thus far. “It’s hard to exaggerate how fundamentally dishonest Adam Schiff has been throughout this impeachment process. It’s on a scale that dishonors the United States Congress,” he said.
It’s hard to exaggerate how fundamentally dishonest Adam Schiff has been throughout this impeachment process. It’s on a scale that dishonors the United States Congress. pic.twitter.com/0VbZnnKTnN
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) November 22, 2019
- LTC Vindman, upon being addressed as “Mr. Vindman” by ranking member Nunes, asked that he be addressed by rank.
Rep. Devin Nunes refers to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as “Mr. Vindman.”
— ABC News (@ABC) November 19, 2019
- Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to Fox News host Sean Hannity: “Every witness did not witness anything!”
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a memo to her fellow House Democrats, urged commitment to the impeachment inquiry and suggested that allowing the American people to decide Trump’s fate at the ballot box in 2020 would be “weak” and “dangerous.”
Polling appears to be shifting in the president’s favor as the impeachment inquiry drives forward. “The View” cohost Meghan McCain noted Friday that independents are the ones driving the shift, which suggests that whatever House Democrats have been doing has not been terribly effective thus far.
The impact of this has been especially visible in swing states.
From Wisconsin’s Marshfield News-Herald:
“Support for impeachment slips; Trump leads top Dems” pic.twitter.com/8awdVrL13a
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) November 22, 2019
Check back next week for the latest up-to-the-minute information, commentary and related content.