Trump Celebrates After Impeachment Hearings: ‘Great Day For Republicans!’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday celebrated the third day of public impeachment proceedings, calling it a “great day for Republicans” following a pair of hearings that offered sharply different interpretations on whether the president behaved improperly.
“A great day for Republicans, a great day for our Country!” Trump tweeted as the second of two hearings on the day wound to a close.
Four witnesses testified before the House Intelligence Committee over the course of two separate public hearings Tuesday that lasted nearly 11 hours total.
The first hearing featured testimony from Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, who oversees Ukraine policy for the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, a State Department aide focused on Eurasia affairs who is detailed to the vice president’s office. Both witnessed Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky firsthand and testified that it was “unusual” and “improper.”
The day ended with a pair of witnesses that Republicans had sought testimony from, outgoing NSC official Tim Morrison and Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.
Trump and his allies held up Morrison in particular as a credible witness who aided their argument.
“Tim Morrison was actually on the Ukraine phone call, testified that he had no concerns about it, and confirmed that the transcript of the call is accurate,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
Morrison told Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Ga.) that he did not hear anything on the call that he perceived to be improper or equivalent to bribery.
Republicans also sought to use Morrison to undercut Vindman’s credibility. But under questioning from Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman, Morrison recounted a conversation with U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland during which he described military assistance as being contingent on Ukraine launching investigations.
Morrison said that Sondland told him that he communicated to Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak “that the Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition to having the aid lifted.”
Volker’s testimony also zeroed in on Giuliani as problematic and highlighted concerns about the July 25 phone call.
Volker, who has denied any involvement in or knowledge of an effort to investigate the Bidens, acknowledged that he should have recognized the push for the Ukraine probe of Burisma — a Ukrainian gas company with ties to Hunter Biden — as targeting Biden, which he said was “unacceptable.”
Volker also described allegations pushed by Giuliani about the Bidens and 2016 election interference as “conspiracy theories” that shouldn’t be part of U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
Both officials agreed that it would be inappropriate for foreign governments to investigate domestic political rivals when pressed by Democratic lawmakers.
“To investigate the vice president of the United States or someone who’s a United States official, I don’t think we should be asking foreign governments to do that,” Volker said. “I would also say that’s true of a political rival.”
Morrison concurred that it would be inappropriate to investigate political rivals.
Even with the damning testimony, Trump took to Twitter to declare victory:
A great day for Republicans, a great day for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019