The president has faced weeks of testimony for the impeachment inquiry into his illegal activities as president, so who can blame the guy for being stressed out about his impending doom, and the implications of the entire world now knowing that you’re a failure in every sense of the word.
Trump has been wailing on Twitter for days now over the impeachment “witch hunt” and the Democrats plan to kick him out of office because they simply don’t like him and want power.
Sounds likely, right?
Now, a list of depositions for the first week of November has been released, and one name on it in particular probably has the president freaking out just a bit. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton will be deposed on November 7th, following John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis on November 4th.
The congressional correspondent for NY Times tweeted out that list today:
Three big new deposition notices just went out, per a person familiar.
John Eisenberg for 11/4
Michael Ellis also for 11/4
John Bolton for 11/7
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) October 30, 2019
Trump will likely continues his rage over this announcement because he and Bolton have a sorted past to say the very least. According to The Daily Beast:
The news that John Bolton was out at the White House was not actually news at all. In fact it was more akin to when Chevy Chase used to announce on Saturday Night Live that “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” Bolton effectively left the job months ago, and even when he had it, as with Franco in his last years, the post was largely ceremonial. After all, being the chief adviser to a man who regularly boasts that he does not need or take advice is not much of a job, is it?
!!! House impeachment investigators have invited John Bolton to appear next week on November 7.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) October 30, 2019
For that reason and many others, this was a marriage that was doomed from the start. While Trump and Bolton are both bullies who don’t have much use for the international system, the similarities end there. Trump likes to talk tough but seldom follows through. He is first, last and always a Trumpist, seeking to do what he feels will bring him the most benefit personally.
That says a lot. Like, really.
NEW depositions coming up with some big names, a source familiar w/ impeachment inquiry tells me:
John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis slated for 11/4
🚨John Bolton, former national security advisor, for 11/7
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) October 30, 2019
Unbelievably, the president hasn’t cracked more than his usual state of crackedness. He is still swearing up and down that he is completely innocent and that this is a massive coup against him.
The testimonies that Trump and the country have endured so far have been very telling, and although the full transcripts haven’t been released, portions of the statements have been given to the media.
As we reported:
Vindman’s testimony from Tuesday has been slowly released, and new reports have really gotten under the president’s skin.
According to the NY Times, Vindman believes that Trump wanted dirt on the 2016 election from Ukraine in order to spin a false narrative about the election that would end up vindicating Vladimir Putin despite the U.S. intelligence community substantiating claims that Russia interfered with the election. The Times reported:
“counter to the consensus view of American national security officials, and harmful to United States interests. Vindman was concerned as he discovered that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was leading an effort to prod Kiev to investigate Mr. Biden’s son, and to discredit efforts to investigate Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business dealings in Ukraine.”
According to reports, it would be Ukraine forced to take the fall for what Russia did in the 2016 election, which explains why Trump was trying to convince everyone that Ukraine leadership was corrupt. He was setting the stage for what he was about to do.
Trump has been raging about the witness testimonies and a “witch hunt” by Democrats just to get the president out of office for the heck of it. It would have nothing to do with the countless crimes he is responsible for masterminding.
Now, another testimony is on its way, and the president is extremely on edge about it. Some of that testimony has been released today. Christopher Anderson is a former diplomat who served as an envoy to Ukraine. He has this to say about his experiences:
The following is Anderson’s opening statement:
Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member. Thank you for the opportunity to provide this statement today. I have served as a Foreign Service Officer in the State Department since 2005. I have spent most of my career serving in countries on the periphery of the Russian Federation including Mongolia, Armenia, and, most recently, Ukraine. For the last five years, I have worked in Kyiv and Washington to advance our national security interests by promoting a peaceful resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, countering Russian aggression, and defending the principles that international borders should not be changed by force. It has been a privilege to serve our country and promote our national interests on such an important foreign policy issue while working alongside dedicated and talented public servants. These efforts have benefited from strong bipartisan support.
My work in Ukraine began with a three-week temporary duty to Kyiv in March 2014 just after Russia invaded and occupied Crimea. I returned to Kyiv in September 2014 to serve as the External Unit Chief in the Political Section of our Embassy. I served in Kyiv from 2014–2017 and worked closely with Ambassador Yovanovitch from 2015–2017.
In August 2017 Ambassador Volker asked me to serve as Special Advisor for Ukraine Negotiations. I served in this position from late August 2017 until July 12, 2019. In this role, I helped develop negotiating positions, analyzed Russian and Ukrainian ceasefire proposals, and provided context on the history of the conflict and past negotiations. I also traveled with Ambassador Volker to the front lines of the conflict, to negotiate with the Russians, and to meet with European counterparts.
On November 25, 2018, Russia escalated the conflict further when its forces openly attacked and seized Ukrainian military vessels heading to a Ukrainian port in the Sea of Azov. While my colleagues at the State Department quickly prepared a statement condemning Russia for its escalation, senior officials in the White House blocked it from being issued. Ambassador Volker drafted a tweet condemning Russia’s actions, which I posted to his account.
In December 2018, Ambassador Volker and I traveled to Brussels to meet with EU officials and key NATO Allies to push for a more assertive European response to Russia’s escalation. During this visit, we met with Ambassador Sondland, who hosted a lunch bringing together key EU officials for a discussion on coordinating our response to Russia’s escalation.
When Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected president in April, Ambassador Volker and I were hopeful that a newly empowered Ukrainian president could reinitiate high-level U.S. engagement. Before the inauguration in May, my colleagues and I saw a tweet by Rudolph Giuliani alleging that President-elect Zelenskyy was surrounded by enemies of President Trump. In an effort to counter the negative narrative sparked by Ambassador Yovanovitch’s withdrawal and Giuliani’s statements, we pushed for a high-level delegation to attend Zelenskyy’s inauguration. Secretary Perry, Ambassador Sondland, Ambassador Volker, NSC Director Alexander Vindman, and Senator Ron Johnson, traveled to Kyiv as part of a Presidential delegation for the inauguration.
After the delegation returned, the participants wanted to brief the President on the trip. Ambassador Sondland was able to quickly arrange a meeting with the President for May 23. I participated in the preparatory meeting at the White House in which we discussed key deliverables that would demonstrate President Zelenskyy’s commitment to reform. We focused on three key areas: 1) demonstrating Zelenskyy’s independence from powerful vested interests and pursuing anticorruption reform as well as antitrust reform; 2) strengthening U.S.-Ukrainian energy cooperation; and 3) improving our bilateral security relationship which included Ukraine increasing its purchases of key U.S. military equipment.
Ambassador Volker told me after the meeting that the President had agreed to invite President Zelenskyy to the White House for a meeting and would issue a letter shortly. The President signed a letter on May 29 that included an invitation for President Zelenskyy, but the letter did not include a specific date for the visit.
On June 13, I accompanied Ambassador Volker to a meeting with National Security Advisor John Bolton. In that meeting, Bolton stated that he agreed with our three lines of effort and that he also supported increased senior White House engagement. However, he cautioned that Mr. Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement. He did suggest that perhaps the Vice President would be available to travel to Toronto to meet with President Zelenskyy in early July at the Ukraine Reform Conference that the Canadian government was hosting. We later learned that the Vice President would not attend the conference. The morning after the meeting, I sent a brief message to Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent summarizing the meeting and relaying NSA Bolton’s message about Mr. Giuliani. I sent around a more formal summary later that day to my State Department colleagues.
On June 18, Secretary Perry hosted a follow-up meeting at the Department of Energy to discuss how to move forward on these three key areas. In preparation for that meeting, colleagues in different offices in the State Department, the Department of Energy, and our missions in Kyiv and Brussels worked to develop a joint list of policy outcomes that would demonstrate Zelenskyy’s commitment to reform and improve the bilateral U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
In the meeting at the Department of Energy on June 18, there was broad agreement on the interagency framework regarding policy deliverables. There were some initial discussions about how to delineate the lines of effort among the Department of Energy, the State Department, Ambassador Volker, Ambassador Sondland, and Ambassador Taylor (who joined by phone from Kyiv). There was also general agreement that it would be important to schedule a White House visit quickly, even if the actual date of the visit was after the Ukrainian parliamentary elections. There were some vague discussions in the meeting about how to address Mr. Giuliani’s continued calls for a corruption investigation. After the meeting I spoke with Ambassador Taylor in a phone call to discuss the atmospherics of the meeting and next steps. We agreed on the importance of not calling for any specific investigations, but otherwise agreed the three lines of effort were useful.
Ambassador Volker then led a delegation to the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto July 1–2. We met with several Ukrainian officials including President Zelenskyy. In the meeting, President Zelenskyy highlighted progress in some of the key areas we had identified and pushed for a date for a White House visit. Volker urged him to schedule a call with President Trump in order to start building a relationship and thereby increase the chance of securing a date for the White House visit.
I was scheduled to complete my assignment as Special Advisor for Ukraine Negotiations on July 12, 2019. In the few remaining days of my assignment, I continued to push my Ukrainian counterparts for concrete progress in key reform areas. The Ukrainians remained focused on scheduling a White House visit—seeing such a visit as a critical step in empowering Zelenskyy in his negotiations with the Russians. My last day with Ambassador Volker was July 12. Catherine Croft was my successor.
In closing, I want to reiterate that my colleagues and I in the Foreign Service are non-partisan and advance the foreign policy set by our duly elected leaders. I take that commitment as well as my oath to defend the Constitution seriously. Working abroad to advance the interest of the United States has at times led to harassment and intimidation by hostile intelligence services, death threats, and other significant challenges for my family and I. I have accepted these burdens because I believe we are advancing a cause greater than ourselves and are working to promote the general welfare.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide this statement, and I welcome your questions.