Dems Release Friday Transcripts As Public Hearings Approach

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This Friday, House impeachment investigators continued their release of transcripts of witnesses’ previous private appearances. The latest transcripts to drop feature the testimonies of National Security Council (NSC) official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former NSC official Fiona Hill, who served as the president’s top Russia affairs-related adviser on the council. Both of them bluntly refuted the Trump administration’s stance surrounding the president’s scheme to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens, and the documents thereby further shred whatever was left of the Trump team’s claims that nothing corrupt took place.

Vindman testified that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had specifically “coordinated” exchanging a D.C. summit with the Trump team and Ukrainian leaders for that Biden dirt, the idea of which is based on completely faulty allegations of some kind of connection between then-Vice President Joe Biden’s pressure for Ukraine to fire a corrupt top prosecutor and Joe’s son Hunter’s work for a company that prosecutor had looked into.

Vindman shared:

‘[EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland] just said that he had had a conversation with Mr. Mulvaney, and this is what was required in order to get a meeting… So he was talking about the 2016 elections and an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma.’

He also addressed previously approved military aid for Ukraine that the Trump team abruptly put on hold as they pushed for Ukraine to produce the Biden dirt. Vindman indicated that the aid was also tied to the investigation.

He said:

‘It became crystal clear when [Office of Management and Budget] staffers reported that the hold [on military aid to Ukraine] came from the Chief of Staff’s Office… Eventually… what I was told is to ensure that the assistance aligned with administration priorities.’

Vindman personally listened into the phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked for those investigations. He tried to edit the official record of the call to match what he’d heard, but he was blocked. When he brought concerns to top NSC lawyer John Eisenberg, the Michael Flynn-appointee told him to keep quiet.

Vindman and Hill both testified that accusations that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was conspiring against the Trump team and thereby blocking whatever they were concocting were baseless. In other words, when Trump fired Yovanovitch, he had no basis other than — yet again — his personal ambition to use the power of the presidency for personal benefit.

As Hill put it at one point:

‘The accusations against [Yovanovitch] had no merit whatsoever. This was a mishmash of conspiracy theories that, again, I’ve told you, I believe firmly to be baseless, an idea of an association between her and George Soros.’

Yovanovitch, who’s already testified privately, is actually one of those witnesses who will be at one of the public hearings that investigators have set for this coming week. Other scheduled witnesses include top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent. The public testimony will provide the American people with a chance to see more facts for themselves.