This week, House impeachment investigators continued with their public hearings. After hearing from Pence aide Jennifer Williams and the National Security Council’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman earlier in the day, they hosted former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker and former Trump aide Tim Morrison on Tuesday afternoon. Each of them played key roles in the Ukraine plot that has brought the Trump administration to the impeachment process and were immediately poised to deliver further damaging testimony.
In his opening statement, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) noted their roles, which included Volker connecting personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani with Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak, who he lobbied to investigate the Bidens.
On the day of an infamous Trump conversation with Ukraine’s president, Volker confirmed a quid pro quo (meaning “this for that”) in a text to Yermak, who he told that he’d just:
‘heard from White House – assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/ “get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington. Good luck!’
‘While Trump claimed there was no quid pro quo, his insistence that Zelensky himself publicly announce the investigations or they would be at a stalemate, made clear that at least two official acts — a White House meeting and $400 million in military aid — were conditioned on receipt of what Trump wanted, the investigations to help his campaign.’
Overall, Volker helped implement the president’s plan to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens, while Morrison is one of a select group of people who listened into that highly scrutinized July phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump pressured Zelensky to look into those conspiracy theories.
The investigations that Trump pushed for — and that the earlier Tuesday witnesses Williams and Vindman also heard firsthand, having listened into that call — targeted the Bidens and a conspiracy theory that really, Ukraine had a hand in 2016 U.S. election meddling. It was Russia, although at this point Vladimir Putin could probably admit it to Trump’s face on globally broadcast television and Trump would still find reason to argue with the idea.
Trump’s most recent response to the ongoing hearings includes a retweet from Republican Congressman Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, who bombastically insisted:
‘This charade has never been more than political theater and the American people know it.’
In fact, according to the majority of polls, some one out of every two Americans support the impeachment inquiry. Yet, Trump and his allies keep trumpeting this lie that “the American people are on our side” blah blah blah anyway. In fact, there has been no significant shift in Trump’s poll numbers in the time since the impeachment inquiry started, and the at least half the country actively opposed to him doesn’t just magically not matter because they say so.
Democrats will be continuing to hear from more high-profile witnesses in coming days, including Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Last week, a witness revealed that Sondland had spoken with Trump the day after his Zelensky conversation, at which time the president asked if Ukraine would be pursuing “the investigations.”