Democrats accidentally undermined their own case against President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning when one of their star witnesses, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, confirmed Ukraine felt no pressure from the administration.
The House Intelligence Committee’s counsel, Daniel Goldman, tried to establish that President Trump had pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden solely, or primarily, for the potential political benefit.
However, his questioning of Vindman did not quite go as planned:
Goldman: Col. Vindman, you’ve said in your deposition that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the political benefits of the president’s demands. For those of us who are not rocket scientists, can you explain what you meant by that?
Vindman: So my understanding is that it was — the connection to investigating to a political opponent was inappropriate and improper. I made that connection as soon as the president brought up the Biden investigation.
Goldman: Col. Vindman, you testified that the president, President Trump’s request for a favor from President Zelensky would be considered as a demand to President Zelensky. After his call, did you ever hear from any Ukrainians, either in the United States or Ukraine about any pressure that they felt to do these investigations that President Trump demanded?
Vindman: Not that I can recall.
Goldman: Did you have any discussions with officials at the embassy here, the Ukrainian embassy here in Washington, DC?
Vindman: Yes, I did.
Goldman: Did you discuss at all the demand for investigations with them?
Goldman: I did not.
Vindman went on to say that he became aware, in the August “timeframe,” that Ukrainian officials became aware of a hold on U.S. aid. Multiple other witnesses have testified that the Ukrainians were not aware until Aug. 28, when Politico published an article stating that aid had been stalled.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.