The impeachment inquiry goes on with further damaging testimony against the President while Republicans continue to ignore the facts plainly presented by credible witnesses with integrity, honesty and courage.
In my lifetime I have witnessed two impeachments; against Presidents Nixon and Clinton. After hearing the facts, Republicans approached Nixon and advised him that while they were Republicans and believed in the principles of the Republican Party, they believed that what he did was wrong and that they were prepared to vote their consciences.
They were not prepared to ignore the facts.
President Clinton’s cabinet members and staffers met with him after it was clear that he had lied under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky and criticized him for putting them all in their current positions – having defended his wrong doing in public. They had believed his denials and were putting their faces out there in defense of his lies and now they all looked like fools or worse.
“How could you do this to us?”
Republicans today continue to ignore the facts with a strategy of deflect the testimony and attack the credibility of the witnesses. It still all remains a “witch hunt.”
Two days ago the Committee heard from Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, a dedicated career Army officer working as a advisor in the White House, specializing in Ukrainian affairs.
Born in the Ukraine, he came to America 40 years ago with his parents, who had previously fled Nazi tyranny and then fled the Soviets. Col, Vindman has devoted his life to this nation, serving multiple tours overseas, including Iraq where he was wounded by a road side bomb.
Yesterday he was ridiculed on Fox News by a guest of Lou Dobbs, Christian Whiton (a former Trump aid) as a “deep state crybaby” insufficiently loyal to the Commander in Chief. Whiton openly mocked the Iraq War veteran for wearing his Army uniform to testify.
“During Tuesday night’s broadcast of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs—who also serves as an informal adviser to the president—groused about Vindman requesting Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) properly refer to him by his military rank during the hearing.
“This Colonel Vindman, who insisted for some reason on wanting to be called lieutenant colonel,” the Fox host grumbled. “I have never heard anyone referred to a lieutenant colonel as lieutenant colonel when addressing them verbally but, you know, as he wishes. I mean, he looks like a popinjay, he really does!”
“You see Vindman, this bureaucrat who poured himself into an Army outfit to go and frankly speak contemptuous things against the commander-in-chief, incidentally, a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Whiton declared.
“If you did that as a private in the Army you would get court-martialed,” the ex-Trump adviser continued. “I guess if you’re, you know, a never-Trump bureaucrat Deep State crybaby you get away with it.”
Whiton went on to complain that Vindman wasn’t a “political appointee” of Trump’s, claiming this is the “way the Deep State works” to take down a president.
“They take detailees, not the best from these agencies, often the worst, they stick them into the White House,” he concluded. “It’s a practice that frankly should end, and the political appointees, Tim Morrison and [Kurt] Volker aren’t mistaking themselves for the president, it’s these Deep State bureaucrats that do.”
Of course this is not the first time the Trumpsters have ridiculed a decorated war veteran. It started years ago when Trump derided the service of Senator John McCain. Don’t get me wrong – I have no particular affection for John McCain, but he was a man who earned my respect.
While in the Hanoi Hilton, the Vietnamese found out his father was a noted Admiral in the Navy and offered to send him home. It was an outright propaganda ploy.
John McCain refused to go before all other prisoners were released. I don’t think I would have been as brave.
Trump ridiculed him. “He’s not a hero. He was captured.” This from President Bone spur.
So ridiculing war veterans who aren’t Trumsters comes easy to his lackeys – from 2 guys on TV who never served anyone but themselves. No one questioned the truthfulness of what Vindman said; they just demeaned who he was.
Vindman is the top Ukraine expert on the NSC, which advises the president on national security and foreign policy matters, and has served in American embassies in Ukraine and Russia.
Vindman was the first White House aide to testify in the inquiry. Vindman said he has not personally interacted with President Donald Trump, but was on the line for Trump’s two phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in April and July.
Despite his background as a decorated veteran, Vindman has been criticized by Republicans and conservatives on cable television for complying with the House subpoena to testify. On Monday, the night before Vindman’s testimony, Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, attacked his credibility as a witness. Fox host Laura Ingraham and CNN commentator Sean Duffy have also questioned Vindman’s patriotism and national loyalty through insinuations about his immigrant background.
After all, he is fluent in Ukrainian.
On Tuesday, Republican attorney Steve Castor also used his time to ask Vindman about whether he was offered the post of Ukrainian defense minister. This line of questioning seems to be part of a conservative effort to discredit Vindman’s allegiance to the US.
He had been offered the position – several times. He immediately declined.
The uniform, then, became a focus point for Republicans who believe the soldier wants to look more authoritative, and another line of attack for the GOP to question Vindman’s credibility. Vindman, in uniform, stated that the Army is non-partisan – it serves the nation. Republicans tried to paint him as un-American anyway.
As for wearing the uniform when testifying before Congress, active duty military are expected to do so. Republicans conveniently forget Colonel Oliver North.
Oliver North was a key witness in the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings, which was part of a congressional inquiry into whether President Ronald Reagan’s administration used profits from weapons sales to Iran to secretly fund a right-wing rebellious coup in Nicaragua.
During his testimony North admitted he had lied to Congress and the American people, falsifying records to protect his superiors and the President.
North’s testimony in full military uniform swayed public opinion in his favor, despite his direct involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. Vindman while a witness on Trump’s call to Ukraine who has no established connection with the President has faced attacks on his credibility and patriotism, on top of his decision to wear a military uniform.
To his detractors, it’s a disgraceful choice to don a military outfit while testifying against the expected chain of command. To his supporters, it’s a symbol of Vindman’s patriotism and duty to his country beyond partisan politics.
Bravo Colonel Vindman. Your father would be very proud of you.