Republicans storm impeachment hearing in classified committee

Trump in badly spelled rant urging Republicans to 'close' impeachment process after damning testimony from key witness

President calls impeachment inquiry a 'very infair process' in morning Twitter rant

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta
Wednesday 30 October 2019 14:19
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Donald Trump has slammed the House impeachment inquiry against him in a series of misspelled morning tweets, calling the Democrat-led investigation a “very infair Process”.

The president wrote: “Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats, and now are starting to go after the Substance even more than the very infair Process because just a casual reading of the Transcript leads EVERYBODY to see that the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one”.

“This Impeachment nonsense is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax, which has been going on since before I even got elected,” he added. “Rupublicans [sic], go with Substance and close it out!”

His comments came a day after the US House of Representatives passed a resolution formalising the inquiry into Mr Trump, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the vote was made to “eliminate any doubt” about the process as the administration tries to block witnesses and withhold documents.

Mr Trump’s tweets also came after Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman gave evidence to the House on Tuesday about having twice raised concerns over the Trump administration’s push to have Ukraine investigate one of the president’s political rivals.

Mr Vindman, who arrived in full military uniform for his interview with House impeachment investigators, listened to Mr Trump’s 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is now at the heart of the inquiry.

He said he and others listened in the Situation Room as Mr Trump spoke with Ukraine’s president and pushed for investigations. In his prepared testimony, Mr Vindman said he reported his concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel.

Mr Trump attacked Mr Vindman in a follow up tweet on Wednesday, writing: “Yesterday’s Never Trumper witness could find NO Quid Pro Quo in the Transcript of the phone call.”

“There were many people listening to the call,” he added. “How come they (including the President of Ukraine) found NOTHING wrong with it. Witch Hunt!”

The president previously called the impeachment probe a “sham” and said if people read the record of the call his White House released the investigation would be “OVER!”.

Just before Mr Vindman spoke to House investigators, Mr Trump tweeted: “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER!”

In prepared testimony, Mr Vindman said he first reported his concerns after a 10 July meeting in which a US ambassador, Gordon Sondland, stressed the importance of having Ukraine investigate the 2016 election as well as a company linked to the family of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“I sit here, as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant,” Mr Vindman, the National Security Counsel director on European affairs, told House investigators in written testimony.

“I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom," he added. "I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics.”

He also told investigators he tried to change the White House’s rough transcript of the call by filling in at least one of the omitted words, “Burisma,” a reference to the company linked to Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, according to people familiar with his testimony. But Mr Vindman was unsuccessful.

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His concerns, though, were far bigger than the transcript. And several lawmakers said his failed effort to edit it didn’t significantly change their understanding of what transpired during Mr Trump’s call that sparked the impeachment inquiry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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