It seems fairly obvious from testimony provided during yesterday’s impeachment inquiry hearings that Alexander Vindman (that’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to you!) is the missing link, having provided the so-called “whistleblower” with the details of the July 25 phone call between Pres. Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart. As noted here, when asked by ranking committee member Devin Nunes whether he discussed the call with anyone outside the White House, Vindman affirmed that he had.
When pressed on who Vindman spoke with about the call, Vindman said he spoke with two individuals not in the White House, including Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent and another individual in the intelligence community that Vindman refused to name before being cut off by Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff.
If there’s another explanation for Vindman’s refusal to name the other individual, as well as for Schiff’s jumping in and insisting that the leaker is entitled to anonymity under the Whistleblower Protection Act, (which is false), the Democrats have yet to explain why.
Another detail that went far in undermining Vindman’s testimony was his claim that Trump “demanded” (his word) that Ukrainian Pres. Zelensky reopen an investigation into Burisma and by extension Hunter Biden. This teed off an exchange with a Republican questioner over whether requesting a favor, which Trump did according to page 3 of the transcript of the call, is the same as making a demand. Vindman claimed that in the military the term favor is usually construed to mean “direct order” or “demand.” When the questioner emphasized that neither Trump nor Zelensky was a members of the military, Vindman simply became further dug in, insisting Trump’s behavior was “improper.”
In the end, it all boils down to opinion. Is that what the Democrats expect that the nation will accept as grounds for ousting a duly elected president?