Looking Ahead to the Week’s Hearings

So I got up this morning and flipped on the teevee to see today’s hearings. And lo, there on the screen was Devin Nunes, blabbering about Barisma. I turned off the teevee.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, are testifying right now.

Williams’s testimony was being trashed by Donald Trump late last week.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump attacked Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, calling her a “Never Trumper” just two days before Williams is set to testify before lawmakers in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. …

…The frenetic tweet came a day after lawmakers released a transcript from a closed-door hearing with Williams, who took notes while listening to the president’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president. She described the president’s insistence that Ukraine conduct investigations for the United States as “unusual and inappropriate” and told investigators that she found “specific references to be—to be more specific to the president in nature, to his personal political agenda, as opposed to a broader…foreign policy objective of the United States.”

The tweet:

She doesn’t have to read the transcript, moron; she was in on the original phone call. She has her own notes.

I take it from the various live updates on various sites that Republicans are going all out to trash Lt. Col. Vindman as a “Never Trumper” whose loyalties are divided between the U.S. and Ukraine. This seems not to be going well for the GOP.

There also was this moment:

Greg Sargent:

The game isn’t just to question Vindman’s motives. It’s also to further the underlying idea that Vindman — and, indeed, all the diplomats and professionals who have testified about this plot — have been fundamentally driven by a dispute with Trump over policy, which is indeed ultimately set by the president.

That lie, in turn, is designed to mask the ugly, throbbing truth at the core of this whole affair, which most Republicans refuse to concede in public: Trump was solely driven by corrupt self-interest.

The afternoon witnesses will be Kurt D. Volker and Timothy Morrison, a Europe and Russia expert for the National Security Council. Morrison is the guy who advised White House counsel to keep the July 25 phone records out of public view, but he says he never said the records should be on a top secret server. Volker, of course, resigned from a position at U.S. special representative to Ukraine, whatever that means, in September and appears to have been in the middle of the mess. But these witnesses are expected to be friendlier to the GOP theory of the alleged crime, which is that the only reason anybody does anything is amoral, partisan self-interest, which is only wrong when Democrats do it.

Gordon Sondland will appear Wednesday morning. This should be good. The committee will also hear from Laura Cooper and David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, later in the day.

Thursday’s witnesses will be Fiona Hill and David Holmes, the guy who heard Sondland talk to Trump in th Kiev restaurant.