Posts tagged with "Situation Room"

Lt. Colonel Vindman testifies: ‘I did this out of a sense of duty’

November 20, 2019

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman—the principal White House adviser on Ukraine to the national security staff and the to the president—said in his opening statement in the impeachment inquiry on November 19 that he “was concerned” as he personally listened to President Donald Trump phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

As he sat in the Situation Room along with White House colleagues and heard firsthand the conversation between the two leaders, Vindman told the House Intelligence Committee, “…what I heard was improper.”

He clarified, “It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent. It was also clear that, if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play. This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support; undermine U.S. national security; and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region.”

He said he never expected to testify about the president’s words and actions, but he did so out of a “sense of duty.”

Indeed, according to a report by NBC News—which obtained a copy of the opening statement and posted it—Vindman’s account is significant because Republicans have attempted to paint previous witnesses as unreliable given their second- or third-hand knowledge about the pressure campaign. Vindman said that he witnessed EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland ask Ukrainian officials to open the investigation in order to get the aid — a meeting then-national security adviser John Bolton cut short. He also said that the July 25 call was “inappropriate” and he reported his concerns immediately

What’s more, he noted, he continued to support the foreign policy objectives of the administration, even after he reported his concerns—both on July 10 about Ambassador Sondland’s message detailing what was expected from Ukraine in return for the nearly $400 million in military aid—and on July 25 about the president’s dialog with Zelensky.

“When I reported my concerns,” Lt. Colonel Vindman said, “my only thought was to act property and to carry out duty. Following each of my reports [to National Security Council attorney John Eisenberg, who placed the transcript of the phone call on a classified server]… I immediately returned to work to advance the President’s and our country’s foreign policy objectives. I focused on what I have done throughout my career, promoting America’s national security interests.”

NBC News reported that Vindman —whose loyalty to the United States has come under attack from some in conservative media—excoriated the “reprehensible” and “cowardly” attacks on career foreign service officers and others who have appeared or were expected to do so, saying they do this work out of patriotism and not partisanship.

In a powerful close, Vindman thanked his father for deciding to emigrate to America from Ukraine, saying his testimony was proof it was the right decision. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth,” he said looking into the camera directly at his dad.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Trump Calls Omarosa Manigault Newman ‘That Dog’

August 15, 2018

On Tuesday, August 14—the morning that former White House Assistant to the President Omarosa Manigault Newman’s book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump Administration went on sale—the POTUS tweeted his thoughts at 7:31 a.m. “When you  give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

In response, Manigault Newman told Katy Tur of MSNBC that, if her former boss called her a “dog” in public, she wondered what he called her privately.

During that same interview, Manigault Newman said that she had told Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, that “there was a lot of corruption” in the campaign and the administration. She added that Trump had known about the “hacked emails” before they were released.

And the plot continues to thicken, as Trump and Newman expertly lob insults—and damning new information—at each other.

Trump has deployed the “dog” insult previously, The New York Times reported. In one case , the news outlet said, Trump claimed that his onetime political rival Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “lies like a dog” and, in another, he called Arianna Huffington, co-founder of HuffPost, a “dog.”

On Monday, NBC released a tape Manigault Newman made of her speaking to Trump, which she said was recorded the day after she was fired. In the recording, the president said he knew nothing about this personnel decision and told her, “I don’t love you leaving at all.”

Last December 12, White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, fired her in the Situation Room, the most secure conference room in the White House. Manigault Newman has released a recording of that conversation, as well.

Kelly said, according to her new book, “I’d like to see this be a friendly departure. There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope won’t make it ugly for you.” However, he declined to hash over the rationale for letting her go, saying “This is a nonnegotiable discussion.”

Manigault Newman has said she has more audio recordings, and in an interview Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” she said she would continue to cooperate with the special counsel, if asked. “Anything they want, I’ll share,” she said.

Just the day before, on August 13, a Trump tweet confirmed, after months of confabulation on the issue, that Manigault Newman had been forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Such agreements are illegal, unless they are confined to information that is top secret and highly secure.

The POTUS’s job approval rating registered at 39% on August 12, according to the Gallup poll.

 Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com