Republicans targeted Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s credibility as they squabble over his performance record.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan asked the decorated solider to respond to concerns that National Security Council official Tim Morrison had about Col. Vindman. Specifically, he highlighted that the senior NSC official was concerned about Col. Vindman’s judgment and received reports from others that he may have leaked information.
Col. Vindman rejected Mr. Morrison’s comments and quoted Fiona Hill, Mr. Morrison’s predecessor, praising him in a recent performance review as a “top 1% military officer” and “brilliant.”
“I can’t say why Mr. Morrison questioned my judgment,” he said.
Regarding the accusations of leaking information, Col. Vindman said, “I never did. I never would. It is preposterous that I would do that.”
Another Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup zeroed in on why Col. Vindman went straight to NSC counsel rather than Mr. Morrison with his concerns about the phone call.
Mr. Morrison will be testifying Tuesday afternoon. Ms. Hill will appear on Thursday.
Poking holes in the credibility of Democrats’ key witnesses one of the central pillars of the GOP defense as they argue those testifying against the president are relying on their own opinions.
Democrats have been ready on the defense.
At the start of the hearing, House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff preempted any criticisms aimed at undermining the witnesses’ credibility before they gave their opening statements, noting both were career public servants.
“Ms. Williams, we all saw the President’s tweet about you on Sunday afternoon and the insults he hurled at Ambassador [Marie] Yovanovich last Friday,” he said. “You are here today, and the American people are grateful.”
“Col. Vindman, we have seen far more scurrilous attacks on your character, and watched as certain personalities on Fox have questioned your loyalty. I note that you have shed blood for America, and we owe you an immense debt of gratitude,” he added.