Trump blasts impeachment hearing as witnesses testify about Ukraine call
U.S. President Donald Trump labeled impeachment proceedings "a big scam" on Tuesday as witnesses testified in a televised Congressional hearing.
Zachary Goelman reports.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "It's a scam.
It's a big scam." As witnesses testified in a televised impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Democrats leading the proceedings, including Chairman Adam Schiff during a cabinet meeting at the White House.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "You have a kangaroo court headed by little shifty Schiff [flash] And they're using this impeachment hoax for their own political gain to try and damage the Republican Party and damage the president." The two impeachment witnesses who testified Tuesday have both been personally derided by the president for cooperating in the impeachment probe.
Colonel Alexander Vindman and State Department employee Jennifer Williams both listened in to a July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky…when Trump pressed Zelensky to open an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Williams told investigators the request was unusual.
Vindman said it was wrong for the president to ask a foreign power to investigate a U.S. citizen and political rival.
Two days ago, Trump tweeted about Williams, calling her a 'Never Trumper.'
Last month, he said the same about Vindman.
Trump stood by that claim when pressed on it earlier in November.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING (NOVEMBER 2, 2019): "(REPORTER OFF CAMERA ASKS DO YOU REGRET CALLING LIEUTENANT COLONEL VINDMAN A NEVER TRUMPER?) Well, you'll be seeing very soon what comes out and then you then you can ask the question in a different way." Both witnesses were asked about these attacks from the president.
(SOUBDBITE) (English) EXCHANGE BETWEEN U.S. DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE JIM HIMES AND STATE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE JENNIFER WILLIAMS AND LT.
ALEXANDER VINDMAN HIMES: Ms. Williams, are you a 'never-Trumper?'
WILLIAMS: I'm not sure I know a definition of a 'never-Trumper.'
HIMES: Would you describe yourself that way?
WILLIAMS: I would not, no.
HIMES: President Trump called you a 'never-Trumper.'
Colonel Vindman would you call yourself a 'never-Trumper?'
VINDMAN: Representative, I'd call myself a 'never-partisan.'
Trump on Tuesday dismissively backed off his prior attacks.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I don't know Vindman.
I never heard of him.
I don't know any of these people." But the official White House Twitter account tried to undercut Vindman while he testified, sharing a quote from Vindman's former boss at the National Security Council doubting Vindman's judgement.