House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff cut-off ranking member Devin Nunes as he attempted to question Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during Tuesday’s hearing on the impeachment probe. Nunes simply asked Vindman who he had discussed the July 25th phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. There are still questions about whether or not members of Schiff’s staff previously met with the whistleblower.
In a Republican memo issued last week, Republicans stated that Schiff’s closed-door impeachmeant process, which had conducted for weeks, was a mechanism of “information control.”
“This arrangement has allowed Chairman Schiff — who has already publicly fabricated evidence and misled Americans about his interactions with at the anonymous whistleblower- to selectively leak cherry-picked information to help paint misleading public narratives while, at the same time, placing a gag order on Republican members present.”
Here’s the exchange from today’s hearing:
Nunes: “Lt. Col. Vindman, did you discuss the July 25th phone call with anyone outside the White House on July 25th or the 26th? And, if so, with whom?
Lt. Col. Vindman: “Yes, I did. My core function is to coordinate U.S. government policy, interagency policy and I spoke to two individuals with regards to providing some sort of readout of the call.”
Nunes: “Two individuals that were not in the White House?
Lt. Col. Vindman: “Not in the White House, cleared U.S. government officials with appropriate need to know.”
Nunes: “And what agencies were these officials with?”
Lt. Col. Vindman: “Department of State, Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, who’s responsible for the portfolio Eastern Europe including Ukraine, and an individual from the office of…in the intelligence community.”
Nunes: “As you know the intelligence community has 17 different agencies, what agency was this individual from?
Then, Chairman Schiff interjects the exchange between Nunes and Vindman.
Schiff: “If I could interject here. We don’t want to use these proceedings…”
Nunes: “It’s our time, M”
Schiff: “I know, but we need to protect the whistleblower
The room then erupted in uproar with some lawmakers saying “stop the clock,” to which Schiff responded, “please stop I want to make sure that there’s no effort to out the whistleblower through these proceedings.”
Schiff continued, “If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we are here for and I want to advise the witness accordingly.”