Politics

Trump rages as an official who listened to the Ukraine call testifies in impeachment probe

Key Points
  • President Trump sent more than 30 tweets and retweets within two hours Tuesday morning.
  • Nearly all of his own tweets railed against the latest moves by the Democrats, along with attacks on the witnesses called to testify in the probe, whom Trump labels "Never Trumpers."
  • Trump launched his social media bombardment ahead of scheduled testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.
National Security Council Director for European Affairs Alexander Vindman arrives for a closed-door deposition at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on October 29, 2019.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump unleashed a barrage of angry tweets Tuesday morning as House Democrats prepared to vote about their impeachment inquiry and a key National Security Council official headed to Capitol Hill to testify.

Trump sent more than 30 tweets and retweets within two hours. Most of the tweets he shared were messages from his Republican allies in Congress, along with a few conservative media personalities.

Nearly all of his own tweets railed against the latest moves by the Democrats, along with attacks on the witnesses called to testify in the probe, whom Trump labels "Never Trumpers."

Trump launched his social media bombardment ahead of scheduled testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who listened to Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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House expected to vote on Trump impeachment inquiry

In that call, Trump asked Zelensky to have Ukraine "look into" unsubstantiated corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump also asked Zelensky to "do us a favor though" and investigate whether Ukraine had been involved in foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election — a suspicion reportedly based on a conspiracy theory.

Vindman testified Tuesday. He was expected to say that he considered the request to probe the Bidens so damaging to American national security that he reported it to a superior, according to his opening statement, obtained by NBC News.

"I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine," Vindman says in his written remarks.

Vindman is the National Security Council director for European affairs. He joined the National Security Council in July 2018.

House Democrats are also expected to reveal new details Tuesday about a vote on impeachment inquiry procedures. The move, announced Monday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is a direct challenge to one of the main criticisms from Republicans about the probe, which has largely been conducted through closed-door hearings before select lawmakers.

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President Trump speaks to reporters about the impeachment inquiry

The Rules Committee is set to mark up the resolution on Wednesday. A vote is expected Thursday.

The Trump administration is refusing to cooperate with the impeachment proceedings and has pressured some witnesses not to appear for scheduled depositions, even after receiving subpoenas to testify from the House.

For instance, Charles Kupperman, former deputy to national security adviser John Bolton, filed a lawsuit Friday asking a judge to rule whether he must comply with the Trump administration or with the congressional subpoena for his testimony.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Kupperman may be held in contempt for his failure to comply with the subpoena.

Pelosi said Democrats are taking the vote "to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives."

Republicans, however, were not satisfied — as Trump's flurry of retweets Tuesday morning made clear.