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November 18, 2019

Tom Morrison Questioned Alex Vindman's "Judgement;" Paul Sperry Reports On Complaints That Vindman Leaked and Was So Distrusted He Was Excluded from Some Trips and Discussions

Byron York reports that Democrats and lawyers repeatedly stopped any questioning of Tom Morrison and Vindman about who else they had talked to.

On Saturday, Democrats released the transcript of the Oct. 31 deposition of Tim Morrison, who until recently was the top National Security Council official in charge of Russia and Europe. At the deposition, Republicans asked Morrison about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served under Morrison in charge of Ukraine. Morrison testified that he had questions about Vindman's judgment. Specifically, Morrison told the committee, "I had concerns that he did not exercise appropriate judgment as to whom he would say what."


GOP lawyer Steve Castor asked Morrison in a general sense who Vindman might have discussed the Trump-Zelensky call with. "What types of officials in the course of his duties would he be responsible for providing readouts to?"

The transcript indicates that an off-the-record discussion took place. Then Morrison said, "He -- he may have felt it appropriate to speak to other departments and agencies if they had questions about the call."

"Do you know if he did?" asked Castor.

"Yes," said Morrison.

"And who--— do you know who he spoke to?"

At that moment, Morrison's lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, intervened. "I'm not going to allow him to answer that, it is beyond the scope of this inquiry," she said.

Castor protested that he was not asking Morrison to testify beyond his knowledge of events. Van Gelder then read what appeared to be a prepared statement.


More arguing ensued, but Morrison did not answer the question.

At another moment, Morrison described the time Vindman came to him to express concerns about the Trump-Zelensky call. "Did you have any other communications with [Vindman] about the call?" asked Castor.

"Yes," said Morrison.

"And what were those?"

"You're not going to talk about that," interjected Van Gelder.

Vindman himself testified two days earlier, on Oct. 29. In that session, Schiff again decreed that the witness could not discuss some of the people he might have discussed the Trump call with. In fact, Schiff ordered a blackout on discussion of anyone even associated with the intelligence community. (The whistleblower has been reported to be a CIA analyst.) "Can I just caution again," Schiff said, "Not to go into names of people affiliated with the IC in any way."

Vindman said he had discussed the call, in a limited way, with State Department official George Kent. When asked who beyond Kent he might have discussed the call with, Vindman's lawyer Michael Volkov intervened.

"What I'm telling you right now is we're not going to answer that question," Volkov said. "If the chair wants to hold him in contempt for protecting the whistleblower, God be with you ... If you want to ask, you can ask -- you can ask questions about his conversation with Mr. Kent. That's it. We're not answering any others."

"The only conversation that we can speak to Col. Vindman about is his conversation with Ambassador Kent?" asked Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin.

"Correct," said Volkov, "and you've already asked him questions about it."

Volkov, like Van Gelder later, was simply following Schiff's directive. The chairman ruled out any talk about the call.

I'd like to thank each of these Democrat Operatives for their service.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 04:48 PM

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