Vindman: Another impeachment witness who's not exactly unimpeachable

It's happening again.

The Democrats have trotted out for the cameras another supposedly unimpeachable impeachment hearing witness, building him up as the Ultimate Trump Slayer, the trump-Trump trump card, the reason it's now all over for President Trump.  We've seen this show before, first, during the Mueller special counsel affair.  Then with NSC aide Fiona Hill.  Then with U.S. Ambassador Bill Taylor.  The cold hard facts show something different.

This time, it was National Security Council aide Alexander Vindman, billed as the top Ukraine man for the president, reporting to former top Russia hand Fiona Hill, an NSC aide who had Joe Biden write the top blurb to her 2012 scholarly book on Vladimir Putin.  Like Hill, Vindman was sold to the public by the Democrats as someone unimpeachable — nonpartisan, objective, and in his case a decorated war veteran and the ultimate immigrant success story, in reference to his background as a 1979 Ukrainian Jewish refugee emigrating from the old Soviet Union. 

Here are some problems with that "narrative":

First, the public relations buildup, which was twofold. 

The New York Times, in the space of less than a day, it seems, given the short notice of the announcement of the impeachment witnesses, put out a long and positively hagiographically glowing profile, with oodles of tiny details that can't be found on Google.  Think they had some help for the big Hollywood-style buildup of Vindman, from the Democrats putting on this show?  I am going to guess yes.

The other thing was Vindman's showing up for the cameras in a spotless military uniform, medals gleaming from his chest.  The guy always wore a suit and tie to his NSC job.  Let's call that what it is: some public relations manipulations to keep Republicans from seeming too mean to him by asking him tough questions.  And of course, a bid to win the public over to impeachment, given that the public still respects the troops.  If this trooper says something, why, then, all of them must think the same.  They never extended such courtesies to, say, Oliver North, or Michael Flynn, but now a uniform is useful for their purposes, one that neither they nor Vindman in his NSC job ever had use for before.  Packaging.  And in any case, all kinds of people have military medals, because combat does not distinguish political opinions.  In other words, many medals are worn by NeverTrumps.  The same deal goes for Jewish émigrés from the USSR.  Two words: Max Boot.  The public relations buildup is attempting to trump facts with emotional imagery.

There's more.  During the question-and-answer section, Vindman attempted to make changes to an official transcript, given that he was in on the July call between Ukraine's president and President Trump.  The reportage suggests that President Trump's transcript was dishonestly concealing references to Burisma.  But there are a lot of reasons an ellipsis could have been used — the tape didn't catch the word, etc.  Vindman argues that he knew the word that quite possibly the machine did not.  He also was quick to run to lawyers and, like Taylor, seemed to be obsessed with chain of command, which the commander in chief does not have to follow in precisely the way Vindman prefers.  Correct the record?  It certainly also was a convenient opportunity for a NeverTrump to place in the words he wanted.  The Times says he tried to "correct" the transcript.  He may just as easily have been trying to insert words that were never said out of a NeverTrump political motivation. 

And about Burisma, the huge, flamingly corrupt energy company in Ukraine that amounts to a gargantuan slice of the economy of that country — it is hardly no national security concern, as Vindman argued in his opening statement.  That Joe Biden's son was making tens of thousands of dollars each month in a no-show board job, and that Vindman argued that this wasn't a national security priority, calls into question his so-called expertise.  Actually, it makes an argument that he just hated Trump.

Here's more — he apparently worked as a registered foreign agent for Ukraine, which is an astonishing conflict of interest with work on the National Security Council, and leaking presidential transcripts to Ukraine.  That's probably the biggest conflict of interest of all.  Mister Probity?  Thus far, the evidence doesn't show it.  Here are some choice tweets and important links from those who have looked into this even further.

Image credit: ABC News via shareable YouTube screen shot.

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