RUSH: Now to the hearings today. The interesting thing about the hearings today, we had two witnesses who actually heard the July 25th phone call. These are said to be star witnesses, Jennifer Williams from Mike Pence's office, but she's actually State Department, and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman.
And what has happened with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman today is fascinating because it is clear to me, since these people only have their opinions to offer, since they only have their assumptions to make, I'm gonna do the same thing. And I'm gonna tell you my opinion is Vindman is the source for the whistleblower, and it was almost exposed today. Adam Schiff jumped in.
People who know what's going on watching this understand that Schiff was practically stripped bare today on all the lies he's been telling about not knowing who the whistleblower is. If he doesn't know who the whistleblower is, how can he possibly prevent somebody from saying the name of the whistleblower?
Vindman made the mistake of saying that he informed two people who were not on the call about the call. Because you know what's also clear? What's also clear is that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman in his role has been acting more like a supporter or a defender or of a diplomat for Ukraine and not the United States. Now, don't misunderstand. I'm not talking treason or any of that. Don't misunderstand. I'm gonna play the sound bites and show you what I mean as the program unfolds.
But Vindman seems like his intent has always been to protect Ukraine from Donald Trump. Really all we have here is a bunch of career people who think they make foreign policy. And Trump has run around them. He's done end runs around them. He's making foreign policy without them, and their noses are out of joint, and they're coming forth and trying to offer other reasons to explain why their noses are out of joint. But that's all this is.
It's just the fact that a bunch of career diplomats and aides to diplomats have been left out of American foreign policy in Ukraine as conducted by Donald Trump. And their way of getting back it him is this. Now, John Ratcliffe just, right before the program started -- the congressman from Texas -- made a great point. He said that when this whole impeachment thing began, it was about a quid pro quo, that Trump somehow had demanded a quid pro quo from the president of Ukraine for aid to Ukraine.
And the quid pro quo was that the president of Ukraine, the newly elected one, must conduct an investigation of Vice President Biden and his incompetent, unqualified son, Hunter Biden. The Democrats went out... Do not doubt me. This is true. The Democrats went out when this wasn't playing out the way they hoped it would with the public, they went out, they convened a focus group, and they found out that "quid pro quo" didn't rattle any cages.
There aren't a whole lot of Americans who've been taught Latin anymore. So they don't know what quid pro quo really is. As such, it didn't carry any impact. So Pelosi, last week, changed the entire narrative and said that Trump is now being impeached for "bribery," because in the focus group that the Democrats did, they found out the word "bribery" and the word "extortion" has much more impact in describing illegal or criminal behavior than "quid pro quo" does.
So Pelosi is out now all of a sudden the end of last week and through the weekend claiming Trump is gonna be impeached for bribery. So John Ratcliffe asked the two witnesses, "Have you ever described President Trump's actions as 'bribery'?" Both of them said no. "In any of your testimony behind closed doors or here today, have you ever described Trump's behavior as 'bribery'?" No. Then Ratcliffe put stacks of paper on the desk.
He said, "These are transcripts from all of the closed-door depositions that have taken place. There isn't one witness -- in thousands of interviews, thousands of questions, thousands of answers. There isn't one witness who has used the word 'bribery' to denote what President Trump has done." These two witnesses today, the star witnesses both said they've never used the word "bribery." It has never been used.
Not one person who has testified either in public or in the closed-door sessions has ever used the word "bribery" in discussing whatever it is that Trump did that's so bad. The word "bribery" was used, however, one time in the private depositions, and it was used in reference to Joe Biden. So Ratcliffe says (summarized), "What the hell is going on here? We're gonna impeach the president over something not a single witness has accused him of? Not a single witness has used the term or referenced the term or even defined the term."
He said, "We're gonna have articles of impeachment prepared. We're gonna send this over to Judiciary Committee; there's more Democrats there, so this is gonna pass. How can the American people possibly follow this? This thing starts out with a quid pro quo and whatever else the Democrats wanted to say, and since that wasn't playing well, they focus grouped. They change it now to 'bribery' and before that 'extortion'."
Also today, ladies and gentlemen, Alexander Vindman... (sigh) You know, as everybody saying, "You gotta be very, very careful in talking about Vindman because she's wearing the uniform, he's decorated." (sigh) You just gotta be very careful. And the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal has a story today that says that Vindman's family and Vindman himself may be relocated to an Army base to protect him against threats to his safety.
Alexander Vindman, all of these witnesses are the safest people in the country today. If a single hair on a single head of one of these witnesses is touched? (Snort!) I shudder to think. Vindman's under no danger, but here comes the story in the Wall Street Journal. (impression) "Because of his testimony today, Vindman and his family seriously being thought to be relocated to the safety and security of an Army base where Trump thugs could not possibly get to them."
That's the point of the story.
Yet there hasn't been a single threat. There hasn't been a single hack of any of Vindman's computers. So it's all part of the grand illusion. Anyway, Vindman said today that in his opinion Hunter Biden didn't seem to be qualified to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president. You're not gonna see anybody highlight that in the Drive-By Media, but Vindman said Hunter Biden didn't seem to be qualified.
Now, we're gonna go to the sound bites. Let me take a break here. We're gonna get to the sound bites. Devin Nunes will lead off. He had a tremendous opening statement today. And as a point of preparation for the point Nunes was attempting to make today was to suggest that it is Vindman who ran out of the room after the July 25th phone call and called his buddy Eric Ciaramella and leaked the details of the phone call to him, and then it was Ciaramella who ran over to Schiff.
That is the story, that is what happened, and it is my opinion -- and my great assumption -- that that is exactly the role that Vindman has played here. "But, Rush! But, Rush! He's denied it." No, he hasn't denied it. He mentioned that he told two people outside the National Security Council, two people who were not on the call. He told two other people about it. He identified one person as George Kent, the bow-tied ambassador who testified last week.
The other person -- and Vindman started stumbling around, and then Schiff stepped in. (summarized exchange) "You can't... You can't say that! You can't answer that. I'm stepping in here. This is a trick. This is a trick. You're trying to get him to identify the whistleblower," and Nunes said, "Mr. Chairman, you don't know who the whistleblower is -- you said -- and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman said he doesn't know who the whistleblower is. How can anybody possibly identify the whistleblower here if you don't know who it is?
"He could give the name of anybody he wants, give any name he wants and nobody would know it's the whistleblower or not 'cause you don't know who it is and Vindman doesn't know who it is." And then Vindman's lawyer, said, "He's not gonna answer. He's not gonna gonna fuel the ruling of the chairperson. He's not gonna answer. He's not gonna answer that." And then Nunes said, "Well, if he wants to take the Fifth Amendment..."
And the lawyer (sputtering) "There's no Fifth Amendment issue here! He's just following the ruling of the chair. We're not gonna sit there and identify the whistleblower." So Vindman has acknowledged that he told you somebody, quote, "from the intelligence community." Well, that's the whistleblower. Eric Ciaramella, is CIA. So in my humble opinion -- and it's just my opinion and it's only my assumption -- and, of course, I could be called as a witness based on this because that's what these witnesses have. It is my opinion based on learned knowledge following these hearings that Vindman is the original leaker and that Vindman told Ciaramella (who is the whistleblower) who then went over and set all of this up with Adam Schiff.
RUSH: Now, we must be careful with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. That's the refrain that was shared with everybody today before these hearings began. It was a warning to the Republicans. It was a warning to people like me in the so-called conserve media. "You gotta be very careful with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. You gotta be respectful. You can't call him names. You can't claim that he's dishonest. You can't call him political. You gotta be real careful with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman."
The same people saying this are the very same people who set out to destroy General Petraeus in 2007 and 2008, including Hillary Clinton. Remember all the ads the Democrats ran, and Harry Reid was out calling General Petraeus "General Betrayus." They accused him of lying before congressional committees even before his testimony began. This was all having to do with the Iraq war and what was to become known as the surge to finally see victory in Iraq. Petraeus was gonna be brought up and he was gonna testify.
MoveOn.org was running ads all over the internet and in newspapers, "General Betrayus." So it was clear you didn't have to be careful with General Petreaus. When the left wants to destroy somebody in the media, why, they can go ahead and do it and everybody has to stand aside and let them. When the left wants to protect somebody in the military, you can't say anything. "You gotta be real careful with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman!"
Does anybody remember any concerns for the safety of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North back during the Iran-Contra hearings? Oh, yeah. Lieutenant Colonel -- as the prosecutor pounced it, "Colonel Nawt." He was a New Yorker. I forget his name. (impression) "Colonel Nawt, did you...? You were shredding documents. I one here," and North said, "What, I didn't get them all I missed one?" (chuckling) Anyway, nobody was concerned for the safety of Lieutenant Colonel North.
Nobody was concerned for the safety of General Betrayus. When the Democrat wants to target somebody in the military, they do. John Kerry! It was free and clear for him to accuse Marines in Haditha of terrorizing Iraqi women and children. Nobody had to go easy on the military, uniformed military personnel when the Democrats are seeking to destroy Republicans. But with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, "We have to be very, very, very careful."
RUSH: Okay. So I checked the email during the break. Look. I don't blame you, folks. Let me try to explain it. "Rush, you said you were gonna start with the Nunes sound bites." I intended to. This is how quickly things are happening here, folks. I intended to start about five minutes into the program with the Devin Nunes sound bites, but things are happening before my very eyes.
I'm watching this stuff as I do the program. It's jogging my mind. It's making impressions. I want to share them with you. So it's all coming up. That's how much on the fly things are happening here. That's why this program defies the odds every day. I structure it, I get it planned out, at least I have general areas I want to get to. Nothing is scripted, but I've general areas I want to get to, but the way it's been in the last long period of time, there is no organization that survives reality here.
So they're coming up. In fact, what I want to do now, I want to set it up. I want to give you a summary of what's happened so far today, then I want to go to the audio sound bites. I’m actually gonna start with John Ratcliffe since I mentioned what I thought was an extremely effective appearance he made. He's pointing out how they've switched to "bribery" here because "quid pro quo" was not focus-grouping well.
And also, President Trump's approval number is back up to 50 in the Rasmussen poll. It had gotten as low as 45 I believe. It's now back up to 50 in the midst of all this. But here are some things in this hoax hearing today. All of this is a hoax. It's the continuation of a hoax for three and a half years.
You know what I found fascinating, folks? Neither Lieutenant Colonel Vindman nor Jennifer Williams, the star witnesses today who were on the phone call, both of them said they knew nothing of Joe Biden threatening the Ukrainian prosecutor, they knew nothing about Joe Biden demanding the Ukrainian prosecutor be fired because he was looking into his son. They had no knowledge, they said, of any of the Biden efforts to effect internal Ukraine domestic policy. They had no knowledge of it.
How can this be? These people are devoted to Ukraine. How could they not know what Joe Biden was doing during the Obama years? I don't believe they didn't know. I don't know about Jennifer Williams. Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, I can't believe they didn't know. These people sat there for eight years while Obama denied Ukraine military aid and they didn't say a peep about it. They didn't say one word. They never went public. They never had a whistleblower.
Nobody in this apparatus ever expressed any disgust that the Obama administration went back on a commitment to supply military aid to Ukraine. They got that commitment under Trump. They got that military aid. They got the assistance under Trump. And there was no investigation that he supposedly demanded.
And yet they sat by and apparently didn't care a whit for poor old Ukraine when Obama was denying them assistance. These people, in my opinion, and as far as my assumptions are concerned, these people have no credibility whatsoever. In my opinion their partisanship here is as clear as a bell. Whatever Obama was doing with Ukraine was fine. Because Obama, in their view, was qualified to set U.S. policy. And so they were not gonna question it. And Obama made the show of going through them and using them and so forth.
Here comes Trump totally disagreeing with the Obama administration's foreign policy with Ukraine, setting out to change it, making sure they do get their aid, because Trump is opposed to Russia. Obama was afraid of Putin. Obama was afraid of angering Putin, which is why he denied Ukraine any assistance when Russia annexed Crimea from them. Trump came in, assessed this is not good. And he immediately set out to prepare the transfer of military assistance long promised and denied by Obama to Ukraine.
And these people are trying to make a big deal out of the fact that it was delayed because Trump supposedly demanded an investigation. And here's how Vindman claims it was a demand. In the transcript of the phone call, Trump casually throws off to Zelensky, the Ukrainian president (paraphrasing), “Hey, do me a favor here. We're looking into things here with Biden and his son, Burisma,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Vindman says that was not just a favor. That was the president demanding.
How's that? He asked for a favor. No, no, no, no, said Vindman. The president of the United States is infinitely more powerful than the president of Ukraine. And when a superior asks you for a favor, it's not a favor, says Vindman, it is a demand.
So this guy is totally, totally devoted, slavishly almost as a stoolie to whatever chain of command he thinks he's in, and is transferring that. He thinks Trump is the head of the chain of command over the president of Ukraine. In his world, the president of Ukraine is some chump who has to take orders from the president of the United States. And so when Trump asks for a favor, it's not a favor. It's a demand.
Trump did not make a demand. Vindman said it's a demand. And that's the reasoning he gave. But the striking thing is that none of these people that have testified cared a whit that Obama didn't come through with assistance for Ukraine, and all of them, every single one of them claims to have no knowledge at all about what Biden was doing meddling around in internal Ukraine domestic affairs.
I mean, when you're the vice president of the United States and you demand that Ukraine, a foreign country, fire a prosecutor 'cause he’s getting too close to your kid and then you brag about it to the Council on Foreign Relations and it's on videotape, and these people claim they didn't know anything about that? And yet we're supposed to respect them as far more knowledgeable than any of us on Ukraine.
It is clear to me, my opinion and my assumption, that Vindman is more concerned about what happens to Ukraine than he is the United States, within his foreign policy sphere. And you'll hear as the sound bites ensue that Vindman thought it was his job to protect Ukraine from Donald Trump.
Now, the bombshell today, or one of them, one of the bombshells, the Ukrainians offered Vindman three different times the job of defense minister of Ukraine. Now, stop a moment, folks, and let this settle in. Ukraine offered Lieutenant Colonel Vindman the job of minister of defense of Ukraine three different times. And Vindman says he doesn't really know why they did that.
He says he strongly refused the first time they asked. He made it abundantly clear the first time they asked he was not interested in being minister of defense for Ukraine. If he was that clear about it, if he refused the offer that strongly, why would they ask two more times? Vindman says that it was pretty funny, but he doesn't really know why they offered him the job of minister of defense, and he claims that he was not even worried about even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
So this guy testifying against Donald Trump today because of what he heard on a phone call was offered the job of minister of defense three different times. Now, the Republican counsel here -- don't be sandbagged by this guy. The Republican lawyer -- remember during the Christine Blasey Ford testimony, the Republicans brought in some woman lawyer that nobody ever heard of to question her. And she started getting real specific about sexual abuse and the effect it has on you psychologically.
We're all sitting here, “What the hell is this? The Republicans are blowing this. This Blasey Ford needs to be blown out of the water.” And then we all changed our minds about her later on. This Republican lawyer here reminds me of that. He initially plods and stutters his way through the opening of his questioning, but by the time it's over he has coaxed a lot of damning information out of these people because he is very good at making himself look like he's second or third best. The guy is sharp as a tack. He is getting these people to admit things because he disarms them.
Now, as I said, nobody can explain why these two bureaucrats, Jennifer Williams and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, their supposed outrage over a temporary delay in military assistance, why did this temporary delay galvanize these people into such action while three years of no aid was provided by Obama.
There was a complete cutoff of military assistance under Obama, and these people didn't even bat an eye. They weren't concerned about it at all. And here is a temporary delay, and the assistance is now flowing, and it's been flowing for months. But now we gotta impeach Donald Trump because he delayed aid to precious Ukraine, whereas Obama cut it off for three years? And ditto Biden.
Vindman claims to be an expert on Ukraine and has no knowledge of Biden bragging that he quid pro quo'd Ukraine and got a prosecutor fired. This guy was such an expert on Ukraine, he's offered the job of minister of defense, and yet he proudly claimed he never heard of anything Joe Biden was doing in Ukraine.
But despite the fact he didn't know what Biden was doing, arranging prosecutors to be fired to protect his son, he is livid, his sensibilities are outraged over a supposed idea that Trump was leveraging a prosecutor to act. But both Jennifer Williams and Vindman said they didn't even know anything about this Biden stuff. This Biden stuff is all over the news. Do you know that half of what they claim to know they cite as media sources? Half the information they have that's made them upset and mad is Politico and the New York Times.
Vindman has been bragging about his expertise in Ukraine, the fact he speaks Russian and Ukraine fluently, been bragging about growing up in Ukraine. But when asked specifically about Biden and Burisma, he claims he knew almost nothing about it, even though it has been widely reported in and out of government. It's even come up in the Democrat Party debates for the presidency, in the primaries.
And here is this expert on Ukraine, and Jennifer Williams, too, claiming not to know a thing about what Joe Biden did. Most important, Adam Schiff stopped dead Devin Nunes' question about the second person Vindman leaked the call to, even though Vindman testified he didn't know who the whistleblower is.
So the Democrat narrative is that Vindman immediately called up Ciaramella at national intelligence, told him about the call and now winks and nods that he has no idea that Ciaramella took that knowledge and acted as a whistleblower. That's what they're gonna try to pass off. Vindman did tell Ciaramella, but he didn't know that Ciaramella whistle-blew, he didn't know Ciaramella was gonna do anything with it.
Folks, it is so much smoke and mirrors, it is such a web of deceit. There are sacks of manure in front of everybody here. This whole thing is an absolutely disgrace to the country. It's an insult to the people of this country, in addition to everything else that it is to Donald Trump.
RUSH: Ah, this was great. This was great. Will Hurd. Will Hurd just nabbed Vindman again. So earlier this the morning testimony, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman said that he was so concerned about what was happening that he warned Zelensky, the newly elected Ukraine president. He warned him about two things. He warned him to be very leery of the Russians, and the second thing he says he warned Zelensky of was to be careful of letting outsiders interfere in domestic politics.
Lieutenant Colonel Vindman is making it clear that he had spoken to Zelensky, right? So just now Will Hurd from Texas asked, "How many times have you met Zelensky?" (muttering) "Uhhh, let me see..." He looks like to the sky like he's trying to remember all the times. "It would be one time." "Was it a one-on-one?" "Oh, no, no, no, no. It was part of a bilateral setting." These language code things these people diplomats use. (sputtering) "No, it was part of the bilateral setting, and there were numerous, numerous other people in the room. It was not a one-on-one."
Will Hurd said, "So it was not a one-on-one?" "Oh, no, no." "So when did you tell him to be leery of the Russians?" "Uh, uh, uh... (sputtering) "I assume national security adviser's there. What was the reaction when you told Zelensky to be leery of the Russians?" (sputtering) "Well, I -- I -- I'm sure there was agreement." The guy got nailed. He's only met Zelensky one time, and I'll betcha Zelensky doesn't remember him. He's in a large group of people, a so-called bilateral setting. You know what bilateral means?
It means there's at least two different groups of people. It could be two different nations. It could be State Department, National Security Council. It could be any number of groups. But there's two different groups in there. It was not a one-on-one, and Vindman admitted that. So all morning he's been saying (impression), "Oh, yes, I warned the new president to be very, very careful -- leery of the Russians -- and to be very leery of attempts to meddle in domestic politics."
What a convenient thing to say. "You met the new president and you warn him to be on the lookout for attempts to meddle in domestic politics?" And then Will Hurd says, "So how many times have you met guy?" "Uh, let's see. (muttering) That would be, uh... (muttering) One." "So that in the bilateral setting, that's when you told Zelensky to...?" (gulp, gulp, gulp.) What a sham, folks. It's an absolute sham.
RUSH: Betsy McCaughey has a piece today the New York Post, "What Democrats' Next Witness Alexander Vindman Really Has to Say." Her point is that she expects him to crumble because he pretty much did during the deposition phase. I'm not sure that's happened yet, but, believe me, there are enough holes being poked in this that it's not gonna have the penetration that Democrats are hoping for.