House Democrats subpoena testimony from top Pence aide in impeachment inquiry
Perhaps as part of some fever dream by Democrats about an unprecedented double impeachment that would result in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) being elevated to the presidency, Vice President Mike Pence has been increasingly roped into the contrived controversy surrounding the “whistleblower” complaint about President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine.
As part of that absurd effort, a Pence staffer by the name of Jennifer Williams was subpoenaed to testify in a closed-door hearing on Thursday before the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee, The Hill reported.
Top aide to Pence subpoenaed to testify
Williams will no doubt be pressed by committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other Democrats on the panel about the extent of any involvement by Pence in an alleged “pressure campaign” mounted by Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, against Ukraine.
That alleged campaign was ostensibly to try and compel Ukraine to open up investigations into alleged corruption in that country by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as alleged interference on behalf of Democrats in the 2016 election.
Those allegations — which stem from the so-called whistleblower’s complaint and are based almost exclusively on second- and third-hand knowledge and media reports — purport that Trump and those around him engaged in an unlawful “quid pro quo” by supposedly withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the requested investigations.
But the aid was only withheld temporarily due to concerns over Ukraine’s well-known history of governmental corruption, and it is unclear if the requested investigations were ever launched, much less if the Ukrainian government was even aware of the alleged quid pro quo.
Williams listened in on Ukraine call
Regardless, Democrats will grill Williams about what she knows about Pence’s involvement with Ukraine, such as his own phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky or their meeting on the sidelines of an event in Poland earlier in the fall.
It is worth noting that Williams, a career State Department official assigned as an adviser to Pence, was one of many officials who was tasked to listen in on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky — a call that Pence did not participate in and only learned about afterward.
It should also be pointed out that Williams only agreed to testify after a subpoena was issued for her appearance. Her testimony comes amid anonymous reports that the White House had initially sought to prevent her from testifying.
What’s the point?
Given that Schiff’s committee will supposedly begin to hold open hearings beginning next week that will feature many of the same individuals who’ve already testified behind-closed-doors, it is unclear why there was a need to subpoena Williams and compel her testimony in secret at this time.
We will all have to await the eventual release of a transcript for that hearing — no doubt after snippets of her testimony that look bad for Trump or Pence are selectively leaked to the media — in order to make up our own minds about whether anything said by Williams is truly damaging for the administration or not.
In the meantime, House Democrats will continue to waste time and ignore other, more important issues as they chase the pipedream that is their fantastical vision of removing President Trump, along with Vice President Pence, from office ahead of the 2020 election.