Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out at Jennifer Williams, a State Department employee who is set to testify publicly this week, the latest in a series of social media attacks by the President on those cooperating with the House impeachment inquiry.
Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence and a career foreign service officer, is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. In his tweet, Trump resurfaced an unfounded accusation he has raised against other officials who have testified in the probe, characterizing Williams as a Never Trumper and associating her with other “Never Trumpers.”
Pence’s office on Sunday pointedly declined to defend Williams after Trump’s Twitter attack.
“Jennifer is a State Department employee,” Pence’s press secretary Katie Waldman said in response to CNN’s request for comment.
Trump’s attacks on Williams come after he tweeted Friday as former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s was testifying that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad” — an attack Democrats may treat as witness intimidation.
It’s the most predictable pattern in Washington: Trump will attack when cornered. He clearly feels cornered by anyone and everything associated with the impeachment inquiry. That includes a frustrated and unwilling witness like Williams. It doesn’t matter if you’re an active-duty military person, an ambassador, a current or former member of his staff, or Pence’s. What ties these people is not that they oppose Trump. They don’t. They all work or worked for him. What ties them is that they have sworn an oath to tell the truth under threat of perjury about what happened here.
Saturday testimony behind closed doors — Mark Sandy, a senior career official at the Office of Management and Budget, testified Saturday about a budget process that went off the rails when nearly $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine was withheld earlier this year, and that he did not know for sure the reasoning behind the freeze in funds, sources familiar with his testimony told CNN.
Republican congressman calls new details ‘alarming’ — Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican member of one of the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday that information provided about the President during closed-door depositions “is alarming” and “not okay.”
“As I’ve said from the beginning, I think this is not okay. The President of the United States shouldn’t even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent,” Turner said.
Republican congressman has no issue with State Department releasing documents, on one major condition — Rep. Chris Stewart told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that he has no issue with the State Department releasing documents and having a White House official testify, as requested by the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry — though he tied the release to an agreement for the whistleblower to testify, which Democrats have indicated is a nonstarter.
Fresh testimony released
Gordon Sondland, the American envoy to the European Union, was acting at Trump’s instruction in his dealings with Ukraine, and Sondland said that the President told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky he “must announce the opening of the investigations,” according to transcript of the closed-door deposition of former National Security Council official, Tim Morrison, that was released Saturday.
Morrison testified that he had heard from Sondland that US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
Morrison also testified that he was told the transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart was moved to a highly classified server by “mistake,” according to the transcript.