Yesterday's House hearing a dull rehash UNTIL TRUMP DIPLOMAT CHANGES STORY

A lackluster impeachment hearing got an electric charge Tuesday when a key Trump administration diplomat changed his testimony to criticize the administration’s handling of Ukraine and vigorously defend Joe Biden.
Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Kiev, is the second witness to revise his testimony, after Gordon Sondland, in what appeared to be a gift to the Democrats.

He dropped his previous insistence that there was no talk of investigations at a crucial July 10 White House meeting that was cut short by John Bolton. Volker told the House hearing that Sondland made a “generic comment” about investigations and “all of us thought it was inappropriate.” This put him on the side of several other witnesses who expressed concern about President Trump freezing military aid to Ukraine.

However, Volker said he must have left or been involved in a side conversation because he didn’t hear Bolton express his strong objections to what had just happened. And although he was a point of contact for Rudy Giuliani, he claimed to be “out of the loop” on the linkage between the aid and Ukraine promising to investigate the Bidens or its role in the 2016 election—a linkage he now calls “unacceptable.”

What’s more, Volker said he has known Biden for many years, that he deems the former VP an “honorable man,” and that allegations that he acted improperly with Ukraine “are just not credible to me.”

Volker remained doggedly low key, obviously trying to thread the needle between openly breaking with Trump and distancing himself from the withholding of U.S. assistance to Ukraine. He said he should have realized that the push for Ukrainian investigations was actually specifically aimed at probing the gas giant Burisma, which employed Hunter Biden.
But he opened himself up to charges of inconsistency, especially since he just happened to recall the mention of Ukrainian investigations after other witnesses recounted that—in more detail—at the meeting attended by Volker.

For the Democrats, the late afternoon admissions salvaged what had been a sleepy third day of hearings.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, sitting ramrod straight with a chest full of medals, said flatly that “it was improper for the president to demand an investigation of a political opponent,” especially from a foreign power.
And yet his testimony was oddly anti-climactic.

True to his military bearing, Vindman was stiff, hesitant and by the book, answering questions at the House impeachment hearing in an unwavering monotone.

He says he conveyed concern about President Trump’s call with Volodomyr Zelensky “through official channels,” through the “chain of command,” acting only “to carry out my duty.” He bristled when ranking Republican Devin Nunes called him “Mr. Vindman” and asked to be addressed by his title.


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