Among the many revelations of the impeachment inquiry is the Trump administration’s troubling communications strategy regarding foreign policy. The public is gaining increased knowledge of what some charitably call an “irregular channel” of communication through the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
According to the former National Security Council’s head of Europe and Russia, Tim Morrison, this channel was through Giuliani’s personal cell phone. In his Monday testimony before Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, he said that “much of Rudy’s discussions were happening over an unclassified cellphone or, perhaps as bad, WhatsApp messages, and therefore you can only imagine who else knew about them.”
The last portion of that quote was in reference to the Russians and other Intelligence agencies, who, according to the New York Times, “are working diligently to get inside phones to read the messages after they are deciphered.”
Throughout the impeachment inquiry, it has become clear that there are two channels of communication in foreign policy. The official one through the State and Defense Departments, and a shadow channel used by associates of the President. Critics say that this is a deceptive move meant to present an official face to the public while the true foreign policy is done in a fashion meant to undermine career officials who know better how to enact America’s interests abroad.
The Trump administration has been very antagonistic to career diplomats and national security experts, alleging that they are a partisan “Deep State” bent on hurting his agenda and helping Democrats, despite many of the officials in question being appointed by President George W. Bush in addition to President Obama.
Lieutenant Colonel Vindman spoke out today in testimony against Trump’s unnecessarily confrontational attitude, slamming the President’s “vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants” and calling them “reprehensible.”
When asked if he was a “Never Trumper” as he has been characterized by President Trump and his congressional and media allies, Vindman said that he is “never partisan.”
He continued in his opening statement, saying “It is natural to disagree and engage in spirited debate, this has been our custom since the time of our Founding Fathers, but we are better than callow and cowardly attacks,” presumably referring to Trump’s Twitter attacks of Ukraine expert Marie Yavonovich during her Friday testimony that critics called “witness intimidation.”
In a touching moment he addressed his father, who managed to get him and his younger brothers out of the Soviet Union in the 1970’s, saying “Dad, my sitting here today, in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union … Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”
The rest of Vindman’s testimony was fairly damning of Trump and his actions regarding the alleged exploitation of American military aid for personal policial gain. Vindman, who was on the phone for the July 25th call in question, said of the call that he “was concerned by the call, what I heard was improper, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg. It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent… This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support, undermine U.S. national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region.”