Quigley Questions VP Aide Williams and Lt. Col. Vindman During Impeachment Hearings
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) questioned Jennifer Williams, Aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council. Quigley’s questions focused on the President’s decision to withhold military assistance from Ukraine.
Later today, Quigley will question Ambassador Kurt Volker, Former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, White House Aide with the National Security Council, Europe and Russia Policy. That hearing will be available online here.
Last week, Quigley questioned Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, Former Ambassador to Kyiv, Ukraine, about the impact of President Trump’s recalling on her career.
Video of Quigley’s questioning of Williams and Vindman is available here. A transcript is provided below.
QUIGLEY: Thank you Mr. Chariman. Colonel, it's one thing to ask somebody a favor like hey go pick up my dry cleaning and it's another when the Commander in Chief of the most powerful army in the world asks an ally who is in a vulnerable position to do him a favor, is it not?
QUIGLEY: Lemme go back to that military assistance, if I could. Ms. Williams, again when did you first learn that the security assistance was being held up? The nearly four hundred million dollars that was referenced?
WILLIAMS: July 3rd.
QUIGLEY: And were you aware of any additional or did you attend any additional meetings in which that military assistance being withheld was discussed?
WILLIAMS: I did. I attended meetings on July 23rd and July 26th where the security assistance hold was discussed. I believe it may have also been discussed on July 31st.
QUIGLEY: And at that point, did anyone provide a specific reason for the hold?
WILLIAMS: In those meetings, the OMB representative reported that the assistance was being held at the direction of the White House Chief of Staff.
QUIGLEY: And did they give reasons beyond that it was being withheld by the White House Chief of Staff?
WILLIAMS: Not specifically. The reason given was that there was an ongoing review of whether the funding was still in line with administration priorities.
QUIGLEY: Did anyone in any of those meetings or in any other subsequent discussion you had discuss the legality of withholding that aid?
WILLIAMS: There were discussions I believe in the July 31st meeting and possibly prior as well, in terms of Defense and State Department officials were looking into how they would handle a situation in which earmarked funding from congress that was designated for Ukraine would be resolved if the funding continued to be held as we approached the end of the fiscal year.
QUIGLEY: And from what you witnessed, did anybody in the national security community support withholding the assistance?
QUIGLEY: Colonel, again just for the record, when did you first learn the security assistance was being withheld?
VINDMAN: On or about July 3rd.
QUIGLEY: And what exactly had you learned from the State Department, I believe that prompted you to draft the notice on July 3rd?
VINDMAN: So on or about July 3rd, I became aware of inquiries into security assistance funding in general. There are two typical pots. State Department and DOD and I believe it was around that date that OMB put a hold on congressional notification.
QUIGLEY: Had you had any earlier indications that this might be the case?
VINDMAN: Prior to that there were some general inquiries on how the funds were being spent. Things of that nature. Nothing specific. No holds certainly.
QUIGLEY: Were you aware of anyone in the national security community who supported withholding the aid?
QUIGLEY: No one from the national security?
QUIGLEY: No one from the State Department?
QUIGLEY: No one from the Department of Defense?
QUIGLEY: Did anyone in your understanding raise the legality of withholding this assistance?
VINDMAN: It was raised on several occasions.
QUIGLEY: And who raised those concerns?
VINDMAN: So, following the July 18th sub-PCC, which is again what I coordinate, what I convene at my level, there was a July 23rd PCC that would have been conducted by Mr. Morrison. There were questions raised as to the legality of the hold. Other the subsequent week the issue was analyzed and during the July 26th deputies, so the deputies from all the departments and agencies, there was an opinion rendered that it was legal to put the hold.
QUIGLEY: It was, excuse me?
VINDMAN: There was an opinion legaled, opinion rendered that it was okay to, that the hold was legal.
QUIGLEY: From a purely legal point of view?
QUIGLEY: Very good. I yield back to the Chairman.