Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) kicked off the individual member questioning Tuesday morning by pointedly going after NSC official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s credibility.
Jordan cited NSC aide Tim Morrison’s deposition, in which Morrison said that he had “concerns” about Vindman’s judgment, and added that former NSC senior director Fiona Hill had allegedly raised similar qualms.
When Jordan finished speaking, a well-prepared Vindman read aloud from Hill’s “own words,” a copy of her performance evaluation of him that she wrote in July just before leaving her post.
“Alex is a top 1 percent military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service,” he read. “He is brilliant, unflappable, and exercises excellent judgment.” On the last two words he looked up at Jordan and held his gaze. He returned to the paper, brushing off Jordan’s attempts to interrupt.
After he finished reading, Vindman added that he had no explanation for Morrison’s evaluation of his judgment, suggesting that the negative feedback stemmed from Morrison’s newness to the job at the time he made the remarks.
Jordan, rebuffed, moved on to asking Vindman if he’d ever leaked information.
“I never did, I never would,” Vindman responded. “That is preposterous that I would do that.”
Jordan then made a transparent bid to get Vindman to name the whistleblower, an attempt that fizzled out amid committee squabbling and Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) sharp retort.
“As I indicated before, this committee will not be used to out the whistleblower,” Schiff said.
Jordan fought with Schiff briefly before spending some time praising the President for releasing the call memo on his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
And with that, Jordan, who had been specially switched to the committee because Republicans thought he’d be so effective at landing blows, had used up his time.