President Donald Trump once again attacked someone who is cooperating with the House impeachment inquiry. On Sunday, Trump set his sights on Jennifer Williams, labeling one of Vice President Mike Pence’s top national security aides as a “Never Trumper” after she characterized his July call with Ukraine as “unusual and inappropriate.” Williams is set to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday but her earlier, closed-door testimony was released over the weekend.
Trump tweeted Sunday that Williams (“whoever that is,” he said) should read the transcripts of both his calls with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, referring to the now-infamous July 25 call as well as the April 21 call. The White House released a summary of the April 21 call on Friday. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!” Trump added.
During her testimony, Williams said that Trump’s “unusual and inappropriate” push to get Ukraine to open up an investigation into a political rival “shed some light on possible other motivations” for the president’s order to withhold military aid. “I found the specific references to be — to be more specific to the president in nature, to his personal political agenda, as opposed to a broader … foreign policy objective of the United States,” Williams said.
The president’s line of attack against WIlliams is hardly original. Trump also labeled William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and State Department official George Kent as “Never Trumpers” after they testified in the impeachment inquiry. That was also a label that Trump lobbed on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. On Sunday, Trump leveled that attack on a career foreign service officer, providing no proof that she ever opposed the president. Pence’s office declined to defend Williams, with the vice president’s press secretary only saying that “Jennifer is a State Department employee.” Even if technically correct that seems to ignore the fact that Williams is “detailed to the Vice President’s office,” CNN’s Jeremy Diamond explained in a tweet. “She is the Vice President’s special adviser on Europe & Russia.”
Trump’s latest attack against a witness in the impeachment inquiry came days after he was harshly criticized for lashing out against Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, while she was in the middle of public testimony before Congress. When asked about the tweet, Yovanovitch said it was “intimidating.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s tweet “totally wrong and inappropriate and typical of the president.”
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary, and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.Join Slate Plus