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Ron Johnson Disparages Vindman before Testimony: ‘Entirely Possible’ He Resents Trump’s Foreign Policy

Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2018. (Erin Schaff/Reuters)

Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) suggested that Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine specialist with the National Security Council, did not see President Trump’s authority as legitimate in a letter sent to House Republicans on Tuesday in response to a request for information.

“A significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch have never accepted President Trump as legitimate and resent his unorthodox style and his intrusion onto their ‘turf’,” Johnson wrote. “They react by leaking to the press and participating in the ongoing effort to sabotage his policies and, if possible, remove him from office. It is entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile.”

Vindman, who will testify publicly Tuesday, listened to Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and alleged in October that the White House omitted from the official transcript of the call Trump’s claim that there were recordings of former vice president Joe Biden discussing Ukraine corruption. Vindman also accused the White House of omitting Zelensky’s explicit mention of Burisma Holdings, the energy firm that hired Hunter Biden.

Johnson wrote that during a May trip to Ukraine with an American delegation, he was surprised when Vindman said “it was the position of the NSC that our relationship with Ukraine should be kept separate from our geopolitical competition with Russia.”

“Vindman’s testimony, together with other witnesses’ use of similar terms such as ‘our policy,’ ‘stated policy,’ and ‘long-standing policy’ lend further credence to the point I’m making,” Johnson stated. “Whether you agree with President Trump or not, it should be acknowledged that the Constitution vests the power of conducting foreign policy with the duly elected president. American foreign policy is what the president determines it to be, not what the ‘consensus’ of unelected foreign policy bureaucrats wants it to be.”

After Trump allies made accusations against Vindman last month, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming slammed fellow Republicans for questioning Vindman’s patriotism.

“Questioning the patriotism, questioning the dedication to country of people like [National Security Council Adviser Lieutenant Colonel Alexander] Vindman . . . and others who have testified” is “shameful,” Cheney said during a news conference. “We’re talking about decorated veterans who have served this nation . . . It is shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this nation, and we should not be involved in that process.”

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