On Tuesday, Jennifer Williams, who serves a top foreign policy aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified before the House impeachment inquiry, and what she did had to say was not good news for the VP.
But what Williams wasn’t allowed to say in the open hearing could wind up being the worst news possible for Pence.
As Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post notes, testimony from Williams has led to a crucial question being asked that Pence will have to answer: What did Pence know, and when did he know it?
“Williams’s testimony opened the question as to what Pence knew and when he knew it. She testified that she did a write-up about the July 25 call and included it and the transcript of the call in a briefing packet to Pence, but she did not know whether he read it. When Pence was asked about the aid holdup in the Sept. 1 meeting, he said he would talk to Trump about it. On Sept. 18, Pence spoke to Zelensky, but Williams was not allowed to discuss that conversation in an open setting. If Pence knew of the extortion plot, what did he do to stop it? It seems at the very least Pence needs to answer some questions in writing.”
Pence has already been asked by reporters how he was involved in the phone calls between President Donald Trump and and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. And his responses have been mealymouthed and tepid, with him attempting to minimize his role while also providing cover for his boss.
For example, in late October, Pence remarked:
“I’m telling you that all of my interactions with [Trump], all of my conversations with President Zelensky, were entirely focused on issues of importance to the American people, ending corruption, enlisting more European support and supporting Ukraine in a way that would restore its territorial integrity and stand by Ukraine for its sovereignty.”
That brings us back to Williams, who made it clear Tuesday she wasn’t at liberty to discuss in great detail what Pence discussed in his conversations with Zelensky because the vice president is claiming the call is classified.
But Williams is also planning to testify behind closed doors later today, and that means Pence’s claim of his conversation being “classified” is out the window. All the members of the committee have top secret clearance. So Williams can tell everything she knows about the VP and his role in the Ukraine scandal.
Today is not a good day to be Mike Pence. And after Jennifer Williams spills the beans, the days ahead could be even worse for the vice president.