Highly unusual classified information about Vice President Mike Pence was submitted to the House Judiciary Committee on the cusp of a lengthy hearing last night to debate and finalize articles of impeachment against President Trump.
House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) shared a classified written submission from the Vice President’s Special Counsel for Europe and Russia, Jennifer Williams, who testified to the impeachment inquiry last month alongside NSC Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman last month.
Williams updated her testimony with a written supplement that she provided to the House Intel Committee one week after that testimony via her lawyers. Chairman Schiff’s letter to House Judiciary Chairman Nadler states:
“The Supplemental Submission contains additional information concerning a September 18, 2019 telephone call between Vice President Mike Pence and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
By letter dated December 6, 2019, the House Intelligence Committee requested that the Office of the Vice President declassify the Supplemental Submission as there is no legitimate basis to assert that the information therein is classified…”
“We requested that the Office of the Vice President respond by December 11, but have not yet received a response.”
EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified to the impeachment inquiry that he personally told the Vice President of his concerns over Ukraine’s withheld security aid just before Pence met with the Ukrainian president on September 1st. He said Mike Pence didn’t verbally respond to his concerns when informed.
During her November 7th deposition which was publicly released, Jennifer Williams said that Pence’s September 18th call was a follow up to that September 1st meeting. She testified about the call generally during her public appearance in front of the House Intel Committee, so we know the general gist of why she submitted supplemental testimony via CNN:
Williams was asked if on the call Pence gave Zelensky any advice on how to approach Trump when they met at the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting. Williams said Pence told Zelensky, “President Trump would be eager to hear about President Zelensky’s progress in his reform agenda.”
Fortunately, the VP’s refusal to declassify the new testimony which could hurt President Trump, or himself, during the impeachment process isn’t going to stop Schiff from getting that evidence considered by the House Judiciary Committee.
The terms of the Impeachment Inquiry resolution H.Res. 660 provides otherwise unavailable permission to share otherwise classified information.
It’s hard to know if the classified information Jennifer Williams submitted could be more damaging to Trump or Pence.
But the secret evidence arrives after Williams courageously testified that the President’s phone July 25th phone call asking for a political favor was both “unusual and inappropriate,” and that there was no reason to withhold the Congressionally appropriated aid to Ukraine, which the President froze illegally.
Here’s Chairman Schiff’s letter submitting classified evidence to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration when it marks up articles of impeachment:
JUST IN: Schiff has submitted classified evidence to the judiciary committee ahead up tonight’s impeachment markup. it’s the letter from the Pence aide who filed additional evidence after her testimony. Schiff says the office of the vice president has declined to declassify it. pic.twitter.com/FjJM63xXZ0
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 11, 2019
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition