New Media journalist Tim Pool recently spoke of how the actual proceedings of the Trump impeachment inquiry compare to the legacy media’s breathless reporting. It seemed as though the legacy media were reporting on completely different events. Testimony that revealed nothing of any value, or more often, material deeply damaging to the Democrats, is consistently reported by the legacy media as anti-Trump “bombshells”.

As Pool said, the obvious conclusion is that the legacy media are deliberately lying with the sole purpose of pulling in web traffic. Clickbait, in other words.

Take for example, the Australian’s resident Trump-hater, Cameron Stewart, reporting on Alexander Vindman’s testimony. Vindman, Stewart dizzily reported, “emerged with his reputation intact if not enhanced”.

On the contrary, questioning by New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican, painted Vindman as vainglorious and exceeding his authority. His testimony was, in fact, heavily damaging to Democrat Joe Biden.

The New York Republican started by slamming “the hysteria and frenzied media coverage” of the inquiry, which centers on Trump’s efforts to extract political help from Ukraine while holding up $391 million in security aid. Stefanik pointed out that whatever Trump’s critics might say, “two key facts have not changed.”

“One, Ukraine in fact received the aide [sic]. And two, there was no investigation into the Bidens,” she said.

The allegation that Trump tried to improperly influence the Ukrainian government in order to discredit his domestic political rival is the keystone of the impeachment inquiry. Without it, the entire proceedings collapse into meaningless farce.

In a series of rapid-fire questions of the witnesses, Stefanik made the case that Trump’s Ukraine policy was well within the bounds of U.S. foreign policy and his own presidential powers.

Over the course of a few minutes, the congresswoman got both Vindman and Williams to agree: Ukraine is corrupt, U.S. aid to the country by law depends on anti-corruption efforts and the president has final say on foreign policy decision-making.

Stefanik also won the witnesses’ admission that Burisma Holdings was corrupt and Hunter Biden’s lucrative role on its board “has the potential for the appearance for a conflict of interest.”

Contrary to Cameron Stewart’s starry-eyed version, it appears that Stefanik’s line of questioning reflected badly on Vindman himself.

In a final round of questioning, Stefanik seemed to allude to the perception among some conservatives that Vindman — who showed up to the hearing in his Army uniform and medals — lacks humility.

“I respect your deep expertise, your tremendous service to our country,” Stefanik began. “We can never repay those that have worn the military uniform and served our nation.”

However, Stefanik quickly changed tone as she began reading aloud from a braggadocios section of closed-door testimony Vindman gave to lawmakers last month.

“I would say, first of all, I’m the director for Ukraine,” she quoted Vindman as saying. “I’m responsible for Ukraine. I’m the most knowledgable. I’m the authority for Ukraine for the National Security and the White House.”

Finally, Stefanik reminded Vindman of just where his place was.

“I just want a clarification,” she said. “You report to [former top NSC adviser on Russia and Europe] Tim Morrison, correct?”

“Only in my advisory capacity,” Vindman protested. “I advise up through the chain of command. That’s what I do.”

“And the chain of command is Tim Morrison to Ambassador John Bolton, the [former] national security adviser to the president of the United States?” Stefanik pressed. “And do you agree that the president sets the policy as commander in chief as you testified previously?”

“Absolutely,” Vindman said.

“Thank you,” Stefanik concluded. “My time’s expired.”


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