From the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment, he’s been periodically trying to scapegoat Mike Pence in the Ukraine scandal. There has been debate as to what Trump has been trying to accomplish with antics such as asking the media to investigate Pence’s Ukraine phone calls, but Pence has surely noticed.
Today was the first real test of whether Mike Pence might decide to sell Donald Trump out in return. Pence’s aide Jennifer Williams was scheduled to testify to the House impeachment inquiry today, and even though the White House ordered her not to, she showed up anyway. The question was whether she might have been looking to sell out Pence to protect herself, or sell out Trump to try to protect herself and Pence.
From what’s surfaced about her testimony thus far, it appears that Williams either doesn’t have knowledge of Mike Pence’s role in the Ukraine scandal one way or the other, or she’s trying to protect him. CNN says that she testified that she doesn’t know if Pence saw the phone call transcript, and she doesn’t know if Trump told Pence to push the quid pro quo on Ukraine. Okay, fair enough. Upcoming witnesses will either confirm or refute this. What stands out now is what Williams said about Trump.
Williams was listening in on Donald Trump’s Ukraine phone call. CNN says she testified today that she found the phone call to be “unusual” and “political” and that it didn’t have the “normal tone” of a diplomatic call. These words are understated in comparison to how some of the other witnesses have characterized the phone call, to be sure. But this is Mike Pence’s aide telling the House impeachment inquiry that something wasn’t right with Trump’s Ukraine phone call – and that alone is a significant indicator of where this could be headed.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report