Ron Johnson: I Would Take Things That Colonel Vindman Says With A Grain Of Salt" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Ron Johnson: I Would Take Things That Colonel Vindman Says "With A Grain Of Salt"

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GOP Sen. Ron Johnson told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday morning that he would take impeachment inquiry testimony from White House and National Security Council officials like U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, former presidential aide Fiona Hill, and Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman "with a grain of salt."

JAKE TAPPER: President Trump's former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, when it came out that President Trump was pushing for an investigation into this conspiracy theory, this is what Bossert had to say:



TOM BOSSERT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: It's not only a conspiracy theory. It is completely debunked.

Let me just again repeat that it has no validity. The United States government reached its conclusion on attributing to Russia the DNC hack in 2016.


TAPPER: So that's not me. That's -- that's President Trump's former homeland security adviser. But I want to ask you a question...

SEN. RON JOHNSON: Jake, that is the...

TAPPER: Yes.

JOHNSON: No, listen, listen, listen, that is the server. And that is correct.

But I just pointed out Alexandra Chalupa worked for the DNC. That is a question that remains open.

TAPPER: Yes.

JOHNSON: So that's a legitimate concern.

One thing you're seeing that article asked was, why was this funding withheld? I would ask a different question. Why weren't the Ukrainians asked -- concerned about that well before I met with President Zelensky on September 5? I was with President Poroshenko on December 18. There was no problem about this.

At the inauguration, this issue wasn't raised. I meet with Ukrainian representatives all the time. Nobody ever raised the issue of the military funding being withheld.

So, from my standpoint -- and this is -- this is the way I said it to President Zelensky. This is a timing issue.

This is the end of the year. There's a pot of money that hasn't been expended.

TAPPER: So, let me ask you about that timing issue.

JOHNSON: I know Mick Mulvaney and Russ Vought. They're fiscal conservatives, go, why are we spending this with three weeks left in the fiscal year?

TAPPER: Senator...

JOHNSON: That's another plausible explanation.

TAPPER: But the NSC officials testified that this wasn't about being a fiscal conservative for Mulvaney.

Fiona Hill and Vindman, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, said Sondland said that this agreement, this, you have to announce these public investigations into the Bidens, was being coordinated by Mick Mulvaney.

Does it not concern you that the White House chief of staff reportedly supported this, what is clearly a, you have to do this if you want the money, because, literally -- and you know this because you have been a strong advocate for military aid to Ukraine -- literally, Ukrainians desperately needed this military aid...

JOHNSON: Yes.

TAPPER: .. and were dying, were dying, literally being killed between the time that the money was held up in July and when it was released in September.

So, this isn't just about political games and throwing out names like Alexandra Chalupa.

JOHNSON: Well, Jake, there -- Jake...

TAPPER: This is about people who desperately need military aid getting it.

JOHNSON: Jake -- Jake -- Jake, there's a war going on. And people are dying.

You know, President Obama, we authorized $300 million of lethal defensive weaponry. He never supplied it.

I would take things that Colonel Vindman says with a grain of salt as well, because, in his testimony, he said the Obama administration provided Javelin weapons. They didn't. It was March 2018 that 210 Javelin weapons were finally approved in terms of a movement over to Ukraine.

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