Day three of public impeachment inquiry hearings featured Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on his knowledge about President Donald Trump’s attempts to coerce the Ukrainian government into investigating his potential 2020 political rival Joe Biden. In response to questioning, Vindman said he didn’t know the identity of the whistleblower, and some pro-Trump media figures -- as well as Donald Trump Jr. -- reacted by demanding he be investigated and court-martialed for perjury.
The perjury accusation rests on Vindman’s statement to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) that he does not know the identity of the whistleblower, which right-wing media dispute, arguing that in fact Vindman is one of the whistleblower’s primary sources. Vindman said that he provided a readout of the call to two “cleared U.S. government officials with the appropriate need to know”: George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state who testified last week, and an unnamed individual in the intelligence community.
Nunes pressed Vindman on who the second person was, but committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) interrupted before he could answer, and Vindman’s attorney advised him not to answer questions about individuals in the intelligence community.
It’s possible Vindman talked to the whistleblower without being aware that they went on to file a complaint, or that Vindman provided the readout to someone who passed it along further. He might have an idea of who the whistleblower is but lack certainty.
Still, right-wing media latched on to the exchange between Nunes and Vindman as evidence that Vindman committed perjury, immediately calling for him to be investigated and even court-martialed despite having no other proof.
Human Events’ Will Chamberlain wrote that Attorney General Bill Barr “should open a perjury investigation into Alex Vindman based on his testimony that he does not know the identity of the whistleblower,” adding, “Roger Stone just got convicted on that very charge.”
Quoting Chamberlain’s tweet, Donald Trump Jr. wrote: “Seems fair.”
Trump Jr. went on to claim that Vindman’s testimony that “he had no idea who the whistleblower” is “sounds like perjury to me.” Trump Jr. added that Vindman “will get away with it because he’s pushing the Democrat’s agenda.”
The Federalist’s Sean Davis smeared Vindman, claiming that he was “insubordinate, ignored chain of command, leaked, and lied to Congress about not knowing who the whistleblower is, when he clearly knows because he was the whistleblower's primary source.” Davis concluded that Vindman “deserves” to be court-martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Conservative commentator Tony Shaffer wrote that he “agreed” with Davis.
One America News Network’s Jack Posobiec, a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist, claimed that “Vindman keeps testifying he doesn't know who the whistleblower is” but “today that completely fell apart.” Posobiec added that “Roger Stone is going to jail for this very crime,” asking, “Will Vindman's perjury be investigated?”
One America News Network’s Emerald Robinson claimed that “Vindman perjured himself,” rhetorically asking, “Is someone incapable of perjury if they served?”
Conservative commentator Ned Ryun said that “Vindman likely perjured himself” and asked if he would be held accountable.