Rep. Devin Nunes
Opening Statement for Vindman and Williams Hearing on Impeachment
November 19, 2019
I’d like to address a few brief words to the American people watching at home.
If you watched the impeachment hearings last week, you may have noticed a disconnect between
what you actually saw and the mainstream media accounts describing it. What you saw were
three diplomats, who dislike the President’s Ukraine policy, discussing second-hand and thirdhand conversations about their objections. Meanwhile, they admitted they had not talked to the
president about these matters, and they were unable to identify any crime or impeachable offense
the President committed.
But what you read in the press were accounts of shocking, damning, and explosive testimony
that fully supports the Democrats’ accusations.
If these accounts have a familiar ring, it’s because this is the same preposterous reporting the
media offered for three years on the Russia hoax. On a near-daily basis, the top news outlets in
America reported breathlessly on the newest bombshell revelations showing that President
Trump and everyone surrounding him are Russian agents. It really wasn’t long ago that we were
reading these headlines:
- From CNN:“Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump
officials.” That was false.
- From the New York Times: “Trump Campaign aides had repeated contacts with
Russian intelligence.” That was false.
- From Slate:“Was a Trump server communicating with Russia?” That was false.
- From New York Magazine: “Will Trump be meeting with his counterpart or his
handler?” That was false.
- From the Guardian: “Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian
Embassy, sources say.” That was false.
- And from Buzzfeed: “President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie
to Congress about the Moscow Tower project.” That was false.
There was no objectivity or fairness in the media’s Russia stories—just a fevered rush to tarnish
and remove a president who refuses to pretend that the media are something different than what
they really are—puppets of the Democratic Party.
With their biased misreporting on the Russia hoax, the media lost the confidence of millions of
Americans. And because they refused to acknowledge how badly they botched the story, they’ve
learned no lessons and simply expect Americans will believe them as they try to stoke yet
another partisan frenzy.
In previous hearings, I’ve outlined three questions the Democrats and the media don’t want
asked or answered. Instead of shedding light on these crucial questions, the media are trying to
smother and dismiss them. Those questions are:
- First, what is the full extent of the Democrats’ prior coordination with the Whistleblower
and who else did the Whistleblower coordinate this effort with?
The media have fully accepted the Democrats’ stunning reversal on the need for the
Whistleblower to testify to this committee. When the Democrats were insisting on his testimony,
the media wanted it too.
But things have changed since it became clear the Whistleblower would have to answer
problematic questions, including
- What was the full extent of the Whistleblower’s prior coordination with
Chairman Schiff, his staff, and any other people he cooperated with while
preparing the complaint?
- What are the Whistleblower’s political biases and connections to Democratic
- How does the Whistleblower explain the inaccuracies in the complaint?
- What contact did the Whistleblower have with the media, which appears to be
- What are the sources of the Whistleblower’s information, who else did he talk
to, and was the Whistleblower prohibited by law from receiving or conveying
any of that information?
The media have joined the Democrats in dismissing the importance of cross-examining this
crucial witness. Now that the Whistleblower has successfully kickstarted impeachment, he has
disappeared from the story—as if the Democrats put the Whistleblower in their own Witness
- My second question: What is the full extent of Ukraine’s election meddling against the
In these depositions and hearings, Republicans have cited numerous indications of Ukrainians
meddling in the 2016 elections to oppose the Trump campaign. Many of these instances were
reported, including the posting of many primary source documents, by veteran investigative
journalist John Solomon.
Since the Democrats switched from Russia to Ukraine for their impeachment crusade, Solomon’s
reporting on Burisma, Hunter Biden, and Ukrainian election meddling has become inconvenient
for the Democratic narrative, and so the media is furiously smearing and libeling Solomon.
In fact, the publication The Hill told its staff yesterday it would conduct a review of Solomon’s
Ukraine reporting. Coincidentally, the decision came just three days after a Democrat on this
committee told a Hill writer that she would stop speaking to The Hill because it had run
Solomon’s stories, and she urged the writer to relay her concerns to Hill management.
So now that Solomon’s reporting is a problem for the Democrats, it’s a problem for the media as
I’d like to submit for the record John Solomon’s October 31 story titled, “Debunking some of the
Ukraine scandal myths about Biden and election interference.” I encourage viewers today to
read this story and draw your own conclusions about the evidence Solomon has gathered.
The concerted campaign by the media to discredit and disown one of their own colleagues is
shocking. And we see it again in the sudden denunciations of New York Times reporter Ken
Vogel as a conspiracy theorist after he covered similar issues, including a 2017 Politico piece
entitled, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.”
- And my third question: Why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden, what did he do for them,
and did his position affect any U.S. government actions under the Obama administration?
We have now heard testimony from the Democrats’ own witnesses that diplomats were
concerned about a conflict of interest involving Hunter Biden. That’s because he had secured a
well-paid position, despite having no qualifications, on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian
company while his father was Vice President charged with overseeing Ukrainian issues.
After trying out several different accusations against President Trump, the Democrats have
recently settled on “bribery”—according to widespread reports, they replaced their “quid pro
quo” allegation because it wasn’t polling well.
But if the Democrats and the media are suddenly so deeply concerned about bribery, you’d think
they would take some interest in Burisma paying Hunter Biden $83,000 a month. And you’d
think they would be interested in Joe Biden threatening to withhold U.S. loan guarantees unless
the Ukrainians fired a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma. That would be a textbook
example of bribery.
The media, of course, are free to act as Democrat puppets, and they’re free to lurch from the
Russia hoax to the Ukraine hoax at the direction of their puppet masters. But they cannot
reasonably expect to do so without alienating half the country who voted for the President
they’re trying to expel.
Americans have learned to recognize fake news when they see it, and if the mainstream press
won’t give it to them straight, they’ll go elsewhere to find it—which is exactly what the
American people are doing.