It’s a letter, responding to the letter that Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes sent him this morning asking him to recount his dealings with Trump and the Ukrainians this year, so it’s not official testimony under oath. It’s also partly political in tone, with Johnson stepping away at the beginning and end from his factual recollections to emphasize that he thinks the impeachment effort is part of a “concerted, and possibly coordinated, effort to sabotage the Trump administration” which he thinks began the day after Election Day 2016. He doesn’t use the term “deep state” but he’s very much a believer that the Ukraine scandal is largely a product of diplomatic and natsec bureaucrats channeling their policy frustrations with Trump into a narrative about misconduct. And he singles out Alex Vindman (who’ll be testifying this week) for special criticism on page three, suggesting that Vindman took to leaking because he can’t stomach that the president sets foreign policy and not the intel bureaucracy.
But once you’re past the framing, the letter is a solid bit of quasi-testimony in Trump’s defense. Johnson will be dismissed out of hand by Democrats as a partisan Republican who’s motivated to lie to defend the president, just as Lindsey Graham and the GOP have hammered at Democrats’ partisan motivation to attack him, but it’s worth noting that at no point in his storyline does he say that Trump mentioned the Bidens to him. Instead he supplies an alternate theory of Trump’s motivation: The president bore the Ukrainians a grudge for allegedly working against him in 2016 and came to view them as thoroughly corrupt partly because of that, which made him reluctant to fork over their military aid.
He had two interactions of note with Trump. One was on May 23 when he and several other officials briefed the president on Zelensky’s incoming administration: