- Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, will testify privately to congressional investigators on Tuesday in the impeachment inquiry.
- According to his opening statement, first reported by The New York Times, he will testify that he felt a “sense of duty” to speak out about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which he said would “undermine US national security.”
- Vindman will be the first White House official who listened in on Trump’s June 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — in which he pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son on allegations of corruption — to speak to members of the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into the president.
- The phone call was the subject of a whistleblower complaint filed in August, and it has since become the launchpad for Democrats in their impeachment inquiry.
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A White House national security aide is set to testify before congressional investigators as part of the the House impeachment inquiry and will tell them that he twice reported concerns that President Donald Trump’s actions were “undermining US national security.”
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, will testify privately on Tuesday to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees that he twice registered concerns about Trump and his inner circle’s dealings with Ukraine, according to a draft of his opening statement, first obtained by The New York Times on Monday.
Vindman will be the first White House official who listened in on Trump’s June 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — in which he pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son on allegations of corruption — to testify.
The phone call was the subject of a whistleblower complaint filed in August, and has since become the launchpad for Democrats in their impeachment inquiry. The White House has said it will not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
Vindman said in his statement that he felt a “sense of duty” to speak out against Trump’s actions, which he said would “undermine US national security.”
July 10: Vindman reported that he was concerned by ‘inappropriate’ comments made by US Ambassador Gordon Sondland
Vindman flagged inappropriate conversations between the White House and Ukranian officials as early as July 10.
In his statement, posted online by Politico, Vindman recalled a meeting he participated in involving Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, and other White House officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton and US Ambassadors Kurt Volker (who has since resigned), and Gordon Sondland, among others.
According to Vindman, Sondland “started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.” Sondland also later emphasized this point during a debriefing.
Following the debrief, Vindman reported concerns about Sondland’s “inappropriate” comments to the NSC’s lead counsel, along with Dr. Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia adviser who recently testified in the impeachment inquiry.
Bill Taylor, the US’s acting ambassador to Ukraine, gave testimony last week that also discussed Sondland’s comments and Trump’s efforts to withhold military aid to Ukraine in exchange for politically motivated investigation.
July 25: Vindman listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky and reported that Trump’s actions would ‘undermine US national security’
Vindman also listened in on the July 25, call between Zelensky and Trump, and said he was “concerned by the call.”
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a US citizen,” Vindman wrote in his statement, “and I was worried about the implications for the US government’s support of Ukraine.”
“I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens … it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play, which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
Following the call, he again reported his concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.
Vindman plans to testify that he is not the whistleblower that filed the August complaint against Trump, nor does he know who the whistleblower is. But his account of the phone call corroborates the account given by the intelligence official and adds credence to the complaint.
Vindman will speak about ‘outside influencers’ who painted a false narrative of Ukraine
Vindman, an Army veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart, served in the US embassies in Kiev and Moscow but said he never had direct contact or communications with Trump. He said he became aware of “outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine” in the spring of 2019.
“This narrative was harmful to US government policy,” he wrote.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban urged President Donald Trump to adopt a “hostile view” of Ukraine which helped reinforce the notion that the country was “hopelessly corrupt.” Current and former US officials told The Post that Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani also reinforced negative views of Ukraine.