President Donald Trump took time to criticize Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Tuesday, tweeting that the top Ukraine expert on his own national security council had no reason to be worried about the contents of a call between himself and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.
“The Ukraine call ‘concerned’ [Vindman]. Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call,” Trump wrote in his tweet.
The content of the call was described in a memorandum, which was not an official transcript, that was released by the White House in September. Even though Trump has pointed to that memo as proof his call with Zelensky was appropriate, it still contained language that many took issue with, including asking for the Ukraine president to begin investigations that might help Trump politically.
Later on Tuesday, Vindman addressed the memo directly in depositions with House impeachment investigators, telling them that the document Trump so often touts lately is missing key details.
Vindman, who said he sat in on the call with Trump to Zelensky, had made several suggested edits to the memo, to include aspects that the president’s team had left out of it. Some of those edits were placed within it, but two omissions perturbed the Army veteran, according to the New York Times.
The omissions included a claim by Trump toward Zelensky during their conversation that recordings existed of Biden discussing corruption in Ukraine. Another claim included Zelensky explicitly making mention of Burisma Holdings, the company Biden’s son, Hunter, worked for.
Trump has promoted the idea that Joe Biden’s actions as vice president benefited his son’s business interests, although no evidence of such assertions exists.
Vindman expressed concerns in his opening statement during his deposition on Tuesday about the manner in which Trump requested investigations, which he stated were too political in nature.
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman said. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
Trump has described the memo detailing his phone call between him and Zelensky an “exact transcript” of what they said. However, according to reporting from CNN, that isn’t the case — the memo itself has a disclaimer saying it’s not a word-for-word transcript, which reads:
“The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty Officers and-NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.”