Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine Expert on the National Security Council and a veteran of the Iraq War, is taking heat from a number of conservative commentators who are questioning his loyalty to the United States following the announcement that he plans to give a deposition to House investigators within the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Vindman plans to tell investigators that he was disturbed about comments made by Trump to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 phone call. Trump allegedly engaged Zelensky in a quid pro quo, requesting the Ukraine head of state to investigate political rivals, and purportedly withholding military aid unless he agreed to do so.
Vindman’s deposition will be unique in that he will be the first Trump administration official to testify who was also in the room as the call to Zelensky from Trump took place, the New York Times reported.
“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 plans to say in his deposition. “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.”
Several commentators on the right lashed out at Vindman, per reporting from Axios, questioning his patriotism to the United States. Vindman was born in Ukraine, emigrating to America when he was a child.
Sean Duffy on CNN on Army Lt. Col. Vindman: "It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don't know that he's concerned about American policy … we all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from … he has an affinity for the Ukraine." pic.twitter.com/dlsYlTnCwR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 29, 2019
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense,” former Rep. Sean Duffy said on CNN. “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy…We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from…He has an affinity I think for the Ukraine.”
On Fox News, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade reiterated Duffy’s statement in more pointed language, tying Vindman to the former Soviet Union.
“We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family — young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine,” Kilmeade said.
It’s possible that this talking point will be used by Trump himself after Vindman’s testimony happens. Indeed, in a tweet made on Tuesday morning ahead of his deposition, Trump labeled the Iraq War veteran a “Never Trumper witness,” and questioned whether he was in the room at all when the phone call happened.
Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness. Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2019
However, Trump himself seemed to have confidence, at least in part, in Vindman, as he is a member of the president’s national security council.
In May of this year, Trump named Vindman to be part of a delegation of U.S. executive branch individuals to take part in the inauguration of President Zelensky in Kyiv.