The substance of a phone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky alarmed Trump’s top security adviser on Ukraine so much that he couldn’t sit back and just let it be.
Instead, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who had listened in on the call, went straight to a White House lawyer, John Eisenberg, to express his misgivings.
What troubled Vindman was the appearance of Trump seemingly requesting Ukraine’s head-of-state to open investigations into the Biden family, as well as look into a supposed server that belonged to Democrats that many contend is in Kyiv somewhere.
Eisenberg proposed a disturbing idea: to move the transcript of the call to a highly-secure national security server, to give it had a higher level of classification so as to ensure it wouldn’t get out.
“Vindman's account marks the first known instance in which a witness before the impeachment inquiry has provided a firsthand account linking Eisenberg to the decision to move the problematic transcript to a highly classified server.” https://t.co/DRjXT2Tslb
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) October 31, 2019
These details, described by sources within the House impeachment inquiry hearings, came about during a deposition given by Vindman on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.
Investigators have requested that Eisenberg give a deposition of his own before the panel on Monday, according to prior reporting from HillReporter.com. Another White House lawyer’s presence, Michael Ellis, has also been requested for that day, and former national security adviser John Bolton has been asked to speak later in the week about the matter of U.S.-Ukraine policy.
It’s unclear whether those individuals will agree to come forward or not. Democrats on the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry may subpoena those three if they refuse to do so voluntarily, which could result in their speaking, or set up a court battle on whether the Trump administration may try to prevent them from doing so, citing executive privilege.
Trump has gone on the offensive against Vindman’s remarks, calling him on Twitter several times a “Never Trumper.” Other pro-Trump voices, including former Rep. Sean Duffy, have questioned Vindman’s loyalty to the United States itself, even though he is a decorated member of the U.S. Army who has earned a Purple Heart.