WATCH: Vindman Says ‘Power Disparity’ Between Trump And Zelensky Meant ‘Favor’ For Investigations Was More Like An Order

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified before a public hearing on the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, told members of the committees involved that President Donald Trump’s words to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky seemed to him to be an order rather than a request.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump asked Zelensky during their July 25 phone call to investigate Joe Biden and his son, as well as look into a debunked conspiracy theory that alleges a DNC email server may be in Ukraine. Trump said he would like Kyiv “to do us a favor,” according to a memorandum of their call together.

That memorandum is not a verbatim transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky, however — a point that is made on the document itself, as well as from prior testimony from Vindman behind closed doors, CNN reported.

On Tuesday, Vindman claimed that the request from Trump to Zelensky was more direct than the memo makes it out to be.

“The culture I come from, the military culture, when a senior asks you to do something, even if it’s polite and pleasant, it’s not to be taken as a request, it’s to be taken as an order,” Vindman said in his public deposition.

Vindman added that, in order to secure a highly publicized meeting between the two parties, it was, in his view, necessary for Zelensky to adhere to Trump’s request.

“In this case, the power disparity between the two leaders — my impression is that, in order to get the White House meeting, President Zelensky would have to deliver these investigations,” Vindman said.

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