A member of President Donald Trump’s own national security council plans to speak to House investigators on Tuesday to state on the record that he was not comfortable with how the president spoke with another foreign head of state to discuss investigating a potential political rival.
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukrainian expert on the national security council, will tell House investigators in his deposition that he twice registered his dismay to Trump’s and other’s attempts to get Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to start an investigation into a supposed Democratic Party server as well as begin an inquiry into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Vindman will say his objections were raised out of a “sense of duty,” according to a copy of his opening statement, 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. 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,” Vindman plans to say.
Vindman will confirm in his deposition that he is not the initial whistleblower who raised concerns to the inspector general of the intelligence community. But there is a possibility that he and the whistleblower interacted with one another — particularly since the whistleblower wrote in their report that they talked to a person (or persons) who recounted Trump’s July 25 call to Zelensky and was “deeply disturbed by what had transpired” within it, CNN reported.
BREAKING OVERNIGHT: White House official Lt. Col Alexander Vindman will break rank to testify and will say Pres. Trump's Ukraine call was damaging to American interests. @marykbruce reports from Capitol Hill. https://t.co/iRoVt7URG7 pic.twitter.com/pamFO479gK
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 29, 2019
Vindman’s testimony will be particularly noteworthy, as he will be the first White House official to speak to House investigators in the impeachment inquiry who actually sat in on the call to Zelensky and heard first-hand what the president had to say.
Per prior reporting from HillReporter.com, Trump previously lambasted the whistleblower and others for their objections on how he spoke to Zelensky in that phone conversation, saying their worries were based on “second-hand” knowledge of what transpired. Vindman’s concerns, which he will discuss at great lengths on Tuesday, would seem to take the wind out of the sail of that argument made by the president.