Law & the Courts

NSC Official with Firsthand Knowledge of Trump-Zelensky Call to Testify Tuesday in Impeachment Probe

President Trump on the phone in June (Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Adviser who listened in on a July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, will testify today that he believed Trump endangered national security during the call.

“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 says in a copy of his opening statement obtained by Politico.

During the call, which has formed the basis for House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, Trump repeatedly urged Zelensky to look into corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

“I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens…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’s statement continues. “This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

Vindman is a decorated war veteran who was wounded in Iraq during an IED attack, and later received a purple heart. Born in Ukraine, his family fled the Soviet Union when he was three years old and has since specialized on U.S. relations toward his home country. After listening to Trump’s call with Zelensky, he reported its contents to the NSC’s top attorney.

Democrats are investigating whether Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Biden by withholding military aid from the country, which has been fighting a war with Russian-backed separatists in its eastern region since 2014.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her intention to formalize the impeachment inquiry with a House-wide vote on Thursday.

“We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to fellow representatives. “Nobody is above the law.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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