President Trump has repeatedly pointed to his July 25th call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as proof his relations with the nation were on the level. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council expert on European affairs who listening in on the call, remembers it a little differently. While testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, the combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient described in stark detail how alarmed he was over the president’s conduct on the call, which he worried could undermine U.S. foreign policy and national security.
“It was improper for the president to demand an investigation into a political opponent, especially a foreign power where there is at best dubious belief that this would be a completely impartial investigation,” he said of his concerns with the call. “This would have significant implications if it became public knowledge, and it would be perceived as a partisan play, and it would undermine our national security.”
SCHIFF: “What was your…reaction to hearing that call?”
VINDMAN: “I knew that I had to report this.”
SCHIFF: “What was your concern?”
VINDMAN: “It was improper for the president…to demand an investigation into a political opponent…it would undermine our national security” pic.twitter.com/tRhgHMf19G
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) November 19, 2019
Vindman said he believed it was his “duty” to report his concerns with the call, and that he never anticipated having to appear before Congress when he did so. And he continued to throw cold water on the conspiracy theories the president wanted Ukraine to investigate. First: the idea that Joe Biden wanted a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office in order to protect his son, Hunter.
DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL DANIEL GOLDMAN: “Are you aware of any credible allegations or evidence to support this notion that Vice President Biden did something wrong or against U.S. policy with regard to Ukraine?”
VINDMAN: “I am not.”
Vindman was similarly blunt when addressing the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the 2016 election interference.
GOLDMAN: “At the time of the July 25th call, were you aware of a theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 election?”
VINDMAN: “I was.”
GOLDMAN: “Are you aware of any credible evidence to support this theory?”
VINDMAN: “I am not.”
GOLDMAN: “Are also you aware that Vladimir Putin promoted this theory of Ukrainian election in the 2016 election?”
VINDMAN: “I am well aware of this fact.”
GOLDMAN: “Ultimately, which country did U.S. intelligence services determine to have interfered in the U.S. presidential election?”
VINDMAN: “It is the consensus of the entire intelligence community that the Russians interfered in U.S. elections in 2016.”
Though it may be the consensus of the entire intelligence community, Trump is determined to believe otherwise. Sadly, is the GOP.