Concerned White House Official Told Government Lawyer of Trump’s Push for Ukraine to Probe Bidens

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

A high-ranking White House national security official will tell congressional impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he was so alarmed about a call in which U.S. President Donald Trump pushed Ukraine’s leader to investigate former vice president Joe Biden that he reported it to a top government lawyer.

It was the second time in less than a month that Alexander Vindman, an U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who sits on the National Security Council (NSC) and who listened in on the call, had contacted the lead NSC counsel about what he saw as inappropriate requests of Ukraine, according to his prepared testimony, seen by Reuters on Monday.

In the prepared remarks, Vindman said that if President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did as Trump asked in the July 25 call and investigated Biden, it would “undermine U.S. national security.”

Vindman, a veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart, will be the first current White House official to testify in the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, which was largely prompted by a whistleblower report on the call between Trump and Zelenskiy.

On the July 25 call, Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, a former vice president and a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination to run against Trump in 2020.

“I was concerned by 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 said in his prepared statement.

He voiced similar concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel after a meeting on July 10, his prepared remarks say, as did Fiona Hill, a former NSC adviser on Russia who has testified to impeachment investigators.

At that meeting, Vindman said the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told Ukrainian officials that they needed to “deliver specific investigations in order to secure a meeting with the President,” at which point National Security Advisor John Bolton cut the meeting short.

After the meeting, according to Vindman’s prepared remarks, Sondland said it was important that the Ukrainian investigations center on the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter.

The president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others have made discredited allegations that when Biden was vice president, he had a prosecutor fired to halt an investigation into Burisma.

Both Vindman and Hill told Sondland his statements in the meeting were “inappropriate,” according to Vindman’s prepared remarks.

Vindman’s testimony is at odds with that of Sondland, who spoke to congressional investigators in closed hearings this month. Sondland told them he did not understand “until much later” that Burisma was connected to the Bidens.

Sondland said in his opening statement to them that he did not recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens.

Vindman could be an important witness in the probe. His statement notes his two decades in the Army, including combat in Iraq, where he was wounded.

“I am a patriot and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective or party or politics,” Vindman says.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in Washington; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan; Writing by Makini Brice. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

What do you think?

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
WellHungChad
Member

Penix, you don’t even need to listen to any foreign government, you just need to listen to the facts, and they are: 1) Trump witheld NO funds. In fact, the funds were released well before his infamous phone call. 2) the Transcript of Trump’s call is now public. Nobody in their right mind would think he was withholding funds for a favor. I DO NOT give you credit for being in your right mind if you still don’t believe that! 3) During the Obama years over $7 billion of US aid went missing. Where did it go? Obama and his… Read more »

Phoenix
Member

WHC – I’ll be patient and wait to see what comes out of the inquiry. I’m less inclined to trust a foreign government that knows damn well the president won’t be removed from office by the senate- especially given how petty the current president can be.

Also, chill out dude. You’re like the conservative version of TDS. Sheesh.

General Confusion
Member

“And what about the Foreign Corruption Statutes Act of 1998 (signed by a DemocRAT POTUS named Clinton) which was the authoritative basis for Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Zelensky seeking information and help with corruption by US citizens in Ukraine?” Confused James I am confused. What about this Act? I can assure you that Foreign Corruption Statutes Act of 1998 does NOT allow for King Donald The Loser to use a foreign power to assist him in HIS OWN re-election. I am willing to be corrected here, so if you can quote where it does allow for that, then I… Read more »

Phoenix
Member

“Agreed and not forgotten. The 1998 Act deals with corruption (as I pointed out) and I said nothing about withholding money. Also, the Ukrainians did not know the Trump money was “with held” until after it had been paid in full; unlike Biden who bragged he got the prosecutor fired because he with held $1 Billion until that was done – a Quid Pro Quo by Biden; but not by Trump.” James How do you know they didn’t know? There wasn’t just the phone call. There was plenty of work being done by the president’s personal lawyer – to which… Read more »

James
Member

So, is Vindman shifty Schiff’s secret “whistleblower? How much was he paid to spy on the POTUS? Was he was even in the WH at the time? And did Schiff write the report for him?

And what about the Foreign Corruption Statutes Act of 1998 (signed by a DemocRAT POTUS named Clinton) which was the authoritative basis for Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Zelensky seeking information and help with corruption by US citizens in Ukraine?

Loading…

0

Comments

0 comments

U.S. Wants to Bolster Fight Against Islamic State After Its Leader’s Death

Boeing CEO to Face Tough Questions from U.S. Lawmakers