Army Officer Alexander Vindman Listened To Trump-Zelensky Call. Here Is His Statement To Impeachment Investigators

Army Officer Alexander Vindman Listened To Trump-Zelensky Call. Here Is His Statement To Impeachment Investigators

House impeachment investigators will hear from another corroborating witness on Tuesday in the spiraling inquiry into Donald Trump’s efforts to compel a foreign government to conduct investigations into his political rivals.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a US Army officer who works for the White House National Security Council, listened to the infamous July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky and came away so concerned that he alerted the NSC’s counsel.

Vindman was actually in the White House Situation Room when the Trump-Zelensky call took place.

“I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a US citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the US government’s support of Ukraine”, Vindman says, in a damaging opening statement.

In his prepared remarks, he goes on to say that “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”.

That, Vindman says, “would undermine US national security”.

He also says EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland “emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma” during a debriefing in early July.

“I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push”, Vindman goes on to say, adding that [Fiona] Hill “then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate”.

You can read his full opening statement below.


Opening Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman

Before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform

October 29, 2019

Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, thank you for the opportunity to address the Committees concerning the activities relating to Ukraine and my role in the events under investigation.

Background

I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours, including South Korea and Germany, and a deployment to Iraq for combat operations. In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart.

Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia. In this role, I have served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington, D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council.

The privilege of serving my country is not only rooted in my military service, but also in my personal history. I sit here, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant. My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.

For over twenty years as an active duty United States military officer and diplomat, I have served this country in a nonpartisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Introduction

Before recounting my recollection of various events under investigation, I want to clarify a few issues. I am appearing today voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena and will answer all questions to the best of my recollection.

I want the Committees to know I am not the whistleblower who brought this issue to the CIA and the Committees’ attention. I do not know who the whistleblower is and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.

Also, as I will detail herein, I did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command. As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me. On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities. I believe that any good military officer should and would do the same, thus providing his or her best advice to leadership.

Furthermore, in performing my coordination role as a Director on the National Security Council, I provided readouts of relevant meetings and communications to a very small group of properly cleared national security counterparts with a relevant need-to-know.

My Service on the National Security Council

When I joined the White House’s National Security Council (“NSC”), I reported to Dr. Fiona Hill, who in turn reported to John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. My role at the NSC includes developing, coordinating, and executing plans and policies to manage the full range of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic national security issues for the countries in my portfolio, which includes Ukraine.

In my position, I coordinate with a superb cohort of inter-agency partners. I regularly prepare internal memoranda, talking points, and other materials for the National Security Advisor and senior staff.

Most of my interactions relate to national security issues and are therefore especially sensitive. I would urge the Committees to carefully balance the need for information against the impact that disclosure would have on our foreign policy and national security.

I have never had direct contact or communications with the President.

The Geopolitical Importance of Ukraine

Since 2008, Russia has manifested an overtly aggressive foreign policy, leveraging military power and employing hybrid warfare to achieve its objectives of regional hegemony and global influence. Absent a deterrent to dissuade Russia from such aggression, there is an increased risk of further confrontations with the West. In this situation, a strong and independent Ukraine is critical to U.S. national security interests because Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.

In spite of being under assault from Russia for more than five years, Ukraine has taken major steps towards integrating with the West. The U.S. government policy community’s view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.

Given this perspective and my commitment to advancing our government’s strategic interests, I will now recount several events that occurred.

Relevant Events

When I joined the NSC in July 2018, I began implementing the administration’s policy on Ukraine. In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined U.S. government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.

April 21, 2019: President Trump Calls Ukraine President Zelenskyy

On April 21, 2019, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine in a landslide victory. President Zelenskyy was seen as a unifying figure within the country. He was the first candidate to win a majority in every region of the country, breaking the claims that Ukraine would be subject to a perpetual divide between the Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking populations. President Zelenskyy ran on a platform of unity, reform, and anti-corruption, which resonated with the entire country.

In support of U.S. policy objectives to support Ukrainian sovereignty, President Trump called President Zelenskyy on April 21, 2019. I was one of several staff and officers who listened to the call. The call was positive, and President Trump expressed his desire to work with President Zelenskyy and extended an invitation to visit the White House.

May 21, 2019: Inauguration Delegation Goes to Ukraine

On May 21, 2019, I was directed by Ambassador Bolton and Dr. Hill to join the delegation attending President Zelenkskyy’s inauguration. When the delegation returned, they provided a debriefing to President Trump and explained their positive assessment of President Zelenskyy and his team. I did not participate in the debriefing.

Oleksandr Danylyuk Visit — July 10, 2019

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.

Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel.

Election Call — July 25, 2019

On July 21, 2019, President Zelenskyy’s party won Parliamentary elections in a landslide victory. The NSC proposed that President Trump call President Zelenskyy to congratulate him.

On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and the office of the Vice President. As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said.

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. 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. This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.

Conclusion

The United States and Ukraine are and must remain strategic partners, working together to realize the shared vision of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. Our partnership is rooted in the idea that free citizens should be able to exercise their democratic rights, choose their own destiny, and live in peace.

It has been a great honor to serve the American people and a privilege to work in the White House and on the National Security Council. I hope to continue to serve and advance America’s national security interests.

Thank you again for your consideration, and now I would be happy to answer your questions.

Statement .pdf

Vindman-Statement-Final

11 thoughts on “Army Officer Alexander Vindman Listened To Trump-Zelensky Call. Here Is His Statement To Impeachment Investigators

  1. I think the reason Pelosi is making this inquiry somewhat more official is to dig deeper faster and force out evidence like tax returns. This brilliant and moving offering from Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman adds greater clarity to the overall Ukraine case, but is it enough to sway the nazi-thinking GOP senators ( as Anonymous mentions)? Unfortunately, even an airtight case may run into that wall, which will make most people question the legitimacy of the impeachment process and the premise of law and order. In a sense, it’s as-if the current GOP members have learned their lesson with nixon and thus fully plan to shutdown any case presented to the senate, no matter how factual. We return to the underlying nazi theme that trump can shoot anyone he wants and not be held accountable and not be accountable for tax evasion or obstruction of justice or any abuse of office — thus, relying on the senate nazis to subvert the Constitution in broad daylight.

    One has to wonder if there is risk in that plan, to the GOP? The only recent example of reality may be the booing @ the World Series, where the people communicated their displeasure with trump and the GOP friends who attended the iconic All American Game. There is a glimmer of hope that more American will speak up and that there will be massive protesting and mass efforts that target accountability for criminality. Is America up to that and can momentum gather, as impeachment proceedings intensify? In reality, the only way to save America from the nazi coup or gangster rule, is to boo louder and louder and louder.

    trump the GOP pussy, will most likely never place himself into that same awkward position, to face real Americans in public and thus hide behind his cell phone in a padded room, protected by his worshipping sycophants — but at some point, that inability to connect with American’s and to be thought of as an American leader will become such a comical farce that booing and laughing will carry over into the reality of total rejection of who there people are and what they represent.

    Meanwhile, how will America deal with a group of senators that fail to protect America, senators who are lawless traitors who subvert their vows and denigrate themselves in an effort to support chaos and lawlessness — how will they be perceived in their communities, their churches and the confines of their increasingly small American circle of nazi play pals? Eery single senator will have to face the American’s that were booing at the National Series — and they will have to face American’s like Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and the increasingly long list of people that are providing evidence against trump!

  2. Dear GOP, Some Scary Advice on How to Survive Your Impeachment Nightmare

    The problem is that “the genius of our great president” demands total fealty. He will insist that acquittal be considered total exoneration, and he intends you to be a part of the whitewash. He wants you to embrace and ratify his conduct; and if you do, you will own it.

    But what if the party had gone all Watergate-is-no-big-deal? If it had, it’s unlikely that Ronald Reagan would even have been elected, because the GOP would have been haunted by Nixon for a generation.

    In your idle moments, you have perhaps wondered what your legacy will be. Here’s the answer; history will remember what you do over the next few months.

    Short term, breaking with Trump will spark a nasty blowback. But imagine for a moment a post-Trumpian Republican Party freed from the baggage of Trumpist corruption. The choice is between a party inextricably tied to Trump, with all of his crudity, dishonesty, lawlessness and arrogance, and a party that has shown that it is capable of being a principled defender of constitutional norms.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/10/29/gop-advice-impeachment-nightmare-trump-229885

  3. I wonder if any member of the committee asked Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman to read the WH version of Trumps call (which Trump insists on referring to as a transcript) and whether it tallies with his recollection and is there anything that the WH version doesn’t include.

      1. It wasn’t a transcript. It was a roughly 5 minute summation of a 20 minute phone conversation with the original transcript/recording locked in a secure top secret server.

  4. It looks like House and Senate Republicans are going to face a rather bracing choice. Take it in early 2020, or take a shellacking at the polls in the fall of 2020. Based on what we know so far between the toxic events involving Ukraine and the Meuller report, not to mention Syria and trade we are currently being led by someone unqualified and unfit in the extreme. It is very much like the ad for air filters, you can pay me a little now or a lot later. Pelosi and the Democrats, if they handle it correctly, even if they fail in the Senate will make Trump very hard to re-elect or support for any but the “base”.

  5. GOP supporters rarely jump ship. Regardless of whether Trump is impeached, my guess is he’s still on track to thrust & parry effectively against any of the currently leading Dems. Is there anything we know NOW about Trump we didn’t know 1 or 2 yrs ago? He’s a fool, but he’s the Republicans’ fool and they appear happy to continue to go to the mat for him.

    The Repubs I know well tend to be single-issue Repubs, ie abortion, gay rights, or something similar. They dislike Trump, but they hate those ‘socialist’, ‘baby killing’ Dems even more.

    Will the ‘youth vote’ turn the Electoral College in States that matter in 2020? Who knows.

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