‘In Russia, This Would Surely Cost Me My Life’: Vindman, Williams Undeterred By Threats In Key Impeachment Testimony

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is a Purple Heart recipient. He’s also the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.

The GOP strategy for defending Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry rests in part on deriding Vindman by calling into question his patriotism and expertise.

That’s pretty much all you need to know about Vindman’s public testimony, which comes less than three weeks after he spoke to House investigators for the first time about the Ukraine scandal that threatens to upend the Trump White House headed into an election year. House Republicans are that desperate – desperate enough to smear a decorated veteran for recounting events as he experienced them.

Vindman listened to the infamous July call between Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky and came away so concerned that he alerted the NSC’s counsel. He was later instructed to keep quiet by John Eisenberg. Or at least that’s his version. He also told lawmakers during closed-toor testimony last month that Zelensky was likely prepped for the call with Trump and that “Burisma” was intentionally left out of the memorandum documenting the conversation in order, one assumes, to obscure how overt the quid pro quo really was.

Read excerpts from Vindman’s closed-door testimony

On Tuesday, he testified publicly, alongside Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams, who Trump blasted in a weekend tweet after learning that during her earlier remarks to Congress, she described the Zelensky call as “unusual” and “inappropriate”.

Trump’s surrogates on the Hill were looking to seize on the testimony of Tim Morrison who, despite largely confirming the quid pro quo that tied military aid and a White House visit for Zelensky to a public announcement of an investigation into the Bidens, expressed skepticism about Vindman. In Morrison’s judgment, the Lt. Col “did not exercise appropriate judgment as to whom he would say what”.

During Vindman’s testimony on Tuesday, the White House blasted out an email accusing the combat veteran of exercising “poor judgment, leaking, and going around normal procedures”.

The early highlight of Vindman’s remarks came when he chided Devin Nunes for referring to him as “Mr. Vindman”. “It’s Lt. Col”, Vindman corrected.


His testimony was largely in keeping with what he told lawmakers in October. In Vindman’s estimation, the US president engaged in a highly inappropriate scheme to effectively blackmail the Ukrainians into interfering with the 2020 election by launching politically motivated investigations into Trump’s rivals in exchange for the un-freezing of congressionally-approved military aid.

Crucially, both Vindman and Williams claim Burisma was mentioned specifically on the July call between Trump and Zelensky. If true, it would suggest that the White House intentionally omitted critical passages from the “transcript” that was released to the public.


Vindman also made clear what would happen to him (and, by extension, to the other witnesses who have spoken to lawmakers over the past six weeks) if Washington were Moscow.

“My simple act of appearing here today would not be tolerated in many places”, he said. “In Russia, my act of expressing concern to the chain of command would have severe repercussions”.


“Offering testimony involving [President Putin] would surely cost me my life”, he added.


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2 thoughts on “‘In Russia, This Would Surely Cost Me My Life’: Vindman, Williams Undeterred By Threats In Key Impeachment Testimony

  1. It’s so easy to burn out on politics and look away while America is under siege. Maybe Mr. H would breath a sigh of relief if there were less comments about trump absurdities and criminal-like behavior. I can’t help but think the ugly process of building trump into the MAGA monster he is — is almost as ugly as the process of reigning him in — except for the obvious virtue that justice needs to be done. I think millions of people are turning away from this impeachment sporting event and tuning-in to anything that will keep them from being involved in fully supporting our country, the Constitution and our laws — our way of life. The threat today is in apathy, which may be fueled by media chaos which overwhelms everyone to the point where the shell shock makes everyone numb — it’s easy to understand and feel the stressful strain of being in a war.

    I’m still looking at VP cheney and all his misguided abusive thinking on executive powers and seeing how he and people like him, including trump or nixon, cherry pick American history — specifically Federalist Papers, which provide out-of–context quotes about how Article ll has magic powers, as they sidestep (superior) Article l authority.

    It’s worth having great perspective in this matter and to see how arguments were laid out prior to ratifying the Constitution and to be able to clearly see why people like trump, cheney and nixon, and the GOP are all guilty of abusing Constitutional authority.

    Sorry for the length of this text wall, but why not spend some time in reading a few paragraphs about American history and be able to have clarity as to where things stand today.

    Notes on the State of Virginia
    QUERY XIII (4)
    by Thomas Jefferson 1781*

    ” With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. Human nature is the same on every side of the Atlantic, and will be alike influenced by the same causes. The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered.”


    Hamilton’s Federalist No. 70 was published March 15, 1788 and it was cherry picked by cheney, as to be a resource for unitary executive power, e.g., the power of a president to kill anyone he wants and to not be held accountable.

  2. “Republicans are doing so well because it is a scam, a big scam”. -DJT Yes it is, and it always has been Mr. Barron.

    If they are doing so well why are they complaining so loud in public places here deep in the heart of red country. Anger? Fear? They want to be heard across the room yet they do not want to look you in the eye when you give them the opportunity.

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