AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is supporting Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, but does not have any formal ties to the Warren campaign.
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a U.S. Army officer who listened in on the Trump-Zelenskyy call that is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry, will testify to Congress tomorrow that Donald Trump and Gordon Sondland attempted to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden. The following blockquotes are excerpts of a pre-released transcript of the opening statement of Lt. Col. Vindman’s testimony:
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.
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 6 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.
Lt. Col. Vindman’s testimony will be yet another corroboration of the fact that the Trump Administration, led by Donald Trump, tried to pressure the Ukrainian government into a politically-motivated criminal investigation against a potential general election opponent to Trump and his family.