White House official who heard Trump’s Ukraine call reported concerns to top lawyer
Washington — A White House official and decorated Army officer who listened to President Trump’s now-infamous call with the Ukrainian president was so alarmed by what he heard that he reported it to a top national security lawyer, according to his prepared testimony.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the director of European affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) who received a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, plans to tell the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry that he “did not think it was proper” for the president to insist that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky open investigations into his political opponents. He said he reported his concerns to the lead counsel at the NSC.Vindman is scheduled to be deposed on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. CBS News obtained a copy of his prepared opening statement, the details of which were first reported by The New York Times.
Read Vindman’s opening statement here.On the July 25 call, Mr. Trump urged Zelensky to investigate supposed Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections and the energy company Burisma, which had employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.”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,” Vindman wrote in his opening statement. “This would all undermine U.S. national security.”Vindman will be the first White House official who participated in the July 25 call to testify before the House committees. Vindman’s credentialsVindman, an active duty Army officer and immigrant whose family fled the Soviet Union when he was 3, said in his statement that he has “dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America” through more than 20 years of service. During a combat deployment to Iraq, he was wounded in an IED attack, and earned a Purple Heart.He said he has focused on U.S. policy in Eurasia since 2008 and served stints in the U.S. embassies in Kiev and Moscow. He worked on Russia relations for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and in July 2018 was detailed to the NSC, where he remains the director of Eurasia affairs.”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,” Vindman’s statement said.In his testimony, Vindman said he is not the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about the July 25 call sparked a series of events that led to House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. He said he does not “know who the whistleblower is” and “would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.”