Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council expert on Ukraine, is scheduled to testify Tuesday about his concerns with President Donald Trump’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart in the House impeachment inquiry.
Vindman, who listened to the July 25 call, reported his concerns to NSC lawyers because Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
“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 told lawmakers in his closed-door deposition. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the gain would be for the president in investigating the son of a political opponent.”
Trump slammed Vindman on Twitter as a “Never Trumper” and urged him to read a transcript of the call. The call occurred during a suspension in providing U.S. military aid to Ukraine, but Trump insisted in another tweet that he didn’t demand the investigation in exchange for the funding.
Asked on Nov. 3 for evidence that Vindman was a “Never Trumper,” the president replied: “You’ll be seeing very soon what comes out.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter Monday to Defense Secretary Mark Esper urging him to notify all civilian and military personnel of their legal rights to make protected disclosures to Congress free from retaliation. Schumer said Vindman and Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, who is scheduled to testify Wednesday, have been attacked as traitors in the media.
“Bravely, in the face of these shameful attacks, these individuals have still chosen to come forward and tell the truth despite the risk of professional reprisals and threats to their personal safety,” Schumer said. “I fear, however, these attacks will only increase after their participation in these public hearings.”