In Opening Statement, Vindman Outlines Concerns About Trump’s Ukraine Call

Alex Brandon/AP

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During his opening statement at Tuesday’s impeachment hearing, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who listened in on President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, explained why he felt compelled to report the call to the NSC legal advisor.  

“I was concerned by the call. What I heard was improper,” the 20-year Army veteran said. “It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and political opponent. It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play.”

“This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support, undermine US national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region,” he continued.

Vindman concluded by reflecting on his father’s decision to bring his family to the United States as refugees from the Soviet Union 40 years ago. He commented that speaking out against the government would not have been tolerated in countries less committed to free speech.

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the US Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family,” he said. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Read Vindman’s opening statement below:

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We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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