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:

THE TRUTH IS...

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

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