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Army releases statement on officer who testified in Trump impeachment inquiry hearing

President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office (The White House/Flickr)
November 01, 2019

The U.S. Army has offered a statement following Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s a testimony this week in impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

Vindman testified Tuesday that a July 25 call he monitored between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included inappropriate requests for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. An Army spokesman provided a statement on Vindman’s military service record and said he would receive all due protections appropriate in his case.

“Lt. Col. Vindman, who has served this country honorably for 20-plus years, is fully supported by the Army like every soldier, having earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq in 2004,” Army Spokesman Matt Leonard said in a statement to American Military News. “As his career assignments reflect, Lt. Col. Vindman has a long history of selfless service to his country, including combat. Lt. Col. Vindman is afforded all protections anyone would be provided in his circumstances.”

Vindman was awarded the Purple Heart following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Iraq.

It is not yet clear exactly what protections will be afforded to Vindman, but the response does come amid suggestions by Trump allies that Vindman have had ulterior motives in testifying he had “concerns” about the Ukraine phone call.

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The Army stance on Vindman follows a Wednesday letter by top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, in which he called on Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff General James C. McConville to afford Vindman whistleblower protections for his testimony.

Schumer said, “He has been called a variety of derogatory terms and some have even gone so far as to call him a spy and question his loyalty to the United States.”

In a Tuesday tweet, Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper” and said it “can’t be possible” Vindman listened to the same call, which Trump contends was entirely appropriate between him and Zelensky.

In his 10-hour testimony, Vindman reportedly alleged European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland laid out investigations of Biden and potential Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections as a precondition to a call between Zelensky and Trump.

Vindman also raised concerns over ellipses ― the three period symbol indicating omissions of text ― within the White House transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call, suggesting those omissions included more detailed comments about allegations against Biden and a Ukrainian gas company known as Burisma.

According to the New York Times, Vindman said at one certain ellipses in the transcript Trump said there are tapes of Biden. That comment about tapes of Biden may have been referring to a 2018 video in which Biden discussed forcing the Ukraine to either fire a prosecutor he did not like or lose out on $1 billion in aid.

“The words, generally speaking, that were replaced have already been kind of noted elsewhere, either in the call or in conjecture,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) told Politico reporters about Vindman’s corrections to the transcript.

Perry said the changes did not significantly change what is already known about the call through the transcript, which the Trump White House released in September.

This article has been updated for clarity.