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Lt. Col. Vindman says he felt ‘sense of duty’ to testify in Trump impeachment hearings

Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman questions Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, next to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) during a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/REUTERS/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)
November 19, 2019

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman arrived Tuesday before the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee to testify in impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

Vindman, a member of the National Security Council, was one witness who listened to a controversial July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman said he acted out of a “sense of duty” to report concerns he had with the controversial Trump call, CNN reported.

In his testimony, Vindman said he raised concerns after the call, which has been central to allegations Trump pressured Zelensky to initiate an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Lt. Col Vindman appeared before the impeachment hearing in his Army dress blues. Vindman joined the U.S. Army and served more than 20 years. He was wounded by an IED in 2004 while deployed in Iraq.

As a child, Vindman immigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. and during his testimony, he invoked his father’s decision to leave Ukraine when it was under Soviet control. In his remarks, he said the testimony he planned to provide would get him killed in Russia.

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Vindman also spoke to denounce attacks on his character as a military service member testifying in a matter concerning the Commander-in-Chief. Following his initial closed-door testimony in October, the Army issued a statement regarding Vindman’s service record and witness protections afforded to those in his circumstances.

In his Tuesday remarks, Vindman also defended current and future witnesses preparing to testify in the impeachment hearings.

“I want to take a moment to recognize the courage of my colleagues who have appeared and are scheduled to appear before this committee,” he said. “I want to state that the vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible.”

The third round of public impeachment hearings also saw testimony from Jennifer Williams, a Russia adviser for Vice President Mike Pence. Up to four witnesses, including Williams and Vindman, may testify in the Tuesday hearings, according to The Hill.

Williams and Vindman both witnessed the controversial call and testified about their concerns following the July 25 call with Zelensky. Williams backed earlier claims by Vindman that a transcript of the call contained at least one omission of Zelensky mentioning the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings.

Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden served on Burisma’s board of directors while the company was under investigation for corruption. A video of the elder Biden discussing efforts to get Ukrainian officials to fire the lead prosecutor on the Burisma investigation may have informed Trump’s interests in an investigation of Burisma and the Bidens.