Speed Reads

impeachment inquiry

Report: Official who listened to Trump's Ukraine call to testify he told superiors he had concerns

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, will tell House impeachment investigators Tuesday that he listened to President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and out of a "sense of duty" reported what he heard to a superior, The New York Times reports.

Vindman will be the first White House official to testify who listened to Trump's phone call with Zelensky. During that call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, a request Vindman found damaging to American interests, the Times reports.

A draft of Vindman's opening statement obtained by the Times and other news organizations reveals that he also went to a superior after attending a July 10 meeting where U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland encouraged Ukrainian officials to help investigate Trump's political rivals. A whistleblower's complaint about the Zelensky call sparked the impeachment inquiry, and Vindman plans on telling investigators he is not the whistleblower.

Vindman is an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. In his statement, he will say he "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." He will also say he became worried that "outside influencers" like Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani were pushing a "false narrative" about Ukraine. "I am a patriot," Vindman will tell investigators, "and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics."