A White House official who listened to President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will tell House investigators on Tuesday that he was so alarmed by the Ukraine pressure campaign that he twice alerted a top White House lawyer.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who has served on the National Security Council since 2018, will recount overhearing U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland — a key player in the pressure campaign — discuss with Ukrainian officials the need for the country to launch investigations into the 2016 election and the Bidens in order to secure a Zelensky meeting with Trump.
Vindman’s account, laid out in prepared remarks obtained by TPM, confirms the July 10 conversation that another witness in the inquiry relayed to investigators.
The conversation, according to the testimony, happened after a White House meeting with the Ukrainians had already been cut short by then-National Security Advisor John Bolton when Sondland brought up the request for the investigations.
“Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb.
Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into
the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma,” Vindman’s prepared remarks said. “I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push.”
Vindman reported the incident to the top lawyer on NSC. He also reported Trump’s July 25 call, in which he requested the investigations, to the lawyer, John Eisenberg.
Vindman plans on telling House investigators that in spring 2019 he “became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine” that was “harmful” to U.S. policy.
His testimony recounts two episodes of the pressure campaign on Kyiv to which he bore direct witness in his testimony.
The first focuses on the July 10 visit by Ukraine’s then-National Security Adviser Oleksandr Danylyuk to the White House for meeting attended by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, Bolton and Sondland.
After Danylyuk asked about arranging a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the statement reads, Sondland started to talk “about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President.”
Bolton then “cut the meeting short,” the statement says, apparently corroborating testimony from fellow national security staffer Fiona Hill.
Vindman also listened in on the now-infamous July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, in which the President asked the Ukrainian leader for a “favor.”
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” Vindman plans on saying. The statement goes on to say that were Ukraine to investigate the Biden family or Burisma — the gas firm on whose board Hunter Biden sat — “it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” the statement reads.
Read the full opening statement below: