Towards the end of the members’ questions, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) asked Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman how he could assure his father that he’d be “fine” after delivering testimony damaging to the President.
“Congressman, because this is America,” Vindman said. “This is the country I’ve served and defended, that all my brothers have served — and here, right matters.”
Vindman explains why he can deliver testimony damaging to the President without fear of reprisal: “This is America…here, right matters” pic.twitter.com/jqlSm9sqv8
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 19, 2019
Vindman had addressed his father directly in the last paragraph of his opening statement.
“Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision forty 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.”
Vindman’s patriotism has been the subject of xenophobic “dual loyalty” attacks born on Fox News and disseminated through the Republican staff attorney.
In a widely-shared clip, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said that Vindman’s routine communication with Ukrainians brought his loyalty into question. Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade said that since Vindman is an immigrant, he “has an affinity to the Ukrainian people.” Vindman and his family came to the U.S. in 1979, when he was three years old.
House Intel Republicans’ attorney, Steve Castor, subtly tried to weave the narrative into some of his questions.
For a few minutes, he grilled Vindman on Oleksander Danylyuk, the former chairman of the National Security and Defense Council in Ukraine, offering him the job of Ukrainian defense minister when he was in Kyiv for President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration.
Vindman speculated that Danylyuk was likely kidding and said that he “immediately dismissed” the offers before reporting them to his superiors at the NSC.
Danylyuk confirmed to the Daily Beast that he was “clearly” joking, and that he couldn’t have given Vindman the job even if he wanted to, since that would have required Zelensky’s okay.
During the hearing, President Donald Trump retweeted a clip from White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, capturing part of Castors’ line of questioning:
— Dan Scavino Jr.🇺🇸 (@Scavino45) November 19, 2019