White House Official Testifies That Call Memo Omitted Direct Biden References

National Security Council Director for European Affairs Alexander Vindman arrives for a closed-door deposition at the US Capitol on October 29, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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October 30, 2019 7:49 a.m.
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Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official who listened in on President Donald Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, testified Tuesday that the White House omitted some details from the conversation in the publicly released call memo.

According to the New York Times, Vindman tried to edit those details back into the final document. At least two of the quotes he tried to put back in — where Trump says that there are recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukraine corruption and where Zelensky specifically names Burisma, the company Hunter Biden sat on the board of — were ignored.

Vindman’s changes may not have been made to the partial transcript because it was already locked away in a secure server, which NSC lawyer John Eisenberg reportedly did to prevent leaks.

There are other instances actually left in the call memo released by the White House of Trump talking about the Bidens and asking Zelensky for a “favor,” but Vindman’s testimony sheds some light on the content of the mysterious ellipses punctuating the short summary.

Vindman also told the House committees that he was so concerned about the Ukraine pressure campaign that he twice alerted Eisenberg, episodes detailed in his prepared remarks.

Per CNN, Vindman’s hearing grew to such a fever pitch that various Democrats and Republicans got into a screaming match, as members like Intel Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) accused Republicans of trying to get Vindman to divulge the whistleblower’s identity. An anonymous GOP lawmaker did not deny the accusation in a later interview with CNN, saying “we would like to know.”

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