President Trump is threatened to be further compromised in the Ukraine investigation. The reason is the first testimony of a White House official who heard his controversial Ukraine call. The army officer was so concerned about this that he rang the bell twice in the White House.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a senior White House expert in Ukraine, feared even undermining America’s national security if Kiev would respond to Trump’s request for a corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
“I didn’t think it was right to demand that a foreign government investigate a US citizen,” Vindman said in his leaked statement he made Tuesday before the parliamentary committees investigating Trump. “I was worried about the implications for US government support for Ukraine.”
According to Vindman, an investigation by Kiev in Congress would be seen as “biased” and jeopardize the broad parliamentary support for Ukraine. “All this would undermine America’s national security.” His story is strikingly similar to that of the whistleblower who revealed Trumps Ukraine call. However, Vindman denies that he is the whistleblower.
The testimony of the army officer is a major setback for Trump, because Vindman is the first official to appear before the committees still working in the White House. So far, only diplomats and a former White House adviser showed up. The president and his staff try to thwart the deposition investigation by forbidding government officials to appear. However, Vindman does follow the summons he received.
The army officer, a former Iraq veteran, coordinates Ukraine policy in Trumps National Security Council, among other things. On 25 July he listened from the White House crisis center, along with other officials, to the half-hour phone call that Trump made with the new Ukrainian president Zelenski. Vindman says the conversation, in which Trump called on Zelenski to investigate the Bidens, “alarmed” him.
He sounded the alarm at the highest counsel for the National Security Council. Two weeks earlier Vindman had also sounded the alarm. He was then present at a meeting in Washington between Trumps-time security adviser John Bolton and a senior Zelenski adviser. The Ukrainian tried to arrange a meeting between the two presidents. According to Vindman, US ambassador Gordon Sondland said that such a meeting was dependent on a Kiev investigation into the Bidens.
Sondland was then part of a group of officials, led by Trumps lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who tried to put pressure on the Ukrainian government to start an investigation into the Democratic presidential candidate. US military support to Kiev would have been used as a means of pressure. The deposition commissions look to see if Trump has been guilty of “for what, hears what” practices to overthrow Biden politically.
According to the army officer, Sondland later, during a meeting at the White House, reiterated the importance of Ukraine investigating the Bidens. “I told Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate,” Vindman said, “that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security and that the National Security Council did not want to be involved.”
The statement by the army officer is the second incriminating testimony against Trump in a week. Last week, the highest American diplomat in Kiev, William Taylor, stated that Trump used US military support to Ukraine to put pressure on Kiev. He would have heard this from Sondland, among others. Taylor’s testimony is considered the most incriminating so far against Trump. The president then attacked Taylor. “Neither he nor any other witness has shown that Ukraine knew the military support was withheld,” tweeted Trump. “There is no question of” for what, hear what “.