In Opening Statement, Vindman Outlines Concerns About Trump’s Ukraine Call

Alex Brandon/AP

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During his opening statement at Tuesday’s impeachment hearing, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who listened in on President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, explained why he felt compelled to report the call to the NSC legal advisor.  

“I was concerned by the call. What I heard was improper,” the 20-year Army veteran said. “It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and political opponent. It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play.”

“This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support, undermine US national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region,” he continued.

Vindman concluded by reflecting on his father’s decision to bring his family to the United States as refugees from the Soviet Union 40 years ago. He commented that speaking out against the government would not have been tolerated in countries less committed to free speech.

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the US Capitol, talking to our elected officials, is proof that you made the right decision 40 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.”

Read Vindman’s opening statement below:

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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