(CNSNews.com) - Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that during a meeting with Ukraine’s national security advisor, National Security Advisor John Bolton cut the meeting short when U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said that Ukraine was required to deliver specific investigations in order to meet with President Donald Trump.
“On July 10th, 2019, then Ukraine's national security advisor visited Washington, D.C., for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland and Secretary Rick Perry also attended the meeting I attended. We fully anticipated the Ukrainians would raise the issue of a meeting between the presidents,” Vindman said during his opening statement.
“Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short when Ambassador Sondland started to speak about the requirement that Ukraine deliver specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with President Trump,” he said.
“Following this meeting, there was a short debriefing during which Ambassador Sondland emphasized the importance of Ukraine delivering the investigations into the 2016 elections, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Ambassador Sondland that this was inappropriate and had nothing to do with national security. Dr. Hill also asserted his comments were improper. Following the meeting, Dr. Hill and I agree to report the incident to NSC's lead counsel, Mr. John Eisenberg,” Vindman said.
The meeting took place prior to the president’s July 25th call with Ukraine’s president. Vice President Mike Pence’s aide, Jennifer Williams, who also testified before the committee on Tuesday, was also present at the July 10th meeting.
“On July 21st, 2019, President Zelensky won a parliamentary election in another landslide victory. The NSC proposed that President Trump call President Zelensky to congratulate him. On July 25th, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with White House colleagues. I was concerned by the call. What I heard was inappropriate, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg,” Vindman said.
“It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and a political opponent. It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 elections, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play that would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support, undermining U.S. national security and advancing Russia's strategic advancement in the region,” he said.
Vindman emphasized that when he recorded his concerns on July 10 about Sondland and the president during the July 25th phone call, he did so “out of a sense of duty.”
“I privately reported my concerns in official channels to the proper authority in the chain of command. My intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country. I never thought that I'd be sitting here testifying in front of this committee and American public about my actions,” he said.
“When I reported my concerns, my only thought was to act properly and to carry out my duty. Following each of my reports to Mr. Eisenberg, I immediately returned to work to advance the presidents and our country's foreign policy objectives,” the lieutenant colonel said.
Vindman also spoke about the “courage” of his colleagues “who have appeared and are scheduled to appear before this committee.”
“I want to state that the character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible. It is natural to disagree and engage in spirited debate. This has been the custom of our country since the time of our founding fathers, but we are better than personal attacks. The uniform I wear today is that of the United States Army,” he said.
“The members of our all-volunteer force are made up of a patchwork of people from all ethnicities, regions, socioeconomic backgrounds who come together under a common oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America. We do not serve any political party. We serve the nation,” Vindman added.