Several Republican members have sought to question Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s stature inside the White House, seeking to portray him as a disgruntled underling who inflated his own importance.
The goal appears two-fold: to suggest Vindman has an inflated sense of his own importance and wasn’t willing to execute a policy to which he disagreed; and to suggest Vindman went outside his lane to report his concerns about the President’s July phone call.
Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican from Utah, even went as far to point out that Vindman was wearing a military uniform to his hearing, even though he normally wears a suit to his job at the White House. And he asked why Vindman clarified his rank during earlier questioning with Rep. Devin Nunes.
“I’m in uniform wearing my military rank. I thought it was appropriate to stick with that. The attacks that I’ve had in the press and Twitter have marginalized me as a military officer,” he said.
Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup sought to establish the “chain of command” at the National Security Council and White House, hoping to establish that Vindman went outside that chain when he brought his concerns to White House lawyers.
Earlier, Republican Rep. Mike Turner noted that Vindman’s prepared opening statement said he was the chief Ukraine adviser to the president — a claim Vindman revised in the statement he actually read on Tuesday. Turner also pointed out Vindman had never met President Trump in person.