Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Republican from Texas, pointed out that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman used the same phrase as the whistleblower when describing President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine regarding investigations into the Biden.
Vindman was the first witnesses to describe Trump’s request as a “demand.” During the afternoon hearing with other witnesses, Ratcliffe pointed out that the whistleblower also used that same phrase.
Earlier in the day, Republicans teased out the possibility that Vindman provided information to the whistleblower, who is an official in the US intelligence community. Vindman testified that he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is, but he spoke to someone in the US intelligence community about Trump’s call.
What Vindman said in his closed-door deposition: “The power disparity between the President of the United States and the President of Ukraine is vast, and, you know, in the President asking for something, it became – there was — in return for a White House meeting, because that’s what this was about. This was about getting a White House meeting. It was a demand for him to fulfill his — fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting.”
Here’s what Vindman said publicly this morning: “It was inappropriate — it was improper for the president to request — to demand an investigation into a political opponent, especially a foreign power where there’s, at best, dubious belief that this would be a completely impartial investigation,” And that this would have significant implications if it became public knowledge and it would be perceived as a partisan play. It would undermine our Ukraine policy and it would undermine our national security.”
What the whistleblower complaint said: “Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various U.S. officials, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelensky.”