During Testimony, Schiff's 'Ukraine Expert' Couldn't Get Basic Info Right on Ukraine Defense Assistance


Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. I’m sure this isn’t unearned.

This being said, it would help if he could get basic facts about defense assistance to Ukraine right.

Defense assistance to Ukraine is, of course, at the center of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry.

According to Schiff, President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold millions in military aid to Ukraine was based solely on political reasons.  Vindman, who had been on the call Trump made with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was the chief witness buttressing this claim.

Among other allegations, Vindman said that two edits he had suggested involving the rough transcript to the July 25 call — one in which the president specifically mentioned Burisma and one which he said Joe Biden was on tape talking about Ukrainian corruption — were left out. Neither of these would have changed the substance of the transcript, mind you, but this was apparently pretty major.

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Vindman had also filed a complaint with the National Security Council legal counsel after the July 25 phone call, feeling Trump’s call to investigate Burisma went too far. This has made the Army colonel a hero of the left, particularly because he’s a Ukraine expert willing to testify that Trump’s call with Zelensky represented, if not a quid pro quo, something gravely problematic.

If only he could have gotten basic facts about military assistance provided to Ukraine right.

“Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a main accuser in the Democrats’ impeachment drive, wrongly credited President Obama for sending advanced anti-tank weapons to Ukraine when President Trump was the first,” the Washington Times reported Wednesday.

“The claim from Col. Vindman, the White House National Security Council staff expert on Ukraine, came in closed-door testimony for which the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a transcript.”

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According to the Washington Times, during the Oct. 29 hearing, Vindman was asked by Adam Schiff whether or not there was a transfer of weapons to Ukraine under Obama.

“Under the previous administration, there was a, I’m aware of the transfer of a fairly significant number of Javelins, yes,” he said.

This is a bit more important than a silly mistake.

A certain component of the Democrats’ case rests on the fact that President Trump was unwilling to support the Ukrainians in their ongoing conflict with Russia. Yes, military aid may have been held up if the government in Kiev didn’t agree to investigate what the Trump administration saw as corruption. It was also more military support than Obama ever gave because his administration was firmly against arming the Ukrainians.

In 2017, the Trump administration approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainians in order to fight the Russian threat at the tune of $39 billion, according to Bloomberg.

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Here’s the issue: The Obama administration refused the sale.

Vindman, meanwhile, was telling the committee that he thought “there was no doubt” military aid to Ukraine was predicated on the investigations.

“It was a demand for him to fulfill his — fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting,” Vindman said.

That would be fine if this guy knew which administration sold the Ukrainians the Javelin missiles.

Again, there’s a matter of vital importance here: What exactly Vindman remembers is going to be key if the Democrats want to pretend that he’s the “bombshell” witness he’s been billed as.

If he can’t even remember Barack Obama’s refusal to arm the Ukrainians with lethal aid, how are we supposed to take the rest of what he says seriously?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture