As Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified during the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday, President Donald Trump told the media that he does not know Vindman but will let the rest of the country judge the National Security Council official’s credibility.
“I never saw the man. I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting, according to The Hill.
“No, I don’t know Vindman at all,” he said. “What I do know is that even he said the transcript was correct.”
Vindman admitted Tuesday that he did not have any direct contact with the president, but said he believed Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “improper,” The Hill reported.
Democrats claim the call shows Trump suggested a quid pro quo in which he would withhold military aid from Ukraine until it investigated possible corruption involving Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of the Ukraine energy firm Burisma Holdings.
“I was concerned by the call. What I heard was inappropriate, and I reported my concerns to Mr. [John] Eisenberg,” Vindman said, referring to the NSC’s legal adviser. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen and a 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 U.S. national security and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region.”
The White House Twitter account questioned Vindman’s credibility by publishing a quote from Vindman’s former boss, Tom Morrison, who was also scheduled to testify Tuesday.
Tim Morrison, Alexander Vindman’s former boss, testified in his deposition that he had concerns about Vindman’s judgment. pic.twitter.com/xwHOt4bsHS
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 19, 2019
Trump, however, told reporters that he is going to let people make their own judgments about the witness.
“Vindman, I watched him for a little while this morning, and I think he, I’m going to let people make their own determination,” the president said.
“I don’t know Vindman,” he said. “I’ve never heard of him. I don’t know any of these people. I have seen one or two a couple of times, their ambassadors.”
Trump also said he didn’t know the other people who have testified in the inquiry.
“I don’t know who [George] Kent is. I don’t know who [William] Taylor is. All these people are talking about they heard a conversation of a conversation of another conversation that was had by the president,” he said.
The president also criticized the entire impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “What’s going on is a disgrace and it’s an embarrassment to our nation.”
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