New transcripts confirm Trump wanted Biden investigation in exchange for Ukraine meeting
The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry have released the transcripts of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Dr. Fiona Hill.
The three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry released two more transcripts from their closed-door hearings on Friday, further confirming the existence of a quid pro quo between the White House and Ukraine.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Dr. Fiona Hill testified before the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs Committees on Oct. 29 and Oct. 14, respectively. The transcripts of those depositions were made public on Friday afternoon.
Vindman, a decorated veteran who serves on the National Security Council, listened in on the July 25 phone call between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — now at the center of the impeachment probe — from inside the White House situation room. He testified last month that he was “concerned” by the conversation.
“I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman said in his opening statement.
Following the call, Vindman said he “immediately went to the senior NSC legal counsel and shared those concerns.”
Vindman also testified that the Trump administration dangled the possibility of a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine into opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
“It was a demand for him [Zelensky] to fulfill his — fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the [White House] meeting,” Vindman said.
Hill, an aide to former national security adviser John Bolton, testified before the same committees on Oct. 14. Her testimony was delayed when Republicans threatened national security by storming the secure testimony room with their cell phones.
In her testimony, Hill testified that Bolton did not want to be a part of pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into Biden in return for a White House meeting.
“…Ambassador Bolton asked me to go over and report this to our NSC counsel, to John Eisenberg,” Hill said. “And he told me, and this is a direct quote from Ambassador Bolton: You go and tell Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this, and you go and tell him what you’ve heard and what I’ve said.”
Hill also corroborated other testimony pointing out that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, played a key role in the removal of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Hill said Giuliani was behind “a mishmash of conspiracy theories” smearing Yovanovitch, which eventually led to Yovanovitch’s removal.
Vindman’s full testimony can be read here, and excerpts can be found below:
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman excerpts (PDF)
Hill’s full testimony can be read here, and excerpts can be found below:
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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