National Security Council Staffer: Ukraine Call Was 'Inappropriate'

Impeachment Hearing

National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee on the third day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump

In his opening remarks, Vindman said that after listening to Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky he reported what transpired to a National Security Council (NSC) lawyer out of a “sense of duty.”

“I was concerned by the call. What I heard was improper, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg,” Vindman said. “It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

Republicans accused Vindman of leaking sensitive information to the press in an effort to undermine President Trump and his foreign policy, claims which he vehemently denied.

"I never did. I never would. That is preposterous that I would do that," Vindman said in response to a question from Rep. Jim Jordan

Jordan also pressed Vindman on whether or not he knew the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. Vindman denied knowing the person's identity but refused to name the person who he spoke with about the July 25 phone call. 

Williams, who also listened in on the phone call, testified that she believed Trump's request to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter was "political in nature," but added that she "can’t speak to what the president’s motivation was."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff attempted to ask Williams about a September 18 call between Pence and Zelensky but was shot down by her lawyer because that call was considered "classified." Williams then agreed to answer any questions about the phone call in a classified setting.

A second hearing will be held later in the afternoon with former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former NSC staffer Tim Morrison slated to testify.

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