Vindman will also inform legislators that he has undermined Trump's efforts to urge Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son.
Opening speech by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman
In front of the House Permanent Selection Committee for Intelligence, Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Supervision and Reform
29. October 2019
Mr. Chairman and ranking member, thank you for the opportunity to speak in front of the committees about the activities in relation to Ukraine and my role in the events investigated.
I have devoted my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, I have been honored to be an officer in the US Army. As an infantry officer, I completed several overseas trips, including to South Korea and Germany, and a mission in Iraq for combat missions. In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart.
Since 2008 I am a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia. In this role I served in the embassies of the United States in Kiev (Ukraine) and Moscow (Russia). In Washington, D.C., I served as Chief of the Joint Chiefs for Political-Military Affairs in Russia, where I wrote the main strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 201
The privilege of serving my country is rooted not only in my military service but also in my personal history. I'm a lieutenant-colonel in the US Army, an immigrant. My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. When my father arrived in New York City in 1979, he worked several jobs to support us while learning English at night. He stressed how important it is to fully integrate into our adopted country. Life was quite difficult for many years. Despite our challenging beginnings, my family worked to realize their own American dream. I really appreciate the American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to promote and defend our country regardless of party or politics.
For more than twenty years I served as an active US military officer and diplomat in this country, independent of parties and with the utmost respect and professionalism for both the Republican and Democratic administrations.
Before I repeat my memory of various events investigated, I would like to explain some points. I appear today voluntarily on a subpoena and will answer all questions to the best of my knowledge.
I would like the committees to know that I am not the whistleblower who drew the attention of the CIA and the committees to this problem. I do not know who the whistleblower is, and I would be uncomfortable speculating about the identity of the whistleblower.
In addition, as I shall explain in detail here, I have several concerns within my decades of national security officials internally communicated experience and education, sense of duty and obligation to operate within the chain of command. As an active military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me. On many occasions I have been told to express my views and to share my concerns with my chain of command and the relevant authorities. I believe that every good military officer should and would do the same to give his best advice to the leadership.
In fulfilling my coordinating role as Director of the National Security Council, I also gave out readings of relevant meetings and communications to a very small group of properly clarified national security counterparts with relevant knowledge needs.
My National Security Council Service
When I joined the National Security Council of the White House ("NSC"), I was reported to Dr. Ing. Fiona Hill, who in turn reported to John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. My responsibilities at the NSC include developing, coordinating and implementing plans and guidelines to address all issues of diplomatic, informational, military and economic national security for the countries in my portfolio, including Ukraine.
I coordinate with an outstanding cohort of Inter-Agency partners. I regularly prepare internal memoranda, bulletins and other material for the National Security Advisor and senior executives.
Most of my interactions relate to national security issues and are therefore particularly sensitive. I urge the committees to carefully compare the need for information with the impact that disclosure would have on our foreign policy and national security.
I never had direct contact or direct communication with the president.
The Geopolitical Significance of Ukraine
Since 2008, Russia has pursued an aggressively aggressive foreign policy, using military power and using hybrid warfare to achieve its goals of regional hegemony and global influence. Without deterring Russia from such aggression, there is an increased risk of further confrontation with the West. In this situation, a strong and independent Ukraine is crucial for US national security interests, as Ukraine is a front-line state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.
Although Ukraine has been under attack by Russia for more than five years, it has made great efforts to integrate with the West. According to the political community of the US government, the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms to eradicate corruption will determine the western direction of Ukraine and enable Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.
From this perspective and my commitment to advance the strategic interests of our government, I will now turn to several events.
When I joined the NSC in July 2018, I began implementing the government's policy toward Ukraine. In the spring of 2019, I became aware of external factors that advocated a misrepresentation of Ukraine that was incompatible with the consensus views of the agreement. This narrative was damaging to the policies of the US government. While my government colleagues and I were increasingly optimistic about the outlook for Ukraine, this alternative account undermined the efforts of the US government to expand cooperation with Ukraine.
21st April 2019: President Trump calls on Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.
April 21, 2019
Zelenskyy was regarded as a unitary figure within the country. He was the first candidate to win the majority in every region of the country, and to dispute the claim that Ukraine would be subject to a permanent divide between the Ukrainian and Russian-speaking populations. President Zelenskyy emerged on a platform of unity, reform and anti-corruption that resonated across the country.
In support of US policy goals in support of Ukraine's sovereignty, on April 21, 2019, President Trump called President Zelenskyy to one of several staff and officers who listened to the call. The appeal was positive and President Trump expressed his desire to work with President Zelenskyy and invited to visit the White House.
21st May 2019: Inauguration Delegation to Ukraine
On May 21, 2019, I received it from Ambassador Bolton and Dr. Ing. Hill instructed to join the delegation attending the inauguration of President Zelenkskyy. When the delegation returned, they informed President Trump about their positive assessment of President Zelenskyy and his team. I did not attend the debriefing.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected president of Ukraine in a landslide victory.
President Oleksandr Danylyuk's Visit – July 10, 2019
On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, DC, for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland participated with Energy Minister Rick Perry.
The meeting went well until the Ukrainians addressed the topic of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians considered this meeting to be extremely important in order to consolidate the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland began to talk about Ukraine conducting certain investigations to secure the meeting with the President. At that point, Ambassador Bolton interrupted the meeting.
Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing session in which Amb. Sondland stressed the importance of Ukraine conducting the 2016 elections, Bidens and Burisma. I told Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security and that such investigations were not conducted or enforced by the NSC. Then Dr. Hill the room and assured Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.
After the meeting, I reported my concerns to the senior NSC attorney. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC's senior advocate.
Election Call – July 25, 2019
On July 21, 2019, President Zelenskyy's party won parliamentary elections in a landslide victory. The NSC suggested that President Trump call President Zelenskyy to congratulate him.
On July 25, 2019, the call was made. I overheard the call in the situation room with colleagues from the NSC and the vice president's office. Since the protocol is included in the public record, we all know what has been said.
I was worried about the call. I did not think it appropriate to ask a foreign government to investigate a US citizen, and I was concerned about the US government's impact on Ukraine. I realized that an investigation of Biden and Burisma by Ukraine would probably be interpreted as a partisan game that would undoubtedly lead to Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has upheld so far. This would undermine US national security. Following the request, I once again told NSC senior attorney about my concerns. Conclusion
The United States and Ukraine are and must remain strategic partners and work together to realize the common vision of a stable, prosperous and democratic Ukraine integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. Our partnership is based on the idea that free citizens should be able to exercise their democratic rights, choose their own destiny and live in peace.
It was a great honor to serve the American people and a privilege to work in the Union White House and the National Security Council. I hope to continue to defend and promote America's national security interests.
Thanks again for your consideration, and now I would like to answer your questions.