Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House.
The closed-door deposition before House impeachment investigators lasted more than 10 hours.
Once it concluded, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters that he hopes Vindman’s example of patriotism “will be emulated by others.”
Schiff said that he was “deeply appalled” by attacks made against Vindman on Fox News Tuesday night.
“The suggestion that because he’s of Ukrainian origin, that he has some dual royalty…this purple heart recipient deserved better than that scandalous attack,” Schiff said.
Regarding reported attempts by GOP lawmakers to get Vindman to reveal the whistleblower’s identity, Schiff said that Trump would love to “punish” the whistleblower. He also said the president’s comments and actions have “jeopardized the whistleblower’s safety.”
“The President’s allies would like nothing better than to help the president out this whistleblower. Our committee will not be a part of that. We will not stand for that,” he said. “They have the right to remain anonymous. They certainly should not be subject to these kind of vicious attacks and other words and actions that threaten their safety for doing their patriotic duty,” he said about whistleblowers.
Earlier in the day, Acting House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, told NBC News she found Vindman’s remarks “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing” as she left the deposition. Maloney refused to answer any other questions about Vindman’s testimony.
Vindman, appearing voluntarily under congressional subpoena, was set to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens — and that he raised concerns about it.
Vindman considered Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his political rivals so damaging to American national security that he reported it to a superior, according to his opening statement obtained by NBC News.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a member of the House Oversight Committee who was present for the deposition, told NBC News that Vindman was a “very credible” witness and said his testimony “corroborated the testimony of other witnesses” that “really drew a direct line to the President, and those around him and their interest in withholding foreign aid through Ukraine that was vital, as well as insisting on investigations into Biden.”
Vindman’s testimony, she said, has “actually filled in more of the puzzle pieces.”
Click here to read more.