Impeachment watch: Top Ukraine expert to testify he raised concerns about Trump call

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Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman will tell House investigators he raised concerns out of a 'sense of duty.'

Tuesday will bring more explosive testimony in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, when Lt. Col. Alex Vindman — who now serves as a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council — will testify that he twice reported Trump's corrupt dealings with Ukraine out of a "sense of duty," the New York Times reported.

"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 will say in his opening statement, according to the New York Times. "I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained."

Vindman's testimony will provide even more evidence that Trump abused his power and could further raise the odds of his impeachment.

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And it will leave Republicans having to either accept Vindman's testimony — or force them to badmouth a military official who earned a Purple Heart in Iraq.

Here's what else happened in impeachment news:

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that on Thursday that the House will take a vote to formalize the procedures for the impeachment inquiry into Trump — a move that will obliterate Republicans' main talking point as they try in vain to protect their party's leader.
  • Gordon Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union, returned to Capitol Hill on Monday to look over his testimony. Sondland's testimony has come under fire, after Bill Taylor — who served as acting ambassador to Ukraine — said Sondland was more involved in the Ukrainian scandal than Sondland let on.
  • Trump's obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry continued on Monday, when he successfully ordered an official to ignore a congressional subpoena. Charles Kupperman, who served as a deputy to now-former national security adviser John Bolton, did not appear for his scheduled deposition.
    House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff said that Kupperman's failure to appear at the orders of Trump adds to the odds that Trump will face an obstruction of justice charge."If this witness had something to say that would be helpful to the White House, they would want him to come and testify," Schiff (D-CA) said Monday. "They plainly don't."

  • Kupperman may have ignored a congressional subpoena, but a host of other witnesses are expected to appear this week, including Vindman, who was supposed to testify last week but whose deposition was moved due to the passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
  • Democrats decided that they won't go after potential witnesses who defy their legally binding subpoenas in court, saying that doing so would just slow down the impeachment process. "We are not willing to let the White House engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts, so we press ahead," Schiff said.
  • The Trump administration is zeroing in on hiring someone to run Trump's impeachment pushback strategy. Tony Sayegh, a former top aide at the Treasury Department, is the leading candidate, according to Politico. His job will be tough. So far no one — not even Trump's most fervent defenders — have been able to justify Trump's conduct, and have instead focused on criticizing the process of the impeachment inquiry.
  • NBC News reports that, as early as May, the White House knew that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was uncomfortable with Trump's push to get him to investigate Joe Biden. This obliterates Trump's claim that Zelensky was OK with the phone call Trump made to him asking Zelensky to look into Biden. The NBC report goes further than an Associated Press report from last week, which said that Zelensky was concerned.

Come back tomorrow for more news about the Trump impeachment inquiry.

Published with permission of The American Independent.