Read statements of Vindman, Williams at impeachment hearings tied to Ukraine call

Read statements of Vindman, Williams at impeachment hearings tied to Ukraine call”

Sondland testified that he helped other U.S. diplomats prepare a statement for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announcing investigations into Trump's political rival and 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, his son Hunter, natural gas firm Burisma, and debunked conspiracies that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

Morrison said of Vindman's statement: "I had concerns about Lieutenant Colonel Vindman's judgment". Vindman and Williams are both high-ranking members of the White House national security team in the Trump White House.

House Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) questions National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 19, 2019.

Both were "cleared US government officials with appropriate need to know".

After attacking the media in his opening statement, Nunes repeatedly pressed Vindman and Williams about whether they "know any individual who discussed the substance of the July 25 phone call or any matter associated with the call with any member of the press" or others. He also pointed out that during the closed-door depositions, there was a rule "just for" Vindman, and that was that questions about the intelligence community were prohibited. More than once, Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., interjected to advise Vindman that the goal of the hearing was not to expose the identity of the whistleblower, who is afforded legal protection.

"We don't want to use these proceedings-we need to protect the whistleblower", Schiff said, prompting an outcry from the GOP.

"Frankly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing", Lt Col Vindman said.

The whistleblower's identity remains unknown, but they have been identified in reports as a Central Intelligence Agency officer previously detailed to the White House who learned of the unusual Trump-Ukraine call through secondhand information. Vindman said he spoke to two people, and identified one as George Kent, a senior State Department official.

"Per the advice of my counsel, I have been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community", Vindman answered.

The top Republican on the committee is California Rep. Devin Nunes.

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