A White House national security official will tell investigators Tuesday that he listened to Donald Trump's call with Ukraine's new president Volodymr Zelensky and 'did not think it was proper.'
The president began his day on Twitter swinging at the man, Alexander Vindman, an Army lieutenant colonel who was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq, saying he had 'never heard of' him but insisting he is a 'Never Trumper.'
Vindman is expected to testify in the House impeachment inquiry that he twice raised concerns over the Trump administration's interest in having Ukraine investigate Joe Biden and his son.
He will be the first White House official to say he heard the July 25 telephone call between Trump and Zelensky that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Vindman will testify he is not the anonymous whistle-blower whose complaint about the call launched a now weeks-long chapter in the impeachment saga.
Trump vented that a transcript of the call makes it clear he did nothing wrong, and that Vindman is an unimportant figure who never crossed paths with him.
'Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER! Ukrain [sic] said NO PRESSURE,' Trump tweeted.
Calling Vindman a 'Never Trumper' in the hours that followed will create confusion about whether he indeed knows more about him than he let on.
'The Impeachment Hoax is a disgrace. Read the transcript!' Trump added in another message.
Trump used the same 'never Trumper' moniker to go after career diplomat William Taylor, who said in his own deposition that the was troubled by the administration's push to get Ukraine to make public statements about investigations that would help the president in order to get military aid and a White House meeting.
Zelensky has said he felt no pressure on the call with Trump to take action. The transcript doesn't appear to support Democrats' contention that Trump directly linked U.S. military aid to Ukraine with Zelensky's decision on launching an investigation that could give the president a political advantage in 2020.
Trump followed up his social media outrage with a string of retweets of congressional allies calling the entire impeachment inquiry illegitimate because of its secretive and one-sided beginning.
In his opening statement, first published by The New York Times, he claimed the National Security Council proposed that Trump call President Zelensky to congratulate him after his party won parliamentary elections.
He explained: 'On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and the office of the Vice President.
'As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said. I was concerned by the call. 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.
'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.'
Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian energy company where Biden's son Hunter held a lucrative board seat while his father was vice president.
'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 claimed: 'This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC's lead counsel.'
The New York Times reported that Vindman is due to be interviewed privately on Tuesday by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees.
Vindman served multiple overseas tours, including South Korea and Germany, and was deployed to Iraq for combat operations. He was wounded in an IED attack and was subsequently awarded a Purple Heart.
He served in United States' embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington, D.C., he was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In his statement he adds: 'I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.'
Vindman is due to tell the committee that he is not the whistle-blower who brought the issue to the CIA and the Committees' attention. He also claimed he never had direct contact or communications with the President.
'I did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials in accordance with my decades of experience and training, sense of duty, and obligation to operate within the chain of command.
'As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me.' Vindman said there was another incident which he thought was improper and he reported it to the National Security Council's lead counsel.
He claimed that on July 10, Oleksandr Danylyuk, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor John Bolton.
He said that Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, who resigned as U.S. special envoy to Ukraine earlier this month, were also in attendance.
In his testimony he claimed the Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner.
'Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.
'Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.
'I stated to 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 something the NSC was going to get involved in or push.
'Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.'
Vindman is married with one child and has a twin brother named Eugene, who also serves in the military. It is understood he is a lawyer in the National Security Council.
In his statement, Alexander claimed his family fled the Soviet Union when he was three. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, his father worked multiple jobs to support them while learning English at night.
The Trump campaign has alleged that Biden quashed a Ukrainian investigation into Burisma, where Biden's son Hunter served on the board from 2014 until earlier this year, using the threat of withholding U.S. foreign aid.
Biden has denied any wrongdoing, and Trump's phone call to the Ukrainian president asking him to look into the matter is at the heart of House Democrats' mounting impeachment probe into Trump.
Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's personal attorney, claimed earlier this month that Ukrainian gas company Burisma paid Joe Biden $900,000 in lobbying fees, citing documents released by a Ukrainian member of parliament.
'Biden, his son and his brother had a 30-year-long scam to make money, millions, selling his public office,' Giuliani said in an interview on Wednesday night with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
The interview with Giuliani was just hours after Biden backed the impeachment of Trump for the first time.
'Senator first, vice president second. Ukraine, just the tip of the iceberg,' Giuliani continued.
Giuliani cited new allegations raised at a press conference in Kyiv by Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach, who claimed he had investigative documents showing that Burisma paid Biden nearly a million dollars in lobbying fees.
In his concluding remarks, Vindman said it is vital that the U.S. and Ukraine remain 'stragetic partners' with a relationship that is rooted in the idea that free citizens should be able to exercise their democratic rights, choose their own destiny, and live in peace.
He adds: 'It has been a great honor to serve the American people and a privilege to work in the White House and on the National Security Council. I hope to continue to serve and advance America' s national security interests.'
Late on Monday night, Donald Trump fired back on the latest developments, claiming there 'was not whistle-blower' and called branded the controversy an 'impeachment hoax.'
Intelligence Committee Chairman and Democrat Adam Schiff is leading the impeachment proceedings against the president and Trump has been scathing of him in recent Tweets.
He tweeted: 'There is no underlying crime in that transcript. @ IngrahamAngle 100% correct, and the Whistleblower disappeared after I released the transcript of the call. Where is the Whistleblower? That is why this is now called the Impeachment Hoax! The Do Nothing Dems are Doing Nothing!.
'The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff, when he totally made up my phone conversation with the Ukrainian President and read it to Congress, together with numerous others on Shifty's side. Schiff should be Impeached, and worse!.'
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced there will be a vote this week on a resolution to affirm the impeachment investigation, set rules for public hearings and outline the potential process for writing articles of impeachment against Trump.
Pelosi told colleagues Monday in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that the vote will 'eliminate any doubt' about whether the Trump administration must comply with the investigation.
Republicans argue the impeachment probe is not legitimate unless the House takes a vote to authorize it. Pelosi disputes that view as having 'no merit.'
The White House released the bombshell transcript of President Donald Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine where Trump urges his counterpart to investigate Joe Biden and work directly with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani – and even brings up the DNC's hacked email server.
But the transcript does not show Trump tying the investigation to aid for Ukraine as he spoke to Zelensky, the quid pro quo which some reports had suggested it contained.
The call forms part of the whistle-blower complaint from an unknown intelligence official which alleges a pattern of wrongdoing by the president in his dealings with Ukraine, but which has been blocked from being given to Congress.
In the call, the president mentions political rival Biden by name, seeks an inquiry into a company tied to Biden's surviving son, Hunter, and predicts Ukraine's economy will do 'better and better' - but does not explicitly tie the United States' aid to the country to the investigation he demands.
He urges the president to contact Giuliani, who this summer called off a planned mission to Ukraine after bringing up a Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden served on the board.
'There is a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,' Trump says, according to the transcript.
'Biden went about bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... it sounds horrible to me,' the president told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Ukrainian president assured Trump: 'The next prosecutor general will be 100 per cent my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start. As a new prosecutor in September.
'He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation.'