Purple Heart Colonel Alexander Vindman testifies that Gordon Sondland said he ‘coordinated’ with chief of staff Mick Mulvaney when he told Ukrainians they needed to investigate the Bidens to get a White House meeting
- Vindman told lawmakers about a tense meeting in July at the White House with Ukrainian officials
- Ambassador to the EU said Ukraine needed to investigate the Bidens and 2016 if it wanted to get a White House meeting
- National Security Advisor John Bolton walked out, according to participants
- Vindman said the request was ‘inappropriate’
- He said Sondland said the push was coordinated with chief of staff Mick Mulvaney
- Mulvaney defied a subpoena and failed to testify Friday
Decorated Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that a key witness in the Ukraine affair said in a White House meeting that he had ‘coordinated’ a demand withe the country investigate the Bidens with White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Vindman, who testified to a Democratic-run impeachment inquiry last month, says in testimony unsealed Friday that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, made the statement in a White House meeting July 10.
That meeting was the site of what some witnesses describe as a blowup, after Sondland, a hotelier who donated $1 million to Donald Trump’s inauguration, raised the issue with Ukrainian officials of a ‘deliverable’ – what Ukraine needed to do to get a meeting with President Trump that it was seeking.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, testified last month about a blowup over a meeting with Ukrainians at the White House – and says ambassador Gordon Sondland claimed to have coordinated with the White House chief of staff
Vindman says he told Sondland following the meeting that the request was ‘inappropriate – that the request to investigate the Bidens and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something that the NSC was going to get involved in,’ he told the committee.
A group of top White House staffers hashed out the preceding events in the Ward Room of the White House. Sondland, who had been handling Ukraine issues and had direct contact with President Trump, defended himself.
‘So I heard him say that this had been coordinated with White House Chief of Staff Mr. Mick Mu1vaney,’ Vindman testified.
In this Oct. 17, 2019 file photo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney speaks in the White House briefing room, where he made statements about Ukraine he had to clean up later
Vindman said Gordon Sondland’s push for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens was ‘inappropriate’
Speaking of Sondland, Vindman said: ‘He just said that he had had a conversation with Mr. Mulvaney, and this is what was required in order to get a meeting,’ according to Vindman’s testimony.
Sondland also met with lawmakers, and modified his original testimony to say he personally told a top Ukrainian official that an investigation of the Bidens and 2016 was likely required to get millions in U.S. security aid released.
Vindman told lawmakers he considered Sondland’s request to be wrong.
‘I thought it was inappropriate to have – to call for an investigation -–to call a foreign power to investigate a U.S. citizen. In my mind, I had spent quite a bit of time in that part of the world. I understand how the justice system works. It’s not a rule of law that governs,’ he said.
The testimony comes amid a spat over Mulvaney refusing to appear before the inquiry despite a congressional subpoena – after saying in his own unwieldy press conference last month that security aid was being held up over an investigation of a server containing Hillary Clinton’s emails.
‘That happens all the time,’ he said, in comments that appeared to acknowledge a quid pro quo that he later walked back.
As the Democrats continue their accelerated probe, Mulvaney didn’t show Friday.
A senior administration official told DailyMail.com: ‘Mick received a subpoena a 6:36 pm last night seeking compelled testimony at 9:00 am this morning. While Mick is immune from compulsion, making the subpoena unenforceable, the subpoena is also independently unenforceable based on lack of reasonable notice. The Committee knows that no court in the country will enforce a subpoena on less than 15 hours notice. In addition, the Committee didn’t mention the time they sent the subpoena to Mick in their statement this morning when they were complaining about 8:59.’
Vindman, a Ukraine specialist and speaker who immigrated to the U.S. at age three, said he was concerned it would hurt Ukraine if it jeopardized bipartisan support in the U.S. The $391 in aid at risk represented about 10 per cent of its military budget as it fought the Russians following the annexation of Crimea.
‘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,’ he said.
Former top national security official Fiona Hill provided testimony in line with Vindman’s when she said at the meeting Sondland ‘was talking about how he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney for a meeting with the Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with investigations.’