Impeachment hearings: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s moving opening statement
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified Tuesday that he was concerned about President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, calling it “improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”
That wasn’t a surprise: It’s what Vindman said in closed door-testimony last month.
But what really stood out in Vindman’s public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee was his moving conclusion, where he recounted his military service and own family’s journey to America as refugees from the former Soviet Union nearly 40 years ago.
“When my father was 47 years old, he left behind his entire life and the only home he had ever known to start over in the United States so that his three sons could have better, safer lives,” Vindman told the committee. “His courageous decision inspired a deep sense of gratitude in my brothers and myself and instilled in us a sense of duty and service. All three of us have served or are currently serving in the military. Our collective military service is a special part of our family’s story in America.”
As he prepared for hours of questioning Tuesday — including partisan attacks from Republican defenders of Trump — Vindman convincingly argued that his presence before Congress was part of the American dream.
In Russia, Vindman said, his “act of expressing my concerns to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions and offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.”
For that, he said, he was grateful for his father’s decision to come to the US, and giving him the privilege of being a public servant and United States citizen.
“Dad, my sitting here today, in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family,” Vindman said in the closing moments of his statement.
“Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”