Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and State Department official Jennifer Williams both told lawmakers Tuesday they were concerned about the appearance of U.S. domestic politics during a July phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart now at the center of the House impeachment hearings.
Both officials are the first two to testify that had firsthand knowledge of the July 25 phone call in which the president mentioned the Biden family and the 2016 election.
They noted that Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company Hunter Biden worked at, was specifically mentioned during that phone call, and they believed the military assistance for Ukraine was linked to the investigations.
“I found the July 25 phone call unusual because, in contrast to other presidential calls I had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter,” Ms. Williams said.
Lt. Col. Vindman said he felt the request to investigate the Biden connection was “improper.”
“It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play,” he said.
The crux of the impeachment inquiry centers on allegations that Mr. Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky via a quid pro quo to open investigations into alleged 2016 U.S. presidential election interference and then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s connection to Burisma corruption.
Ms. Williams, who serves as an aide to Vice President Pence, said that beyond noting the call in a briefing, she did not mention her concerns to the vice president or her colleagues.
Lt. Col. Vindman, however, said he notified the National Security Council’s lawyers about his concerns.