Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told congressional investigators in his Tuesday testimony that he believed President Donald Trump personally blocked nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in lieu of a public announcement of an inquiry into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, according to news reports Wednesday.
Citing “two sources present at the deposition” before Democratic House members, CNN reported that Vindman also testified that he believed a quid pro quo was clear when U.S. and Ukrainian officials met at the White House on July 10.
Fifteen days later, President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy talked by telephone in a call that has formed the basis of the House impeachment investigation.
President Trump has repeatedly slammed the inquiry as a “witch hunt” and a “scam.”
According to CNN, Vindman said in his opening statement that July 10 was when U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told Ukrainian officials that they would need to deliver “specific investigations in order to secure the meeting” with Trump.
But in a separate meeting of U.S. officials afterward, “Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma,” Vindman testified.
President Trump apparently holding up the nearly $400 million in Ukrainian aid, however, did not become clear until the following month, according to Vindman.