Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Ukraine expert who listened to President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said “there was no doubt” that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, according to a transcript of his deposition.
The transcript was one of two made public toay by House impeachment investigators, who also released one documenting the closed-door deposition of another National Security Council official, Fiona Hill, who also expressed concerns about efforts to pressure Ukraine.
Both Vindman and Hill are in discussions to testify publicly after open hearings begin next week, according to people familiar with the plan.
The release of the transcripts came after acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defied a subpoena and skipped a scheduled closed-door deposition at the Capitol.
Hill, who served on Trump’s National Security Council before leaving the post voluntarily over the summer, testified in a closed-door hearing that she and other officials were the target of threats and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
“My entire first year of my tenure at the National Security Council was filled with hateful calls, conspiracy theories, which has started again, frankly, as it’s been announced that I’ve been giving this deposition,” Hill said.
“I received, I just have to tell you, death threats, calls at my home,” she added. Hill described her neighbors hearing someone hammering on her door, as well as someone calling her home to deride her with obscenities.
Hill said she and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, another key witness in the impeachment inquiry, were the target of anti-Semitic conspiracies attempting to tie them to billionaire financier George Soros.
“Now, I’m not easily intimidated, but that made me mad,” Hill testified. “And when I saw this happening to Ambassador Yovanovitch again, I was furious, because this is, again, just this whipping up of what is frankly an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about George Soros to basically target nonpartisan career officials, and also some political appointees as well, because I just want to say this: This is not indiscriminate in its attacks.”
Hill’s description of the threats and intimidation tactics she and other officials have faced come as Trump and his allies seek to undermine some of the key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump has not singled out Hill by name, but he has repeatedly referred to the witnesses as “Never Trumpers” and accused Democrats of seeking out testimony from those who oppose him.
Meanwhile, in a break with her father and leading congressional Republicans, Ivanka Trump said it was “not particularly relevant” to know the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the probe into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden at a time when nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid was being withheld.