Nov 19, 2019

Vindman dismisses offer to become Ukraine's defense minister as "rather comical"

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman faced questioning from the House Intelligence Committee's Republican counsel Steve Castor during Tuesday's impeachment hearing about an offer to become Ukraine's defense minister, which Vindman denounced as "rather comical."

Why it matters: Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, has faced unsubstantiated cable news attacks questioning his loyalty to the U.S. because of the fact that he immigrated from Ukraine as a young child.

  • Castor's line of questioning touched on whether the offer, which came Alex Danylyuk, a former aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was in Ukrainian or English. Vindman answered that it was the latter.
  • Vindman said he "immediately dismissed the offers" and "did not entertain them" — and testified that he reported them up his chain of command.

What he said: "Frankly, it's more important about what my American leadership, my American chain of command thinks. ... These are honorable people, I'm not sure if he meant it as a joke or not — but it's much more important what my civilian White House and National Security Council chain of command thinks more than anyone else."

  • "And, frankly, if they were concerned about me being able to continue my duties, they would have brought that to my attention."

Go deeper: Live updates from the Vindman-Williams impeachment hearing

Go deeper

Protests for George Floyd continue for 10th day

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Crowds gathered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday evening and in Atlanta, Georgia, despite the rain. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined demonstrators on Thursday. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. dispersed following a thunderstorm and rain warning for the region.

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

2 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.