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

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What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.