Nov 19, 2019

Vindman discusses his immigrant background in impeachment opening statement

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman discussed his family's decision to immigrate to the U.S. from Ukraine during his opening statement in Tuesday's impeachment hearing.

What he's saying: Vindman told his father that his testimony is "proof that [he] made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union ... in search of a better life for our family."

What he said:

"Next month will mark 40 years since my family arrived in the United States as refugees. When my father was 47 years old, he left behind his entire life and the only home he had ever known to start over in the United States so that his three sons could have better and safer lives. His courageous decision inspired a deep sense of gratitude in my brothers and myself and instilled in us a sense of duty and service. All three of us have served or are currently serving in the military. ... Our collective military service is a special part of our family’s story in America.
I also recognize that my simple act of appearing here today, just like the courage of my colleagues who have also truthfully testified before this committee, would not be tolerated in many places around the world. In Russia, my act of expressing concern to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions and offering public testimony involving the President would surely cost me my life. I am grateful for my father’s brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.
Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth."

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

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Impeachment testimony highlights witnesses' immigrant pasts

Fiona Hill testifies yesterday in the House Ways and Means Committee hearing room. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Several witnesses who testified in the House impeachment inquiry this week highlighted their immigrant backgrounds, sharing their families' stories in highly personal opening statements, the AP's Jill Colvin and Colleen Long write.

Why it matters: They drew a connection to how those experiences led them to public service and a strong desire to safeguard U.S. national security. Their stories offered a sharp counterpoint to President Trump, who has often derided immigrants as a threat to American national security.

Go deeperArrowNov 22, 2019

Highlights from Alexander Vindman's and Jennifer Williams' impeachment testimonies

Photo: Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, testified Tuesday morning as the House kicked off its second week of impeachment hearings.

Why it matters: The hearing was the first time the public heard directly from witnesses who listened to the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that lies at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 19, 2019

Vindman and Williams testify that Biden-Ukraine allegations lack credible evidence

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified during Tuesday's impeachment hearing that the allegations claiming that the Biden family engaged in improper business dealings in Ukraine lack credible evidence.

The big picture: The allegations against the Bidens form a key concern for the impeachment inquiry regarding President Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman and Williams, who both listened to the call, testified that they were concerned by the fact that Trump mentioned the allegations.

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

Keep ReadingArrowNov 19, 2019