Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart on Tuesday slammed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s characterization of the July Trump-Zelensky phone call as “nonsense” during the impeachment hearing.
Col. Vindman, one of the first witnesses to offer first-hand testimony about the phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry, said that based on his military experience, he understood the “favor” President Trump asked for as a demand.
“When a superior makes a request, that’s an order,” Col. Vindman said.
Mr. Stewart, who served in the Air Force for more than a decade, said it was unfair to use that experience and project it onto individuals that have never served in the military.
“I made that judgment. I stick by that judgment,” Col. Vindman said.
“I think it’s nonsense. I was in the military — I could distinguish between a favor and an order and a demand, and so could my subordinates. And I think President [Volodymyr] Zelensky did as well,” he said.
The heart of the impeachment inquiry is the accusation that Mr. Trump used his position to pressure the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s connection to a corrupt Ukrainian energy company as well as an investigation into alleged election interference in 2016. The elder Biden is a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
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