(CNN)TheNational Security Council’s top Ukraine experttold lawmakers there was “no ambiguity” ahead ofPresident Donald Trump’s July callwith his Ukrainian counterpart that the Ukrainians would have to start an investigation into Trump’s political rival in order to secure a meeting between the two, according to a transcript of his testimony released Friday.
Lt. Col.Alexander Vindmantestified to House impeachment inquiry investigators in a closed door deposition that “there was no doubt about” what Trump was asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for during the July 25 call: having a foreign government investigate a US citizen in exchange for a meeting between the two heads of state.
“In total, looking at the transcript, that I saw it as this is a deliverable, this is what was required in order to get the meeting that the Ukrainians had been aggressively pushing for, had been trying to coordinate, “Vindman, who listened into the July 25 call, told lawmakers in his closed door deposition last month.
But Vindman said the push for Ukraine to open an investigation was underway well before the call, describing a July 10 meeting between US Ambassador to the E uropean UnionGordon Sondlandand Ukrainian officials where Sondland raised opening an investigation amid discussions over a presidential meeting.
“He was calling for something, calling for an investigation that didn’t exist into the Bidens and Burisma,” Vindman said, referring to former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden worked.
House impeachment investigators released on Friday the deposition transcripts of Vindman and former White House aide Fiona Hill .
Hill testified behind closed doors last month that she took her concerns about the role President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was playing in Ukraine to National Security Council attorneys. Hill also testified that then-national security adviserJohn Boltondescribed Giuliani’s efforts with US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in Ukraine as a “drug deal.”
Vindman was the first official interviewed by lawmakers in the impeachment inquiry who listened into the July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman said he was concerned about the call and reported it to National Security Council attorneys.
The House Intelligence Committee hasnow released eight transcriptsof the 15 witnesses who have testified behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry. Democrats are shifting the impeachment proceedings to a new phase next week when three witnesseswill testify publicly.
This story has been updated with additional developments and will continue to update Friday.