Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman refused to tell the House Intelligence Committee who he gave a copy of the transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to in the “intelligence community.”
Vindman was testifying in the third public hearing in the impeachment inquiry. He admitted providing the transcript to two individuals outside the White House with security clearance. He named one as George Kent — a witness who appeared last week — but he would not name the other:
Ranking Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA): Lt. Col. Vindman, did you discuss the July 25th phone call with anyone outside the White House on July 25th or the 26th — and, if so, with whom?
Vindman: Yes, I did. My core function is to coordinate U.S. government policy, interagency policy. And I spoke to two individuals with regards to providing some sort of readout of the call.
Nunes: Two individuals who were not in the White House?
Vindman: Not in the White House, cleared U.S. government officials, with appropriate need to know.
Nunes: And what agencies were these officials with?
Vindman: Department of State, um, Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, who is responsible for the portfolio, Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. And a individual from the office of — individual in the intelligence community.
Nunes: What — as you know, the intelligence community has 17 different agencies. What agency was this individual from?
Schiff: If I could interject here — we don’t want to use these proceedings —
Nunes: It’s our — it’s our time, chair.
Schiff: I know, but we need to protect the whistleblower.
Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Please stop. I want to make sure that there’s no effort to out the whistleblower through the use of these proceedings. If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we are here for, and I want to advise the witness accordingly.
Nunes: Mr. Vindman, you testified at your deposition that you did not know the whistleblower.
Vindman: Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please.
Nunes: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, you testified in the deposition that you did not know who the whistleblower was, or is.
Vindman: I do not know who the whistleblower is, that is correct.
Nunes: So how is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistleblower?
Vindman: Per the advice of my counsel, I’ve been advised not to answer specific questions about members of the intelligence community.
Nunes: This is — are you aware that this is the Intelligence Committee that’s conducting an impeachment hearing?
Schiff claimed that the whistleblower had “a statutory right to anonymity,” which he does not. Existing law prevents the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IGIC) from revealing the name of a whistleblower in most circumstances, but does not otherwise protect the whistleblower.
Nunez then referred to the impeachment inquiry as an “Inquisition.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.