- The US Army said it would move Lt. Col Alexander Vindman and his family to a secure location if necessary.
- Vindman is a key figure in the escalating impeachment inquiry and has faced criticism from President Donald Trump and his GOP allies.
- “As we would with any Soldier, the Army will work with civilian authorities to ensure that he and his family are properly protected,” an Army spokeswoman told Insider.
- But the spokeswoman said that “as a matter of practice” she could not confirm or deny if any measures had already been taken.
- Follow along with our live coverage of the hearings here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The US Army is prepared to move Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his family to a secure location on a military base if it’s deemed necessary, US officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Vindman has been the target of public criticism, including from President Donald Trump, over his central role in the escalating impeachment inquiry. The president, without evidence, has sought to discredit Vindman’s testimony by accusing him of being a “Never Trumper.”
If it’s determined that Vindman or his family is in physical danger, they will be moved to a safe location, the officials told The Journal.
An Army spokeswoman, Col. Kathy Turner, told Insider in a statement that the Army “is providing supportive assistance to help Lt. Col. Vindman with the public attention.”
“As a matter of practice, the Army would neither confirm nor deny any safety or security measures taken on behalf of an individual; however, as we would with any Soldier, the Army will work with civilian authorities to ensure that he and his family are properly protected,” Turner added.
Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, is a key figure in the impeachment inquiry. The active-duty Army officer and Iraq War combat veteran was on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the centre of the investigation.
During the call, Trump urged Zelensky to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as into a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 US election.
“I was concerned by the call. What I heard was inappropriate,” Vindman said in public testimony on Tuesday, adding that “it is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and a political opponent.”
Republican lawmakers on the panel sought to discredit Vindman in multiple ways, including by zeroing in on the fact that he wore his military uniform and by implying that he has dual loyalty to Ukraine. Vindman came to the US from Ukraine as a refugee when he was a child and the country was still part of the Soviet Union.
Some Democrats on the panel touched on safety concerns in their questioning of Vindman, particularly given the attacks he’s faced.
At the beginning of his testimony, Vindman sent an emotional message to his father, applauding his choice to bring the family to the US decades ago. He told his father not to worry, adding,“I will be fine for telling the truth.”
When asked why he told his father not to worry, Vindman said: “This is America. This is the country I’ve served and defended, that all of my brothers have served, and here, right matters.” Vindman received a standing ovation.
The hearing room applauds Vindman as he details why he has the confidence to testify about the president and tell his father not to worry: "This is America. This is the country I served and defended, that all my brothers have served — and here — right matters." pic.twitter.com/t4cJDvICvK
— Axios (@axios) November 19, 2019
- Read more of Insider’s impeachment coverage:
- Here’s who’s scheduled to testify in this week’s impeachment inquiry hearings
- Think Trump will get impeached? Gambling sites say the odds are in your favour
- Trump could be impeached and removed from office but still win reelection in 2020
- Over half of the House of Representatives support the impeachment inquiry against Trump – see all of them here
- Everything you need to know about Trump’s impeachment process: What’s happened, who the players are, and what comes next
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.