Trump impeachment: US military officer on Trump 'bribery' says conversation was 'inappropriate'.

A decorated US military officer, his chest shining with medals, has testified that Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with the leader of Ukraine was both inappropriate and improper, and that he reported his concerns immediately.

Lt Col Alexander Vindman, 44, whose family moved to the US from the Soviet Union four decades ago, emotionally told an impeachment hearing that he felt empowered to speak out, and to even challenge the most powerful man in the world, because of the soil on which he was standing.

“This is America,” said the Iraq War veteran, in one of the most striking moments of the hearings yet. At one part, addressing his father, who had brought his family from behind the Iron Curtain, he said: “Dad, that I am sitting here today, in the US 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 in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Download the new Indpendent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The army officer, who had been listening in to Mr Trump’s 25 July phone call to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, said he had been left in little doubt on what to do after hearing the conversation.

“It was inappropriate for the president to request – to demand – an investigation into a political opponent, especially [from] a foreign power where there is at best dubious belief that this would be a completely impartial investigation and that this would have significant implications if it became public knowledge,” he said.

Trump impeachment: Who's who in the Ukraine scandal

Show all 22

Donald Trump
The Whistleblower
The Second Whistleblower
Rudy Giuliani

Trump impeachment: Who's who in the Ukraine scandal

Donald Trump

1/22 Donald Trump

Accused of abusing his office by pressing the Ukrainian president in a July phone call to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who may be his Democratic rival in the 2020 election. He also believes that Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails - a key factor in the 2016 election - may be in Ukraine, although it is not clear why.

Reuters

The Whistleblower

2/22 The Whistleblower

Believed to be a CIA agent who spent time at the White House, his complaint was largely based on second and third-hand accounts from worried White House staff. Although this is not unusual for such complaints, Trump and his supporters have seized on it to imply that his information is not reliable. Expected to give evidence to Congress voluntarily and in secret.

Getty

The Second Whistleblower

3/22 The Second Whistleblower

The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower is also representing a second whistleblower regarding the President's actions. Attorney Mark Zaid said that he and other lawyers on his team are now representing the second person, who is said to work in the intelligence community and has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community's inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet filed their own complaint, but does not need to to be considered an official whistleblower.

Getty

Rudy Giuliani

4/22 Rudy Giuliani

Former mayor of New York, whose management of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001 won him worldwide praise. As Trump’s personal attorney he has been trying to find compromising material about the president’s enemies in Ukraine in what some have termed a “shadow” foreign policy. In a series of eccentric TV appearances he has claimed that the US state department asked him to get involved. Giuliani insists that he is fighting corruption on Trump’s behalf and has called himself a “hero”.

AP

Volodymyr Zelensky

5/22 Volodymyr Zelensky

The newly elected Ukrainian president - a former comic actor best known for playing a man who becomes president by accident - is seen frantically agreeing with Trump in the partial transcript of their July phone call released by the White House. With a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of his country, and the Crimea region seized by Vladimir Putin in 2014, Zelensky will have been eager to please his American counterpart, who had suspended vital military aid before their phone conversation. He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the “favour” he was asked for. Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference with Trump in New York during the United Nations general assembly, looking particularly uncomfortable when the American suggested he take part in talks with Putin.

AFP/Getty

Mike Pence

6/22 Mike Pence

The vice-president was not on the controversial July call to the Ukrainian president but did get a read-out later. However, Trump announced that Pence had had “one or two” phone conversations of a similar nature, dragging him into the crisis. Pence himself denies any knowledge of any wrongdoing and has insisted that there is no issue with Trump’s actions. It has been speculated that Trump involved Pence as an insurance policy - if both are removed from power the presidency would go to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican would allow.

AP

Rick Perry

7/22 Rick Perry

Trump reportedly told a meeting of Republicans that he made the controversial call to the Ukrainian president at the urging of his own energy secretary, Rick Perry, and that he didn’t even want to. The president apparently said that Perry wanted him to talk about liquefied natural gas - although there is no mention of it in the partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House. It is thought that Perry will step down from his role at the end of the year.

Getty

Joe Biden

8/22 Joe Biden

The former vice-president is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination, which would make him Trump’s opponent in the 2020 election. Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of, refusing to release US aid until this was done. However, pressure to fire the prosecutor came on a wide front from western countries. It is also believed that the investigation into the company, Burisma, had long been dormant.

Reuters

Hunter Biden

9/22 Hunter Biden

Joe Biden’s son has been accused of corruption by the president because of his business dealings in Ukraine and China. However, Trump has yet to produce any evidence of corruption and Biden’s lawyer insists he has done nothing wrong.

AP

William Barr

10/22 William Barr

The attorney-general, who proved his loyalty to Trump with his handling of the Mueller report, was mentioned in the Ukraine call as someone president Volodymyr Zelensky should talk to about following up Trump’s preoccupations with the Biden’s and the Clinton emails. Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr of being part of a “cover-up of a cover-up”.

AP

Mike Pompeo

11/22 Mike Pompeo

The secretary of state initially implied he knew little about the Ukraine phone call - but it later emerged that he was listening in at the time. He has since suggested that asking foreign leaders for favours is simply how international politics works.

AFP via Getty

Nancy Pelosi

12/22 Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Speaker of the House had long resisted calls from within her own party to back a formal impeachment process against the president, apparently fearing a backlash from voters. On September 24, amid reports of the Ukraine call and the day before the White House released a partial transcript of it, she relented and announced an inquiry, saying: “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Getty

Adam Schiff

13/22 Adam Schiff

Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, one of the three committees leading the inquiry. He was criticized by Republicans for giving what he called a “parody” of the Ukraine phone call during a hearing, with Trump and others saying he had been pretending that his damning characterisation was a verbatim reading of the phone call. He has also been criticised for claiming that his committee had had no contact with the whistleblower, only for it to emerge that the intelligence agent had contacted a staff member on the committee for guidance before filing the complaint. The Washington Post awarded Schiff a “four Pinocchios” rating, its worst rating for a dishonest statement.

Reuters

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

14/22 Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

Florida-based businessmen and Republican donors Lev Parnas (pictured with Rudy Giuliani) and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of campaign finance violations at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC on 9 October. Separately the Associated Press has reported that they were both involved in efforts to replace the management of Ukraine's gas company, Naftogaz, with new bosses who would steer lucrative contracts towards companies controlled by Trump allies. There is no suggestion of any criminal activity in these efforts.

Reuters

Kurt Volker

15/22 Kurt Volker

The former US ambassador to NATO was appointed special envoy to Ukraine, and is thought to have played a role in linking Giuliani with Ukraine officials. He resigned just before giving evidence to Congress, which had subpoenaed him. After his testimony it emerged that he had apparently told Giuliani that he was being fed false information about the Bidens from Ukrainian officials.

Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch

16/22 Marie Yovanovitch

A career diplomat who was appointed US ambassador to Ukraine towards the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. She was abruptly recalled from her post in May 2019 amid claims that she was not co-operating with Rudy Giuliani’s unorthodox activities in Ukraine. In the Ukraine phone call Trump refers to her as “the woman” and “bad news” and hints darkly at some sort of retribution, saying: “Well, she’s going to go through some things.” Yovanovitch told House investigators in October that she felt as though she were targeted by a false accusations from Giuliani and his associates, who allegedly viewed her as a threat to their political and financial interests. She also said that State Department officials had told her she did nothing wrong, and that her abrupt removal was not related to her performance. Trump had simply lost faith in her abilities. Expected to testify publicly before House committee on 15 November.

AP

Gordon Sondland

17/22 Gordon Sondland

A Seattle hotelier who became US ambassador to the European Union after donating $1 million to Trump’s inauguration committee, despite having no diplomatic experience. According to the whistleblower, Sondland met Ukrainian politicians to help them “understand and respond to the differing messages they were receiving from official US channels on one hand and from Mr GIuliani on the other”. Sondland told House investigators during October 2019 testimony that he had been disappointed with Trump's decision to involve his personal lawyer in dealings with Kiev — and stated that the president refused counsel from his top diplomats, and demanded Volodymyr Zelensky satisfy his concerns about corruption. Those diplomats had told Trump to meet with Zelensky without preconditions, according to Sondland. His testimony is at odds with the testimony of some other foreign policy officials, however, who indicated that Sondland was a willing participant.

Reuters

George Kent

18/22 George Kent

A career diplomat, he was number two at the Ukraine embassy under Marie Yovanovitch. Kent testified before House investigators in October 2019 that he was cut out of Ukraine policymaking after a May meeting orchestrated by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and was told to "lay low". The deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs said that he though it was "wrong" that he was sidelines by Trump's inner circle. Following the May meeting, Kent said he was edged out by Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry, who "declared themselves the three people now responsible for Ukraine policy", according to a politician who attended the closed door testimony. Expected to testify publicly to House committee on 12 November.

AFP via Getty Images

Ulrich Brechbuhl

19/22 Ulrich Brechbuhl

An adviser to secretary of state Mike Pompeo, with whom he has run businesses. The two were also at West Point military academy together. Swiss-born Brechbuhl is said to handle “special diplomatic assignments”. Subpoenaed to give evidence to Congress in November.

US State Department

Philip Reeker

20/22 Philip Reeker

Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of State, testified that he did not find out about a push by the Trump administration to force Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden until the whistleblower complaint was made public. While he was asked about any quid pro quo in that regard, Reeker indicated he was in the dark and so could not provide further details. But, he did fill in details during his October 2019 testimony on the circumstances surrounding the firing of Marie Yovanovitch. Democrats described his testimony has providing further backup to other testimony they had heard.

AP

William Taylor

21/22 William Taylor

William Taylor, the top US diplomat to Ukraine, testified during an October 2019 hearing in the house that American aid to Ukraine was explicitly tied to the country's willingness to investigate Donald Trump's political rival. Taylor's testimony was explosive, and made him a key witness to the Trump administration's efforts to use the force of the American government to push a politically motivated investigation against Joe Biden. He said the efforts came through an "irregular, informal channel of US policy-making" led by Rudy Giuliani, Kurt Volker, Rick Perry, and Gordon Sondland. Expected to publicly testify before House committee on 13 November.

AP

Alexander Vindman

22/22 Alexander Vindman

Lietenant colonel Alexander Vindman is a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and a decorated Iraq war veteran. He planned to tell the House impeachment inquiry that he heard Donald Trump appeal to Ukraine's president to investigate his leading political rivals. Mr Vindman said he considered the request so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior — twice. He is the first person to testify before the House impeachment inquiry who actually listened in on the 25 July phone call, in which Trump urged Volodymyr Zelensky to start an investigation into Joe Biden.

Getty Images

Donald Trump

1/22 Donald Trump

Accused of abusing his office by pressing the Ukrainian president in a July phone call to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who may be his Democratic rival in the 2020 election. He also believes that Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails - a key factor in the 2016 election - may be in Ukraine, although it is not clear why.

Reuters

The Whistleblower

2/22 The Whistleblower

Believed to be a CIA agent who spent time at the White House, his complaint was largely based on second and third-hand accounts from worried White House staff. Although this is not unusual for such complaints, Trump and his supporters have seized on it to imply that his information is not reliable. Expected to give evidence to Congress voluntarily and in secret.

Getty

The Second Whistleblower

3/22 The Second Whistleblower

The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower is also representing a second whistleblower regarding the President's actions. Attorney Mark Zaid said that he and other lawyers on his team are now representing the second person, who is said to work in the intelligence community and has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community's inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet filed their own complaint, but does not need to to be considered an official whistleblower.

Getty

Rudy Giuliani

4/22 Rudy Giuliani

Former mayor of New York, whose management of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001 won him worldwide praise. As Trump’s personal attorney he has been trying to find compromising material about the president’s enemies in Ukraine in what some have termed a “shadow” foreign policy. In a series of eccentric TV appearances he has claimed that the US state department asked him to get involved. Giuliani insists that he is fighting corruption on Trump’s behalf and has called himself a “hero”.

AP

Volodymyr Zelensky

5/22 Volodymyr Zelensky

The newly elected Ukrainian president - a former comic actor best known for playing a man who becomes president by accident - is seen frantically agreeing with Trump in the partial transcript of their July phone call released by the White House. With a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of his country, and the Crimea region seized by Vladimir Putin in 2014, Zelensky will have been eager to please his American counterpart, who had suspended vital military aid before their phone conversation. He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the “favour” he was asked for. Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference with Trump in New York during the United Nations general assembly, looking particularly uncomfortable when the American suggested he take part in talks with Putin.

AFP/Getty

Mike Pence

6/22 Mike Pence

The vice-president was not on the controversial July call to the Ukrainian president but did get a read-out later. However, Trump announced that Pence had had “one or two” phone conversations of a similar nature, dragging him into the crisis. Pence himself denies any knowledge of any wrongdoing and has insisted that there is no issue with Trump’s actions. It has been speculated that Trump involved Pence as an insurance policy - if both are removed from power the presidency would go to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican would allow.

AP

Rick Perry

7/22 Rick Perry

Trump reportedly told a meeting of Republicans that he made the controversial call to the Ukrainian president at the urging of his own energy secretary, Rick Perry, and that he didn’t even want to. The president apparently said that Perry wanted him to talk about liquefied natural gas - although there is no mention of it in the partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House. It is thought that Perry will step down from his role at the end of the year.

Getty

Joe Biden

8/22 Joe Biden

The former vice-president is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination, which would make him Trump’s opponent in the 2020 election. Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of, refusing to release US aid until this was done. However, pressure to fire the prosecutor came on a wide front from western countries. It is also believed that the investigation into the company, Burisma, had long been dormant.

Reuters

Hunter Biden

9/22 Hunter Biden

Joe Biden’s son has been accused of corruption by the president because of his business dealings in Ukraine and China. However, Trump has yet to produce any evidence of corruption and Biden’s lawyer insists he has done nothing wrong.

AP

William Barr

10/22 William Barr

The attorney-general, who proved his loyalty to Trump with his handling of the Mueller report, was mentioned in the Ukraine call as someone president Volodymyr Zelensky should talk to about following up Trump’s preoccupations with the Biden’s and the Clinton emails. Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr of being part of a “cover-up of a cover-up”.

AP

Mike Pompeo

11/22 Mike Pompeo

The secretary of state initially implied he knew little about the Ukraine phone call - but it later emerged that he was listening in at the time. He has since suggested that asking foreign leaders for favours is simply how international politics works.

AFP via Getty

Nancy Pelosi

12/22 Nancy Pelosi

The Democratic Speaker of the House had long resisted calls from within her own party to back a formal impeachment process against the president, apparently fearing a backlash from voters. On September 24, amid reports of the Ukraine call and the day before the White House released a partial transcript of it, she relented and announced an inquiry, saying: “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Getty

Adam Schiff

13/22 Adam Schiff

Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, one of the three committees leading the inquiry. He was criticized by Republicans for giving what he called a “parody” of the Ukraine phone call during a hearing, with Trump and others saying he had been pretending that his damning characterisation was a verbatim reading of the phone call. He has also been criticised for claiming that his committee had had no contact with the whistleblower, only for it to emerge that the intelligence agent had contacted a staff member on the committee for guidance before filing the complaint. The Washington Post awarded Schiff a “four Pinocchios” rating, its worst rating for a dishonest statement.

Reuters

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

14/22 Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman

Florida-based businessmen and Republican donors Lev Parnas (pictured with Rudy Giuliani) and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of campaign finance violations at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC on 9 October. Separately the Associated Press has reported that they were both involved in efforts to replace the management of Ukraine's gas company, Naftogaz, with new bosses who would steer lucrative contracts towards companies controlled by Trump allies. There is no suggestion of any criminal activity in these efforts.

Reuters

Kurt Volker

15/22 Kurt Volker

The former US ambassador to NATO was appointed special envoy to Ukraine, and is thought to have played a role in linking Giuliani with Ukraine officials. He resigned just before giving evidence to Congress, which had subpoenaed him. After his testimony it emerged that he had apparently told Giuliani that he was being fed false information about the Bidens from Ukrainian officials.

Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch

16/22 Marie Yovanovitch

A career diplomat who was appointed US ambassador to Ukraine towards the end of Barack Obama’s presidency. She was abruptly recalled from her post in May 2019 amid claims that she was not co-operating with Rudy Giuliani’s unorthodox activities in Ukraine. In the Ukraine phone call Trump refers to her as “the woman” and “bad news” and hints darkly at some sort of retribution, saying: “Well, she’s going to go through some things.” Yovanovitch told House investigators in October that she felt as though she were targeted by a false accusations from Giuliani and his associates, who allegedly viewed her as a threat to their political and financial interests. She also said that State Department officials had told her she did nothing wrong, and that her abrupt removal was not related to her performance. Trump had simply lost faith in her abilities. Expected to testify publicly before House committee on 15 November.

AP

Gordon Sondland

17/22 Gordon Sondland

A Seattle hotelier who became US ambassador to the European Union after donating $1 million to Trump’s inauguration committee, despite having no diplomatic experience. According to the whistleblower, Sondland met Ukrainian politicians to help them “understand and respond to the differing messages they were receiving from official US channels on one hand and from Mr GIuliani on the other”. Sondland told House investigators during October 2019 testimony that he had been disappointed with Trump's decision to involve his personal lawyer in dealings with Kiev — and stated that the president refused counsel from his top diplomats, and demanded Volodymyr Zelensky satisfy his concerns about corruption. Those diplomats had told Trump to meet with Zelensky without preconditions, according to Sondland. His testimony is at odds with the testimony of some other foreign policy officials, however, who indicated that Sondland was a willing participant.

Reuters

George Kent

18/22 George Kent

A career diplomat, he was number two at the Ukraine embassy under Marie Yovanovitch. Kent testified before House investigators in October 2019 that he was cut out of Ukraine policymaking after a May meeting orchestrated by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and was told to "lay low". The deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs said that he though it was "wrong" that he was sidelines by Trump's inner circle. Following the May meeting, Kent said he was edged out by Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker, and Rick Perry, who "declared themselves the three people now responsible for Ukraine policy", according to a politician who attended the closed door testimony. Expected to testify publicly to House committee on 12 November.

AFP via Getty Images

Ulrich Brechbuhl

19/22 Ulrich Brechbuhl

An adviser to secretary of state Mike Pompeo, with whom he has run businesses. The two were also at West Point military academy together. Swiss-born Brechbuhl is said to handle “special diplomatic assignments”. Subpoenaed to give evidence to Congress in November.

US State Department

Philip Reeker

20/22 Philip Reeker

Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of State, testified that he did not find out about a push by the Trump administration to force Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden until the whistleblower complaint was made public. While he was asked about any quid pro quo in that regard, Reeker indicated he was in the dark and so could not provide further details. But, he did fill in details during his October 2019 testimony on the circumstances surrounding the firing of Marie Yovanovitch. Democrats described his testimony has providing further backup to other testimony they had heard.

AP

William Taylor

21/22 William Taylor

William Taylor, the top US diplomat to Ukraine, testified during an October 2019 hearing in the house that American aid to Ukraine was explicitly tied to the country's willingness to investigate Donald Trump's political rival. Taylor's testimony was explosive, and made him a key witness to the Trump administration's efforts to use the force of the American government to push a politically motivated investigation against Joe Biden. He said the efforts came through an "irregular, informal channel of US policy-making" led by Rudy Giuliani, Kurt Volker, Rick Perry, and Gordon Sondland. Expected to publicly testify before House committee on 13 November.

AP

Alexander Vindman

22/22 Alexander Vindman

Lietenant colonel Alexander Vindman is a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and a decorated Iraq war veteran. He planned to tell the House impeachment inquiry that he heard Donald Trump appeal to Ukraine's president to investigate his leading political rivals. Mr Vindman said he considered the request so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior — twice. He is the first person to testify before the House impeachment inquiry who actually listened in on the 25 July phone call, in which Trump urged Volodymyr Zelensky to start an investigation into Joe Biden.

Getty Images

He added: “Without hesitation, I knew that I had to report this to the White House counsel.”

Mr Vindman, director for European affairs at the national security council, was one of three people who were on the July call to testify on Tuesday, the latest in a succession of witnesses to be subpoenaed by Democrats.

One of them, Jennifer Williams, a special adviser on Europe and Russia to vice president Mike Pence, said she found the call “unusual” because it related to domestic politics, but she did not report it to anyone.

Ms Williams, who has served in Jamaica, Lebanon and the United Kingdom, said Mr Trump’s call with Zelensky was unusual because “it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter”.

She said the White House budget office had said Mr Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, had directed that $391m in security aid to Ukraine be put on hold and that she never learned why the assistance was later released in September.

A third witness who heard Mr Trump’s conversation with Mr Zelensky, Tim Morrison, said he was not concerned anything illegal was discussed.

Independent news email

Only the best news in your inbox

Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists. Log in to update your newsletter preferences

Register with your social account or click here to log in

Update newsletter preferences

Watch more

“As I stated during my deposition, I feared at the time of the call on July 25th how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate," he said. “My fears have been realised.”

The witnesses were the latest to give evidence to members of the House Intelligence Committee, after Democrats formally launched an impeachment inquiry.

They did so after a whistleblower, believed to be a member of the US intelligence community, alleged that in his call to Mr Zelensky, Mr Trump had requested he launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, in exchange for the release of military aid and a visit to the White House.

Mr Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing, has described the investigation as a “witch hunt”. On Tuesday, he said he did not know the officer but mocked his decision to wear his military uniform.

“I don’t know him. I don’t know, as he says, the ‘lieutenant colonel’. I understand that somebody had the misfortune of calling him ‘Mr’ and he corrected them,” said Mr Trump, in his first public appearance since an unscheduled hospital visit over managed to spark wild headlines over the weekend.

“I never saw the man. I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in. No, I don’t know Vind-e-man at all.”

Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch says ‘colour drained’ from her face when hearing Trump’s ‘threat’

A fourth witness, Kurt Volker, said allegations of corruption in Ukraine levelled at Joe Biden were “not credible”.

In comments that appeared to debunk one of the conspiracy theories Republicans have often cited to try and undermine the former vice president, Mr Volker told member of Congress he did not believe them.

“As I said, I don’t find it plausible or credible that vice president Biden would have been influenced in his duties,” said Mr Volker told the committee.

The comments from Mr Volker, a former US special envoy to Ukraine and a one-time ambassador to Nato, were all the more striking because he was among those witnesses called by Republican members of the committee.

Mr Vindman, who said he notified his concerns to White House lawyer John Eisenberg, also condemned Mr Trump’s Twitter attack on a previous witness.

He said: “I want to state that the vile character attacks on these distinguished and honourable public servants is reprehensible. It is natural to disagree and engage in spirited debate, this has been our custom since the time of our Founding Fathers, but we are better than callow and cowardly attacks.”

Read more

He spoke after Mr Trump last week used social media to attack Marie Yovanovitch, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, who testified last week.

The hearings against Mr Trump are set to continue this week.

Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, who has emerged as the inquiry’s most troubling witness for Republicans because his testimony appears to have shifted, will give evidence on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, Republicans claimed there was no evidence Mr Trump had acted wrongly.

Congressman Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona, said: “I’m yawning, I’m bored. It’s not been very lively.”

Another Republican, Mark Meadows, said at lunchtime: “I find it fascinating that we had three-and-a-half hours of testimony and only three mentions of the word “aid”. Where’s the quid or the quo in the quid pro quo?”

Related news

Jewish life won't change under a Corbyn government – and deep down my community knows that.

In my years reporting for The Jewish Chronicle, I am yet to interview anyone who has made serious plans to emigrate were Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister

Trump blocks UN from scrutinising North Korea human rights record for second year in a row.

Pyongyang warned such a meeting would trigger a strong response

Coming from a fractured family means I find Christmas tough, even though I don't celebrate it.

'We don't have traditions, we don't get each other presents and we certainly aren't five mince pies down by 11am'

Judge blocks Trump from using military funds for border wall.

'The president is not a king,' says legal campaigner

Продовжуючи переглядати World News (UAZMI), ви підтверджуєте, що ознайомилися з Правилами користування сайтом, і погоджуєтеся на використання файлів cookie