The national security official who testified Tuesday before House lawmakers in the Trump impeachment probe revealed how key words and phrases were omitted from the transcript of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, a report said.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, also told lawmakers that his bid to completely restore the omissions failed, three people familiar with his testimony told The New York Times.
But some of the decorated army officer’s edits were in fact amended, he said Tuesday.
It’s unclear why the two edits were never made and Vindman didn’t testify about a motive, but The Times notes the omissions don’t alter lawmakers’ interpretation of the call.
The two exclusions regarded President Trump’s contention of the presence of a tape with former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukraine corruption — and a mention by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky of the company Hunter Biden sat on the board of, Burisma Holdings.
The Biden video reference is reflected in a third set of ellipses present in the call’s transcript when the president is speaking, Vindman told investigators.
The president, The Times reports, was likely referring to Biden’s January 2018 remarks about his effort to get Ukraine to oust its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.
It’s possible Vindman’s two transcript edits weren’t made since the document was placed into secure server, preventing further corrections, the report said.
The transcript wasn’t derived from a recording, but instead from note-takers listening in and voice recognition software.
During hours of Tuesday questioning, Vindman also “did not think it was proper” for Trump to ask Zelensky to investigate his Democratic political foe.
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