Why Alexander Vindman had an inkling Trump's infamous Ukraine call would go 'haywire' before it took place

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Alexander Vindman.
Alexander Vindman. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Retired Lt. Col. Vindman had a bad feeling about former President Donald Trump's infamous 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before it even took place, he reveals in his new book Here, Right Matters: An American Story, an excerpt of which was published by The Atlantic.

Vindman writes that while he was making his way to the White House alongside Tim Morrison, who was then serving as the National Security Council's senior director for Europe and Russia (Vindman, at the time, was the NSC's director for European Affairs), he suggested it would be a good idea to get White House lawyers involved on the call.

Two things had spooked Vindman in the days leading up to the exchange — first, then-U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had proposed multiple times that if Zelensky pursued Ukraine-related investigations of then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, he would be rewarded with a White House visit. Vindman writes that he told Sondland he believed the idea was improper, wanting to believe the ambassador was just a "loose cannon." Vindman's apprehension increased when the call was postponed three days without an explanation.

"This could all go hawywire," Vindman says he told Morrison. But Morrision didn't share his concern, dismissing the lawyer suggestion "out of hand," Vindman writes.

You probably know what happened next — Trump hinted the U.S. could withhold military military aid from Ukraine if Zelensky didn't push the baseless Biden investigations. "If what I just heard becomes public," Vindman says he told his brother, Yevgeny, "the president will be impeached." He was right about that too. Read the excerpt at The Atlantic.

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