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Trump's Ukraine Expert: WH Transcript Was Missing Parts

Sources: Alexander Vindman said he tried to get "Burisma," Trump's mention of Biden tapes back in
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2019 6:21 AM CDT
Updated Oct 30, 2019 6:47 AM CDT
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Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman departs a closed-door meeting after testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Democrats said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's more than 10 hours of testimony Tuesday on Capitol Hill in the Trump impeachment inquiry was "extremely disturbing," and key among the details was his description of the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as its accompanying transcript—which, per CNN, Vindman said was "mostly accurate." However, three sources said to be familiar with Vindman's deposition tell the New York Times that Vindman testified certain words and phrases were left out of the White House memo of the call—omissions indicated by an ellipsis in at least one case—and that he tried to get them put back in. In some cases, his edits were incorporated, but two notable ones were ignored, he said.

One part of the Trump-Zelensky conversation Vindman said had vanished was when the Ukrainian president directly mentioned "Burisma," the name of the energy company that Joe Biden's son Hunter worked for. Instead of "Burisma," "the company" was used in the transcript. The second omission Vindman flagged, noted by an ellipsis: a part in the chat in which Trump mentioned recordings of Joe Biden, a seeming reference to a 2018 event in which the ex-VP talked about trying to convince Ukraine to dump its prosecutor general. There were three transcript ellipses in total, which now raises questions about the other two. In September, the White House said the presence of the ellipses didn't indicate "missing words or phrases," but a "trailing off of a voice or pause." It said brackets or redaction indicators would've been used for missing words or phrases. (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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