President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that his phone call with the president of Ukraine was “perfect” — a fact the president says is proven by rough transcripts released by the White House.
That defense — which had been widely panned as disproven by the White House rough transcript — may not accurately reflect the substance of the call, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
“Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to restore them failed,” The Times reported, citing three people “familiar” with the testimony.
“The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter,” the newspaper reported.
Vindman reportedly testified he attempted to fix the transcript, but two corrections were not made.
“It is not clear why some of Colonel Vindman’s changes were not made, while others he recommended were, but the decision by a White House lawyer to quickly lock down the reconstructed transcript subverted the normal process of handling such documents,” The Times noted. “The rough transcript also contains ellipses at three points where Mr. Trump is speaking. Colonel Vindman told investigators that at the point of the transcript where the third set of ellipses appear, Mr. Trump said there were tapes of Mr. Biden.”