Audience breaks into applause as Vindman explains why he's not afraid of testifying against Trump
Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

Republican efforts to undermine Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman apparently failed to persuade the audience in the impeachment hearing room.


The National Security Council staffer was showered with applause after reading the closing portions of his opening statement for a second time at the request of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).

"Can you read the last paragraph for me again, the second-to-last one, can you read that again for me?" Maloney said. "I think the American public deserves to have it again."

Vindman agreed, and said his father would probably appreciate that.

"Dad, my sitting here today in the U.S. 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 to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family," Vindman said. "Do not worry, I'll be fine for telling the truth."

Maloney asked if he understood the risk he was taking coming forward to testify against President Donald Trump.

"You realize when you came forward out of sense of duty, that you were putting yourself in direct opposition to the most powerful person in the world," Maloney said. "Do you realize that, sir?"

Vindman agreed that he understood that risk, and Maloney asked him about another portion of his opening statement.

"I'm struck by the word, that phrase, 'do not worry,' you addressed to your dad," the lawmaker said. "Was your dad a warrior?"

Vindman said he had served in another country's military, and he would have worried about his son taking on such a huge risk.

"He deeply worried about it," Vindman said. "In his context, there was -- there was the ultimate risk."

Maloney asked why the lieutenant colonel felt confident enough to assure his father.

"Congressman, because this is America," Vindman said. "This is the country I have served and defended, that all of my brothers have served and here, right matters."

Maloney thanked him, and the crowd broke into about seven seconds of applause.