Rep. Stewart Questions How Lt. Col. Vindman Cannot Distinguish Between Favor, Demand, & An Order

REP. STEWART: I would like to go back to your previous testimony earlier today. Much has been talked about, as we’ve discussed, between President Trump and President Zelensky, and the word ‘favor,’ and this being interpreted as a basis for impeachment. Your interpretation of the word ‘favor,’ and I’ll paraphrase you – feel free to correct me, you said in the military culture, which you and I are both familiar with, when a superior officer asks for a favor of a subordinate, they will interpret that as a demand. Is that a fair synopsis of what you previously stated?

VINDMAN: Representative, when a superior makes a request, that is an order.

REP. STEWART: Okay, in short then, you think your interpretation of a favor as a demand is based on your military experience and military culture.

VINDMAN: I think that is correct.

REP. STEWART: I think that is correct. Is President Trump a member of the military?

VINDMAN: He is not.

REP. STEWART: Has he ever served in the military?

VINDMAN: Not that I’m aware of.

REP. STEWART: Is President Zelensky a member of the military?

VINDMAN: I don’t believe so, I don’t know.

REP. STEWART: The answer is no. He is not. Would it be fair then to take a person who has never served in the military and to take your re-evaluation of their words, based on your military experience and your military culture, and to attach that culture and that meaning of the words to someone who has never served?

VINDMAN: Representative, I made that judgment. I stick by that judgment.

REP. STEWART: Okay well I have to tell you, I think it’s nonsense. Look, I was in the military, I could distinguish between a favor and an order and a demand, and so could my subordinates. And I think President Zelensky did as well. He never initiated an investigation. In fact, he’s been very clear. He said, “I never felt any pressure at all.” So you interpreted the word ‘favor’ but the two people who were speaking to each other did not interpret that as a demand. It was your interpretation, is that fair?

VINDMAN: The context of this call, consistent with a July 10th meeting, with the reporting that was going on, including the President’s personal attorney made it clear that this was not simply a request.

REP. STEWART: Well, that’s not true at all. It’s not clear at all. You say it makes it clear. It’s not clear at all, and the two individuals who are talking to each other didn’t interpret it that way.