Fox News Guest John Yoo Accuses Vindman of 'Espionage' Ahead of Testimony to Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Investigators

Former Justice Department official John Yoo has claimed that Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman—set to testify on Tuesday to House impeachment investigators over President Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal—could have engaged in espionage.

Vindman is an officer in the U.S. Army and a Purple Heart recipient. He is also the director for European affairs on the National Security Council and was part of the U.S. delegation that traveled to Kiev for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's inauguration in May.

A Ukrainian-American whose family moved to the U.S. when he was a young boy, Vindman is also fluent in Russian and Ukrainian. Observers have lauded Vindman's credentials, suggesting his testimony will carry extra weight given his impeccable resume.

However, participants in a panel discussion on Monday's The Ingraham Angle suggested that Vindman's background could be a cause for suspicion.

Host Laura Ingraham noted that Vindman is "a decorated colonel, by the way, in the Iraq War." Vindman was wounded when the vehicle he was traveling in was hit by an IED.

She also noted that his language skills made him a valuable partner for Ukrainian officials, who were trying to negotiate the White House's confusing diplomacy with Zelenskiy's new government.

Ingraham cited a report by The New York Times, which explained that Vindman emigrated from Ukraine along with his family when he was a child. As such, he is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian.

The Times reported that Ukrainian officials often sought advice from Vindman about how to deal with Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani, and that they generally communicated in English. Seemingly incredulous, Ingraham claimed this detail has gone under-reported.

"Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president's interest, and usually, they spoke in English. Isn't that kind of an interesting angle on this story?" Ingraham asked the panel.

Guest John Yoo said he found the detail "astounding." As deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, Yoo penned the infamous "Torture Memos" which informed President George W. Bush and his administration that torture during the War on Terror may be legally permissible.

"You know, some people might call that espionage," Yoo added.

Vindman's opening statement has already leaked to the press, and explains that he was so concerned by Trump's conduct during the Zelenskiy call that he reported it to a superior.

The president is accused of offering a quid pro quo of military aid for a Ukrainian investigation into 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, related to the latter's work with the Burisma natural gas company.

"I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine," the statement explains.

"I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained," the statement continues.

But Yoo argued that none of the news around around Vindman's appearance is "breaking news," suggesting it does not add "any new facts."

He added that we can "all make our judgement" on the phone call between the two leaders. "I think that is something the American people should decide rather than just the House," Yoo continued. "And that is the next election."

The White House has released a memo detailing parts of the call, but the full transcript has not been made public. Yoo did not acknowledge that Vindman sat in on the call, making him one of the few people who knows exactly what was said.

Alexander Vindman, espionage, John Yoo, Ukraine, impeachment
This file photo shows House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff entering a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on October 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Alexander Vindman will testify to the committees Tuesday. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/Getty