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White House Ukraine expert who is set to testify in impeachment probe is decorated Iraq War veteran

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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the White House's top Ukraine expert and a decorated veteran, is set to be a key witness in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump as he provides blockbuster testimony to Congress Tuesday on Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

The little-known National Security Council aide is the first person who was on Trump's now-infamous call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to testify before Congress as part of the impeachment inquiry, and he plans tell lawmakers he was so troubled by the July phone call that he reported his concerns to a superior, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CNN.

Vindman, a decorated veteran who was born in Ukraine, is already facing attacks by Trump and Republicans, who are seeking to discredit the aide ahead of his potentially-damaging testimony.

According to his prepared remarks, Vindman — who was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq after being wounded in an IED attack — plans to tell the House committee members how his family fled to the US from the Soviet Union when he was a child.

"The privilege of serving my country is not only rooted in my military service, but also in my personal history. I sit here, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, an immigrant," he will say, according to his remarks. "My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country."

Vindman served multiple overseas tours, including in South Korea and Germany in addition to his deployment to Iraq, according to his prepared remarks.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump alleged that Vindman and others who have testified about him as part of the impeachment inquiry are "Never Trumpers," though there is little evidence Vindman is a political opponent of Trump's.

Meanwhile, former Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, who is a CNN contributor, argued during an appearance Tuesday on CNN that Vindman has an "affinity" toward Ukraine and that he is more concerned about its defense than US policy.

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