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‘Do not worry’: Vindman addresses his father in opening statement at impeachment hearing

National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman gave a moving tribute to his father — and to American democracy — as he made his opening statement in the House impeachment hearing Tuesday, assuring his father he would not be harmed for speaking out in the proceedings.

Vindman contrasted the public impeachment hearings, where government officials are testifying openly against President Trump, with authoritarian governments around the world where dissent is not tolerated.

“My simple act of appearing here today, just like the courage of my colleagues who have also truthfully testified before this Committee, would not be tolerated in many places around the world,” Vindman said, noting that in Russia, “offering public testimony involving the president would surely cost me my life.”

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He also spoke directly to his father, who fled the Soviet Union when Vindman was a young child, and said his ability to speak out was protected in the United States.

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the US 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 United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Vindman, who arrived on Capitol Hill in military blue, testified that he alerted the National Security Council’s lead counsel to his concerns about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Watch video of the statement:


Maerial from the Associated Press was used in this report. Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.