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National
Friends, family support Twitter employee charged in spy case
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Friends, family support Twitter employee charged in spy case

Friends, family support Twitter employee charged in spy case
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File
FILE - In this July 9, 2019, file photo a pedestrian walks across the street from the Twitter office building in San Francisco. A complaint unsealed in a federal court detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi officials to recruit employees at the social media giant who could tap into the Twitter accounts of political opponents and access their personal data, including internet protocol addresses that can give up a user's location. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Friends, family support Twitter employee charged in spy case

Family and friends of a former Twitter employee accused of spying for Saudi Arabia call him a dedicated husband and father who has overcome recent mental health struggles, according to letters of support filed to federal court.

Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen and a media partnership manager for Twitter's Middle East region, is charged with acting as an agent of Saudi Arabia without registering with the U.S. government.

The case marks the first time the kingdom, long linked to the U.S. through its massive oil reserves and regional security arrangements, has been accused of spying in America.

The seven letters — four from family members, including Abouammo's wife, and three from former co-workers — were filed Thursday ahead of the hearing. The letters paint a portrait of a kind, caring man who is needed at home to support his family and friends.

Roy Abdo, who worked with Abouammo at the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, urged the court to double check the facts.

"Knowing Ahmad's personality, work ethics, and having worked with him on a personal level for over two years, something seems not right about this," Abdo wrote.

Judge Paula L. McCandlis on Friday ordered Abouammo released on bail with GPS monitoring, a mental health evaluation and travel restrictions. His release was then at least temporarily put on hold because federal prosecutors said they planned to file an appeal Friday afternoon.

Abouammo's attorney Christopher Black said during the hearing that Abouammo's wife, sister, uncle and a good friend were in court and that Abouammo is not a flight risk because he has no assets, is deeply in debt and surrendered his passports to agents last year.

Prosecutors allege Abouammo and another former Twitter employee, Saudi citizen Ali Alzabarah, were rewarded by Saudi royal officials with a designer watch and tens of thousands of dollars funneled into secret bank accounts.

Alzabarah and a third suspect, a Saudi named Ahmed Almutairi who worked as a social media adviser for the Saudi royal family and acted as an intermediary with the Twitter employees, are believed to be in Saudi Arabia. Both are wanted by the FBI.

The federal complaint, unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi government officials to recruit Twitter employees to look up the private data of accounts, including email addresses linked to the accounts and internet protocol addresses that can give up a user's location.

The accounts included those of a popular critic of the government with more than 1 million followers and a news personality. Neither was named.

Twitter said Wednesday it cooperated in a U.S. investigation of two former employees accused of accessing personal account information on behalf of the Saudi government.  

The San Francisco-based social media company said in a statement it recognizes "the length bad actors will go to try and undermine" its service, and that there are tools in place to protect users with sensitive accounts.

A senior Saudi official in Washington said Thursday that "we expect all our citizens to abide by the laws of the countries in which they live." The official spoke with reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss issues sensitive to the government.

On LinkedIn, Abouammo lists his present work as a digital consultant with "Cyrcl," which Washington state records show was dissolved in 2017, as well as a co-founder of a "new startup that will redefine social."

He has previously worked at Amazon and Middle East Broadcasting Networks, both companies confirmed. However, the titles he listed on LinkedIn for those jobs did not match their records. His website states he is finishing a master's degree in management from Harvard University, which did not immediately confirm if he was enrolled.

In her letter to the court, Abouammo's wife, Zeina, called her husband "my backbone, my rock, and my companion." They have been married for 10 years and have three children together.

Zeina Abouammo wrote that they both suffered from mental health issues over the last year, "yet he was always strong and helpful." The allegations date back to 2014.

Abouammo's sister Amani said her brother helped her escape an abusive marriage and has taken care of her daughter, who has multiple disabilities.

"Ahmad is genuine, family guy, and generous," his cousin Rabih Abouammo wrote. "There is no way that he would jeopardize all of (this) for anything, he doesn't even need to."

Another former co-worker at the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Shirine Hossaini, told The Associated Press he was a "really sweet, happy, very thoughtful, really trustworthy" man who was not political.

"I find it really hard to believe Ahmad would be a part of that," she said. "I can't imagine anybody changing like that. That's a big shift if it's all true."

___

Dazio reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Lisa Baumann in Seattle and Ben Fox in Washington contributed.

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Washington Insider

  • In what may be a final day of public impeachment hearings by the House Intelligence Committee, a former National Security Council official said she shared her concerns about the work in Ukraine of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, recalling she had warned officials the effort would lead to trouble. 'I did say to Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I think this is all going to blow up,' Hill said. 'And here we are.' Repeating a warning from her former boss at the Trump White House, ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton, Hill quoted Bolton say saying 'Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going blow everyone up.” In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Hill criticized the interest inside the White House in Giuliani's efforts to press Ukraine to start investigations into Hunter Biden, and GOP questions about interference in the 2016 elections by Ukraine, deriding it as a 'domestic political errand.' In testifying about Giuliani's back channel work in Ukraine, Hill described how she confronted U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about the two-track diplomatic efforts on Ukraine, complaining that Sondland was not keeping her in the loop on his work - and then predicting it would cause problems. Hill said she made much the same prediction to her former boss, Bolton, saying the Giuliani effort would 'backfire' on the White House. 'The story line he was promoting, the narrative he was promoting was going to backfire,' Hill said. 'I think it has backfired.' In her appearance, Hill also agreed with the testimony of Sondland on Wednesday, in which he said Giuliani was pressing a quid pro quo - trading a White House meeting for the new leader of Ukraine for investigations sought by President Trump. The hearing also featured testimony from a U.S. official in the American embassy in Ukraine, David Holmes, who overheard a phone call between Sondland and President Trump. 'The President's voice was loud and recognizable,' Holmes said, telling lawmakers that Sondland actually held the phone away from his ear and winced at the volume from Mr. Trump. In that call, Holmes said he clearly heard the President ask Sondland if Ukraine was going to announce investigations sought by the President about the Bidens, Burisma, and the allegations of interference by Ukraine in the 2016 elections. “I then heard President Trump ask, 'so he's going to do the investigation?'” Holmes recounted.  “Ambassador Sondland replied, 'he's going to do it,'” Holmes added. Republicans tangled with Holmes several times over his story. At one point in the GOP questions to Holmes, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) requested the Foreign Service Officer declare that he would never reveal the details of such a high level call in the future. 'I think it was Gordon Sondland who showed indiscretion by having that conversation over a public phone line,' Holmes said. Earlier, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) rebuked Holmes for revealing portions of the Trump-Sondland call, where Sondland told Mr. Trump that the leader of Ukraine 'loves your ass.' Turner said it was embarrassing to President Zelensky; Holmes defended his actions, calling Zelensky a 'Ukrainian patriot.' You can find more coverage of Thursday's impeachment hearing at this link. 
  • A three day, nine witness impeachment hearing blitz comes to a conclusion on Thursday, as lawmakers will hear from a former Russia expert on the National Security Council, and a Foreign Service Officer who currently works at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, as Republicans and Democrats continue to consume these proceedings like people living on different planets. After Wednesday's testimony with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, this session will feature Fiona Hill, who worked on the National Security Council until this July, and David Holmes, who overheard Sondland's phone conversation with President Trump, in which Mr. Trump reportedly asked about Ukraine announcing investigations sought by the President. Here's the latest on the impeachment hearings: - 4:20 pm.  The hearing is over.  Here's my story. 4:15 pm.  As Rep. Adam Schiff D-CA ends this impeachment hearing, he appeals for Republicans to look at the evidence, and support this effort to remove President Trump from office.  'Where is Howard Baker?' Schiff asked, reaching back to Watergate, and invoking the GOP Senator from Tennessee who asked the famous question, 'What did the President know and when did he know it?' 3:20 pm.  GOP lawmakers continue to go after Holmes, and he continues to stand his ground on the Sondland-Trump phone call. At one point, Rep. Mike Conaway R-TX demanded that Holmes never talk in the future about calls like the Sondland-Trump call. Holmes fired back, saying that Sondland should not have held the call in public like he did, and defended going up the chain of command to report it. 2:50 pm.  It's always good to have a bit of levity at a hearing like this.   2:25 pm. Unlike Jordan and Ratcliffe, Rep Mike Turner R-OH doesn't give Holmes a chance to answer his criticism, accusing Holmes of using 'anecdotal' evidence about the Sondland-Trump call to embarrass the Ukraine leader 2:15 pm.  It's been a very interesting last half hour.  GOP lawmakers have tried to undercut the testimony of Holmes about the Sondland-Trump phone call - but Holmes has held his own. 1:45 pm.   The 45 minutes are up for the GOP.  Fiona Hill forcefully pushed back on a series of GOP lines of questioning, as she bluntly said there was no reason to have anyone in the White House involved in the Giuliani effort in Ukraine, which she labeled a 'domestic political errand' 1:10 pm.  The White House has provided a statement on today's hearing denouncing the proceedings.  As you read this statement, one should remember that the White House has prevented a number of officials from testifying before this investigation. 1:00 pm.  The hearing has resumed with Republicans asking 45 minutes of questions. 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Jim Jordan (R-OH), as more than an hour after the hearing ended, Jordan tweeted out his skepticism about Cooper's testimony, and the discovery of her staff. 7:25 am.  The day after the July 25 phone call, a group of top U.S. officials gathered in Washington to meet about military aid to Ukraine.  The number three official in the State Department testified last night that a White House budget official made clear aid to Ukraine was on hold - under orders from the President. 7:15 am. The biggest piece of news to come out of last night's impeachment hearing was about when Ukraine officials found out that U.S. aid was being delayed.  Pentagon official Laura Cooper said her staff had uncovered emails which showed Ukraine embassy officials in Washington asking what was going on with U.S. aid money.  Those emails were sent on - July 25.  Why is that important? That's the same day President Trump had his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. 7:00 am. If you missed the Sondland hearing on Wednesday, you missed one of the more unique hearings in some time on Capitol Hill.  Sondland sharpened his previous testimony, accusing Rudy Giuliani of a quid pro quo in which he pressed Ukraine to announce investigations backed by President Trump, in exchange for a White House meeting with the President.   When the hearing began, the top Republican said Sondland would be smeared - presumably by Democrats.  But it was GOP lawmakers who scrapped with the Ambassador over his testimony, where he all but said that President Trump had ordered a hold on aid to Ukraine, in order to get the government to announce investigations of Hunter Biden, and the conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. Here is a link to Sondland's testimony.
  • Ambassador Gordon Sondland drew stern rebukes from Republican lawmakers on Wednesday as he told impeachment hearings that President Donald Trump's personal lawyer had made clear that in order for the new leader of Ukraine to get a White House meeting with the President, then Ukraine would have to announce investigations sought by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo,' Sondland said, as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union said it became clear to him that the President ultimately had been holding up military aid to Ukraine to leverage those same investigations as well. 'We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani,' Sondland added. While Sondland repeatedly acknowledged that no one - including President Trump - had told him the aid for Ukraine was tied to any investigations wanted by Mr. Trump, the Ambassador said he ultimatley felt that was the bottom line. 'That was my presumption,' Sondland said. Seemingly caught off guard by Sondland's testimony - which more sharply alleged that there was a clear effort to condition aid to Ukraine for a series of investigations than his previous deposition testimony - Republicans ultimately took the gloves off, and took after the President's own ambassador. 'You really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations,' said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). 'Other than my own presumption,' Sondland interjected, further aggravating Turner, his voice growing more strident by the minute. 'Do you know what hearsay evidence is ambassador?' Turner asked. 'Do you know what made up testimony is?' GOP lawmakers mocked Sondland's earlier statement that he presumed the aid-for-investigations effort was true, when he said he realized 'two plus two equals four.' 'Two presumptions plus two presumptions does not equal even one fact,' said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). Earlier, GOP counsel Stephen Castor sought to undercut Sondland's testimony, rattling off a series of items which Sondland did not have to back up his presumption. 'You don't have records, you don't have notes, because you didn't take notes, you don't have a lot of recollections,' Castor said.  'I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability, isn't that true?' Castor asked, who did not gain the agreement of Sondland.  'What I'm trying to do today is use the information I have to be as forthcoming as possible,' said Sondland. Republicans also complained openly to Sondland about why he did not use a quote from the President - which Sondland had used in a text message - denying any kind of quid pro quo. 'Do you know what a quid pro quo is?' asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who said Sondland should have made that one of the first items in his lengthy opening statement. Ironically, at the start of the hearing, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), warned the Oregon hotel developer that he faced a difficult day. 'Ambassador Sondland, you are going to be smeared,' Nunes declared. But the roughest treatment for Sondland actually came from the GOP, and not from Democrats. Here is the link to my live updates on today's hearing.
  • After hearing Tuesday from three people who listened in on President Trump's July 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine, lawmakers will take testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who helped to coordinate efforts in Ukraine with President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Sondland will certainly have to address a phone call he supposedly made from a restaurant in Ukraine - on an unsecured cell phone - where he spoke to President Trump, who made clear he wanted to know if Ukraine was going to announce it had started investigations into the Bidens, and a 2016 conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats during the elections. “Ambassador Sondland is a big personality,” said former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who testified a day earlier. Follow along with developments here: - 8:00 pm.  While the hearing is over, there is now an extra session in which Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are voting down a variety of requests from Republicans for subpoenas of Hunter Biden, the whistleblower, and others. 7:25 pm. Here's the headlines from tonight's hearing so far: + New emails show Ukraine embassy asked on July 25 what was going on with military aid + State Dept official says at a July 26 meeting OMB said the President had directed a delay on that aid. Trump-Zelensky call was July 25. 7:00 pm.  Here is the video of Hale's testimony with respect to the July 26 meeting where an OMB official said the President had authorized a hold on the military aid for Ukraine. 6:55 pm.  One of the GOP arguments is that Ukraine did not know the military aid was on hold. But it's clear that the July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call had the Kyiv government concerned. 6:45 pm.  While this is a fairly dry hearing which reminds me of covering a regular Congressional oversight hearing, there have been some kernels of news.  Along with Cooper's statement, Hale says at an interagency meeting on July 26, officials were told that military aid was on hold “because the President had so directed through the Acting Chief of Staff.' 6:10 pm. Cooper says her Pentagon staff found a series of emails in which there were concerns relayed by Ukraine officials about why military aid was on hold. Two of the emails were sent to State Dept on July 25. That was the same day President Trump spoke with the Ukraine leader. 5:40 pm.  After almost a two hour break, the second hearing is underway.  Pentagon official Laura Cooper and State Department official David Hale are testifying. 3:45 pm.  The hearing has ended.  There was prolonged applause for Sondland as he left the room. 3:15 pm.  Sondland says it would have been better for a Trump-Zelensky meeting to take place without conditions, saying he thought their chemistry would have been very good, describing the Ukraine leader as smart, funny, and charming. 3:10 pm.  The GOP frustration grows with Sondland at this hearing.  Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH to Sondland: 'You said there were three quid pro quos but there weren't.' 2:20 pm.  It's now open season on Sondland from the Republican side.  Rep. Mike Turner R-OH blasted Sondland, calling his testimony 'confusing' and 'somewhat circular.'  Turner was followed by Rep. Brad Wenstrup R-OH, who rebuked Sondland as well.  House Republicans moved quickly to get the Turner Q&A out on social media. 2:00 pm.  Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH echoes earlier GOP complaints to Sondland about why he didn't use a quote from the President in today's opening statement where Mr. Trump denied any quid pro quo. 1:50 pm.  Giuliani tweeted something about Sondland at 12:29 pm, and then deleted it.  Now, about an hour later, he has re-posted the same tweet.  Not clear what changed, or what was wrong with the original missive. 1:40 pm.  Sondland is back.  The White House has just issued a statement on his testimony, pushing back on his 'quid pro quo' assertions. 1:09 pm.  The committee is taking a break for lunch.  Republicans had so little to offer between Nunes and Castor that they did not use their full 30 minutes. 1:05 pm.   Giuliani has already deleted his 12:29 pm tweet about Sondland's testimony. 12:50 pm.  Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA has again been making the GOP point today that President Trump clearly had a reason to be mad at Ukraine over what happened in 2016. One of the things which happened was the downfall of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort. 12:35 pm.   Democrats clearly feel today's testimony has played in their favor.  12:30 pm.  Giuliani joins the President in downplaying the role of Sondland. 12:15 pm.  The GOP effort to counter Sondland is to say that he has no evidence to back up his assertions. 12:00 pm.  Here are the comments by President Trump about Sondland as he left the White House today. 11:45 am. The GOP response in the hearing (and outside) is that President Trump never directly told Sondland to do anything. Q: The President never told you about pre-conditions for a White House meeting. Sondland: 'Personally, no.' 11:30 am.  President Trump is now 45 minutes behind schedule for his departure from the White House.  He is headed today to Texas. 11:25 am.  Nunes starts the GOP time by focusing not on anything Sondland said in his testimony so far today, focusing on Republican allegations that Ukraine was 'out to get him' during the 2016 elections. First question from Nunes on this line. Sondland: 'I am not aware of it.' Nunes keeps going with more. Sondland: 'I am not aware of it.' 11:20 am.  During the break, Democrats went to the TV cameras stationed outside.   11:15 am.  Again in this impeachment hearing process, viewers on Fox News are getting some different messages. 11:00 am.  A light moment in the hearing, as Sondland says he and President Trump tend to communicate with words that probably aren't for kids. 10:47 am.  On the Drudge Report.  It's not the greatest of headlines for the President on what's usually a favorable website. 10:45 am. Sondland said the President and Giuliani wanted Ukraine to publicly announce the Burisma / Bidens / Crowdstrike-2016 investigations. But Sondland says that doesn't mean Ukraine actually had to undertake the investigations. 10:35 am.  Critics of the President in Congress say the testimony today from Sondland is a big, big deal. 10:20 am. Sondland says Secretary of State Pompeo was up to date with the Giuliani/Trump efforts all along. Sondland says he raised the delay in aid with Vice President Pence on September 1.  10:15 am.  Sondland has finished with his opening statement.  There is a lot of explosive testimony there, especially Sondland saying that 'everyone was in the loop' about the President seeking investigations from Ukraine. 10:05 am.  Was there a quid pro quo involving Ukraine?  Sondland says, in one sense, the answer is yes. 10:00 am.  Sondland says he was surprised to see the rough transcript of the July 25 call the President had with the leader of Ukraine, because he had not been told about the fact that President Trump mentioned investigations related to Biden/Burisma/Crowdstrike in the call. 9:50 am.  Sondland repeatedly says that State Department officials wanted no part of Giuliani being involved in diplomatic work.  But the President did.  So, they had to play the hand they were dealt (Sondland's description). 9:40 am.  Democrats immediately seize on the 'quid pro quo' description by Sondland.   9:27 am.  Sondland uses the term “quid pro quo” to describe what was going on at three different points in his prepared testimony. 9:25 am.  Sondland will also show that Vice President Pence was in that loop as well. 9:20 am.  Sondland says multiple times - “Everyone was in the loop.” 9:15 am.  Sondland says it has been difficult to come up with answers because the White House and State Department have not helped him get documents and phone records. 9:10 am.  The hearing is underway.  Sondland's statement is going to provide some interesting moments in questioning from both parties.  Here is the Ambassador's recount of the July 26 unsecured cell call to President Trump from a restaurant in Kyiv. 9:00 am - The opening statement of Sondland is now available at the following link. 8:40 am.  Someone asked me on Facebook what the advantage is of actually being in the hearing room.  In one way, it is being a witness to history.  But not seeing the TV feed could put you at a disadvantage, as many others watch every facial twitch, frown, and smile on the faces of the witnesses and lawmakers.   When I got here into the room this morning, I found the still photographers had taken my power plug spot, and a TV crew has taken my audio feed. So, I had to deal with that, and switch things around. If I were back in my booth in either the House or Senate side of the Capitol, everything would be just fine. I could stand, go to the bathroom, have lunch,  etc.  Here is my “view” of the dais. 8:10 am.  The folks at Fox and Friends do not buy the testimony that President Trump talks loud and could be overheard on his cell phone. 8:00 am.  A reminder of the testimony so far, is that Sondland called up President Trump from a restaurant in Ukraine, and spoke to him on an unsecured cell phone.  In that call, US embassy staffer David Holmes testified that he could easily hear the President's voice, and hear what was being discussed with Sondland - investigations - which Mr. Trump wanted from the Ukraine government. The Holmes testimony can be found at this link. 7:50 am.  The Sondland phone call with President Trump is going to get a lot of attention today - and rightfully so. 7:45 am.  Most readers probably know Sondland's name from the impeachment / Ukraine controversy, but don't really know all of the details.  There's some interesting stuff which has GOP lawmakers a bit uneasy, because the script today may not be that obvious at first. 7:35 am.  It's not just Gordon Sondland testifying today, starting at 9 am.  And there is another hearing on Thursday.  Like Tuesday, it would be no surprise for me if the hearings are still going at 8 pm - which is when the Democratic debate in Atlanta is set to begin.  That would a split screen political Super Bowl.
  • At the same time one of President Donald Trump's National Security Council staffers testified before Congress on Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman found himself taking social media flak from the official White House Twitter account, and from aides to the who also work with Vindman at the White House complex. 'I don't know what the President was thinking,' was one of a series of quotes from Vindman tweeted out by the White House, part of a GOP effort to argue against impeachment hearings led by Democrats in the House. Vindman's testimony represented the first time witnesses had publicly discussed what they heard in a July 25 phone call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine, where President Trump pressed Ukraine to open up a pair of investigations which could help Mr. Trump politically. 'Frankly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing,' said Vindman, who answered most of the questions, and was challenged the most by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. 'It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and a political opponent,' Vindman said. The other witness, Jennifer Williams, a State Department foreign policy expert who is currently detailed as an adviser for the staff of Vice President Mike Pence, also expressed her concerns. 'I found the July 25th phone call unusual,' Williams said in her testimony. 'It was the first time I had heard internally the president reference particular investigations that previously I had only heard about through Mr. Giuliani's press interviews,' Williams added. While Vindman found himself a Twitter target today, Williams had experienced that on Sunday, when the President loudly objected to her characterization of the Ukraine phone call, accusing her of being a 'Never Trumper.' 'It certainly surprised me,' Williams said. 'I was not expecting to be called out by name.' Maybe the most contentious part of the morning hearing came as Republicans sought to find out who Vindman told of the July 25 phone call, as GOP lawmakers moved to undercut Vindman's work on the National Security Council, which dovetailed with the message of the White House. Republicans said Vindman had puffed up his responsibilities, and jumped on his admission that he had never met with President Trump. 'You've never met the President of the United States, right?' asked Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). 'That is correct,' Vindman said. 'So, you have never advised the President of the United States on Ukraine,' Turner added, part of a GOP push to downplay Vindman's role on Ukraine policy. Those type of responses netted a series of posts from the White House on Twitter during the hearing. The hearing also featured some exchanges of note regarding the Ukraine whistleblower, as it was clear Republicans believe Vindman notified someone in the Intelligence Community about the July 25 call who may have relayed that information to the whistleblower. 'I do not know who the whistleblower is,' Vindman said at one point, but he refused to name the official he briefed soon after the July 25 call, saying the person was in a 'need to know' situation. Republicans were not pleased. 'You're here to answer questions, and you're hear under subpoena,' said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). But heeding a ruling from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Vindman refused to say whom he briefed on the call. GOP lawmakers also came close to accusing Vindman of being a leaker as well. 'Colonel, you never leaked information?' asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). 'I never did, never would, that is preposterous that I would do that,' Vindman replied. You can find a more detailed review of this morning's hearing at this link.