ANALYSIS: Democrats have a Colonel Vindman problem

House Democrats conducted their impeachment interviews in secret, but Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman still emerged as star of the show.

Appearing at his Oct. 29 deposition in full dress uniform, the decorated Army officer, now a White House National Security Council Ukraine expert, was the first witness who had actually listened to the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the heart of the Democratic impeachment campaign.

Even though lawmakers were forbidden to discuss his testimony in public, Vindman’s leaked opening statement that “I did not think it was proper [for Trump] to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen” exploded on news reports.

Vindman has not yet been scheduled to appear before the Democrats’ public impeachment hearings. When that happens, he will undoubtedly again play a prominent role.

But there will be a difference. The public now has a transcript of Vindman’s deposition.

And those who have taken the trouble to read the 340-page document will have a different picture of Vindman’s testimony than the one presented in early media reports.

Yes, Vindman testified repeatedly that he “thought it was wrong” for Trump, speaking with Zelensky, to bring up the 2016 election and allegations of Ukraine-related corruption on the part of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

But the Vindman transcript also showed a witness whose testimony was filled with opinion, with impressions, who had little new to offer, who withheld important information from the committee, who was steeped in a bureaucracy that has often been hostile to the president, and whose lawyer, presumably with Vindman’s approval, expressed unmistakable disdain, verging on contempt, for members of Congress who asked inconvenient questions.

In short, Vindman’s testimony was not the slam-dunk hit Democrats portrayed it to be.

And that raises questions about how it will play when Vindman goes before the world in a public impeachment hearing.Here are four problems with the Vindman testimony:

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