- US Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an officer at the centre of President Donald Trump’s ire in recent weeks, is not being investigated by the military, a source told The Daily Beast, despite Trump suggesting this week that the Army would “take a look at that.”
- At least one of Vindman’s associates appeared confident the military would not be investigating the impeachment-trial witness, who was subpoenaed before Congress.
- “We have every confidence that the Army and the Department of Defence will regard Lt. Col. Vindman’s truthful testimony in response to a legal congressional subpoena as entirely appropriate,” a source close to Vindman told The Daily Beast.
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US Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an officer who has been the subject of President Donald Trump’s ire in recent weeks, is not being investigated by the military, a source told The Daily Beast, despite Trump’s suggestion this week that the Army would “take a look at that.”
Vindman was ousted from his job as a National Security Council aide at the White House on Friday after Trump’s Senate impeachment acquittal two days earlier. As part of the impeachment inquiry, Vindman had testified before the House Intelligence Committee about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman, who had listened in on the call, testified that Trump’s requests for Ukraine to investigate political rivals had concerned him, prompting him to raise objections within his chain of command out of a “sense of duty.”
The call was at the centre of the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment. Following Vindman’s testimony, Trump railed against the officer and accused him of mischaracterizing the conversation. Vindman was eventually escorted off of the White House grounds and dismissed along with his twin brother, Yevgeny, also a US Army lieutenant colonel, who was an ethics attorney on the NSC. Both were reassigned to the Army.
The US national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, on Tuesday asserted that the Vindmans were not retaliated against and said the agency was merely downsizing its staff.
Trump suggested this week, however, that it might be appropriate for the US military to take disciplinary action against Vindman.
“That’s going to be up to the military – we’ll have to see,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. He said he “certainly” imagined the military would “take a look at that.”
“We sent him on his way to a much different location, and the military can handle him in any way they want,” Trump added.
Despite Trump’s thoughts on the matter, a Defence Department official told The Daily Beast in an article published Wednesday that the Army was not investigating Vindman at the moment.
At least one associate of Vindman appeared confident that the military would not be investigating the impeachment-trial witness, who was subpoenaed before Congress.
“We have every confidence that the Army and the Department of Defence will regard Lt. Col. Vindman’s truthful testimony in response to a legal congressional subpoena as entirely appropriate,” The Daily Beast quoted a source close to Vindman as saying.
Retired Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, a former Pentagon spokesman who is now the vice president of communications at the Bipartisan Policy Centre, previously told Insider that the Pentagon needed to assure the public that Vindman would not be retaliated against for testifying – by Trump or by Vindman’s fellow service members.
Lapan recommended that the Pentagon “state very clearly that Vindman will be allowed to come back to the Army, that he will get his follow-on assignments and there won’t be any retaliation against him.”
“I think that is needed right now to send a strong message to the force that we’re not going to allow retaliation for somebody who was subpoenaed,” Lapan added.
The Department of the Army on Friday confirmed that the Vindmans were reassigned within the Army but would not provide additional information “out of respect for their privacy.”
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