After more than 21 years of service with the US Army, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has announced his retirement. The 45-year-old decorated war hero endured numerous attacks by Donald Trump leading up to, during and following his key witness account in Trump’s impeachment inquiry last November.
In February, Trump fired Vindman as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Vindman’s twin brother, Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was escorted off White House grounds at the same time and apparently dismissed from his post at the National Security Council.
Allegations in recent weeks suggested the White House was attempting to block Vindman’s upcoming military promotion to the rank of colonel.
Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton was promoting his new book “In the Room Where It Happened” when he told Jake Tapper, “Based on not just his service, but his twin brother’s service at the NSC, both of whom were pushed out of their assignments early, I think they certainly deserve promotion based on what I saw. They shouldn’t be discriminated against.”
He added, “I hope there’s nobody in the White House who’s holding this up or putting bureaucratic obstacles in the way. I think this is something, this kind of corruption of this promotion process, unfortunately, typical of a number of things that have happened in the administration, I think it’s a bad signal to all of our military.”
Legal representative for Vindman, Amb. David Pressman, said Trump’s vendetta against his client was a campaign filled with “bullying, intimidation and retaliation.”
“The President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers,” Pressman said in a statement to CNN. “These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it,” he added, noting that Vindman “did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies.”
Vindman received the Purple Heart for his service in the Iraq War.
In November, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman addressed his dad while testifying in the impeachment inquiry, saying: "Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth."
Today, he is retiring — citing “a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation."https://t.co/O9g0sh248A
— NPR (@NPR) July 8, 2020
Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love. My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives. pic.twitter.com/h2D9MRUHY2
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) July 8, 2020
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Trump Once Again Attacks Comey Over Congressional Testimony
President Trump went after James Comey in a pair of tweets this morning, trying to claim the former FBI Director lied to congress in his closed-door testimony on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
On 245 occasions, former FBI Director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked. Opened investigations on 4 Americans (not 2) – didn’t know who signed off and didn’t know Christopher Steele. All lies!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2018
Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday testimony was so untruthful! This whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President. They are now exposed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2018
Surprising few, the President’s tweets do not seem to align with Comey’s actual testimony.
Comey’s testimony was publicly released just hours after he testified, a condition pushed by Comey before he agreed to testify.
In his testimony, Comey told investigators that the investigation began with the examination of four Americans. Those four have not been named due to the ongoing investigation, but Comey did say that President Trump was not one of those four.
“I was briefed sometime at the end of July that the FBI had opened counterintelligence investigations of four individuals to see if there was a connection between those — any of those four and the Russian effort, and those four Americans did not include the candidate,” Comey said in his testimony.
Trump has long criticized Comey over his involvement in FBI investigations into Russian Interference, and fired Comey in May 2017. That termination led to Robert Mueller’s appointment.
Trump, of course, has long tried to pen the investigation as a “witch hunt,” including as recently as Saturday.
Comey will be appearing a second time, on the 17th of December, to answer further questions — which Comey himself Tweeted about, claiming that wasn’t a “search for the truth.”
Today wasn’t a search for truth, but a desperate attempt to find anything that can be used to attack the institutions of justice investigating this president. They came up empty today but will try again. In the long run, it’ll make no difference because facts are stubborn things.
— James Comey (@Comey) December 8, 2018
President Donald Trump Strikes out at Democrats, Calling Them ‘Too Dangerous’ to Govern
President Donald Trump sets the stage for renewed violence and hatred against democrats in his latest tweet, calling his opposition “too extreme” and “too dangerous” to govern.
You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of law – not the rule of the mob. VOTE REPUBLICAN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2018
While ostensibly a call for people to vote republican, the tweet suggests that democrats would burn the country down if given power — and opens the door to a crackdown of first amendment rights.
His words echo statements made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also called Democratic voters and survivors of sexual assault speaking out against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and vote a “mob.”
The president enjoys a shrinking and further polarized base that supports him, in particular since the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
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