Last week, as a convenient complete rebuttal of claims from certain Republican Senators that President Donald Trump had “learned his lesson” from the impeachment proceedings, Trump abruptly fired two administration officials who’d testified against him, including National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. This week, during an appearance on CNN, Retired Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack delivered an emotional defense of Vindman grown from his work alongside the now reassigned figure in Moscow. Zwack insisted that Vindman is honest and straightforward and fiercely confronted those, like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’ve gone from supporters of figures like Vindman to deep state conspiracy theorists when it politically suits them.
During an appearance over the weekend on Face The Nation, when confronted with Vindman’s firing as an apparent act of witness retaliation, Graham had resorted to spouting off about the supposed personal political agenda of figures in positions like Vindman’s. That follows long public diatribes against him from the president and other Trump allies.
‘I know Alex; I’ve known him for a long time… I think that Col. Vindman right now — he’s hurt, he’s insulted, he’s uncertain about his future, and he wears, not wore, the uniform proudly, and I think that seniors at a very high level should not dump that way publicly by statement or the godgun of a tweet in demeaning his personality. Something that offends me greatly is that so many other people have piled in who don’t even know him.’
‘He’s always been direct, he’s candid, and people need to understand that about him. He will tell you out of the courage of his own convictions… he’s reliable, and I trust him explicitly.’
No matter these elements, the president and his supporters have not hesitated to essentially completely kick Vindman to the curb. Vindman’s attorney David Pressman insisted that Trump’s claims about Vindman are “obviously false” and “conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the president is well aware” — but that hasn’t stopped him and his allies from lashing out anyway.
Zwack indicated that yes, he takes Vindman’s reassignment out of the White House as “punitive.” He explained:
‘I think this was punitive; it didn’t have to be. He could have been allowed to say at least goodbye to his peers… It was just insulting, it was offending, it was wrong.’
More directly addressing Graham’s rant about supposed ulterior motives in the intel community, Zwack mockingly continued:
‘I’m a proud retired member of the intelligence community, and I guess that makes me a card-carrying member of the deep state. This is ridiculous… These people are great Americans that are often put in a difficult situation.’
He then turned to address the Senator directly, adding:
‘Senator Graham, I’ve always had a lot of respect for you. I met you when I was in Afghanistan in 2008… We thought you guys were rockstars. Where are you now, sir?’
Now, Graham likes playing golf with Trump more than sticking up for figures who’ve actually accomplished work like Vindman.