Top Impeachment Witness Vindman Resigning From Military After Trump Pressure

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It was just months ago that President Donald Trump was impeached (and then acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate). Now, one of the most prominent witnesses in the impeachment proceedings against the president has announced his plans to resign from the military after 21 years of service. On Wednesday, a lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was awarded a Purple Heart and whose more recent service includes time on the National Security Council, revealed that Vindman would be retiring from the military. That lawyer — David Pressman — specifically cited “a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation” spearheaded by the president of the United States.

Pressman commented:

‘Through a campaign of 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. These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.’

Vindman is one of the individuals who originally testified about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens, who he and his allies accused of some kind of wide-reaching corruption scheme that wasn’t actually supported by evidence. While serving as the Ukraine-related issues expert on the National Security Council, Vindman reported his concerns about Trump’s plot to bribe Ukraine into conducting that investigation, but he was told — by National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg — to keep quiet. After Vindman helped bring this scandal to light with his Congressional testimony, he was reassigned away from the National Security Council.

Trump has previously publicly complained about Vindman. At one point, he tweeted:

‘Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about “Lt. Col.” Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my “perfect” calls incorrectly, & was given a horrendous report by his superior.’

Vindman didn’t report the contents of Trump’s phone calls incorrectly. In fact, he was one of the officials who was listening when Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a particularly infamous conversation in which Trump pressured the Ukrainians to launch a Biden investigation. At the time, Vindman tried to correct the official record of the call, but he was blocked from doing so.

Vindman faced a campaign of targeted harassment from many individuals among Trump’s allies. Vindman’s family left the Soviet Union for the United States when he was a toddler, and some, like Fox News host Laura Ingraham, zeroed in upon this fact. At one point, she asked one of her guests:

‘Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest, and usually, they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?’

No, it’s not “interesting” — she was peddling baseless smears.