In 2020, then-Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman filed a complaint with the inspector general overseeing the Department of Defense alleging that he’d faced retaliation in response to blowing the whistle about issues including the infamous phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which Donald imposed pressure for the Ukrainians to carry out investigations in line with his political ambition. That Defense Department official has now concluded in Vindman’s favor — Trump “illegally retaliated” against him, as The Daily Beast explains in a new Wednesday headline.
Originally, Vindman — alongside his brother, then-Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — was fired from the National Security Council after bringing concerns about issues including that Trump-Zelenskyy call to National Security Council lawyers John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis. Mark Zaid — an attorney who’s representing Yevgeny — said Wednesday: “The DoD Inspector General Report of Investigation issued today fully vindicates our client then-Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman. Through his protected lawful whistleblowing activities, Lt. Col. Vindman properly reported misconduct involving officials within the Trump Administration’s White House and National Security Council. Based on this latest report, which followed a review by the U.S. Army, it is now conclusive there was illegal retaliation against Lt. Col. Vindman, who has since been promoted to Colonel.”
New: Former Trump aide Stephanie Grisham is testifying to the Jan. 6 committee again tomorrow, per sources familiar. The panel has started reaching back out to a number of top witnesses to confirm evidence and details, sources say.
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 18, 2022
The Defense Department inspector general’s team said they “make no recommendation with respect to the Complainant, who has been promoted to the rank of Colonel and whose performance record has been corrected.” Besides alerting National Security Council authorities about the Trump-Zelenskyy call, Yevgeny also brought up concerns of apparent sexism perpetrated by then-high-ranking individuals on Trump’s national security team. “Actions were improperly taken against [Vindman] in retaliation for his protected disclosures involving matters that ultimately led to the President’s impeachment as well as disclosures of misconduct by other current senior members of the President’s national security team,” Zaid remarked around the time of Yevgeny’s original Defense Department complaint.
The DoD Inspector General Report of Investigation issued today fully vindicates our client then-Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman. https://t.co/aaHDrUnfHi
— Mark S. Zaid (@MarkSZaidEsq) May 18, 2022
The national security officials implicated by Yevgeny’s initial revelations included national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Alex Gray, a top adviser to O’Brien. Democratic members of Congress summarized that, per Yevgeny’s revelations, the pair of officials “committed several ethics and legal compliance violations, misused government resources, excluded women from meetings, and made sexist and demeaning remarks to female NSC staffers.” Throughout the Trump administration, federal officials faced consistent revelations that they engaged in brazenly corrupt behavior, capped off by incidents like the transporting of over a dozen boxes of federal records — including classified materials — from D.C. to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, as though these issues were variables on a game show and not matters of national security. The National Archives subsequently recovered the docs, and the Justice Department issued a subpoena in hopes of obtaining the materials amid their own investigation into what happened.
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) May 18, 2022