Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a “star witness” in the Democrats’ impeachment farce against President Trump, is retiring from the US Army because he has determined that his future in the military “will forever be limited,” CNN reported Wednesday.
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
Vindman’s attorney, Amb. David Pressman, told CNN that the former National Security Council (NSC) aide endured a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” that was “spearheaded by the President” after he testified in the impeachment inquiry last year.
Vindman, who listened in on Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy in July of 2019, told Democrat House investigators last fall that the president abused his office by withholding vital aid from Ukraine until it announced investigations into his political opponents. The former NSC aid is widely believed to be the primary source for so-called “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella.
His public testimony was slammed by multiple war heroes who called him “prissy,” a “disgrace,” and “an operative with an agenda.”
The suspected leaker and his twin brother Yevgeny were removed from their NSC posts and escorted out of the White House last February.
“He was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly, & was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information,” Trump tweeted a day after the White House dismissed Vindman.
….was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, “OUT”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
According to Vindman’s lawyer, the White House also blocked Vindman’s military promotion to the rank of colonel.
“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, while claiming that Vindman “did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies.”
Top Pentagon leaders, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, have insisted that Vindman is not being targeted for political reasons, but a source familiar with his decision said military officials have communicated to Vindman that the White House has sought to become involved in the promotion process.
In response, Vindman was told that that there have been discussions within the Department of Defense about sending his name forward on a “list of one” or holding his name back until after the election to avoid impacting the promotions of other service members, the source said.
According to CNN, the “bullied” Vindman faced “a wave of unfounded attacks from the President and his allies” during the impeachment farce.
During oral arguments in the Senate trial in late January, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, attacked Vindman in multiple tweets over several hours, going so far as to question the Purple Heart recipient’s patriotism.
Blackburn was referencing allegations made by retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Jim Hickman last fall that called Vindman’s alleged “patriotism and honesty” into question. Despite CNN’s claim, these “attacks” on Vindman’s character were not “unfounded.”
Hickman came forward to share his recollections of the then-Major when he served with him in Grafenwoher, Germany in 2013.
The retired officer told American Greatness that he “verbally reprimanded” Vindman after he heard him “talking up” then-President Barack Obama and making derisive remarks about America and Americans in front of Russian military officers. “Do not let the uniform fool you,” Hickman wrote on Twitter: “He is a political activist in uniform.”
Hickman said that Vindman, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Ukraine, made fun of the United States to the point that it made other soldiers “uncomfortable.” For example, Hickman told American Greatness that he heard Vindman call Americans “rednecks”—a word that needed to be translated for the Russians. He said they all had a big laugh at America’s expense.
Hickman is a wounded warrior who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and received multiple combat medals—including the Purple Heart. He took medical leave from the service in 2017 due to complications from his injuries.
After Vindman was removed from his NSC post, Hickman said he was pleased, but more needed to be done to hold him accountable, including possibly a court martial.
“To simply move LTC Vindman as part of a larger drawdown, without holding him accountable for the court martial worthy offenses he committed, will have immediate ramifications on good order and discipline in the Army,” Hickman told American Greatness via a text message.
“If officers are permitted to directly disobey lawful orders from the CINC, because they have political policy opinion differences, well, where are we now with precedent? I suppose lying to congress too will go without any consequence, I mean why bother being held to a higher standard in the military?” he asked.
“What exactly are we teaching young Soldiers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Officers, if LTC Vindman just moves duty stations without being held accountable?” Hickman lamented at the time.