On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) requested all 74 inspectors general, including the Defense Department IG, to investigate retaliation against whistleblowers after President Donald Trump got key impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman kicked out of the National Security Council last week.
“Although LTC Vindman lived up to his oath to protect and defend our Constitution by bravely stepping forward to tell the truth, he has been viciously attacked by the President and forced to endure threats to his and his family’s safety,” Schumer wrote in his letter to the watchdogs. “These attacks are part of a dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the President and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness.”
The Democratic leader went on to describe their “critical role” in protecting whistleblowers.
He requested that the IGs therefore investigate “any and all instances of retaliation” against those who report “presidential misconduct” to either the IGs’ offices or to Congress.
Schumer also asked each of them to provide to Congress the last date their department staff was informed of whistleblowers’ legal rights, along with written certification affirming the IGs’ commitment to protecting whistleblowers.
“It is incumbent on you that whistleblowers like LTC Vindman—and others who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms—are protected for doing what we hope and expect those who serve our country will do when called: tell the truth,” he wrote.
Vindman was escorted from the White House on Friday, several months after he provided crucial testimony to House impeachment investigators on Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden.
Trump continued to attack Vindman after his ouster, putting the Purple Heart recipient’s military title in quotation marks and calling him “very insubordinate.”
The White House warned of “retribution” after the Senate’s Republican majority voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial.
Read Schumer’s letter below: