Vindman Resigns From Military, Citing ‘Retaliation’ From Trump

National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on November 19, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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July 8, 2020 1:12 p.m.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has resigned from the military, his attorney said in a statement obtained by TPM on Wednesday, saying that President Trump led a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” over his testimony in last year’s impeachment inquiry.

“LTC Vindman did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies,” Vindman attorney Amb. David Pressman said in the statement. “And yet, LTC Vindman would not be intimidated and will not be corrupted. He did what he has always done: put the interests of his country ahead of his own. “

CNN first reported the resignation, and cited unnamed military sources saying that Vindman was told there were “forces working against his advancement within the military,” emanating from the White House. The longtime army officer was reportedly told that he could no longer work in his area of specialty — Ukraine.

One unnamed official reportedly joked to Vindman that he would be sent to “man a radar station in Alaska.”

Vindman played a key role in the House’s impeachment inquiry last year. He sat in on the infamous July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the President asked that Ukraine “do us a favor” by conducting investigations that could benefit Trump’s re-election chances.

Vindman’s testimony helped confirm key details about the pressure campaign that Trump and his allies waged on Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden.

Since then, President Trump has reportedly targeted Vindman for speaking out, ousting him from his position as an aide at the National Security Council in February.

But the question of whether Vindman would receive his scheduled promotion smacks of continued and political interference by the White House into the military, suggesting that officers who relate unfavorable facts about the President’s actions can expect to have their careers cut short.

Vindman tweeted about his resignation on Wednesday. 

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said last week that she would block more than one thousand military promotions absent a letter from Defense Secretary Mark Esper stating that Vindman’s advancement was not in jeopardy.

Esper has insisted that the purple heart recipient would be protected from political retaliation, but his attorney said that it is “clear that [Vindman]’s future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited.”

Pressman, Vindman’s attorney, noted that his client had only spoken publicly once, pursuant to a House subpoena.

“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,” Pressman said in the statement. “These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.”

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