Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman is set for a promotion to colonel after surmounting alleged efforts by the Trump administration to retaliate against his family over his brother’s testimony during the first impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump.
“I am deeply grateful for the trust and confidence the U.S. Army and the Judge Advocate General Corps have placed in me with selection for promotion to Colonel,” Vindman said in a statement.
“They stood their ground despite intense pressure during the last Administration,” he added of the Biden administration’s decision to promote him, after last year Trump political appointees had tried to smear him with damaging performance reviews.
Yevgeny Vindman had served as deputy legal adviser for the National Security Council staff in the Trump administration. The negative performance reviews came after his brother, Alexander Vindman, a top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, had testified before the House Intelligence Committee about Trump’s now-infamous phone call in July 2019 to the Ukrainian president.
In a whistleblower complaint to the Defense Department’s Inspector General, Vindman declared that the bad performance reviews were efforts to seek revenge against him after his brother delivered testimony about a Trump call to extort Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on the presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son and announce an investigation into Hunter Biden. The pressure campaign ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment.
Yevgeny Vindman alleged in the complaint that his brother’s testimony, in addition to his own efforts to sound the alarm over concerns that involved then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien and his chief of staff Alex Gray, were the reason for the abuse he endured.
Vindman’s Trump-appointed superiors, including then-senior associate White House counsel Michale Ellis and John Eisenberg, former deputy White House counsel, urged that the Army promote him to colonel without delay, according to snippets of their reviews in Vindman’s complaint.
In the Tuesday statement, Vindman said he was hopeful as he anticipated the completion of the Pentagon’s Inspector General report into his allegations of retaliation.
“I look forward to reviewing the report, which I hope will lead to accountability for those who retaliated against me for making lawful disclosures of misconduct,” he said.
Trump booted both Vindman brothers in a post-acquittal purging rage against those who offered testimony against him during his first impeachment.
The former president also fired Gordon Sondland, who at the time served as U.S. ambassador to the European Union — another key witness in Trump’s first impeachment. Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine, was recalled from her post in 2019 because she was seen as an obstacle to the president’s plans, also retired suddenly in the wake of Trump’s impeachment last January.
In a Tuesday tweet celebrating the promotion, Yevgeny Vindman urged a bill be sponsored to decorate his brother, who reportedly retired amid ongoing retaliation efforts in the wake of hist testimony last year.
@AVindman’s turn to get his Eagles. Perhaps someone can sponsor a bill?
— Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman (@YVindman) March 16, 2021