Army Weighs Protection For Vindman Who Promised Dad In Testimony He’d Be ‘Fine’

Director for European Affairs of the National Security Council, US Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman prior to testifying during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence public hearing on the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald J. Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 19 November 2019. The impeachment inquiry is being led by three congressional committees and was launched following a whistleblower's complaint that alleges US President Donald J. Trump requested help from the President of Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Director for European Affairs, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on... WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Director for European Affairs, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee is set to hear testimony during the third day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, who House Democrats say withheld U.S. military aid for Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian investigations of his political rivals. (Photo by Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 19, 2019 10:35 a.m.

On its face, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s vow to his father during his opening testimony — that he’d be “fine for telling the truth” — was a heartwarming affirmation of his father’s decision to bring Vindman and his twin brother to America to escape the Soviet Union forty years ago.

But it may have also alluded to broader concerns over Vindman’s safety.

According to the Washington Post, the Army has been closely monitoring Vindman since he came into the public eye in recent weeks after telling Congress he raised alarm about the infamous July 25 call between Trump and the Ukrainian president just hours after it took place. Vindman has described the call as disturbing and irregular. The pressure campaign implied in that call formed the basis of a whistleblower complaint that was the catalyst of the impeachment inquiry. The Army is reportedly considering moving Vindman and his family to an Army base to protect them from possible threats.

Local police in a Virginia suburb where Vindman lives have increased drive-by checks on the family in recent days, at the Army’s request, according to the Post. The Vindman brothers and their families are reportedly growing increasingly concerned about their safety as President Trump, top Republicans and key conservative TV hosts have attempted to cast doubt on Vindman’s patriotism in recent days.

Trump has called Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient who was injured while serving in Iraq, a “never Trumper witness.” Fox News host Laura Ingraham recently suggested Vindman is serving as a mole inside the White House working against Trump’s interests. Even top lawmakers have adopted the rhetoric. On Monday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) expressed in writing their concerns about Vindman’s credibility and lobbed allegations of leaking from the White House.

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As attacks escalated in recent days, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to the Pentagon on Monday, requesting the Defense Department secretary formally remind civilian and military personnel of the policies surrounding whistleblower protections. In that letter Schumer also asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to provide him with information about what steps were being taken to protect Vindman and other whistleblowers.

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