Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was central to the House’s impeachment of President Donald Trump, blasted Trump’s retaliatory crusade against fellow impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Thursday.
During an interview with the New Yorker, Yovanovitch expressed sympathy toward Vindman, who resigned from the military on Wednesday due to what Vindman’s lawyer described as Trump’s “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation.”
Part of that campaign involved a White House attempt to torpedo the Defense Department’s plans to promote Vindman to full colonel by pushing Pentagon officials to find evidence of misconduct by Vindman (they were ultimately unable to do so). Trump also had Vindman ousted from the National Security Council in February.
“Alex is a decorated combat veteran and has served his country well and honorably,” Yovanovitch told the New Yorker. “Alex should have received the honor and thanks and recognition of the nation.”
“He deserved better than this,” the former diplomat continued. “Our country deserved better than this.”
Yovanovitch herself was targeted by Trump last year for testifying to Congress about her abrupt removal from her post in Kiev as part of Trump’s scheme to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation into 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Trump fired off the attacks via Twitter in the middle of Yovanovitch’s hearing, which the official described as “very intimidating.”
Several months after the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted Trump in its impeachment trial, the President fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who had submitted to Congress the whistleblower complaint that set off the impeachment process. Though Trump did not publicly provide a reason for Atkinson’s ouster, multiple reports stated that he had removed Atkinson for his role in Trump’s impeachment.
The President also fired U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, another bombshell witness in the House’s impeachment inquiry, a few days after the acquittal.