Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman is speaking out against what he called “a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Donald Trump and his allies” after he decided to testify before Congress, cutting short a promising career and leading to his retirement.
Writing in an op-ed published in Saturday’s Washington Post, the lieutenant colonel opened up about what he described as a painful experience after he chose to come forward about his knowledge of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the president pushed for an investigation of Joe Biden. That call ultimately led to a congressional inquiry that ended with Trump being impeached by the House and ultimately acquitted in a Senate trial.
Vindman announced last month that he was leaving the military, with his attorney releasing a statement saying that it was clear that his future within the institution would be “forever limited” due to pressure from Trump some people those close to Trump.
Trump frequently leveled attacks at Vindman personally, calling him out on Twitter and eventually firing him from his post at the White House after the trial concluded. Both Vindman and his twin brother, who worked in another part of the White House, were fired and escorted off the premises by security.
The president came under scrutiny even from some members of his own party for his actions following the trial, in which he not only removed Vindman but also recalled ambassador Gordon Sondland, who had also testified before Congress.
Vindman had said he was simply fulfilling his duty in responding to a call to testify, but his testimony was seen as particularly damaging to Trump as he had first-hand knowledge of the call in question between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
In the opinion piece, Vindman said that the actions of some within the Trump administration were reminiscent of the Soviet regime that his family fled for a new life in the United States.
“Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving,” he wrote.
“Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents. Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished.”