Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman retires from Army citing ‘bullying,’ ‘retaliation’ by Trump

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman plans to retire from the military citing “bullying” and “retaliation” by President Donald Trump, his attorney said Wednesday.

Vindman, who served as a national security aide at the White House and was a key witness in Trump’s impeachment inquiry, was set to receive a promotion to colonel after 21 years of military service but instead has decided to retire saying his future in the armed forces “will forever be limited” due to the president and his allies.

“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,” Vindman’s attorney David Pressman said. “LTC Vindman’s patriotism has cost him his career.”

Vindman, who worked as a Ukraine policy expert for the National Security Council, testified that he monitored the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which prompted the whistle-blower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry.

He said Trump undermined national security in the call, adding that it was “improper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” referring to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Two days after Trump’s acquittal, Pressman said, Vindman was unceremoniously escorted out of the White House, months before he was scheduled to leave his post as a Ukraine expert on the NSC.

Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny, an NSC lawyer, and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland were also removed from their posts.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other Pentagon leaders have stated that Vindman was not targeted for political reasons.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. last week said she would block the promotion of more than 1,000 officers unless Esper ensured Vindman would not be subject to retaliation.

On Wednesday, Duckworth reiterated that she would not remove the hold on promotions unless Esper verified in writing that he did not block Vindman from ascending in rank.

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