Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is retiring, his lawyer said on Wednesday, due to retaliation he faced in the wake of his impeachment inquiry testimony against President Donald Trump.
Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, has served in the military for more that 21 years. He started working on the National Security Council (NSC) in July 2018 and was supposed to stay there for two years as a top Ukraine expert. But that stint ended a few months early in February, after Vindman testified about the president’s July 25, 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman’s NSC lawyer twin brother Yevgeny Vindman was also reassigned.
According to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Vindman’s lawyer Amb. David Pressman said his client was retiring after “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,” Pressman told CNN. “These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.”
Pressman said that his client did what the law required and was punished for it.
The lawyer said Vindman decided to retire because the retaliation “will forever” limit his future in the military.
The full statement from Pressman:
After more than 21 years of military service, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is retiring today after it has been made clear that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited.
Over the last months, LTC Vindman has been guided by a very simple and very American principle: ‘here, right matters.’ He has spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress. Compelled to testify, this decorated soldier was thrust into a conversation that goes to the heart of our country’s values, and its future.
Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the President of the UnitedStates 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. these are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.
LTC Vindman did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies. And yet, LTC Vindman would not be intimidated and will not be corrupted. He did what he always done: put the interests of his county ahead of his own.
LTC Vindman’s patriotic has cost him his career. Today our country loses a devoted soldier but it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure it does not lose the values he represents.
Later on Wednesday, Vindman himself tweeted about his retirement.
“Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love. My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives,” he said.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]
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