Witness against Trump: soldier says he is harassed and retires
Witness during the trial for the removal of Donald Trump, Alexander Vindman returned his uniform to the closet. The lieutenant colonel, who claims to be a victim of "harassment" after his testimony, decided to leave the military, his lawyer announced Wednesday.
"After more than 21 years of service, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is retiring today after it has become clear that his future in the institution he has conscientiously served will be forever limited," David Pressman said in a press release.
"Through a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and retaliation, the President of the United States tried to compel Lt. Col. Vindman to choose: between obeying the law and pleasing a president." Between honoring his oath and protecting his career. Between protecting their promotion and that of their comrades-in-arms, "added the lawyer.
Trump's "insubordinate" soldier
Alexander Vindman had delivered in the fall of 2019 one of the key testimonies before the commission of inquiry to Congress about a conversation between Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
During this interview, the president is said to have conditioned the payment of military aid on Kiev's announcement of an investigation into his democratic opponent Joe Biden. It was the heart of the process that earned Republican billionaire Donald Trump an accusation of abusing power and obstructing the work of Congress.
After his acquittal in the Senate in February, the president fired Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council, where he served as an adviser on European affairs. According to Donald Trump, the soldier, born in Ukraine and arrived in the United States at the age of 3, had notably shown "insubordination" and "impaired judgment." He also accused him of having "wrongly reported" the conversation between the two heads of state.
Promotion under threat
Alexander Vindman was to be promoted to the rank of colonel this year, but the promotion was threatened by a presidential veto, according to the US media. To force the White House's hand, a Democratic senator had threatened to block hundreds of other planned promotions.
Former presidential national security adviser John Bolton, also fired by Donald Trump in September 2019, said on MSNBC that Alexander Vindman's decision was "a true loss to the country" when the military "deserved his promotion."