Tag: alexander vindman
Pentagon: Trump Officials Illegally Retaliated Against Yevgeny Vindman

Pentagon: Trump Officials Illegally Retaliated Against Yevgeny Vindman

A Defense Department report has concluded that Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman was the subject of wrongful retaliation, finding that multiple Trump administration officials, and former President Trump himself, violated federal whistleblower protection laws for targeting and subsequently firing Vindman after he raised concerns regarding Trump’s July 25, 2019 phone call with the president of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the office of the Defense Department’s Acting Inspector General, Sean O’Donnell, released its report on its investigations into the whistleblower reprisal complaint that Vindman filed in August 2020, months after his firing.

Between July 2019 and January 2020, Vindman, who served as the ethics counsel on the National Security Council, broached several points of concern with his superiors, some of which his twin brother, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, had raised with him about Trump’s now-infamous "perfect" conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In his testimony as a key witness during Trump’s first impeachment trial, Alexander Vindman told lawmakers he had heard the “inappropriate” phone call and knew “without hesitation” he had to report it.

The Vindman brothers had approached John Eisenberg, who was then a Trump adviser and deputy White House counsel and NSC ;egal counsel, with their concerns about the phone call. The meeting was later joined by Michael Ellis, Vindman’s direct supervisor, serving as deputy legal advisor and senior associate White House counsel at the time.

Vindman also raised concerns that former NSC officials Robert O'Brien and Alexander Gray “engaged in sexist behavior, misused their positions, and misused NSC staff by asking them to perform personal errands,” O’ Donnell wrote in the report. Possible ethics violations, mismanagement and waste of funds, and abuse of authority were other concerns raised by Vindman.

Despite these complaints falling under “protected communication” in 10 U.S.C. § 1034, a statute that bans retaliation against armed forces members for whistleblower complaints, Vindman was slowly relieved of his responsibilities and barred from senior-level meetings.

Two days after Trump’s first impeachment trial, Vindman was removed "abruptly and unceremoniously" from his NSC position, and his brother was fired as well, according to CNN.

“The Complainant experienced his first unfavorable personnel action in the fall of 2019 when his duties and responsibilities started to be reduced, and his second unfavorable personnel action when he received a referred OER [Officer Evaluation Report] for the performance period June 1, 2019, through February 7, 2020,” the IG report stated. “The close proximity in time between the Complainant’s protected communications and the personnel actions raises an inference of reprisal.”

“We found, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the Complainant was the subject of unfavorable personnel actions from administration officials,” O’Donnell wrote in the report. “Furthermore, we concluded based on a preponderance of the evidence, that these actions would not have occurred or been withheld absent the Complainant’s protected communications.”

The report also noted that Vindman’s former superiors made it difficult for investigators to get their sides of the story.

“We attempted to interview Mr. Ellis and Mr. Eisenberg, but they declined to cooperate with this investigation,” the report stated. “Based on the available evidence, we conclude that it is more likely than not that Mr. Ellis knew of two of the Complainant’s protected communications, and Mr. Eisenberg knew of three of the Complainant’s protected communications.”

In a statement, Vindman’s attorney said the report completely vindicated his client. The Biden administration promoted Vindman to colonel in March 2021.

Vindman Serves Trump Jr. In Retaliation Lawsuit

Vindman Serves Trump Jr. In Retaliation Lawsuit

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Alexander Vindman, the star witness in the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, has officially served Donald Trump Jr. with a lawsuit alleging witness intimidation and retaliation.

Vindman first sued Trump Jr. on Feb. 2 in a federal court in Washington, D.C., But Trump Jr. wasn’t alone; Vindman added Rudy Giuliani and two other Trump White House officials, Julie Hahn and Dan Scavino, to the complaint. Vindman claimed the president’s son, attorney, and two aides falsely promoted conspiracies about him during Trump’s impeachment, including that he was a spy for Ukraine.

Attacks on his character, Vindman said, were “part of a well-worn playbook that included public threats and smears.” Sometimes that playbook was used purely to advance political goals, Vindman said, but Trump Jr., Giuliani, Scavino, and Hahn were part and parcel of the president’s efforts to obstruct justice and scare him off from testifying during impeachment.

On Wednesday, an affidavit of service was filed on Vindman’s docket, noting that Trump Jr. was personally served late Tuesday afternoon.

Affidavit of Service Trump Jr by Daily Kos on Scribd

Trump Jr. could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. He must respond to the lawsuit by March 15. Service was waived for Giuliani on February 3 but he must respond to Vindman’s lawsuit no later than April 4.

Vindman has not disclosed how much he is seeking in damages. He has asked that the judge make that determination after trial.

The experience he underwent at the hands of the Trump administration, however, had severe emotional, financial, and reputational harm repercussions, he alleged.

Vindman was born in Ukraine and with his family fled the rule of the Soviet Union and came to the United States in 1979. The family settled in Brooklyn and Vindman’s ascent in the U.S. military followed years later, first serving as an infantry officer in Iraq. He took shrapnel from an IED in his leg, shoulder, and back. He earned a Purple Heart for his service.

His proficiency speaking Russian helped him land a prestigious role serving under then Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford. That translated to a role serving on the National Security Council where, eventually, Vindman would one day overhear Trump’s impeachable call with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky.

Vindman contends that the incessant attacks on his character from the Trump White House were a direct result of his willingness to come forward and testify about Trump’s call with Zelensky.

Giuliani, in particular, attacked him on Twitter the very day he testified before Congress. The president’s attorney and alleged ringleader of the former president’s 2020 election subversion efforts suggested at the time that Vindman was advising both the U.S. and Ukrainian government.

In his lawsuit, Vindman argues that the conspiracy to intimidate him was a violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, which prohibits intimidation of officials carrying out their duties.

“In this case, the threat to our democracy came from a conspiracy among people within the highest reaches of our government and their close allies,” Vindman alleged.

Meanwhile, both Giuliani and Scavino have come under the scrutiny of the January 6 committee. Giuliani was subpoenaed on January 18 and for weeks, it has been reported that he is in so-called “talks” with the committee to cooperate. Investigators say a raft of documents, testimony, and other evidence so far obtained in the probe have led them to believe that Giuliani was a ringleader of the former president’s “alternate electors” scheme. Scavino was subpoenaed in September and has reportedly been quietly cooperating with the committee.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Vindman Sues Guiliani And Trump Jr. For 'Unlawful Intimidation'

Vindman Sues Guiliani And Trump Jr. For 'Unlawful Intimidation'

Alexander Vindman is suing former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. in a suit accusing them and others of engaging in “an intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation,” along with witness tampering and conspiracy over his testimony during Trump’s 2019 impeachment.

Others named in the lawsuit are longtime Trump employee and former Trump White House social media director Dan Scavino, and former Trump White House official Julia Hahn, according to ABC News.

Via Twitter Vindman also says he has named Donald Trump, Fox News, and Laura Ingraham in his lawsuit, although it does not appear they are defendants.

Calling it a “campaign of intimidation and retaliation,” the lawsuit, according to CBS News Congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane, says: “President Trump and his allies–including members of his White House staff, members of his family and personal legal team, and at least one on-air personality employed by an allied media outlet–engaged in an intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation against a sitting Director of the National Security Council and decorated military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, to prevent him from and then punish him for testifying truthfully before Congress during impeachment proceedings against President Trump.”

In 2020 Vindman retired, citing excessive bullying by then-President Donald Trump.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Alexander Vindman

Former NSC Aide Vindman Says Trump Is Putin’s ‘Useful Idiot’

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the decorated war hero who retired from the Army in July after calling out "intimidation" from the White House, said in an interview published Monday morning that Trump is a "useful idiot" for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump fired Vindman from the National Security Council in February, a move largely seen as retaliation for Vindman's congressional testimony during the House impeachment investigation.

"President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin," Vindman said in an interview with the Atlantic's editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg.

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