Vindman says he doesn’t regret testimony against Trump

Greg Nash

Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said he does not regret testifying before Congress against President Trump during his impeachment hearings in the House this year despite what he said was a lack of support from military leaders after doing so. 

“In certain ways they probably have misrepresented, the secretary of Defense, former Secretary of Defense Esper, probably misrepresented the amount of support I was receiving,” Vindman said during an interview on CNN Monday night, referring to former Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

“At no point did any senior leader, civilian or military, attempt to contact me and indicate that I still was in good standing in the military,” he said. 

Vindman announced his retirement from the military in July, saying through an attorney that Trump had engaged in a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” against him. 

The Associated Press reported Vindman’s name was on a promotion list sent to Esper earlier this year, but his promotion was delayed due to an investigation of Vindman the White House reportedly wanted. 

Vindman was working on a detail to the White House on the National Security Council when he became involved in the impeachment drama. He testified before Congress that he found a July 2018 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky inappropriate. 

After Trump was acquitted by the Senate, Vindman was fired from the White House.  

“The president is entitled to staffers that want to execute his policy, that he has confidence in,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said after Vindman was ousted. “We’re not a country where a bunch of lieutenant colonels can get together and decide what the policy is of the United States. We are not a banana republic.”

After he left the White Housel, Vindman said he had no contact with “anybody that could have indicated my military career would move forward as normal.”

Esper in February had offered supportive remarks of Vindman.

“We protect all of our persons, service members, from retribution or anything like that. We’ve already addressed that in policy and other means,” Esper said at the time. “We welcome back all of our service members wherever they served, to any assignment they are given.”

Vindman has since written a book about his time in the White House and has made various appearances in the media, speaking about his experience as an impeachment witness and staffer in the Trump administration. 

He called Trump “highly impulsive” during Monday’s CNN interview and said the president acts “like a child.”

“In the end I have no regrets about how things turned out,” Vindman said. “Yes, I left the military unforeseen. I had every intention of staying on, going to war college. But I think my role, in certain ways, may have been more important in that I was able to do my part, defend this nation in a very meaningful manner and expose corruption by the chief executive.” 

The Department of Defense declined to comment on Vindman’s remarks. 

Tags Alexander Vindman Donald Trump Impeachment of Donald Trump Mark Esper Robert O'Brien Trump–Ukraine scandal

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