Schiff to Vindman: 'Right does not matter to Trump. But it matters to you'

Schiff to Vindman: 'Right does not matter to Trump. But it matters to you'
© Greg Nash

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package House Intelligence panel opens probe into DHS's involvement in response to protests Democrats exit briefing saying they fear elections under foreign threat MORE (D-Calif.), one of the House Democrats who led the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE, on Wednesday thanked Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanVindman describes 'campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation' by Trump, allies in op-ed Vindman marks 1 year since call that led to Trump's impeachment White House officials alleged Vindman created hostile work environment after impeachment testimony: report MORE for participating in the proceedings after Vindman announced that he was retiring from the Army. 

Schiff wrote in a letter to Vindman that his testimony during the inquiry stuck with him because of the military officer's stated belief that in the U.S., "right matters." Schiff also took aim at Trump's "bullying and retaliation," writing that Vindman should not have had "to choose between your oath of office and your career."

"Right matters. Right does not matter to Donald Trump. But it matters to you. It matters to this country and to its people. It will always matter," Schiff wrote. "And with those words, you have left an indelible mark on our nations’ conscience and history. For if right does not matter in our country, if truth does not matter, then we are truly lost." 

Vindman gained notoriety last year while testifying before Congress about allegations that Trump had asked the Ukrainian president to announce investigations into his political opponents. Vindman said during a hearing that he grew so worried about the conversation that he reported it to a White House lawyer. The House later voted to impeach Trump, but the president was acquitted earlier this year by the Senate.

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David Pressman, Vindman’s attorney, said in a statement that Vindman moved forward with his retirement after it became clear "that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited.” Pressman also accused Trump of engaging in “a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation" over the high-ranking Army official's testimony. 

Vindman in February was was escorted out of the White House and told to leave his national security position after Trump was acquitted by the GOP-led Senate. Following the development, Trump openly suggested that the military should consider additional discipline, though Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Marines find human remains after training accident | Fourth service member killed by COVID-19 | Pompeo huddles with Taliban negotiator Trump participates in swearing-in of first African American service chief Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response MORE said that Vindman would not be punished. 

The Washington Post reported last month that government officials were worried that Trump would attempt to block Vindman’s promotion to full colonel because of his actions during the impeachment proceedings. 

“The President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President," Pressman said. "These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it."