Schumer asks Army to provide Vindman same protections as whistleblower

Schumer asks Army to provide Vindman same protections as whistleblower
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senator blasts 'draconian' press restrictions during impeachment trial Feds seek 25-year sentence for Coast Guard officer accused of targeting lawmakers, justices Clinton: McConnell's rules like 'head juror colluding with the defendant to cover up a crime' MORE (D-N.Y.) is asking the Army to provide an officer who testified as part of the House impeachment inquiry the same protections against retaliation that a whistleblower would receive. 

Schumer sent a letter on Wednesday to Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyTrump's 355-ship pledge complicates the Navy's budget dilemma Overnight Defense: War powers fight runs into impeachment | Kaine has 51 votes for Iran resolution | Trump plans to divert .2B from Pentagon to border wall Overnight Defense: House passes measure to limit Trump on Iran | Pelosi vows vote to end 2002 war authorization | Officials believe Iran accidentally shot down passenger plane MORE and Chief of Staff of the Army General James C. McConville raising concerns that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman could face retaliation for his testimony on Tuesday.  

“I ... ask that you provide me with a briefing on what actions the Army is taking to ensure that LTC Vindman and whistleblowers like him are afforded appropriate protections – both from retaliation and for the personal safety of him and his family,” Schumer wrote. 

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He added that he also wants the Army leaders to “issue public statements indicating your support for him and others in the U.S. Armed Forces who fulfill their duty to tell the truth when asked to do so.”

Vindman testified behind closed doors as part of the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. 

He told the three committees that he raised concerns more than once about Trump and other officials pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically motivated investigations that would benefit Trump, according to a copy of his opening remarks.

Trump and some of his allies attacked Vindman, questioning his credibility and patriotism and sparking bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill.

Trump railed against Vindman on Tuesday, calling him a "Never Trumper witness." 

"Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call 'concerned' today's Never Trumper witness," Trump tweeted. "Was he on the same call that I was? Can't be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!" 

Schumer, in his letter on Wednesday, called the criticism “outrageous.”

“These attacks are outrageous and unacceptable, but more importantly, this vitriol toward LTC Vindman may result in professional reprisals and threats to his personal safety and that of his family,” he wrote. 

“It is incumbent on the Army to ensure that he is afforded the same protections as whistleblowers and protected from reprisal for testifying before Congress."