Pentagon IG finds Vindman’s brother ‘likely’ faced retaliation by Trump officials
The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General has found that the brother of Retired Army Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in former President Trump’s first impeachment trial, likely faced retaliation from the then-president’s officials.
Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman accused administration officials, including Trump and then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien, of retaliating against him for reporting the infamous July 2019 call with Ukraine that led to Trump’s impeachment and raising complaints of inappropriate behavior.
In a 44-page report released Wednesday, the watchdog concluded that based on a “preponderance of the evidence,” it was “more likely than not” that Yevgeny Vindman experienced retaliation.
However, it made no recommendation on potential consequences in the case, as all the administration officials have since left the White House.
Alexander Vindman, who served as the NSC’s director of European affairs, gained national prominence when he testified about the call. Democrats alleged that during the call, Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid.
Yevgeny Vindman was working on the NSC with his brother during this time as the deputy legal adviser and ethics counsel. According to the Pentagon’s report, Alexander Vindman first reported his concerns about the call to his brother, and the two then to reported the call to higher authorities.
The contents of the July 25 call was the basis for the House hearings and later impeachment.
Trump was charged in the lower chamber with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate later acquitted Trump of the charges in February 2020.
By the fall of 2019, officials had “significantly changed” Yevgeny Vindman’s responsibilities, resulting in his “marginalization and isolation,” according to the report released this week.
In January 2020, a month before Trump’s impeachment trial would begin, Yevgeny Vindman had also raised allegations that O’Brien and other officials engaged in sexist behavior, violated ethical conduct requirements and had staff run personal errands.
The Vindman brothers were ultimately removed from the NSC on Feb. 7, 2020, two days after the Senate acquitted Trump.
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