Democratic House leaders are asking the Defense Department Inspector General’s office to look into whether the Trump administration illegally retaliated against twin brothers Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., Chairman of the Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to the IG’s office following a whistleblower reprisal complaint that accused President Trump and other White House officials of retaliating against Yevgeny Vindman for disclosing information that included details related to Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019.
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“Based on this new information, it is all the more urgent that the DOD IG immediately investigate whether adverse personnel actions taken against LTC Alexander Vindman and LTC Y. Vindman were carried out in retaliation for their protected disclosures, and that your investigation include a close examination of actions taken by White House officials,” the letter said about Yevgeny Vindman’s complaint.
The letter goes on to allege that Yevgeny Vindman was “punished” for alerting National Security Council lawyers about the phone call, and for a March 6, 2020 memo to the DoD’s General Counsel’s office that outlined allegations of misconduct including ethics violations and sexist remarks on the part of Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Chief of Staff Alex Gray.
As evidence in the change in attitude toward Yevgeny Vindman, the Democrats’ letter cited a performance evaluation dated July 1, 2019 that gave him a glowing review, and contrasted it with another from April 6, 2020, which accused him of “increasingly poor judgment” and an “unprofessional demeanor” that “made NSC staff feel uncomfortable.” The letter says that the April 2020 evaluation is contrary to statements from colleagues and NSC leadership from later this year.
Fox News reached out to the White House for comment, but they did not immediately respond.
Yevgeny Vindman is represented by attorneys Mark Zaid and Alexander Bakaj, the same lawyers who represented the original whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s phone call with Zelensky sparked an investigation that led to Trump’s impeachment earlier this year. Brad Moss and Eugene Fidell are also part of the legal team, which confirmed via a statement that they had filed the complaint on Yevgeny Vindman’s behalf.
“Lieutenant Colonel Vindman’s complaint states that senior White House officials, to include the President, retaliated against him for performing his duty as an attorney and Soldier,” the statement said. “Actions were improperly taken against him in retaliation for his protected disclosures involving matters that ultimately led to the President’s impeachment as well as disclosures of misconduct by other current senior members of the President’s national security team.”
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Alexander Vindman famously testified during the House’s impeachment inquiry. He was fired from the National Security Council and escorted off of White House grounds in February, two days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial.
“There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House,” his attorney David Pressman said at the time. “LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”
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Alexander Vindman returned to the Defense Department but retired in July. Pressman said at that time that his client retired because “it has been made clear that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited.”
Later in July, the House Oversight and Intelligence Committees asked the DoD IG’s office to investigate what they claimed was retaliation for his testimony.