'Bullied by the president': Impeachment witness Vindman says 'retaliation' pushed him out of his military career

'Bullied by the president': Impeachment witness Vindman says 'retaliation' pushed him out of his military career
Vindman CNN Screengrab

During the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump last year, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was hailed by many as a hero while being vilified by the president and his allies. Trump fired Vindman from his position on the National Security Council in February, and now, Vindman is retiring from the U.S. Army after 21 years of military service.

Vindman’s attorney, Amb. David Pressman, told CNN that Vindman is retiring because his future in the military “will forever be limited” because of retaliation by Trump and his allies. According to Pressman, Vindman has suffered a “campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation.”

Vindman’s supporters, according to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, have alleged that the Trump White House has tried to block his promotion to colonel in the U.S. Army — an act of revenge because of his testimony against Trump before the U.S. House of Representatives in November. House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump after learning that during a July 25 phone conversation, he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden. Joe Biden is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and has been leading Trump in many polls.

Although the House indicted Trump on two articles of impeachment, he was acquitted during a Senate trial in February. That same month, Trump fired Vindman — who had been the NSC’s top Ukraine expert.

“The president of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose between adhering to the law or pleasing a president — between honoring his oath or protecting his career, between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers," Pressman told CNN.

Vindman’s attorney added, “These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it…. [Vindman] did what the law compelled him to do, and for that, he was  and his proxies.”

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