WASHINGTON – Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy on Friday said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council staffer who testified in President Trump’s impeachment inquiry, is not under investigation, a stance seemingly at odds with the White House.
Trump directed his wrath at Vindman after the former National Security Council staffer and Ukraine expert testified before Congress about concerns with Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That conversation triggered Trump’s impeachment.
Last week, Trump tweeted that he had fired Vindman, whom he described as “insubordinate.” On Tuesday, Trump continued to rail against Vindman, saying he “did a lot of bad things,” and that the military would review his performance.
That does not appear to be the case, according to McCarthy, the Army’s senior civilian official.
“There is no investigation into him,” McCarthy said.
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McCarthy told an audience at the National Press Club Friday that Vindman will complete an interim assignment before he enrolls at a senior service war college. The military sends its promising officers to schools such as the Army’s War College to prepare them for promotion to more senior posts.
Vindman’s interim job will be in the Washington, D.C.-area, according to a Defense Department official who was not authorized to speak publicly about personnel issues.
Vindman, along with other White House staffers, listened to Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky. Vindman reported his concerns to the council’s top lawyer about Trump demanding investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
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“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the gain would be for the president in investigating the son of a political opponent.”
After his acquittal in the Senate, Trump fired Vindman and his twin brother Yevgeny, another Army officer on the national security staff. He also fired the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who also had testified in the impeachment inquiry.