Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key impeachment witness against President Trump, retired from the Army Wednesday, with his lawyer citing “a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation” for limiting his military career.
Vindman marked his retirement by tweeting a picture of himself in a rumpled plaid shirt working on a laptop — a stark contrast to the many photos of him in uniform.
“Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love. My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives,” Vindman posted.
Vindman already was fired in February from the National Security Council and escorted off the White House grounds two days after the Senate acquitted Trump in his impeachment trial. His twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was also ousted from the NSC at the same time.
Alexander Vindman served for 21 years in the military, but retired because “it has been made clear that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited,” David Pressman, Vindman lawyer’s, said.
In a lengthy statement, Pressman said Vindman was bullied by Trump and his proxies for answering a subpoena from Congress to testify.
“LTC Vindman’s patriotism has cost him his career,” said Pressman, a former ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs. “Today our country loses a devoted soldier, but it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure it does not lose the values he represents.”
Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, are sworn in before they testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Congressional Democrats have accused Trump of retaliating against impeachment witnesses, including Vindman and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who was recalled from his position.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., last Thursday announced her intention to block Senate confirmations for 1,123 senior U.S. Armed Forces promotions until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirms he will not block the “expected and deserved” promotion for Vindman, an Iraq war veteran.
Duckworth, also an Iraq War veteran who served as a helicopter pilot, accused Trump of trying to politicize the armed forces.
“Our military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy,” Duckworth said in a statement last week. “It is simply unprecedented and wrong for any Commander in Chief to meddle in routine military matters at all, whether or not he has a personal vendetta against a soldier who did his patriotic duty and told the truth—a soldier who has been recommended for promotion by his superiors because of his performance.”
News of Vindman’s retirement prompted an immediate show of support from other Democrats in Congress.
“Remember that in the hardest and darkest of times you stood with honor,” tweeted Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a Marine Corps veteran. “History will remember you. Your service to this county is not done.”
Fox News’ Lillian LeCroy, Louis Casiano, John Roberts, Brooke Singman and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.