Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against former President Trump in his first arraignment, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that Trump’s eldest son, along with adviser Rudy Giuliani and d Other Trump allies, conspired to intimidate him into not testifying and retaliated against him. after he did anyway.
Vindman rose to national prominence in 2019 after testifying to a phone call in which Trump allegedly offered a quid pro quo deal to the Ukrainian president involving a trade in US military aid for an investigation into the Democratic nominee’s son at the time. , Joe Biden. Hunter Biden and his ties to Ukrainian businesses ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Vindman was serving as Director of European Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) at the time of Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and was quick to raise concerns about the discussion with the lawyer. principal of the NSC, leading to his eventual subpoena by Congress. .
In his 73-page legal complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., Vindman alleges that following his subpoena he became the target of “a dangerous campaign of witness intimidation by the President Trump and a group of conspirators” in an effort to dissuade him from testifying.
Among the defendants listed in the federal lawsuit are Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, as well as Trump advisers Dan Scavino and Julia Hahn.
Vindman, who immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union as a child, became a star witness against Trump, providing testimony that included a viral moment in which he describes telling his father not to s worry about the risks associated with his testimony. against a sitting US president.
“He cared deeply about it because in his context there was the ultimate risk,” Vindman said of his father. He later added, “This is America. This is the country that I have served and defended. That all my brothers have served. Right here matters.”
Vindman alleges that Trump’s allies retaliated against him by temporarily blocking his promotion to the military and abruptly removing him and his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, from their posts in the White House.
His complaint, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages, alleges two counts of violating federal law prohibiting conspiracy to intimidate and retaliate against a witness.
“Elbow-to-elbow politics is not against the law and shouldn’t be. It’s always been right to criticize public figures. But what happened to me was something different,” said Vindman. written in a USA Today op-ed published in conjunction with the filing of his complaint. “I was attacked in a way calculated to inflict maximum personal and professional harm that would prevent me from testifying or punish me for it. In this country, it violates the law.”
Trump’s first impeachment ended in an acquittal after a near-partisan vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Updated at 10:37 a.m.