The Defense Department’s watchdog found after an extensive investigation that the Trump administration did in fact target Yevgeny Vindman in retaliation for his role in the impeachment of former president Trump over his attempts to meddle in the 2020 election.
At the time of the infamous phone call between former president Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, Vindman was serving as ethics counsel for the National Security Council. His brother, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was on the call, and heard Trump attempt to get Zelensky to open an investigation into Joe Biden ahead of the election. When he told his brother of the call, Yevgeny Vindman took his concerns to his superiors in July 2019.
Around the same time, Yevgeny Vindman voiced concerns over “sexist conduct” by former NSC members Robert O’Brien and Alexander Gray.
After the impeachment trial, in which Alexander Vindman testified he viewed Trump’s call with Zelensky as “inappropriate,” his brother Yevgeny began to have his job responsibilities decreased, receiving unfavorable performance reviews, and being barred from attending meetings about topics under his purview. Two days after Trump’s impeachment trial ended, both Vindman brothers were unceremoniously fired from their respective positions.
The Inspector General’s report finds the Trump administration unfairly targeted Yevgeny Vindman but made no recommendations as to handling the situation as his position has already been restored and his record corrected.
Lawmakers who urged the DoD to investigate the matter say the report shows the need for better whistleblower protections. “After Watergate, Congress passed significant reforms to ensure that whenever federal personnel made disclosures, they would be protected from reprisal. The Trump administration — and President Trump himself — broke that promise by targeting whistleblowers and individuals connected to them with a vengeance. That can never be allowed to happen again, under any administration,” they wrote.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN
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