Sen. Tammy Duckworth finally lifts her block against 1,123 military promotions after reassurances that Alexander Vindman was not retaliated against by the Army
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois lifted her hold against the promotions of over 1,000 military service members, following the Defense Department's confirmation that it had officially approved of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's tentative promotion. "I'm glad the Department of Defense was finally able to set the record straight that Vindman had earned and was set to receive a promotion to Colonel," she said in a statement. "We must always protect the merit-based system that is the foundation of our Armed Forces from political corruption and unlawful retaliation." Duckworth effectively stalled the promotions and demanded an answer to whether Vindman's promotion to colonel was approved by the Defense Department before it was supposed to make its way to the White House for final approval. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois lifted her hold against the promotions of over 1,000 military service members, following the Defense Department's confirmation that it had officially approved of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's tentative promotion. "Donald Trump's unprecedented efforts to further politicize our military by retaliating against Lt. Col. Vindman—for doing his patriotic duty of telling the truth under oath — are unconscionable," Duckworth said in a statement on Tuesday. "I'm glad the Department of Defense was finally able to set the record straight that Vindman had earned and was set to receive a promotion to Colonel," she added. "We must always protect the merit-based system that is the foundation of our Armed Forces from political corruption and unlawful retaliation." Duckworth's statement comes days after she held up the promotions for 1,123 military officers. Duckworth, who serves on the Armed Service Committee, effectively stalled the promotions and demanded an answer to whether Vindman's promotion to colonel was approved by the Defense Department before it was supposed to make its way to the White House for final approval. Vindman, a 21-year US Army veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, resigned last Wednesday before the White House could make its decision. Vindman's promotion was speculated to be uncertain; particularly after he attracted the president's ire for complying with a congressional subpoena for the impeachment proceedings. After Vindman's testimony, Trump baselessly claimed he broke the chain of command and "leaked" details of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The president previously suggested the military was going to explore taking disciplinary action against Vindman — which never materialized — and dismissed him from the National Security Council as its Ukraine-Russian expert. Vindman's twin brother, US Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was also dismissed from the NSC. Following Vindman's retirement, Duckworth praised him for his service while accusing Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Trump of bullying him into retirement. "Lt. Col. Vindman's decision to retire puts the spotlight on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's failure to protect a decorated combat Veteran against a vindictive Commander in Chief," she said in a previous statement. "Secretary Esper's failure to protect his troops sets a new, dark precedent that any Commander in Chief can interfere with routine merit-based military promotions to carry out personal vendettas and retaliation against military officers who follow duly-authorized subpoenas while upholding their oath of office and core principles of service."Join the conversation about this story »
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Alexander Vindman's lawyer has hit back at Trump, accusing him of waging a 'campaign of intimidation' against impeachment witnesses
David Pressman, an attorney for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has responded to President Donald Trump's attack...David Pressman, an attorney for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has responded to President Donald Trump's attack on the key impeachment witness. Pressman accused the president of making "obviously false statements" about Vindman, and of waging a "campaign of intimidation." Trump had on Twitter on Saturday accused attacked Vindman's record, and questioned his integrity. After his impeachment acquittal Trump sacked Vindman from his position as top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Vindman had described his concern during his impeachment testimony at hearing a call in which Trump requested Ukraine to probe Democratic rival Joe Biden. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. An attorney for Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council official sacked by Trump after testifying in the president's impeachment probe, has accused the president of waging a "campaign of intimidation." In a statement released after the president launched an attack on Vindman on Twitter the official's attorney, David Pressman, said Trump "made a series of obviously false statements concerning Lieutenant Colonel Vindman." "They conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the president is well aware." Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about “Lt. Col.” Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my “perfect” calls incorrectly, &... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020 He added: "While the most powerful man in the world continues his campaign of intimidation, while too many entrusted with political office continue to remain silent, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman continues his service to our country as a decorated, active duty member of our military." Earlier Saturday, Trump had in tweets questioned Vindman's professional record and integrity, having the day before removed him as the top Ukraine expert on the NSC. "He was very insubordinate, reported contents of my 'perfect' calls incorrectly, & was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, 'OUT'"", tweeted the president. Trump's actions have sparked fears among witnesses that there could be further retaliation in store, reported the Washington Post. "You look around and you see the adverse actions taken against people who testified under subpoena and it creates a real air of uncertainty," a lawyer for one of the witnesses, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the White House, told the publication. Vindman, a decorated military officer, in November testified as part of the House's investigation into Trump's campaign to pressure Ukraine to announce a probe into top domestic rival Joe Biden, and his alleged use of withheld military aid as a bargaining chip. In his testimony, Vindman had told lawmakers of his concern after hearing Trump's July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in which Trump had requested a Biden probe as a "favor." A whistleblower's complaint about the phonecall sparked the impeachment probe. After being acquitted of abusing his office and obstruction the congressional probe last week, Trump has purged Vindman and his brother from the White House, reassigning them back to the Defense Department, and another impeachment witness, EU ambassador Gordon Sondland. Sondland had told the impeachment probe that Trump had made a White House visit for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky conditional on the announcement of a Biden probe. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A law professor weighs in on how Trump could beat impeachment
Impeachment witness Vindman fired from White House jobDavid Pressman backs client and decries Trump ‘intimidation’The lawyer...Impeachment witness Vindman fired from White House jobDavid Pressman backs client and decries Trump ‘intimidation’The lawyer for Lt Col Alexander Vindman condemned Donald Trump on Saturday for making “obviously false statements” about the decorated military veteran, after the president defended sacking him through several critical tweets. Related: 'Real power is fear': what Machiavelli tells us about Trump in 2020 Continue reading...
Emboldened by his victory and determined to strike back, the president removed Mr. Sondland as ambassador...Emboldened by his victory and determined to strike back, the president removed Mr. Sondland as ambassador to the European Union after the White House earlier on Friday dismissed Colonel Vindman.