Last year, Alexander Vindman laid his career on the line to testify against Donald Trump, describing to impeachment investigators the president's efforts to strongarm Ukraine into announcing politically motivated investigations into Joe Biden and the 2016 election. It made the decorated military veteran and National Security Council Ukraine expert a hero to Democrats. Trump and his allies, of course, felt differently, and the president sacked him in retaliation soon after Republicans helped him beat the rap. "He was very insubordinate, reported contents of my "perfect" calls incorrectly, & was given a horrendous report by his superior," Trump tweeted in February. "In other words, 'OUT.'"
And so would begin Trump's purge, newly emboldened after surviving impeachment and affirming that the Republican party—with the exception of Mitt Romney—was now fully his. Vindman has largely been out of the public eye since the dramatic episode. But in a new interview with the Atlantic, Vindman lets loose on the president, warning that Trump will further erode American democracy if he is allowed to remain in power. "I think it's important for the American people to know that this could happen to any honorable service member, any government official," he told Jeffrey Goldberg. "I think it's important for me to tell people that I think the president has made this country weaker. We're mocked by our adversaries and by our allies, and we're heading for more disaster."
Vindman, who was born in the Soviet Union and came to the United States as a young child, expressed particular concern about Trump's approach to Russia and its strongman leader, Vladimir Putin. Describing the president as an "unwitting agent" of Putin, Vindman said the Kremlin wouldn't even need to use kompromat against Trump if they had it because he "has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is." "President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler," Vindman said. "He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he'll try to please Putin."
“In the Army we call this 'free chicken,' something you don't have to work for—it just comes to you," Vindman added. "This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken."
Vindman is one of several high-profile national security and intelligence figures ousted by Trump to mobilize against him ahead of the 2020 election; others, like former FBI agent and frequent Trump punching bag Peter Strzok, have also warned that the president poses a national security threat. "I believed at the time in 2016 and I continue to believe that Donald Trump is compromised by the Russians," Strzok said Sunday on Meet the Press.
Strzok, of course, remains a target of the president, as does Vindman; just last week, Trump jabbed at the Purple Heart recipient, claiming on Twitter that Vindman knew his call with Volodymyr Zelensky was "perfect" but testified against him anyway as some kind of political hit. Speaking to the Atlantic, Vindman said such attacks are part of a "campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation" that have "destroyed" his career in the armed forces. Nevertheless, he suggested, the president's conduct has "politicized" him and pushed him to continue to sound alarms about democratic backsliding under this administration. "Authoritarianism is able to take hold not because you have a strong set of leaders who are forcing their way," he said. "It's more about the fact that we can give away our democracy."
"Truth is a victim in this administration," he added. "I think it's Orwellian—the ultimate goal of this president is to get you to disbelieve what you've seen and what you've heard. My goal now is to remind people of this."
ERIC LUTZ, Vanity Fair, September 14, 2020
September 15, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. “Truth is a victim of this administration.” Alexander Vindman again calls out #PutinsPuppet. Stand with him. Share this. #BidenHarris2020