- Retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump’s persecution investigation, said he now considers himself a “Never Trumper” – an accusation the president made against the veteran after his congressional statement.
- Vindman appeared on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Monday to talk about the Ukraine scandal and the persecution investigation of Trump.
- He told Holt that it was not bitterness or anger that forced him to speak out against Trump for the interview.
- He said he spoke in hopes of “sharing a perspective that could somehow inform a voter who goes into the most important choices of our lives, and perhaps persuade them to choose an alternative to what we have,”
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Retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump’s persecution investigation, said he “absolutely” became a “Never Trumper” in light of the president’s attacks on him.
Following Vindman’s congressional statement about the president’s persecution investigation, Trump accused the decorated veteran of being a “never trumper.” Da rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut at the time asked if Vindman identified with the term, to which he replied, “I would call myself a never partisan.”
In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, Vindman said he now considers himself a “Never Trumper”, adding that he joined the administration “with the hope of being able to do my job, with the hope of being able to promote the United States’ national security interests. “
“No matter what administration, I would just try to do the best I can to advance national security interests,” Vindman told Holt, “but I think when the president attacked me and politicized me directly by taking a very sober view of , where this president takes this country, the divisions, catering to our opponents, undermining national security interests, I’m definitely a ‘Never Trumper.’ “
Vindman and his twin brother were both removed from their positions on the National Security Council earlier this year.
In July, Vindman retired from the Army after more than two decades. Vindman’s lawyer David Pressman told Fox News that the veteran’s decision to retire was because “it has been made clear that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will be forever limited.”
“No one told me I had to travel,” Vindman told Holt during the NBC News interview. “Actually, if, for example, the president were not re-elected, I probably could have continued, but that’s a big if.”
“If he was re-elected, the joke was that I would end up in a radar station in Alaska.”
Vindman also claimed in the NBC News interview that the White House leaked classified information about him to GOP congressmen in an attempt to smear him.
During his congressional statement, Steve Castor, the Republican lawyer for the House Intelligence Committee, asked Vindman whether the Ukrainian national security adviser asked if Vindman, who was born in Ukraine, would work as the country’s defense minister.
“The memorandum I had classified, the White House leaked to the Republicans, a classified memo, to try to raise me up,” Vindman told NBC News. “It could only have come from one place, could only come from the White House.”
Castor told NBC News that he denied learning the information from the White House, but did not clarify where it came from.
In response to the interview, National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot described Vindman as “a dissatisfied former detail seeker who makes allegations that are without merit,” according to the NBC News report.
However, Vindman said it was not bitterness or anger that forced him to speak out against Trump, which he said could pose “a significant amount of personal risk, reputation risk” for him.
He said he spoke in hopes of “sharing a perspective that could somehow inform a voter who goes into the most important choices of our lives, and perhaps persuade them to choose an alternative to what we have,” an alternative to another four years of disaster. “
—NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) September 14, 2020