A highly-decorated Jewish American lieutenant colonel and national security aide who testified against Donald Trump earlier this year has retired from the army early, accusing the US president of “bullying” him out.
Lt Col Alexander Vindman, an expert in Ukraine, who said Trump abused his office by withholding weapons for the Ukrainians until they investigated the son of his Democratic rival, retired this week after being demoted by Trump in February.
Trump ordered that he be sacked from the Ukraine desk of the National Security Council hours after a Republican-majority Senate acquitted the president following his impeachment trial. Others who testified against Trump were similarly dumped within days.
Accusing the embattled commander-in-chief of running a “campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation” against his client, Vindman’s lawyer said Trump had tried to “force [Vindman] to choose between adhering to the law or pleasing a president, between honouring his oath or protecting his career”.
Despite Vindman’s name being on an army promotion list, Trump ordered that he be investigated for misconduct by the Pentagon after having been demoted. The review concluded that allegations of misconduct were unfounded.
Despite the bill of health, Vindman decided to retire after senior colleagues suggested that his future career path would continue to meet obstacles, according to CNN.
His lawyer said Vindman “did what the law compelled him to do and for that he was bullied by the president and his proxies”.