Last year, Alexander Vindman put his career on the line to testify against Donald Trump, describing to impeachment investigators the president’s efforts to get Ukraine to announce politically motivated investigations into Joe Biden and the 2016 election. made the decorated military veteran and expert on the Ukrainian National Security Council a hero for the Democrats. Trump and his allies, of course, felt different, and the president sacked him in retaliation shortly after Republicans helped him beat rap. He was very insubordinate, reported the content of my perfect calls incorrectly and received a horrific report from his boss, Trump tweeted in February. In other words, OUT.
And so would begin the purge of Trump, newly emboldened after surviving impeachment and claiming that the Republican Party except Mitt Romney was now entirely his. Vindman has been largely out of public view since the dramatic episode. But in a new interview with Atlantic, Vindman lets go of the president, warning that Trump will further erode American democracy if he is allowed to stay in power. I think it’s important for the American people to know that this could happen to any honorable member of the service, to any government official, he told Jeffrey Goldberg. I think it’s important for me to tell people that I think the president has weakened this country. Were mocked by our adversaries and by our allies, and headed for more disaster.
Vindman, who was born in the Soviet Union and came to the United States as a young child, expressed particular concern over Trump’s approach to Russia and his strongman, Vladimir Putin. Describing the president as an unwitting agent of Putin, Vindman said the Kremlin wouldn’t even need to use the kompromat against Trump if he had it, because he aspires to be the kind of leader Putin is. President Trump should be seen as a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, Vindman said. He likes strong, authoritarian men who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So hell, try to please Putin.
In the military, we call this free chicken, something you don’t have to work for because it comes to you, Vindman added. That’s what the Russians have at Trump: free chicken.
Vindman is one of many high-level national security and intelligence figures ousted by Trump to rally against him ahead of the 2020 election; others, like the former FBI agent and frequent Trump punching bag Peter Strzok, have also warned that the president poses a threat to national security. I believed in it back then in 2016 and still believe Donald Trump is being compromised by the Russians, Strzok told Meet the Press on Sunday.
Strzok, of course, remains a target of the president, as does Vindman; Last week, Trump hit on the recipient of Purple Heart, claiming on Twitter that Vindman knew his appeal with Volodymyr Zelensky was perfect but still testified against him as some sort of political coup. Speaking to the Atlantic, Vindman said such attacks were part of a campaign of intimidation, intimidation and retaliation that destroyed his career in the military. Nonetheless, he suggested, the conduct of the presidents politicized him and made him continue to sound the alarm bells about the democratic setback under this administration. Authoritarianism is able to take hold not because you have a strong set of leaders forcing their way, he said. It’s more about the fact that we can give away our democracy.
The truth is a victim in this administration, he added. I think his ultimate goal as this president is to get you to disbelieve what you have seen and what you have heard. My goal now is to remind people of that.
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