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Sunday, December 04, 2022

‘Chance’ brother of impeachment witness faces retaliation for raising Trump’s concern: report

The Defense Department Inspector General found that Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s twin brother, “more likely”, according to former President Donald Trump’s retaliation for raising concerns about calling Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky had to face. for a report published on Wednesday.

“Based on the primacy of the evidence, we conclude that the complainant was the subject of adverse personnel actions and these were in retaliation for his protected communications,” the inspector general wrote.

Despite the findings that the report does not include any recommendations, the former White House officials involved in the action against Vindman are no longer in their positions. The report also stated that Vindman has since been promoted to colonel and that his performance record was overshadowed by an unfavorable review.

Vindman responded to the report with this comment to The Washington Post: “What happened to me and my brother is an outrage—one of many committed by the former president and his staff.”

The report reviewed three protected communications by Vindman, including two instances in which Vindman expressed concern about Trump’s calls to Zelensky, asking the Ukrainian leader to dig up the dirt on now-President Joe Biden.

Vindman, along with his brother, on July 25, 2019, flagged Trump’s demand as a possible breach of the National Security Council’s former deputy legal adviser Michael Ellis and White House deputy counsel and NSC legal adviser John Eisenberg.

In a second conversation with Eisenberg on August 5, 2019, Vindman reiterated his concerns about the heinous crimes committed by Trump.

Neither Ellis nor Eisenberg cooperated with the investigation.

Vindman said he faced a reduction in responsibilities shortly after the first discussion with Ellis and Eisenberg. The report found that his “duties were reduced to such an extent that he no longer had the work of ethics to perform, no longer had weekly meetings with the Deputy National Security Adviser” and that he had been suspended from other National Security Council and Was excluded from NATO-related meetings.

“Complete removal of the responsibilities of the complainant shows laxity in duties resulting in marginalization and isolation,” the Inspector General said.

“Based on the evidence we have, we conclude that it is more likely that Mr. Ellis has changed significantly [Vindman’s] duties and responsibilities to an extent inconsistent with his grade,” the report continues.

Vindman suffered another setback in February 2020, a few days after his acquittal in Trump’s impeachment trial, when Robert O’Brien removed both him and his twin brother from their roles on the National Security Council. Alexander Vindman testified before Congress on November 19, 2019, providing details on Trump’s call with Zelensky, and Yevgeny Vindman attending in support of his brother.

A few months later, in April, Ellis described Yevgeny Vindman’s performance as “unsatisfactory”. In a previous evaluation, Ellis had given Windman the “highest possible rating” according to the Inspector General. The report concludes that the unfavorable rating was “in retaliation for their protected communications”.

The report also included a clause that could have established a motive for retaliation against Vindman.

“President Trump specifically identified the complainant, as he defended his telephone call to President Zelensky, and given the complainant’s close relationship with his twin brother and both of whom reported President Trump’s alleged misconduct, the complainant K’s communication would have prompted any administrative officer to take action against him,” the report reads.

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