National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Alexander Vindman was one of the more grating characters that tried to make a name for himself during Trump’s impeachment. An Army officer, he shamelessly shouted about his “patriotism” in an attempt insulate himself from all criticism.
Of course, the media (including some in conservative circles) played along, pronouncing it absolutely off limits to question Vindman’s reasoning and motives. You may have noticed, but there’s a clown nose on, clown nose off routine when it comes to the military and Trump opponents. If it’s Michael Flynn, you can trash him relentlessly as a Russian asset despite his decorated career of service. But if a military member speaks against Trump, they immediately gain protective status and it becomes “gross” to suggest they could be political.
Hilariously, some are actually demanding that Vindman receive an apology from Republicans. Rep. Lee Zeldin responded with a reality check on that front.
Negative. Vindman didn’t use his chain of command to notify his supervisor. Instead he went to the whistleblower outside the NSC & then lied under oath about knowing the whistleblower’s ID. He failed himself, his Chain of Command & his Commander in Chief.https://t.co/f4KLSm3nUW
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 17, 2020
Let’s recap exactly what Vindman did.
He was on the July 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. On that call, there was no illegal order given, nor any explicit quid pro quo demanded. Vindman then went and leaked the details of that call to Eric Ciaramella (the whistle-blower), who was not even a part of the NSC.
That means Vindman not only went outside the chain of command, he probably committed a crime in the process. The phone call in question was classified as top secret, and it’s very unlikely that Ciaramella had the proper clearance to receive it.
Further, Vindman admitted during his testimony that he was undermining Trump’s policy goals in Ukraine, essentially trying to run his own foreign policy shop. Regardless of whether Vindman felt his ideas were better or he was “protecting the country,” it was not his place to go around the elected President. Those kinds of actions that spit on electoral accountability are incredibly dangerous (but certainly not uncommon in our bureaucracies).
The idea that Vindman is owed an apology is laughable. He’s owed an investigation. Unfortunately, the military was profoundly changed under the Obama administration and the current leadership refuses to even look into it.
The moral of the story: You can be an Army officer who leaks classified information and undermines the Commander in Chief as long as you shout orange man bad loud enough.