White House officials sent Pentagon document criticizing Vindman after removal testimony

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WASHINGTON – The National Security Council has sent a list of allegations concerning Lieutenant-Colonel Alex Vindman to the Pentagon after testifying before the House in an indictment against President Donald Trump, according to a person who saw the document and two others who have been informed. .

The Pentagon received the document, which alleged that Vindman had created a work environment hostile to the NSC, while he was in the process of being promoted to colonel. The charges described there, if substantiated, would have prevented him from climbing the ranks of the military, said those familiar with the document. They said that this is not the typical assessment that military officers serving at the NSC are given when their temporary positions end and that they should return to the Department of Defense, as Vindman was expected to do about six months after l sending this document to the Pentagon.

The NSC is housed in the White House and chaired by the President, although it is managed day-to-day by the National Security Advisor.

The Pentagon has conducted a command-level investigation into the allegations, seeking evidence to substantiate the allegations regarding Vindman’s conduct while detailed at the NSC, people familiar with the document said. But in the end, the military could not substantiate any of the accusations, said those who knew her. The list included an accusation that Vindman verbally assaulted a colleague, said a senior administration official.

The list of allegations suggests that the White House attempted to derail the promotion of an army officer whose president said he was not “satisfied” and considered unfair. It could also suggest that the White House retaliation against Vindman for his removal testimony goes beyond his ouster and his twin brother, from the NSC in February, before the end of their time.

Vindman’s promotion had recently become a flashpoint between the White House and the Pentagon, which planned to go ahead with this summer, despite opposition from the president. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has made it clear to the White House that he will not remove the lieutenant colonel from the military promotions list, two people familiar with the matter said. Esper has argued with Trump in recent weeks that blocking Vindman’s promotion would hurt his presidency, the two said.

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Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman declined to comment on internal administration communications.

Last week, Vindman asked to withdraw from the military after more than two decades in the military, his lawyer said in a statement that Vindman had suffered “a campaign of intimidation, intimidation and reprisals” from the President.

The White House and the NSC did not respond to requests for comment.

A Vindman spokesperson declined to comment.

The military chose Vindman to be promoted to colonel earlier this year. The list of soldiers selected for promotion to the rank of colonel, which included the name of Vindman, was to be made public in mid-May. He was dispatched from the military to the Pentagon personnel office and ultimately to Esper earlier this summer. A defense official said that Esper approved the list on Monday July 6.

While the coronavirus pandemic has delayed certain paperwork, including promotions, three defense officials said the list was blocked because some defense officials feared the White House would remove Vindman’s name.

The NSC sent its list of charges against Vindman to the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Defense in late 2019, according to two people familiar with the memo.

For the Pentagon’s investigation into the allegation that Vindman had been verbally abusive towards a colleague with whom he shared office space, defense officials interviewed Vindman and the colleague. They discovered that the two had argued, but it was just a little spit, and they continued to work together afterwards.

After Vindman was forced to leave the NSC in February, Trump suggested that the military could take some action against him for unspecified wrongdoing. “We sent him en route to a very different place, and the military can handle it any way he wants,” said Trump.

Vindman, who was born in Ukraine in 1975 and moved to New York at the age of 3, was appointed second lieutenant in the army in 1999. He is a combat veteran in Iraq and received a Purple Heart for roadside bomb injuries in 2005 He was a Russian expert on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from 2015 to 2018 and joined the NSC in 2018.

He was summoned to testify in the removal proceedings against Trump in the fall of 2019 and told Congress that the president had attempted to force the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden.

Vindman’s retirement is effective July 31.

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