Former National Security Council (NSC) ethics attorney Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint with the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General last week claiming he was retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing of top council officials and the president. Vindman, the twin brother of prominent impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.), also retained some of the same attorneys that represented the whistleblower who lawfully reported President Donald Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president last summer.
“Lieutenant Colonel Vindman’s complaint states that senior White House officials, to include the President, retaliated against him for performing his duty as an attorney and a Soldier,” Vindman’s attorneys Mark Zaid, Andrew Bakaj, Bradley P. Moss, and Eugene Fidell said in a statement. “Actions were improperly taken against him in retaliation for his protected disclosures involving matters that ultimately led to the President’s impeachment as well as disclosures of misconduct by other current senior members of the President’s national security team.”
Zaid and Bakaj both previously represented the Ukraine whistleblower.
Vindman’s reprisal complaint was revealed in a letter House Democrats sent Wednesday imploring the Pentagon’s Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell to investigate the administration’s “apparent retaliation” against the Vindman brothers. According to the letter from lawmakers, Yevgeny alleged that he was removed from his senior position on the NSC for reporting on a series of “potential legal and ethical violations” involving Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Robert O’Brien and NSC Chief of Staff Alex Gray.
According to the letter, Yevgeny reported that O’Brien and Gray “engaged in demeaning and demoralizing sexist behavior against … female NSC professionals,” saying they would inappropriately comment on women’s looks, “‘talk down’ to women and exclude women from meetings.”
The letter also says that Yevgeny warned top NSC attorney John Eisenberg at least three times about Trump’s infamous phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky in which he pressured the Ukrainian president to announce investigations of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. In response to the warnings, the Trump administration took a series of personnel actions against Vindman, including “reducing LTC Y. Vindman’s portfolio of responsibilities, excluding him from important NSC meetings and official events, removing him from his NSC position and escorting him and his brother off the White House grounds, and filing a derogatory performance review.”
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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