WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a key witness in the first impeachment case against Donald Trump has sued the former president’s eldest son and other Trump allies, the accusing him of participating in an “intentional and concerted campaign of unlawful acts”. intimidation and harassment” about his decision to testify.
The trial of Alexander Vindman, who testified in impeachment proceedings in 2019 about a phone call in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, has was filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington. Trump was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate in February 2020.
Lawsuit names as defendants Donald Trump Jr.; Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Trump adviser who served as Trump’s attorney; and former White House communications officials Dan Scavino and Julia Hahn.
He alleges that after Vindman was called by House lawmakers to testify, the defendants and others coordinated and advanced “false narratives” about him, including that he was a spy for Ukraine and that he had spoken pejoratively of the United States to foreign officials; disclosed classified information about him; falsely accused him of lying under oath and worked to derail his expected promotion to colonel.
“The actions taken by the defendants against Lt. Col. Vindman also sent a message to other potential witnesses: cooperate at your own risk,” the suit says, adding that “the message resonates to this day” as as witnesses in the congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol defies subpoenas led by the former Republican president.
Vindman, an Iraq War veteran whose family fled the Soviet Union when he was a child, was a key witness to the impeachment, testifying that he twice raised concerns about the administration’s efforts Trump for Ukraine to investigate Democrats and Biden. After listening to the July 2019 call between Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he said he raised his concerns with a National Security Council lawyer.
Vindman says he quickly became a “household name” thanks to an intimidation campaign loaded with lies.
“The attacks on Lt. Col. Vindman did not simply occur by accident or coincidence, nor were they the result of normal politics or modern news cycles,” the lawsuit states.
“To the contrary,” he adds, “the coordinated campaign was the result of a common understanding and agreement between and between President Trump, the defendants and others comprising a close group of aides and ‘associated inside and outside the White House, to target Lt. Col. Vindman in a specific manner for the specific purpose of intimidation and retaliation.
Attorneys for Trump Jr., Scavino and Giuliani did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Hahn also did not return an email seeking comment.
Vindman announced in July 2020 that he was retiring from the military after more than 21 years and raised similar allegations of harassment, bullying and bullying as in Wednesday’s trial. He has since published a book about his experiences, titled “Here, Right Matters: An American Story.”