Alexander Vindman Says Republicans Acted Like Trump Attorneys: 'Truth Was Their Enemy'

Retired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman believes Republicans who questioned him during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump behaved more like his defense attorneys than legislators.

Vindman, who famously testified about Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, writes in his new book Here, Right Matters that he initially expected some congressional Republicans would view the former president's behavior as an "abuse of presidential power."

In the book, a copy of which has been provided to Newsweek by HarperCollins, Vindman recounts his experiences in the Trump White House and the effect the impeachment testimony had on his life, family and career.

Vindman, who won a Purple Heart for wounds he received in Iraq in 2004, writes that he wasn't sure if impeachment was the right course of action but "that wasn't my call."

He writes: "All I could do was continue to report the facts so that the calls could be made by the civilian officials.

"I fully believed that at least some Republicans in Congress would see the president's behavior the way I did—as an obvious
and unacceptable abuse of presidential power," Vindman says.

"Even if they didn't vote to impeach, or vote for his removal from office, the Republicans might vote to censure him. In retrospect, it's clear that I had a lot to learn about the workings of partisanship in this period in our history."

Vindman writes that Fiona Hill, a former official at the National Security Council (NSC) who also testified during Trump's first impeachment, suggested he "lacked a certain political acumen" and was "inveterately naïve."

He goes on to describe his experience at the impeachment hearings and offers a generalized criticism of the Republican approach.

"As an active duty army officer, I'd hoped I would receive fairly evenhanded treatment from elected officials," Vindman writes.

"Early on, however, I realized that the Republican members were unified in one goal: to defend the president at all costs. Truth was their enemy, so my conveying the truth made me their enemy, too. They weren't there, I realized, to hear and weigh testimony."

"They didn't see themselves as legislators performing the duties incumbent upon them under the Constitution. Instead, it was a purely adversarial procedure," Vindman goes on.

"The Republican members seemed to have rationalized taking a role as defense
attorneys, going to bat for the president, fulfilling an attorney's duty to provide a client with the best possible defense, regardless of his guilt.

"Along with being a perversion of their constitutional duty, this was a tall order. Sometimes defense attorneys have to defend clients they know are guilty, and that's how the Republican committee members struck me that day."

"Later, I would wonder how many of those Republican representatives would regret that they'd served as enablers to the president, thus advancing many of the tragedies the United States suffered in 2020 and 2021," Vindman writes.

"They did their best to defend their client, but there wasn't much they could do," he says.

Here, Right Matters: An American Story was released on August 3.

Newsweek has asked the Republican National Committee and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for comment.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman Testifies Before Congress
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Director for European Affairs, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Vindman's new book compares Republicans at the impeachment hearings to defense attorneys for former President Donald Trump. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images