Trump Impeachment Witness Lt. Col. Vindman Says U.S. Government Now Reminiscent of Soviet-Style Regime

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified in the Trump-Ukraine impeachment proceedings, said the U.S. government is reminiscent of the Soviet-style regime his family escaped from over four decades ago.

Vindman cited a campaign of "retaliation" by President Donald Trump after he retired from a lifelong U.S. military career last month. In an op-ed published in The Washington Post Saturday, he compared his fate to the "dozens of other lifelong public servants" who were ousted from the Trump administration for upholding American values.

The longtime U.S. Army officer was born in Soviet Ukraine before his family fled to New York in 1979.

"At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation's values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment. Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving," Vindman wrote in the op-ed piece.

"During my testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, I reassured my father, who experienced Soviet authoritarianism firsthand, saying, 'Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.' Despite Trump's retaliation, I stand by that conviction," he continued.

Vindman was removed from his position at the White House after he testified in the impeachment proceedings against the president. Trump repeatedly criticized Vindman publicly as "insubordinate" and having "horrendous" judgment in the months leading up to Vindman's July retirement.

"A year ago, unknown to me, my concerns over the president's conduct and the president's efforts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration," Vindman wrote in the op-ed piece entitled, "Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what's right matters."

Vindman said he would continue to defend the nation, writing: "I will demand accountability of our leadership and call for leaders of moral courage and public servants of integrity. I will speak about the attacks on our national security. I will advocate for policies and strategies that will keep our nation safe and strong against internal and external threats."

He also accused Trump of downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in addition to the destruction of the U.S. economy.

"Millions are grieving the loss of loved ones and many more have lost their livelihoods while the president publicly bemoans his approval ratings," Vindman wrote.

Following Vindman's retirement last month, his attorney criticized the president, saying the patriotism of the Purple Heart veteran of the Iraq War "cost him his career."

"Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the president of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers," Vindman's lawyer David Pressman said in a July statement.

Newsweek reached out to Vindman's attorney and the White House for any additional remarks Saturday morning.

Throughout his career, Vindman also served on the National Security Council as director for Eastern European; Caucasus and Russian affairs and Russia military affairs officer for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and military attaché in the American Embassy in Moscow.

Alexander Vindman
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Director for European Affairs, departs after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the third day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, who House Democrats say withheld U.S. military aid for Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian investigations of his political rivals. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty