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CNN: Vindman retires, citing a campaign of abuse from the Trump White House

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Jewish national security expert who delivered stirring testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, will retire from the U.S. Army after over 21 years of service. His reason: the President and his allies have ruined his prospects.

Vindman’s attorney, Amb. David Pressman told CNN his client was subject to a “campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation” urged on by Trump following his testimony last year. The fallout from Trump’s abuse online led the Army to place him and his family under 24-hour security last November.

Pressman said his client’s future in the Army “will forever be limited,” due to the president’s response to Vindman’s testimony. His career was already sidetracked in February after the president fired him and his twin brother from their posts in the White House. In recent weeks the White House tried to block Vindman’s elevation to the rank of full colonel.

Vindman opted to retire from the military, CNN reports, when Army officials informed him there were forces seeking to block his involvement in matters involving the Ukraine, his area of expertise, and told him that he would need a “rehabilitative assignment.”

“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,” Pressman said in a statement to CNN. “These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.”

Vindman, regarded as an nonpartisan civil servant by his former boss Fiona Hill, made headlines with his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in November.

Having arrived from the Ukraine as a child, he addressed his immigrant father in his opening testimony, assuring him that America was different from the Soviet Union from which they fled, and his ability to testify proved it. “Do not worry,” Vindman told his father. “I will be fine for telling the truth.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.

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