A key witness in the Democrats' impeachment of President Trump has quit after the White House bullied him, according to his lawyer.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman - who was accused of being coached by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff during testimony when he told House committees that he "did not think it was proper" for President Trump to ask Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to investigate former VP Joe Biden during a July 25 phone call - is retiring from the US Army after over 21 years, according to CNN.
Vindman has endured a "campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation" spearheaded by the President following his testimony in the impeachment inquiry last year, according to his attorney, Amb. David Pressman. -CNN
"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 told CNN.
"These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it," he said, adding that Vindman "did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies."
Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love. My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives. pic.twitter.com/h2D9MRUHY2— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) July 8, 2020
Last November, Vindman admitted to violating the chain of command when he reported his concerns over a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, in which Trump requested an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter over corruption.
Vindman, a NSC Ukraine expert (who was asked three times to become their Defense Minister), claimed he had no idea that Burisma, a natural gas company which paid Hunter to sit on its board, routed over $3 million to accounts tied to Hunter Biden.
Nunes: Did you know that financial records show a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma, routed more than $ 3 million to American accounts tied to Hunter Biden?— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) November 19, 2019
Vindman, whose job is to handle Ukraine policy: "I'm not aware of this fact." pic.twitter.com/6yFbWkufmH
CNN claims that "controversy has centered around allegations that the White House was attempting to block Vindman's upcoming military promotion to the rank of colonel," which Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and other top Pentagon leaders have denied.
Ultimately, Vindman decided to retire from the military rather than attending the National War College, which was his next planned assignment, after speaking with senior Army officials who made clear that there were forces working against his advancement within the military.
Specifically, Vindman was told by senior Army officials that he would no longer be deployable in his area of expertise, which includes Ukraine, the source familiar with the situation told CNN. -CNN
Vindman fell under scrutiny during the impeachment - and has been accused of leaking knowledge of the July 25 call with Zelensky to the whistleblower whose complaint (after consulting with Adam Schiff's office) sparked Trump's impeachment.