On Tuesday, Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, is expected tell House investigators that he had major concerns about the appropriateness of a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. And that those worries led him to immediately flag the call to his superiors at the NSC.
“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman (who was on the now-infamous call) will say, according to his opening statement. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a US citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the US government’s support of Ukraine.”
Which is a big deal! After all, Vindman is a Ukraine expert, not to mention a lieutenant colonel in the Army. He also served multiple overseas tours as an infantry officer and received a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED bombing in Iraq. He knows of what he speaks when it comes to a) Ukraine and b) dangers to America.
All of which makes what Republicans are trying to do to discredit Vindman all the more appalling.
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense,” said former Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy on CNN Tuesday morning. “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy … we all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from … he has an affinity for the Ukraine.”
“Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade echoed that sentiment Tuesday morning. “He tends to feel simpatico with Ukraine,” he said of Vindman.
And on Tuesday night, Fox’s Laura Ingraham led a panel discussion in which she and her guests suggested that Vindman might actually be a double agent for the Ukrainians.
How? Why? Well, what’s happening here is clear. Vindman was born in Ukraine. He fled the country with his father and twin brother at age 3. (His brother, Yevgeny, is a lawyer at the NSC.)
And so, despite the fact that Vindman’s entire life has been an uniquely American success story – college graduate, decorated military veteran, government official – Republicans are seizing on the fact he was born in Ukraine to suggest his motives in coming forward to speak out about his concerns over Trump’s behavior are something short of pure.
What evidence – outside of the fact that Vindman was born in Ukraine – do people like Duffy, Kilmeade and Ingraham have to make these outrageous claims? Oh, none.
Why are they doing it? Because they recognize that someone with Vindman’s pedigree and experience – someone who was on the phone call between Trump and Zelensky and warned of its dangers not once but twice to superiors – represent a major threat to the President. So they are trying to attack his character and lessen his credibility by any means necessary.
Take off your partisan hat for a moment. This is truly loathsome stuff. Attacking someone who has fought and been wounded fighting for our country because they say something you worry could hurt the political standing of a President of your own party? And all because of the fact that Vindman spent the first three years of his life in Ukraine?
Awful. Appalling. Asinine.
You can disagree with Vindman’s assessment of the risk posed by Trump’s phone call with Zelensky. That’s your right. But don’t attack a veteran and public servant – with no evidence! – to score political points. That’s just plain gross.