Vindman Brother Files Complaint with Pentagon Alleging Whistleblower Retaliation

August 27, 2020 Updated: August 27, 2020

The twin brother of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former national security aide who testified in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, has filed a complaint with the Pentagon watchdog claiming that he was fired from his White House role in an act of retaliation.

Democratic lawmakers confirmed Wednesday that Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a former White House lawyer, filed the federal complaint on Aug. 18.

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), chairman of the Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on national security, and chairman of the Committee on Armed Services Adam Smith (D-Wash.), wrote a letter (pdf) to Pentagon acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell, saying Vindman alleged in his complaint that he was dismissed for reporting concerns about the president’s efforts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and about alleged legal and ethical breaches by Trump’s national security adviser.

Vindman, who was let go from his role as deputy National Security Council (NSC) legal adviser in February, also alleged National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and NSC Chief of Staff Alex Gray misused government resources, excluded women from meetings, and made sexist and demeaning remarks to female NSC staffers, the Democratic lawmakers revealed Wednesday.

The lawmakers urged O’Donnell to look into whether the president dismissed Vindman from his White House role in retaliation for filing confidential reports with his superiors containing his allegations.

It comes just over a month after Schiff, Maloney, and Lynch wrote a letter (pdf) to O’Donnell to investigate alleged actions by administration officials “to create a retaliatory work environment” for the now-retired Alexander Vindman.

The Democrats also urged the Pentagon watchdog last month to investigate their claims of “retributive actions” taken against Yevgeny Vindman, and to consider recommending “any systemic improvements that could be made to protect DOD whistleblowers from similar retaliation in the future.”

“These allegations are ridiculous and false,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah told Reuters. Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for O’Donnell, said his office “has the letter and is reviewing the request.”

The Epoch Times contacted the White House for comment, but didn’t immediately hear back.

The lawmakers said O’Donnell should also investigate whether the president and his aides dismissed Alexander Vindman in retaliation for testifying in House proceedings that led to Trump’s impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress last year, the lawmakers said.

The Democratic-led House found that Trump, in a July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, asked him to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, for allegedly interfering in a Ukrainian investigation and stopping a prosecution.

Alexander Vindman, who was one of several officials to listened in on the call, testified that it was “improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and a political opponent.”

Some of Alexander Vindman’s testimony was disputed by his superior, Tim Morrison, in the course of the impeachment inquiry. Morrison also told the House Intelligence Committee that some staffers considered him to be unreliable and prone to leaking information.

Trump was eventually acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate after the House voted to impeach him along partisan lines. Alexander Vindman was later fired from his post at the NSC.

Tom Ozimek and Reuters contributed to this report.