The Army will not launch an investigation into a decorated officer who was a key witness during the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and then removed from his White House National Security Council (NSC) position, officials said Friday.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Lt. Col. Alex Vindman will begin a stint at a military college later this year, but he will be moved to a short-term assignment in the meantime. McCarthy did not provide any details on the new assignment.
“Colonel Vindman was scheduled to come back to the Army. He was detailed to the National Security Council in about the May-June timeframe,” McCarthy said during an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “We brought him back, he's got basically a bridging assignment for a couple [of] months … and then will be heading on to a senior service college this summer, and there's no investigations of him.”
Vindman made headlines when he testified before the House impeachment panel that Trump inappropriately pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
He was ousted from his job at the White House two days after the Senate acquitted Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. Vindman's twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, who worked as an ethics lawyer at the NSC, was also removed from his post and was reassigned to the Army General Counsel's Office.
On Tuesday, Trump suggested that the Pentagon review Vindman's conduct and possibly impose disciplinary measures. He has said he thought his actions were “very insubordinate.”
“That’s going to be up the military,” Trump said. “We’ll have to see. They are certainly, I imagine, going to take a look at that.”
Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, came to Vindman's defense this week.
“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly told an audience at Drew University in New Jersey on Wednesday, according to The Atlantic. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”
Trump lashed out at Kelly on Thursday, saying he “can't keep his mouth shut.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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