Vindman Twin Alleges Retaliation to Defense Department IG
Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman says he reported “legal compliance and ethics violations” by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.
Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, whose twin brother testified during President Trump’s impeachment trial, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Defense Department inspector general, accusing the Trump administration of retaliating against him after he reported “legal compliance and ethics violations” by the national security advisor and his chief of staff.
“Lt. Col. Vindman’s complaint states that senior White House officials, to include the president, retaliated against him for performing his duty as an attorney and Soldier,” says a statement from his lawyers.
Last fall, Vindman became aware of “allegations of sexism, violations of standards of ethical conduct for employees and violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act” involving National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and his chief of staff, Alex Gray, according to a memo he sent in March to the Pentagon general counsel.
In the memo, Vindman, who was then the senior ethics official on the National Security Council staff and the NSC deputy legal advisor, wrote that he had notified his superiors on the NSC staff and in the White House Counsel’s office about the allegations, and that they had taken no action.
“Consequently, my professional obligations persist,” he wrote in the memo. “While any of these infractions are serious, together they form a disturbing pattern of flagrant disregard for rules. I fear that if this situation persists, personnel will depart and national security will be harmed.”
Shortly after Vindman sent his memo, he and his twin brother — then-Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — were transferred out of the NSC ahead of schedule.
The memo became public on Wednesday, when it was released by Democratic lawmakers.
White House spokesman Alyssa Farah called the allegations “ridiculous and false” in a statement.
“Under Ambassador O’Brien and his team, the National Security Council staff has the largest number of female senior leaders ever,” Farah said. “These allegations are an example of precisely what’s wrong with Washington — a junior-level disgruntled former detailee, with whom Ambassador O’Brien had almost no interaction, can launch baseless attacks for partisan purposes.”
Alexander Vindman retired from the Army last month, alleging that he had been subject to “a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” after his testimony in impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.
Farah said that Yevgeny Vindman was removed from the White House due to “poor performance.”
Vindman filed his complaint with the inspector general in August, according to the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Armed Services, and Oversight Committees. Those lawmakers are now demanding Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell open an investigation into the matter.
“LTC Y. Vindman appears not only to have been punished for raising concerns to National Security Council lawyers about President Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,” — the incident which sparked the impeachment proceedings against Trump — ”but also for reporting multiple allegations that [O’Brien] and [Gray] committed several ethics and legal compliance violations, misused government resources, excluded women from meetings, and made sexist and demeaning remarks to female NSC staffers, including inappropriately commenting on women’s looks and ‘talk[ing] down’ to women,” the lawmakers wrote.
The letter requests a response from O’Donnell by Sept. 1.