Trump’s ‘corruption scheme’ had a direct link to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
New London – Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told a receptive audience at Connecticut College on Thursday night that the “bribery scheme” precipitating the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump had a “direct link” to the invasion of New London. Ukraine.
Touted by the college as a preeminent expert on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and its impact on the global economy, Vindman took the stage to a standing ovation from the nearly 500 people in attendance.
The decorated officer’s appearance was part of a series featuring national figures at Connecticut College each fall. It was sponsored by the Sound Lab Foundation and Friends of Connecticut College Library.
Vindman, who gained fame for drawing attention to Trump’s efforts to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Joe Biden and his family, said the plan showed Russian President Vladimir Putin the vulnerabilities in the relationship between the United States and Ukraine.
“The president was giving a clear signal that personal interests should be placed above national security interests,” he said. “And there was an opportunity to deal with something that Putin had wanted to resolve for a very, very long time, which was to deal with a Ukraine that was instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
He said Ukraine’s vote for independence in 1991 “put the nail in the coffin of the Soviet Union”.
Vindman, who was born in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and came to the United States at age 3, is an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He served in US embassies in Kyiv and Moscow before accepting a 2018 assignment to the National Security Council.
Vindman stepped into the international spotlight the following year amid allegations that Trump was trying to influence Zelenskyy. He testified at Trump’s first impeachment inquiry that he was concerned about Trump’s July 25, 2019 phone call with Zelenskyy and raised his concerns with NSC legal counsel, saying he ” didn’t think it was appropriate to require a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen.” .”
Trump ousted Vindman in February 2020, and Vindman retired from the military in July with 21 years of military service.
The retired lieutenant colonel filed a federal lawsuit in February against Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and two former White House staffers for allegedly intimidating and retaliating against him for testifying during the Trump’s first impeachment.
Vindman said the Biden administration also made mistakes in its messages to Russia. He said Biden’s public announcement that there would be no American boots on the ground in Ukraine further emboldened a president who had been turned on for more than two decades by global inaction.
“For Putin, it was a green light,” he said.
Vindman suggested Biden should have used “strategic ambiguity” instead. Just because a director is right doesn’t mean it has to be said, he said; it is better to leave the adversary wondering what the plan is.
Asked during a question-and-answer session if he plans to run for office, Vindman was strategically ambiguous.
He is now a Senior Advisor for VoteVets, a Ph.D. student and fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and board member of the nonprofit Renew Democracy initiative.