During the first of what would become two distinct Donald Trump impeachment trials, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman became an important witness for doing what none of Trump's surrounding Republican partisans could muster: giving a full, under-oath accounting of the events surrounding Trump's linkage of congressionally mandated military aid to an at-war Ukraine to a brazenly corrupt pressuring of that government to announce an investigation of Rudy Giuliani-pushed conspiracy theories against Trump's presidential election opponent.
For that testimony, both Alexander Vindman and his brother Yevgeny, also a lieutenant colonel, faced the retaliation of the crooked White House. Alexander chose early retirement after Trump and cronies booted him from his post, forcibly escorted from the White House, and blocked him from further military promotion. Yevgeny filed a complaint charging that the White House's identical retaliations against him were spurred not just for his own cooperation with impeachment investigators but his own whistleblower reports against previous episodes of administration crookedness, a complaint that was backed by House Democrats and which is still being probed by the Pentagon's office of inspector general.
There is now at least some small amount of good news to report. Now that conservatism's least-organized organized crime family has been expelled, Army. Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman has been selected for the promotion he was previously due, and will now become a full colonel.
It wasn't necessarily going to turn out this way. Trump's team of crooks retaliated against each of the witnesses against them, in the Vindmans' cases penning new performance reviews designed to squash any military attempt to promote them. While there has yet to be any consequences for those retaliation efforts, the Vindman promotion is a signal that the Pentagon powers-that-be do indeed consider those reviews to have been retaliatory, rather than accurate. And that's a ... surprising amount of common sense from inside the military bureaucracy.
Indeed, Politico reports that Army assistant deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Michel Russell determined the evaluations to be "not objective," and in January those retaliatory reviews were wiped from Vindman's record.
As for brother Alex, he remains retired. In a Monday op-ed endorsing defamation lawsuits against conservative media liars, he writes that he made a mistake when he "did not respond forcefully to the threats and defamation" against him by Trump proxies, and that he "should have sued those who amplified [Trump's] campaign of defamation."
"When Fox News stars and more fringe networks like Newsmax and One America News Network make baseless and outrageous claims about “stolen elections,” “communist Democrats,” and “fascist main-stream media,” they are building on lies about individuals,” Vindman wrote. “They are galvanizing extremism on the back of defamation. Too many of those defamed individuals, including myself, have allowed extremist claims to go unanswered."