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Judge tosses Ret. Lt. Col. Vindman’s lawsuit against Trump allies

Army Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on October 29, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
November 11, 2022

A key witness in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial recently saw his lawsuit against several top Trump allies, including the former president’s eldest son, dismissed from federal court.

The judge said Alexander Vindman, a former Army lieutenant colonel, failed to prove that four Trump allies had conspired to smear and intimidate him for testifying at the impeachment trial, the New York Times reported.

Defendants in the suit included Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The other two were Dan Scavino, a longtime Trump aide, and Julia Hahn, a White House aide formerly of Breitbart News.

Vindman sued in February, alleging that their “intentional, concerted campaign” of retaliation had derailed his career and “left a stain on our democracy.” 

Their alleged efforts included false claims that he was a Ukrainian spy and had committed perjury. He also alleged that he and his twin brother were fired from the White House’s National Security Council over his role in the impeachment.

In his 29-page ruling, Judge James Boasberg wrote that the defendants may have “leveled harsh, meanspirited, and at times misleading attacks” against Vindman, but “political hackery alone” doesn’t violate the laws he cited.

Vindman in 2019 internally raised concerns about Trump pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate the son of his Democratic opponent Joe Biden while the U.S. held back military aid to Ukraine, leading to an abuse of power charge in Trump’s first impeachment.

His testimony, where he described Trump’s conversation with Zelenskyy as “improper,” was a focal point of the impeachment trial.

The judge also dismissed as “entirely speculative” Vindman’s allegations that the defendants had leaked classified information about a Ukrainian official offering to hire Vindman as Minister of Defense. He was questioned about that offer during the impeachment trial in what he alleged was an attempt to cast doubt on his loyalty to the U.S.

Vindman retired from his 21-year military career in 2020, with his lawyer citing a Trump-led “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” as the reason.