- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday demanded that the Secretary of the Army take steps to protect Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman after he testified in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Mr. Schumer said he wanted assurances Col. Vindman receive whistleblower protection “both from retaliation and for the personal safety of him and his family” after his character was assailed by the president and Trump allies in the news media.

“He is a patriot for being willing to do what we hope and expect every service member will do: to tell the truth when asked,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, wrote in a letter to Army commanders. “It is incumbent on the Army to ensure that he is afforded the same protections as whistleblowers and protected from reprisal for testifying before Congress.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle rushed to defend Col. Vindman, a member of the National Security Council, when Mr. Trump dismissed his testimony as from a “Never Trumper.”

Col. Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, told the House impeachment probe that he objected to omissions in the White House’s rough transcript of Mr. Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, according to reports.

The July 25 call is at the heart of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. A whistleblower who is believed to be a CIA official assigned to the White House accused the president of abuse of power when he pushed for an investigation of alleged corruption involving a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Col. Vindman’s testimony did not dramatically alter the view of Mr. Trump’s conduct on the call. The transcript showed Mr. Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” to investigate Mr. Biden and other corruption allegations.

Democrats argue that Mr. Trump withheld U.S. military aid as leverage to get the investigation of Mr. Biden, who is a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The transcript did not include the quid pro quo that is the linchpin of House Democrats’ impeachment case.

In the letter to Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville, Mr. Schumer asked for a briefing on steps taken to protect Col. Vindman.

“I urge you to issue public statements indicating your support for him and others in the U.S. Armed Forces who fulfill their duty to tell the truth when asked to do so,” Mr. Schumer wrote.

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