The National Security Council sent the Pentagon a list of allegations concerning Lt. Col. Alex Vindman following his testimony before the House in President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings.
The NSC accused Vindman of creating a hostile work environment and being verbally abusive to a colleague, claiming that this would prevent his promotion. The military investigated the claim, but could not corroborate it, according to NBC News.
“For the Pentagon's investigation into the allegation that Vindman had been verbally abusive to a colleague with whom he shared office space, defense officials interviewed both Vindman and the colleague,” NBC notes. “They found that the two had gotten into an argument, but that it was just a minor spat and they continued to work together afterward.”
The Pentagon planned to move forward with Vindman’s promotion despite opposition from the White House, as seen by his name appearing on a list of Army soldiers who would be promoted to colonel, a list that was approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper on July 6. Esper also reportedly informed Trump that he would not remove Vindman from the list of Army promotions, and warned him that Trump would hurt his presidency if he blocked the promotion.
Spokespeople for the Pentagon and for Vindman declined to comment, spokespeople for the White House and NSC did not respond to NBC’s requests.
Vindman was forced out of the NSC, where he had moved in 2018 after spending several years as a Russia expert on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. He previously served in Iraq, receiving a Purple Heart after sustaining injuries from a roadside bomb in 2005. Last week, he was asked to retire from the Army, effective July 31, after more than two decades of service.
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