June 28, 2021
Aug 22, 2022
Photo: AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman now seeks a small measure of honor for doing what we hope every lawyer would do had we been in his important position. Eugene was on the National Security Council due to his experience as a national security lawyer and ethics counsel on July 25, 2019. His twin brother, Alex Vindman, listened in on President Donald Trump’s call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, the call that resulted in Trump’s first impeachment.
Eugene is the person to whom Alex went following the call. Together, they reported the call’s potential legal violations and the then-president’s abuse of power and harm to national security to their supervisors.
On February 7, 2020 - two days after the Senate acquitted Trump - both men were escorted out of the White House. Their promotions to Colonel were delayed. Alex retired. Eugene received a career-damaging negative performance review after that same superior, one year earlier, called him the best military lawyer and officer he’d ever worked with in his evaluation. The Army’s Inspector General subsequently found that to be retaliatory.
The Army promoted Eugene, but assigned him to a career-backwater, making no use of his expertise. As the Army IG’s report predicted, the retaliation irreversibly damaged his military career. Eugene could have been assigned to the State Department to investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine, or some other post that would have used his talents and further developed his career.
Reading the handwriting on the wall, Eugene will officially retire on August 31.
He seeks the pure honor of retiring as a Colonel, which, by statute, would take President Biden’s waiver of the requirement that Eugene have served three years in rank; he has served more than a year as Colonel. A waiver would not raise his pension. Eugene seeks only the honor and recognition due for his service to the country.
Time is of the essence. With enough signatures, we will send our letter to the President before the end of the week. We can help fulfill the promise of “a more perfect Union” by saying that as a profession, we believe that those of us who stand up with courage for the constitution should be rewarded, not harmed.
As this inspiring article from our colleague, Dennis Aftergut, in The Hill starts and finishes: “President Biden, please honor this Army hero.” This is who we are.
LETTER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN