Supporters of Army Col. Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman are pushing for the White House to allow the Pentagon whistleblower to retire at his current rank when he leaves the service Wednesday, properly recognizing the unfair treatment he received in recent years.
Vindman — the brother Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial — was demoted from his post at the National Security Council in 2020 in what the Army inspector general later acknowledged was retaliation for speaking out against improper actions by Trump’s administration.
Vindman’s promotion to colonel was delayed by more than a year, leaving him well short of the required three years to qualify for retirement at that rank.
“He seeks the pure honor of retiring as a colonel, which, by statute, would take President Joe Biden’s waiver,” the group Lawyers Defending American Democracy wrote in an open letter. “A waiver would not raise his pension. Eugene seeks only the honor and recognition due for his service to the country.”
Both Vindman brothers have become politically polarizing figures since Trump’s first impeachment trial, where the former president was ultimately acquitted of charges that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2019 to help with political attacks against Biden in exchange for foreign aid.
The men, identical twins, were born in Ukraine and specialized in legal and European security issues before the impeachment events derailed their military careers.
Yevgeny Vindman on social media Friday posted that the retirement push “is about honor and dignity” and thanked the growing list of supporters for the effort. Nearly 5,000 individuals have signed onto the campaign, Lawyers Defending American Democracy officials said.
White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on Vindman’s status. He is scheduled to end his nearly 25-year military career on Wednesday.
Alexander Vindman retired from the Army in 2020 at the rank of lieutenant colonel after what he called “a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation” by the Trump administration.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.