Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman calls Donald Trump a ‘useful idiot’ and ‘fellow traveler’ of Vladimir Putin – who tries to please the Russian strongman because he wants to be like him
- The purple heart colonel has given his first interview since serving as a star impeachment witness
- Vindman reported on Trump’s ‘perfect’ call with the president of Ukraine where Trump sought an investigation of rival Joe Biden
- He told the Atlantic Trump ‘should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler’
- Compared it to ‘free chicken’
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Vindman, who testified in Congress about Trump’s infamous call with the president of Ukraine, spoke about his time on the Trump national security council as a Ukraine expert.
‘President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,’ Vindman told the Atlantic.
Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, former director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, said in an interview President Trump ‘should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler’ for Russia’s Vladimir Putin
He describes Trump as an ‘admirer’ of the Russian strongman – and says Putin is able to have a hold over Trump even without the presence of any ‘dirt’ as leverage.
‘They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,’ he told the magazine. ‘They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin,’ he said.
He colorfully described it as ‘free chicken.’
‘In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for—it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken,’ he said.
Vindman was escorted from the White House in February, weeks after the impeachment saga ended, and was removed from his NSC post.
He made the comments to interviewer Jeffrey Goldberg, who produced this month’s bombshell report citing unnamed officials that Trump had called fallen U.S. troops ‘suckers’ and ‘losers.’
Trump defended Vindman’s firing at the time, tweeting that he was ‘very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly, &. was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT.’
Vindman’s lawyer countered that Trump’s statements ‘conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the President is well aware.’
Vindman says of Trump: ‘The president destroyed my Army career.’
He added: ‘I’m not crying over spilled milk. I have other things to do’ but says the episode prompted him to miss a chance to get promoted to full colonel.