By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) The Democrats’ war on the Trump presidency continued over the weekend, as the party’s Senate leader took on the responsibility of attempting to deprive the commander-in-chief of his authority to hire and fire members of his administration as he sees fit.
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As reported by POLITICO, Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is firing off letters to all 74 agency inspectors general, asking them to probe alleged ‘whistleblower retaliation’ in the wake of President Trump’s dismissal of star impeachment witness Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Friday.
Recall that Vindman was a member of the National Security Council; he was escorted out of the White House while his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, also an Army officer who was a lawyer for the NSC, was dismissed.
Both aren’t “fired” in the true sense of the word, however. They have merely been reassigned back to posts at the Pentagon for the time being.
Schumer says that’s ‘retaliation’ against a ‘whistleblower,’ however, as POLITICO notes:
Schumer’s letters to 74 inspectors general, which will be sent Monday, comes after Vindman, a star witness in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, was removed from his position at the White House on Friday, along with his twin, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an ethics lawyer at the NSC. Both brothers are active-duty Army officers and were reassigned to the Pentagon.
>Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union and another key witness, was also recalled from his post.
In a letter to Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine at the Defense Department, Schumer described the NSC firings as “part of a dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the President and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness.”
In addition to asking Fine to investigate all acts of retaliation against those who reported presidential misconduct, Schumer also requested that the acting inspector general report the last time that personnel at the Defense Department were informed of their rights as whistleblowers. He also asked that Fine assure Congress in writing that the Pentagon’s general counsel would not allow retaliation against “anyone who has, or in the future makes, protected disclosures of presidential misconduct to Congress or Inspectors General.”
Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, told House investigators in October that Trump’s request undermined national security. He also considered the call with Zelensky inappropriate and flagged it for a top White House lawyer. Since his testimony, Vindman has come under repeated attacks from the president’s allies. Some Republicans, however, have come to his defense, citing his military service to the country.
“Without the courage of whistleblowers and the role of Inspectors General, the American people may never have known how the President abused his power in the Ukraine scandal. It is incumbent on you that whistleblowers … are protected for doing what we hope and expect those who serve our country will do when called: tell the truth,” Schumer noted further.
If we’re parsing words and definitions of those words, as Schumer appears to be doing, then Vindman was less a “whistleblower” than a disgruntled employee. He, a mere light colonel, is in no position to decide what is and is not “appropriate” foreign policy. The conduct of U.S. foreign policy is, in fact, so far above his pay grade that it isn’t even close; the president decides such matters, not an Army staff officer.
And if Vindman really believed he wasn’t putting his career and his position on the line going up against the president of the United States over a policy difference, then he’s not the sharp guy the Democrats have made him out to be. He’s just their guy right now because he ‘stood up to’ this president.
As for whistleblowers, we’ve not been officially told who actually ‘blew the whistle’ on President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s been reported that the whistleblower is CIA employee Eric Ciaramella, but Schumer and his compadres in the House continue to pretend as though his identity is some big secret.
In any event, Trump hasn’t ‘retaliated’ against that whistleblower person, ‘whoever it is.’ But let’s make it clear that he could and likely will once the official name is released — which tends to support the theory that Democrats don’t want his name ‘officially’ released because the president will take some action against him.
The county’s whistleblower laws were designed to protect government employees who are reporting official misconduct, graft, corruption, theft of resources, etc. They were not designed to protect political operatives who are challenging the president of the United States over policy decisions. And Schumer knows that.
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