U.S. Army Colonel Alexander Vindman, the star witness in the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, has officially served Donald Trump Jr. with a lawsuit alleging witness intimidation and retaliation.
Vindman first sued Trump Jr. on Feb. 2 in a federal court in Washington, D.C., But Trump Jr. wasn’t alone; Vindman added Rudy Giuliani and two other Trump White House officials, Julie Hahn and Dan Scavino, to the complaint. Vindman claimed the president’s son, attorney, and two aides falsely promoted conspiracies about him during Trump’s impeachment, including that he was a spy for Ukraine.
Attacks on his character, Vindman said, were “part of a well-worn playbook that included public threats and smears.” Sometimes that playbook was used purely to advance political goals, Vindman said, but Trump Jr., Giuliani, Scavino, and Hahn were part and parcel of the president’s efforts to obstruct justice and scare him off from testifying during impeachment.
On Wednesday, an affidavit of service was filed on Vindman’s docket, noting that Trump Jr. was personally served late Tuesday afternoon.
Trump Jr. could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. He must respond to the lawsuit by March 15. Service was waived for Giuliani on Feb. 3 but he must respond to Vindman’s lawsuit no later than April 4. (see below)
Vindman has not disclosed how much he is seeking in damages. He has asked that the judge make that determination after trial.
The experience he underwent at the hands of the Trump administration, however, had severe emotional, financial and reputational harm repercussions, he alleged.
Vindman was born in Ukraine and with his family, fled the rule of the Soviet Union and came to the United States in 1979. The family settled in Brooklyn and Vindman’s ascent in the U.S. military followed years later, first serving as an infantry officer in Iraq. He took shrapnel from an IED in his leg, shoulder, and back. He earned a Purple Heart for his service.
His proficiency speaking Russian helped him land a prestigious role serving under then Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford. That translated to a role serving on the National Security Council where, eventually, Vindman would one day overhear Trump’s impeachable call with Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky.
Vindman contends that the incessant attacks on his character from the Trump White House were a direct result of his willingness to come forward and testify about Trump’s call with Zelensky.
Giuliani, in particular, attacked him on Twitter the very day he testified before Congress. The president’s attorney and alleged ringleader of the former president’s 2020 election subversion efforts suggested at the time that Vindman was advising both the U.S. and Ukrainian government.
In his lawsuit, Vindman argues that the conspiracy to intimidate him was a violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, which prohibits intimidation of officials carrying out their duties.
“In this case, the threat to our democracy came from a conspiracy among people within the highest reaches of our government and their close allies,” Vindman alleged.
Meanwhile, both Giuliani and Scavino have come under the scrutiny of the Jan. 6 committee. Giuliani was subpoenaed on Jan. 18 and for weeks, it has been reported anonymously that he is in so-called “talks” with the committee to cooperate. Investigators say a raft of documents, testimony, and other evidence so far obtained in the probe have led them to believe that he was a ringleader of the former president’s “alternate electors” scheme. Scavino was subpoenaed in September and has reportedly been quietly cooperating with the committee.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.