Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the Senate floor on Monday and called for an investigation into Donald Trump’s illegal witness retaliation, citing the president’s shameful firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, his brother and Gordon Sondland.
“Not only is the retaliation against Lt. Col. Vindman, the anonymous whistleblower, and others like them shameful, it is also illegal,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “It is illegal.”
He added, “So today I sent a letter to all 74 inspectors general in the executive branch requesting that they immediately investigate any and all instances of retaliation against anyone who has made or in the future makes protected disclosures of presidential misconduct to Congress or to an inspector general.”
Video of Schumer’s remarks:
Textbook case of witness retaliation: Not only is retaliation against LTC Vindman, the anonymous whistleblower, others like them shameful—it’s illegal
I’m calling on federal Inspectors General to investigate retaliation against whistleblowers who disclose presidential misconduct pic.twitter.com/ZtUpznx5iJ
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 10, 2020
In the aftermath of the president’s impeachment trial, the president has begun dismissing members of the administration who testified in Congress, including Lt. Col. Vindman, Ambassador Sondland. The president also dismissed Lt. Col. Eugene Vindman – this was vindictive, nasty, typical of president Trump – for no other reason than he was the brother of LTC Alexander Vindman. This morning, Senior Advisor to the President Kellyanne Conway said these were likely not the last of the firings. This is a textbook case of witness retaliation. Not only is the retaliation against Lt. Col. Vindman, the anonymous whistleblower, and others like them shameful, it is also illegal. It is illegal. All federal employees have the legal right to make protected disclosures to Congress and inspectors general anonymously and free from reprisals. Even the founding fathers were concerned about whistleblowers and protecting them. This country is getting turned inside out and too many people are going along. … The president’s conducting a deliberate campaign to intimidate anyone who might blow the whistle on his conduct or the conduct of those under his direction. He feels this cannot be tolerated. So today I sent a letter to all 74 inspectors general in the executive branch requesting that they immediately investigate any and all instances of retaliation against anyone who has made or in the future makes protected disclosures of presidential misconduct to Congress or to an inspector general.
Trump is trying to discourage future whistleblowers
There is no question that Donald Trump is seeking revenge on those who spoke the truth about his Ukraine extortion scheme. Not even a Purple Heart recipient is safe from this president’s petty wrath.
But Trump’s retaliation is also an effort to discourage future whistleblowers – folks who could potentially sound the alarm about abuses of power yet to come.
All of this is a signal that – despite Susan Collins’ high hopes – Donald Trump has no intention of changing his ways. He just plans to silence anybody who might blow the whistle on his crimes.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.