Alexander Vindman, the former lieutenant colonel and Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council (NSC) as well as a star witness during President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings this year, said Trump is Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s “useful idiot” in an interview with The Atlantic.
“President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,” Vindman said in his first wide-ranging interview since providing testimony that the president attempted to coerce Ukraine and other foreign nations into undermining the candidacy of Joe Biden, his electoral opponent.
When asked if the Kremlin has the means to blackmail Trump, Vindman replied, “They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it. 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.”
Vindman said Trump destroyed my Army career” but “I’m not crying over spilled milk. I have other things to do.”
“I was drawn into this by the president, who politicized me,” he said. “I think it’s important for the American people to know that this could happen to any honorable service member, any government official,” he said. “I think it’s important for me to tell people that I think the president has made this country weaker.”
Today’s interview with The Atlantic was written by editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, who recently broke the story that Trump denigrated members of the U.S. military as “losers” and said they are “suckers” for getting killed. Although other news outlets have been able to confirm The Atlantic‘s reporting, President Trump has continued to deny the allegations.
“I would fully expect more reporting to come out about this and more confirmation and new pieces of information in the coming days and weeks,” Goldberg told CNN as the story engulfed the president in yet another scandal. “We have a responsibility and we’re going to do it regardless of what he says.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.