Schumer Calls on Inspectors General to Protect Whistleblowers

NEW YORK -
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Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill last week. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In response to the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council after he testified against President Donald Trump at the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the federal government’s 74 inspectors general to protect whistleblowers from “retaliation,” the New York Post reported.

In a letter to the acting inspector general of the Defense Department, Schumer wrote that Lt. Col. Vindman was “viciously attacked” by Trump for upholding his “oath to protect and defend the Constitution by bravely stepping forward to tell the truth.”

Last Friday, Vindman was escorted out of the White House, ending his stint on the National Security Council. His his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, was also reassigned from his position as an ethics officer for the NSC.

Trump also recalled the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who had testified of a quid pro quo between Trump and the Ukrainian president over Trump’s desire for an investigation into the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the nomination to challenge Trump as the Democratic nominee.

“These attacks are 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,” Schumer wrote in the letter.

Trump aide Kellyanne Conway dismissed claims that Trump is retaliating against those who testified against him.

Conway said the Vindmans are still employed by the federal government, and that Vindman was returning to the Defense Department after his White House detail ended. “This is very typical to have a detailee for a temporary period of time who then returns to what their full-time job is,” Conway said.