Former National Security Council Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman called President Trump Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “useful idiot” in a new interview.
“President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,” Vindman told The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg.
“They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,” he said when asked if the Kremlin has material to blackmail Trump. “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 gained a national profile with his testimony against the president in the House’s impeachment inquiry last year. He retired from the military this July, saying a retaliatory campaign by the president had stalled his promotion to the rank of colonel. White House communications director Alyssa Farah, however, has called the allegation that Vindman was the victim of retaliation “ridiculous and false,” although Trump has tweeted that he was “very insubordinate.”
“The president destroyed my Army career,” Vindman told Goldberg in the interview published Monday. “I’m not crying over spilled milk. I have other things to do.”
The Atlantic interview marks Vindman’s first public remarks against Trump since the impeachment hearings.
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