“So I think that, in the end, I have no regrets about how things turned out. Yes, I left the military unforeseen. I had every intention staying on — going on to war college. But I think my role may have been, in certain ways, more important in that I was able to do my part — defend this nation in a very meaningful manner and expose corruption by the chief executive,” Vindman said during an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
“I feel that in that regard that I have served my nation.”
Vindman testified during public impeachment hearings that Trump’s push for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden was “inappropriate” and that he knew “without hesitation” that he had to report it. He said that he reported his concerns out of a “sense of duty,” and he defended his fellow witnesses from what he described as “reprehensible” attacks.
Testifying in his Army uniform as an active-duty soldier, Vindman invoked his father’s decision to leave the Soviet Union and come to the US, noting that the testimony he was giving would likely get him killed in Russia. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth,” Vindman said at the time in a now well-known line.
In response, Trump fired Vindman as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council in February and also ousted his twin brother who also played a key role in impeachment proceedings while serving at the White House as an NSC lawyer.
Asked Monday about the message he would give to other foreign-born Americans who might want to serve the country but have been dissuaded by his saga, Vindman maintained it was a “privilege” to be among the witnesses “doing the right thing.”
“Yes, there may be some costs associated with it, but you can move on,” he said. “You can recover. And you can play your part in protecting this nation.”