Vindman v. Trump Jr., Giuliani, Scavino, and Hahn

In an effort to deter him from testifying before Congress during impeachment proceedings, and then to punish him for doing so, allies of former President Donald Trump and members of his White House staff waged a coordinated campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (ret.), then a Director of the National Security Council (NSC). Lt. Col. Vindman’s fidelity to his oath of office and the rule of law were attacked in a manner calculated to prevent him from performing his official duties and testifying as a witness in a constitutional proceeding, and to silence others who might report wrongdoing.

Lt. Col. Vindman dedicated his professional life to serving our country. After serving multiple tours abroad, and being wounded in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was assigned to the NSC. In July 2019, as part of his duties as the Director for Eastern European, Caucasus, and Russian Affairs at the NSC, Lt. Col. Vindman listened to a phone call during which President Trump attempted to coerce the President of Ukraine to publicly undertake an investigation into then-former Vice President (now President) Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for the release of critical security assistance funds. Lt. Col. Vindman was concerned that the demand was both potentially illegal and put our national security at risk and reported those concerns through private, official channels. He was later called twice to testify before Congress. 

As a result, Lt. Col. Vindman became the target of an unlawful conspiracy by President Trump and his close aides and allies, including key figures in the media, to intimidate and retaliate against him for his testimony by falsely portraying him as disloyal to the United States and ruining his career in the military. Neither the former president nor his conspirators have been held accountable for their blatant attempts to obstruct the impeachment proceedings. 

As far back as Reconstruction, Congress recognized that conspiracies to prevent federal officials from performing their duties, and witnesses from testifying, threaten the very ability of our democracy to function. That is why the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 made it unlawful to engage in such conspiracies.  

Lt. Col. Vindman has filed a lawsuit in federal court under this statute, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1) and (2), which prohibit conspiracies to prevent anyone from holding or discharging the duties of federal office, or to retaliate against them for doing so, as well as conspiracies to deter witnesses from testifying or to retaliate against them for doing so.

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