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Army defends Lt. Col. Vindman days after his commander-in-chief called him a ‘Never Trumper’
The Army intends to fully support the officer who is testifying in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a combat veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, serves on the National Security Council. On Tuesday, he went before Congress after being subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.
Without referring to Vindman by name, Trump has repeatedly accused him of having a political axe to grind by describing him as a "Never Trumper witness."
"Lt. Col. Vindman, who has served this country honorably for 20+ years, is fully supported by the Army like every Soldier, having earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq in 2004," Matt Leonard, an Army spokesperson, told Task & Purpose.
"As his career assignments reflect, Lt. Col. Vindman has a long history of selfless service to his country, including combat. Lt. Col. Vindman is afforded all protections anyone would be provided in his circumstances."
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also weighed in, telling CNN that Vindman "is a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer. He has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our Nation in both peacetime & combat."
In his opening statement, Vindman told lawmakers that following Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he had told NSC's lead counsel that he felt that he felt the president had improperly asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where Biden's son Hunter served on the board of directors.
Vindman had also previously reported to NSC's lead counsel that Trump's envoy to the European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland had demanded at a July 10 meeting with a top Ukrainian official that Ukraine needed to launch investigations into the Biden family, Burisma, and the 2016 election before Zelensky could meet Trump in person.
Taking Trump's lead, the president's surrogates launched their own personal attacks against Vindman's character.
CNN analyst and former Republican Congressman Sean Duffy suggested that Vindman is more loyal to Ukraine than the United States because his family emigrated from the Soviet Union when he was a child.
Fox News personality Laura Ingraham accused Vindman of being a spy because Ukrainian officials asked for his advice on how to deal with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, who was trying to persuade the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden and help former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
According to his military record, Vindman's military awards include the Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4th award), Army Achievement Medal (3rd award), and many more. He's also earned the Ranger Tab, meaning he's completed one of the most challenging schools in the Army, and the Parachutist Badge.
Vindman deployed to Iraq in September 2004, and despite being wounded in combat by an improved explosive device just a month later, he finished the deployment and returned to the U.S. in September 2005.
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BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.