WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a pivotal witness in the first impeachment case against Donald Trump has sued the oldest son of the former president and other Trump allies, accusing them of participating in an “intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and harassment” over his decision to testify.
The lawsuit from Alexander Vindman, who testified in 2019 impeachment proceedings about a phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukraine counterpart to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, was filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington. Trump was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate in February 2020.
The suit names as defendants Donald Trump Jr.; Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Trump adviser who has served as Trump's lawyer; and former White House communications officials Dan Scavino and Julia Hahn.
It alleges that after Vindman was summoned by House lawmakers to testify, the defendants and others coordinated and advanced “false narratives” about him, including that he was a spy for Ukraine, leaked classified information about him and falsely accused him of lying under oath.
“The actions taken by Defendants against Lt. Col. Vindman sent a message to other potential witnesses as well: cooperate at your own peril,” the suit states, adding that “the message reverberates to this day” as witnesses in the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol defy subpoenas at the Republican former president's direction.
Lawyers for Trump Jr., Scavino and Giuliani did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Hahn also did not return an email seeking comment.
Vindman announced in July 2020 that he was retiring from the Army after more than 21 years and raised similar allegations of harassment, bullying and intimidation as in Wednesday's lawsuit. He has since come out with a book about his experiences, titled, “Here, Right Matters: An American Story.”
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