Vindman sues Trump Jr. and Giuliani for attacks during impeachment hearings
Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Trump allies Julia Hahn and Daniel Scavino, alleging "intimidation and retaliation" for the attacks he faced in 2019 when he testified in the first impeachment hearing of former President Trump.
Flashback: In an op-ed last year for Lawfare, Vindman said he "should have sued those who amplified [Trump's] campaign of defamation."
Details: The lawsuit alleges that "Trump and his allies ... engaged in an intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation against [Vindman] to prevent him from and then punish him for testifying truthfully before Congress."
- "This campaign of intimidation and retaliation has had severe and deeply personal ramifications for" Vindman and "[i]t has also left a stain on our democracy."
- "The actions taken by Defendants against Lt. Col. Vindman sent a message to other potential witnesses as well: cooperate and tell the truth at your own peril."
State of play: Vindman's lawsuit alleges that these Trump's allies "are all part of a particularly close and coordinated network of actors within and outside the White House."
- The lawsuit says that Scavino played a role in managing Trump's Twitter account, where he created content to "stir up" the former president's base, which could result in the "targeting" of "individuals perceived as enemies of the president."
- The lawsuit also mentions Fox News and Laura Ingraham, arguing that both the network and host had a close relationship with Trump and that they worked alongside the White House to coordinate attacks against Vindman for testifying before Congress during the hearings.
What he's saying: "I don't regret telling the truth either in private or during the public impeachment hearings. I did what I was trained and obligated to do as a longtime member of the U.S. Army and a federal official," Vindman said in a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday.
- "That's why I filed a lawsuit Wednesday against several of the close associates and allies of former President Trump who participated in a concerted effort to falsely attack my loyalty to the United States and punish me for testifying, including by abruptly removing me and my twin brother from the White House and temporarily blocking my promotion within the Army," he added.
Our thought bubble, via Axios' Sara Fischer: Defamation lawsuits and threats against Fox and other conservative personalities and networks have so far proven somewhat effective in squashing election fraud hoaxes.
- But it's doubtful in many situations if lawsuits after-the-fact can do much to reverse the damage that's already been done.
The Trump organization did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
Read the lawsuit: