Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman came under fire Tuesday over who he spoke with about President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president as the nation marks week two of the Democratic Party’s dog and pony impeachment show trial.
The star witness of the day, along with Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, Vindman found himself in a tense moment when Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was pressing him on the matter.
It was during this contentious moment that Vindman chided Nunes for not using his Army rank when addressing him.
Vindman, the director of European affairs for the National Security Council, declined to name one of the people he spoke with about the call, other than to say this person is a member of the intelligence community.
Saying that he spoke with two individuals outside the White House, Vindman was willing to name the first, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.
Nunes was interrupted by House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., when he tried to ask Vindman what intelligence agency the person was from.
“If I could interject here, we don’t want to use these proceedings—” Schiff said.
“It’s our time,” Nunes protested.
“I know, but we need to protect the whistleblower,” Schiff said. “I want to make sure there’s no effort to out the whistleblower through these proceedings. If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we are here for, and I want to advise the witness accordingly.”
After Schiff broke Nunes’ train of thought, the Republican returned to questioning the witness, addressing him as “Mr. Vindman.”
“Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please,” Vindman informed him.
The information is important because the whistleblower, reportedly a CIA official, was not on Trump’s call and had to get his information from someone.
In later testimony, Vindman continued to dance around who he spoke with about the call, as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, methodically narrowed the possibility of who may be the whistleblower’s source.
Jordan got a subtle dig in on Chairman Schiff in protesting the concerns about outing the whistleblower.
“The witness has testified in his deposition he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is,” he told Schiff. “You have said — even though nobody believes you — you have said you don’t know who the whistleblower is, so how is this outing the whistleblower to find out who this individual is?”
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, would later mock Vindman for correcting Nunes for not using his military rank, which prompted an odd reply.
“Do you always insist on civilians calling you by your rank?” Stewart asked.
“The attacks I’ve had in the press, [on] Twitter have kind of … marginalized me as a military officer,” Vindman said.
STEWART: You directed Rep. Nunes to refer to you as “Lieutenant Colonel?” Do you always insist on civilians referring to you by your military rank?
VINDMAN: People on Twitter were disrespecting me and my service.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 19, 2019
Vindman’s rebuke of Nunes over the improper title caught the attention of Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
“That is revealing. Not in the way the media and their Dem pals think,” she tweeted.
That is revealing. Not in the way the media and their Dem pals think. https://t.co/7WzRsOT4Uz
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) November 19, 2019
Here’s a sampling of other responses from Twitter:
Vindman showed his hand by rebuking Nunes about his rank, this is a person that is desperate for respect. A tiny little man that believes himself a giant.
He loves being at the center of all of this and he created this entire thing by leaking to the whistleblower.
— Carpe Donktum? (@CarpeDonktum) November 19, 2019
All enlisted people just rolled their eyes. We’ve all had to report to this guy. https://t.co/Z09kqaeXUJ
— jon gabriel (@exjon) November 19, 2019
A small segment of the viewing population, maybe including me, is way too enchanted by Vindman’s insistence on his “Lt. Col.” title while also saying it’s not much of a rank.
— Virginia Heffernan (@page88) November 19, 2019
What a self important weasel #Vindman.
So I guess anyone, no matter how goofy and weak, can be a Lt. Colonel these days…
I’d be in the brig/dishonorably discharged if I had to answer to someone like this guy….especially in battle.
— Bryant Sharp (@BryantSharp10) November 19, 2019
Unless you are in the military, you are under no requirement or expectation to address a military person that way. It’s a courtesy of anything. That’s his fragile ego coming through.
— Steve Olson (@St3veOlson) November 19, 2019
This proves it: Light colonels are the most angry and frustrated rank in the armed services.
— Kenric Ward (@Kenricward) November 19, 2019
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