...Vindman gave the game away with his prepared testimony. He believes the permanent bureaucracy should reign supreme, and if some elected politician gets crosswise with the solons of the state, then they must act. So he did, as he detailed in his prepared statement and testimony to Congress. From the statement: “In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy.”
There is a lot of wrong in those two sentences, which profoundly illustrate the fundamental flaw Vindman and his fellow Deep Staters operate under. The interagency he mentions is a collection of staff from the major agencies like the State Department, Department of Defense, and intelligence agencies, who meet to coordinate and plan implementation of policy. They most certainly are not supposed to decide what policy the United States will follow. That is 100 percent the purview of the president.
Dissenters Within Government Will Be Persecuted
As for “outside influencers,” Vindman is primarily speaking of Rudy Giuliani, who was acting in some ways as a private citizen, but also as an emissary of President Trump. During his testimony, Vindman was asked who else he meant as “outside,” and he named U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sonland and U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker.
This is telling, as Giuliani may somewhat fairly be called an outsider, even though he was acting at the president’s behest, but both Sonland and Volker are members of the government with direct responsibility for Ukraine and are significantly senior to Vindman. Yet Vindman called them “outsiders,” saying Volker as special representative for Ukraine was fine when he “was working in concert with the interagency,” but when in contact with Giuliani “that was not the case”; and that Sonland was “a bit of an outside influencer.”
His standard for an outsider was anyone not in concert with the unelected mid-level bureaucrats of the interagency. Wrong answer, but indicative of his belief that they are the ones whose opinions matter and anyone acting outside of that is acting against U.S. interests. Even if that conflicted with the policy of his superiors all the way up to the president, Vindman and the Deep State would decide what “advanced U.S. policy interests.”
Vindman also took action warning Ukrainian officials he spoke to: “I would tell them to not interfere — not get involved in U.S. domestic politics.”
This was after Vindman says he had determined the calls for an investigation into election interference and anything related to Burisma corruption and the Bidens equaled President Trump trying to get Ukraine to interfere in U.S. politics. He was actively undermining what he believes is the president’s chosen policy—not because it is illegal, but because he disagrees with it and doesn’t think it is important.
That is far beyond Vindman’s duties or authority, and in applying his opinion and actions to counter the president’s goals he was violating the oath he swore to obey the orders of “officers appointed above me.”
This is insubordination and malfeasance, and likely punishable under several sections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Using Bureaucracy As a Weapon of Politics
I disagree with Vindman that Trump was using these investigations for purely political purposes. There were legitimate U.S. concerns about election interference and corruption related to senior U.S. officials.
Vindman argued in testimony that he didn’t believe these allegations were credible, but it’s not his position to decide that. It’s his job to give his advice saying he doesn’t agree they are credible but then execute the president’s foreign policy decisions once they are made. Instead, he sabotaged them.
Vindman had previously shown he did not know his place in the hierarchy of our government. During a trip to celebrate the inauguration of the new president of Ukraine, Volodomyr Zelensky, he actually lectured the new president on staying out of U.S. domestic politics.
This was another glaring example of Vindman attempting to undermine President Trump’s efforts to get investigations moving. It would be hard to explain how stunningly inappropriate it was for someone this junior to address a world leader in this fashion, especially in front of senior U.S. and Ukrainian officials.