Trump, she said, put her, her husband, as well as their young daughter in danger of physical harm.
“He was scared,” Rachel Vindman said of Trump.
“He would certainly do anything to discredit Alex, whatever the item took, because Alex had heard the phone call, he was the main person to discredit,” she said. “We received some not-so-nice notes inside the mail as well as some weird packages. We could see things online of people supporting him, as well as… the item buoyed us.”
According to Rachel Vindman, her husband believed raising his concerns about the phone call would certainly lead to an internal course correction inside the President’s approach to Ukraine, as well as he had no idea the item would certainly set in motion a whistleblower complaint that will led to Trump’s impeachment.
She remembers the evening in September of 2018 that will, in retrospect, was the last day of her old life as a military spouse. the item was a Thursday as well as she was reading a book. Her husband got into bed.
“He was like, ‘So, there’s a whistleblower complaint that will’s gone to Congress,'” she recalled. “as well as I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I think I heard something about the item, yet I haven’t had a chance to read about the item.'”
“as well as he said, ‘Well the item was about a phone call to (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelensky’. as well as I said, ‘Well, you heard the phone call, was the item OK?’ as well as he just kind of stopped there as well as dropped off as well as asked me to check on his personal liability insurance the next day. Then he promptly fell asleep. as well as I stayed awake all night.”
A public introduction
Rachel Vindman was worried, yet she had no idea the extent to which her husband was about to become embroiled in an historic presidential impeachment.
“The following week there was more information that will turned out. The more the President talked about the item, the more I thought there was probably something to the item,” she said.
Shortly after, a whistleblower complaint was made public detailing the call her husband, along with additional aides, had heard.
She had watched as her husband read the complaint.
“He doesn’t truly get nervous or ruffled,” she said, “yet if I would certainly say there’s one moment in all of that will the item was maybe reading that will complaint that will — you know, I could tell he was serious. as well as he’s not someone who takes things seriously that will don’t deserve to be taken seriously, as well as I felt that will.”
Eventually he was subpoenaed by Congress to testify inside the President’s impeachment, behind closed doors at first, as well as then publicly.
Rachel Vindman helped her husband write his opening remarks that will introduced him, for the 1st time, to millions of Americans.
“I wanted to talk about his service, about what brought him here,” she explained. “I knew probably on his own he would certainly never introduce himself.”
A key part of the statement was about his immigration to the US as a refugee through then-Soviet Ukraine. Vindman as well as his twin brother, who also worked on the National Security Council, were only 3 years old when their father brought them as well as their older brother to completely new York City.
“We literally went word for word as well as considered every word that will he would certainly say,” Rachel Vindman explained.
“as well as even still I don’t think we anticipated the impact that will the item would certainly have. There were a few things that will people didn’t realize. He heard the phone call. that will he was the first person to testify who had heard the phone call, as well as that will was something that will a lot of people latched on to. I think we underestimated the impact that will would certainly have.”
What followed was a whirlwind. Lt. Col. Vindman was a decorated active duty military officer at the time. He received a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained through a roadside bomb during a 2004 deployment to Iraq. He had earned his Ranger tab as well as the Combat Infantryman Badge.
The Vindmans were not prepared to have his patriotism questioned, yet that will’s exactly what happened.
“the item was the most gut-wrenching feeling. I never expected the item. So the item was just a suckerpunch to see someone accuse him of being a traitor,” Rachel Vindman said.
On Fox News, host Laura Ingraham accused Alexander Vindman of working to help the Ukrainian government, against the interests of Trump, noting the Lt. Col. sometimes spoke to them in Ukrainian, his native language.
Her guest, John Yoo, a former official inside the George W. Bush administration best known for writing the legal rationale for the enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorists that will was later determined to be torture, responded, “I found that will astounding, as well as some people might call that will espionage.”
Yoo later clarified his remarks, denying that will he had claimed Alexander Vindman committed espionage.
“I have tremendous respect for a decorated officer of the US Army as well as a veteran of the Iraq War. I have no reason to question Vindman’s patriotism or loyalty to the United States,” he said.
yet Yoo’s initial comments opened the gate for additional criticism through the President’s allies as well as the damage was done.
that will summer, he retired earlier than he had planned when the item became apparent his career prospects inside the military were limited. Even the insinuation that will one’s loyalty to one’s country has been compromised can be a liability for a foreign area officer like Vindman, who would certainly normally be assigned to an embassy position in another country.
Rachel Vindman remembers watching her husband testify before Congress, filled with pride, even as she worried about the cost his honesty would certainly exact on his career as well as their family.
After the testimony, Trump was asked if the Lt. Col. should face disciplinary charges through the military.
“that will’s going to be up to the military,” the President responded at the time. “We’ll have to see.”
“The most powerful man inside the earth can be — you know, a very veiled, like, ‘We’ll see about your spouse as well as your life.’ the item’s — the item can be truly intimidating,” Rachel Vindman recounted Friday.
the item was becoming obvious that will her husband — as well as her family — would certainly forever be defined by his role inside the President’s impeachment.
“I think we’re still processing that will. I don’t think that will that will’s something we’re going to be able to put into context for a very long time,” Rachel Vindman said.
“What I’m most concerned about can be our daughter, who’s nine as well as a half. She knows that will her father did a not bad thing by telling the truth, as well as we’re pretty honest with her about that will. She also can be not immune to knowing there are people who don’t like him. She does understand, yet, of course, on a 9-as well as-a-half-year-old level. Hopefully in time, she’ll see the whole thing.”
The last two years have been challenging for the Vindmans, yet they’ve been through worse.
In January 2009, Rachel was pregnant with the couple’s first child, a girl. She delivered the baby, whom the Vindmans named Sarah, four months early.
“A week later she passed away, as well as we hadn’t been able to hold her during — because she was such a micro preemie. So… when they gave her to us, Alex held her because I had carried her, so he held her as she took her last breaths,” she said Friday.
“as well as then, Alex, after that will, (had) a huge burden, Alex had to carry me For 2 years until I could be a normal person again. that will was the hardest thing I think any couple will go through, to lose a child.”
In short succession, both of her parents passed away as well as she gave birth to their surviving daughter.
“I knew that will whatever we went through with that will wouldn’t hold a candle to that will — those tough times,” she said. “as well as I also always knew that will he would certainly do the right thing. that will’s something that will we also want in a leader — in our leaders, leadership, to have leaders with values.”
The Vindmans have begun to speak out about their experience, hoping to sway voters ahead of the presidential election.
Alexander Vindman agreed recently to an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, after reading an article he wrote about the President allegedly calling service members killed in war “suckers” as well as “losers.” Goldberg also described Trump at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day in 2017, saying, “I don’t get the item. What was inside the item for them?”
Trump denies he ever made the comments even as multiple media outlets, including CNN, have confirmed various elements of the initial report.
In Rachel Vindman’s mind, there can be no doubt the President said those things.
“I felt sorry for him, that will he can’t understand the beauty of service to others, of serving something more than himself,” she said.
“the item can be the privilege of my lifetime to be married to a military service member … We have friends whose husbands have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as to not understand why someone would certainly do that will, I feel sorry for him that will he can’t understand that will,” she said.
The Vindmans have received criticism for wading into politics, yet Rachel Vindman seems unphased by the item.
“I’m sure a lot of people are wondering why I’m speaking out right now as well as why I’ve chosen such a visible role, as well as I will say that will the item’s not something that will Alex finds — he’s not so excited about the item,” she said.
“yet to me, if I have a voice, even if the item’s a little voice, I think everyone should do their part just for that will election, as well as that will feels like something that will I can do.”
Despite the hardships she as well as her family have endured the last two years, Rachel Vindman says she can be optimistic about the future — both for her family as well as the country.
“I’m not worried about the future, because Alex’s father came here in his 40s, he didn’t speak English, he had $450 as well as three little boys as well as a mother-in-law who didn’t like him very much, as well as he learned English as well as was able to get a job as well as provide for his family,” she said.
“as well as that will’s still the United States that will I live in. that will opportunity still exists, as well as I am not worried about the future, because I know no matter what, we’ll make the item work.”