Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
Updated 2:29 PM ET, Wed October 30, 2019
Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump wants a Lt. Col. Oliver North. What he’s got is Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
North was a Marine officer detailed to the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan who was convicted of obstructing a congressional inquiry into the Iran-Contra scandal. Vindman is an Army officer detailed to the National Security Council who just testified about his efforts to document Trump’s pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden.
Trump’s the kind of man who sees nothing wrong with holding up US aid to corner a foreign government to help him against his political rival. Facing the testimony of an immigrant in uniform who isn’t waiting until he leaves the White House to tell his fact-based, nonpartisan truth, it’s entirely predictable that the first thing Trump did was attack him.
Trump cast Vindman as a “never Trumper,” despite also claiming that he never met the man. It’s directly in line with the idea he’s repeatedly pushed that a “deep state” of entrenched bureaucrats is out to get him. On cue, pundits who defend Trump’s responsiveness to the whims of Vladimir Putin immediately questioned Vindman, who sought refuge in the US as a very young child, along with many other Jews fleeing the Soviet Union. Where do his loyalties lie, they openly asked.