Alexander Vindman Biography

(United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Who Testified Before the US Congress Regarding the Trump–Ukraine Scandal)

Birthday: June 6, 1975 (Gemini)

Born In: Kyiv, Ukraine

Alexander Vindman is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel who was the Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council (NSC). In October 2019, he gained national attention after testifying before the US Congress regarding the Trump–Ukraine scandal, providing evidence that resulted in a charge of abuse of power in the impeachment of Donald Trump. He was subsequently reassigned within the army on February 7, 2020, and amidst claims of retaliation, he retired from military in July that year blaming vengeful behavior and bullying by President Trump and administration officials. He previously served as an infantry officer in the Iraq War and had overseas assignments to South Korea and Germany before serving as a foreign area officer specializing in Eurasia in the U.S. embassies of Russia and Ukraine.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: Alexander Semyon Vindman

Age: 47 Years, 47 Year Old Males

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Rachel Vindman (m. 2006)

Born Country: Ukraine

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education: Harvard University, Binghamton University

Childhood & Early Life

Alexander Semyon Vindman and his identical twin brother Yevgeny were born on June 6, 1975 in Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union (now Ukraine) into a Jewish family. He was only three when, after his mother’s death, his father Semyon decided to migrate to the US like many Russian-speaking Jews, with the twins, their older brother Leonid, and their maternal grandmother.

The family arrived in New York City in December 1979 and settled in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach neighborhood, following which his father worked multiple jobs to support the family while learning English at night. Their neighbor, photographer Carol Kitman, took a picture of the twins with their grandmother on a boardwalk bench in 1985, which appeared in the Ken Burns documentary The Statue of Liberty.

While his father eventually became an engineer, his brother entered the Reserve Officers Training Corps in college, which inspired to twins to follow a military path as well. After graduating from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in 1993, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1999.

In college, he had participated in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and later received a second lieutenant's commission in the Army's Infantry Branch in January 1999. He later completed his master’s degree from Harvard University in Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian studies.

After retiring from National Security Council, he began pursuing a Ph.D. in international affairs at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies with scheduled graduation in 2022. It was also reported that he was chosen to attend the in-residence course at the United States Army War College during its 2020-2021 session.

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Career

Upon completing the Infantry Officer Basic Course (IOBC) at Fort Benning in 1999, Alexander Vindman was sent to South Korea the following year to lead both infantry and anti-armor platoons. He served in South Korea and Germany before being deployed to Iraq in September 2004 and sustained an injury from an improvised explosive device in October that year, for which he received a Purple Heart.

He served out the rest of the deployment until September 2005 and later became a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia in 2008, serving in the U.S. embassies in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Moscow, Russia. After returning to Washington, D.C., he served as a politico-military affairs officer focused on Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon from September 2015 to July 2018.

In July 2018, he accepted an assignment with the National Security Council and in May 2019, became part of the U.S. delegation at the inauguration of Ukraine's newly elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky. He was part of a five-member team that was led by Rick Perry, United States Secretary of Energy, and included Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, and Joseph Pennington.

He became concerned after witnessing a July 10, 2019 meeting between Ukraine's then Secretary of National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danylyuk and then US National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bolton cut the meeting short and Gordon Sondland, United States Ambassador to the European Union, who was present at the meeting, asked Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens to get a meeting with Trump.

Later on July 25, 2019, he listened to a call between Trump and the Ukraine President in which the former asked the latter to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who was campaigning for President. He talked to his twin brother Yevgeny and brought him along as he reported both incidents to John A. Eisenberg, the top National Security Council lawyer.

On October 29, 2019, he was subpoenaed to testify before Congressional investigators as part of the U.S. House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. He was the first White House official to testify who actually listened to the call and corroborated previous testimony from Fiona Hill, his former manager, and William B. Taylor Jr., acting Ambassador to Ukraine.

On November 19, 2019, he testified in person before the US House of Representatives and mentioned reporting to an intelligence official about the "improper” phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky. He subsequently faced repeated attacks from Trump as well as Republican lawmakers and television commentators, prompting him to contact the Army regarding his and his family's safety.

Trump had implied he might remove Vindman from his post, following which he told NSC colleagues on February 7, 2020 that he expected to leave the NSC to return to the Department of Defense. He and his twin brother, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, who was also on the NSC, were escorted out of the White House later that day.

Amidst calls to investigate possible retaliation against the brothers, National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien claimed that it was his decision to transfer the Vindman brothers back to the Army for re-assignment. However, later in May 2022, the Defense Department inspector general found that the Trump administration unlawfully retaliated against Yevgeny for his role in revealing the Trump-Ukraine scandal.


Senator Tammy Duckworth announced in July that she would block over 1,100 military promotions unless defense secretary Mark Esper provided written confirmation that the Trump administration would not block impeachment witness Vindman’s promotion to colonel. However, Vindman announced his decision to retire from the U.S. military blaming "a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation" by the Trump administration for the decision.

He wrote an opinion piece addressing his retirement in the Washington Post in August 2020, and in November, joined the staff of the national security blog Lawfare with a fellowship of the Pritzker Military Foundation. In February 2022, he sued Donald Trump Jr. and Trump allies Rudy Giuliani, Dan Scavino, and Julia Hahn alleging intimidation and retaliation against him while he testified in Congress.

Personal Life & Legacy

Alexander Vindman married Rachel Cartmill, the daughter of a high school football coach from Oklahoma, on May 18, 2006 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Both he and his twin brother Yevgeny married women with Native American ancestry and have a daughter each of similar age, while his brother also has an older son.

Trivia

In December 2021, Alexander Vindman made a cameo appearance as himself in "The Mormon Advantage”, the 11th season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

He refers to his twin brother Yevgeny as “my kid brother” because he was born six minutes earlier and also insisted during his testimony that lawmakers did the same.

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