The first impeachment of former President Donald Trump revolved around a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinsky, in which Trump promised to release congressionally approved aid to Ukraine, but wanted Zelensky to "do us a favor" and open an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, who was shaping up to be Trump's opponent in the 2020 election.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was one of the officials listening in on Trump's now-infamous phone call, expressing concerns about the discussion at the time. The Lieutenant Colonel complied with a congressional subpoena and testified about the call before the House Committee overseeing impeachment. Vindman's compliance was met with immediate retaliation from Republicans. He was met with smears from Republican representatives and, immediately after the Senate acquitted Trump in his eventual impeachment trial, Vindman was removed from his post and escorted out by security.
Now, just over two years since his testimony before the House committee, Vindman has filed a lawsuit against Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani; and others for witness intimidation and retaliation.
The suit revolves around a statute in the Ku Klux Klan Act, passed in 1871, designed to prevent conspiracies aimed at intimidating witnesses from testifying in federal proceedings. Vindman says Trump Jr. and Giuliani—with former President Trump's blessing—worked with Fox News in a coordinated effort to smear the Lieutenant Colonel in the media and to ultimately prevent him from testifying.
Remembering Vindman's viral testimony, social media users praised the effort.
Some invoked the most famous line from Vindman's testimony, in which he said he felt compelled to come forward with Trump's misdeeds because, in America, "here right matters."
Vindman says the sole purpose of the lawsuit is for accountability, to "ensure that the next witness or whistleblower, regardless of party or issue, can feel comfortable doing the right and lawful thing."