The White House sent talking points attacking Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman ahead of his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, The Daily Beast reports.
One email sent by the White House to Trump surrogates tried to paint Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and a Purple Heart recipient, as a disgruntled employee even though he still works at the White House.
“There was nothing wrong with the call with Zelensky at all. Vindman was just upset that President Trump was leading foreign policy instead of sticking to Vindman’s talking points,” the email said. “But it’s not Vindman’s job to set foreign policy. It’s the president’s.”
Another email sent minutes later claimed that Vindman had “major credibility issues.”
“Vindman has faced accusations of poor judgment, leaking and going around normal procedures,” the email said. “There were concerns that Vindman had improperly accessed information he wasn’t supposed to see.”
The White House’s official Twitter account also pushed this claim, which was repeated at the hearing.
Vindman responded by reading a glowing performance review from his boss.
“Alex is a top 1 percent military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service,” he quoted from the review. “He is brilliant, unflappable, and exercises excellent judgment.”
WH “cannibalizing” itself:
William Inboden, a former national security aide to President George W. Bush, told The New York Times that he had never seen the White House attack its own employees publicly.
“This White House appears to be cannibalizing itself,” he said. "While many previous White House staffs have feuded with each other and leaked against each other, this is the first time in history I am aware of a White House openly attacking its own staff — especially for merely upholding their constitutional duties.”
Army steps up protection:
The attacks on Vindman prompted the U.S. Army to ramp up protection for Vindman and his family, Army spokeswoman Col. Kathy Turner told ABC News.
Reuters reported that the Army had stepped up security assessments “since Vindman expressed concerns about his family’s safety.”
Vindman and his family could be moved to a local military base if the Army determines a threat.