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tv   Alexander Vindman Here Right Matters - An American Story  CSPAN  August 29, 2021 11:30am-12:36pm EDT

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population in the world, more than half, people of color takes up another two-thirds per week at 65%,%, 70% of the world and not white men and most the not studying engineering. look at my life, simple life, great job, great pay, we need more pay. pretty high demand. the reason why i'm passionate about it is that. .. >> beyond the idea that we can be great america without having great scientist and finally getting through and realized we
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have trained not just the white women enter men but white women, black men, and hispanic people. >> to watch the rest of the program visible click on the "after words" and all previous episodes. >> welcome today's virtual program were at large i'm excited to be with you all today and i'm honored to be joyed by lieutenant colonel alexander vindman an american hero who is here to discuss his book in american story i'm sure you all know alex but after former president trump with you phone call to president zelensky the chain of commands he had of foreign allies that damage the political challenger at home in the first time how we ended up
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at the center of the firestone and will discuss that in the next hour and i want to hear your questions, please put them in later in the program i also have a question from alex's wife that i'll be getting too thin to the program, thank you so much how is the book tour been going, how does the response been what is been your biggest take away from all of this. >> i need to figure out i think it was john williams this is a very sharp learning curve on something i frankly i never thought i'd be doing i thought eventually i would do something policy or geopolitics working on my visitation at hopkins so that is in the works but somebody in my mid form 40s writing a
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memoir it's a bit surreal and i could add to my job discussion it's a bit interesting to understand how the business works in terms of the takeaways i am super grateful for the fantastic reviews that i've gotten from a handful of people that have read the thing. the three or four of you guys i appreciate you picking up the book. still in the machine of the republican party that buys tens of thousands of books in the book conventions in the surveys of funds and stuff like that. and it's a little bit tough behind the curve and understand what works. >> i think you're doing pretty
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well i wish we could be here together and for some of that information that is out there driving the rise of covid we are here in california alex's in l.a. and i'm in oakland and we wanted to be together in san francisco we have to see all of next year. but for the folks who haven't had the chance to read the book it just came out or if you don't know the full story i want to start about your personal journey which i think is really central to the story it's an american story for a reason and more journeys from ukraine to america as a young child is really instructed to how you ended up in the center of the drama. tell people about your childhood and how you ended up in america in the first place. >> this is another surreal
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aspect of the memoir, are you limping how's your ankle all sorts of details by my background that i should not be shocked about anymore because they wrote a gosh turn book about it but it still odd that they know all sorts of things about me. it is a pretty awesome if i take a step back and take myself out of the fact that i'm in front of the camera, it's a pretty awesome story about a humble background which is shared by swaddling americans and american immigrants coming here and rebuilding from scratch i came here as a toddler and my dad restarted his life at 47 so his
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was more exposition of prosperity and the soviet union all to provide a future for his children. it is a story about those humble origins coming to you the united states growing up in brooklyn, new york and not the cool brooklyn of nowadays. >> this is the rough-and-tumble i watch the show called the reuters which is pretty awesome it was built in 79 and i watched after a couple of decades and it shows an odyssey of a gang and in the bronx having to work their way in beach coney island, something closer than that
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benefit is that i don't know and maybe not entirely focused as a young guy and of sorts getting into military service and what i gain for military service get ia pretty clear that i had and contribute to national security in a huge way by defending the constitution against domestic opportunities. >> you breathed over your data and what i was hearing the story the thing that struck me the most throughout his life he was 47 he had a stable life and your mother passed away cancer and you living in ukraine and yet a successful career of engineering and in the mid 40s and decided
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for the benefit of your family because of what he saw the problems of the soviets and the soviet regime to pick up and move you guys to america and start a job of manual labor what is to be learned from that choice from him and also what did it say to about this country that your dad would make a drastic move. >> in his part it was a deep understanding that there are in this possibilities in america then and now and we are so focused on the inflamed grievances in media and frankly the right wing media browses us
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with in our lives in our neighborhood, were doing pretty well we put the ink to contrast, the challenges that other people on this planet's face. and yet an intuitive understanding and he understood before my mother passes away she could potentially be saved or live longer which is the idea to come to the united states the anti-semitism would limit his children's possibility there, he had the titles, that would not be the case here and he's willing to risk it all on the hopes and beliefs something that he certainly passed on to me and something i'm passing on to my daughter very hopeful of a resilient and that is part of his legacy i think.
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>> sometimes others cradled crop the don't have the same as it's converted. i felt that throughout your entire book and through your testimony that your belief and faith of this country was based in that and figured out as somebody who converted if you will to americanism. >> in his 47 years in the soviet union and in certain ways i followed some of that with my experiences being posted all around the world and korea and the border between america south korea in combat zones in iraq and ukraine and moscow in germany which was not a tough assignment for how they had this
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breath of experience and understood the unique opportunity that is not something the military shares and one of the reasons besides the fact that they join because their patriots wanted to volunteer the service itself overseas reinforces the uniqueness of america and opportunity that americans have and puts things into perspective and it makes their patriots more ardent, the deal that you refer to. >> talk about that, i listened to some of your interviews in the discussions the purple heart in one through a lot of pride and is a obligated feeling for our veterans that were awarded the purple heart, talk about that and you grow up, a roughneck i don't know if you called yourself up in a minute call you a roughneck in brooklyn
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and you come to america university and you do not graduate, i'm good and reveal that secret, i'm not in very senior. >> i did on the first try but i did on the second try. i am going to put myself on the line for this country that was not even the country of my birth and say i'm going to volunteer and you ended up into very sticky situations in iraq and the decision to getting and what you learned in croatia when your life was on the line for this country. >> i don't have an answer to that to satisfy myself as to why i know there is definitely a common interest between all my brothers and i to serve i think it's a combination of wanting to
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do something to return the favor to the united states in their home that welcomed us not the one that we were born in but i think there is also a recognition of the fact that it was a good way to channel our lack of focus and give us our focus and discipline growing up it served all of my brothers quite well. it was beneficial situation, a win-win for the country in to serve. then we contributed the service in combat i started out as an infantryman and there was a strange sense of testing yourself and under the most adverse conditions, this nation went to war right or wrong at the time, the thought was it's under a threat from adversaries
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in their would encourage you to contribute to national security overseas, i don't think many officers especially at that level as a young captain really reflect on the deeper issues, we were more concerned about learning of organizations to survive those and what i learned from my time in combat is that i am trainable which is a good thing to run by yourself you are trainable and you can learn to react react to contact an ambush and calm and collected and respond the way you're supposed to to achieve and tackle victory
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and things of that nature i was a very quick study in a lot of ways even though my earlier academic and inclination did not suggest that but if i am focused and i apply myself, right now this is a sharp learning curve and i see i am at best halfway up the show but has a deep dissent and i thrive myself on being able to meet the curve and not be overcome by apprehension, anxiety and things of those agers i learned the different things of myself. >> i appreciate but the one that we get to at the end i have to ask myself this gets my blood pressure up, how did it feel
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when you were getting assaulted in your manhood and giving a challenge by warriors like me who have no blisters on their hands after what you had put on, doesn't that kind of surprise you that you are in correggio you are serving a very dangerous infantry on a very dangerous situation of this country, you have shrapnel in your body as a result of this and when the ied goes off in your in correggio, this is a life or death situation in years later and a decade later here you are having to listen to the pajama conservative pod casters telling you that your uncomfortable doesn't not have to just drive you mad. >> don't be so hard on the conservatives why are you bashing them so hard.
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it is there is some very good conservatives like yourself. >> there's a lot of pajama boys. >> my initial response has been a laughing face emojis in response because you cannot take them seriously, honestly what is meaningful to me are my friends, my family my professional network and the encouragement that they offer and some clown over the airwaves on social media attacking me, you have to maintain perspective, it's a source of entertainment to look at that criticism and say i wish some of these people would say something like this to my face nobody has nobody's done that i've just felt a lot of warmth
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from people and a lot of voices and certainly we have received and threats of that nature to the home and over social media and i mindful and i received training on how to identify and understand the protection environment and keep my family safe, i am alert to these things but i really don't take most of it seriously they are a bunch of clowns, weekend warriors, folks this is not big on what the national guard gets described. they get dressed up in camouflage and get these cool looking weapons but cannot shoot them straight and the danger and so forth, it is really hard to
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take folks like that seriously. >> i'm glad you can get some amusement from a but i hope you get solace feeling the rage every day and having to look at it. and someone had to channel the rage so you can have a laugh and i did write an article at one point and i was enraged in the far right loudmouth basically what you needed to do you needed to litigate and sue them in the pocketbooks and they won't be nosy because they paid a cost for it if i had one of those anonymous attacks or something with no cost. i would encourage that in general let's go ahead and fire our energy to bring together and to see some of the folks and give a shout out and stop being so obnoxious. >> it sounds like dominion voting system is doing pretty good on that front we need more folks like that. i want to get to this book but
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days before that i want you to paint this picture we haven't talked about your twin brother what you call him. >> huge. >> i won't try to say it. >> eugene without the rest of the. >> what did it feel like and i'm just reading the book and this goes back to your insert you get brought into the white house by fiona hill and you're working in the white house, you are down the hall with your twin brother and you guys are given these fights and immigrants and your dad is a working class family and that just had to blow your mind to think of the wall of the height entered white house was you and your twin brother the
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same time in service to this country, the first day that you walked in and had to be a moment. >> that is definitely true the first day in the last day i was always awestruck walking through the hallway and so much on the line on a daily basis and the best and the brightest looking to do good for the nation and i was in all what some of the people have brought before me and serving with me at the professional level because as we both know most of the trump administration was third tier pics and certainly as he got to the ministry should but the professionals in the folks coming out the departments of agencies were amazing and eugene and i being together in the nac
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twins is what we were known as maybe the last ones for that matter. but it has crossed the streams with the two of us be there and there was almost total annihilation of the white house. but it was pretty amazing and humbling. >> i was just thinking about her getting chills like walking in there like holy cow i don't know if i'm allowed to cast but holy cow we both made it here at the same time. on your first day i want you to talk about the first day on the job at the nsc something interesting happened. >> i walked in there and did the standard human resource and processing like the media policy, here's your computer
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password and then i took a break to turn on the news feed in my office and listening to president trump's summit, whether they call the press conference at the end of the summit with vladimir putin and it derailed my day i didn't get all my processing done because there is crisis management and it dispelled my thoughts that i could navigate this and contribute to national security with minimal hand grenades and minimal craziness i had hoped that would be the case and is my first day of with that notion. >> that magic of the moment and dissipated pretty quickly. >> your job at usc was
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overseeing security policy to russia and eastern europe and so you get in in a day one in the press conferences happening and someone advised you you were coming into the most dangerous and challenging environment you've ever been in including colarusso and my biggest question why did you do it, aren't you thinking to yourself i don't know if this is right for me to put myself in the situation where ivy security policy and abroad situation with this president. >> you can sense the office in the mission and there was a couple of different things frankly it's one of those jobs you cannot refuse it until carol and one of those things that you can contribute to the mission
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and they could write memos and everything is transactional and it was an element of humerus as indicated and i can brief the guy and things could be different and they also wanted to really that i have thought for a while i had a conversation in the fall with the ambassador for european affairs but he's also the ambassador to moscow while i was serving in russia and the city having a conversation in a soft pitch the
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idea of serving on the national security council and he said you should definitely do it he encourage me and i started thinking about how to get there and i was fortunate to serve in an awesome position in the pentagon and the roster and affairs officer and i was on the military and how we face the challenge of resurgent russia and i offered the definitive document on how to do this and that's how i came to the attention of fiona hill are earned the right to be competitive and considered and when i went in from interview fiona hired me on the spot she had seen the inaction i was talking to her deputy for time served in the white house on the national security council a retired army colonel he was the
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one and she came into the office and she glanced over and gave a head nod and she said when can you join. i'm like awesome. >> i have to ask you this as a russia security act and somebody day one on the security council was there what the heck do you think happened when trump and putin were talking i can't reckon nec clear decal errands but generally speaking what is happening in those conversations. >> it is interesting i have a little bit less concerned that the general public first of all at one point the interpreter at the center of the storm and somebody i knew and traveled into men's before six weeks
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before she was my translator with the joint chief with russian counterparts i knew she and another russian immigrant and patriot and something illegal or unlawful she would be a party to that, there is that component that put things at ease, second of all i understand putin is a savvy operator and he spent time in the kgb he did not need a lot of tools on the tool trump. >> you say trump is an easy mark. >> he is a useful idiot in the committee. he was somebody who aspired to be authoritarian and have those tendencies to really admire authoritarians and was looking
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to appreciate himself with putin and he was a free chicken, again he was manipulated in certain ways but in ways that were useful to trump himself who is not a successful businessman and he has a reputation in new york you can't win a majority should not run for higher office. everybody understood who he was he was a used-car salesman he is savvy and trying to work with people and charming on a small
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level i think trump saul russia was involved in interference in the election because if russia was that it would hurt as the administration. it would be easy for trump to take the hook, line and sinker and i don't think it's any more savvy to criticize the federal government and the operations, but that's what he did. >> transfer to the zelensky call, you're sitting in the room what happens and why did you make the decision that you did i think it's a fundamental question of the book and what would lead you here right now. >> i'm in a work backwards and say there was a decision to be made but it's the right thing to do i know this early that this
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is my job to report this into how people advise the president to reverse course because what he was looking to do was immoral and unethical and criminal if it wasn't for the fact that he had natural immunity. that decision was relatively easy to defend the constitution of the united states foreign and domestic and i thought they were under threat and there was no link that i was willing to not go to to live up to my legations. what brought me to the phone call i been working on this portfolio and watching a slow moving train wreck unfold in the president seeking with the continuing enterprise to tip the scales to up and an election
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process and to ultimately steal an election i was at the leading edge giuliani played in hand of eliminating obstacles in he fired the respondent of trump and don jr. and ultimately was elected and he was fired because the position, which he tweeted about her and his security system and to think of the goods, this is a similar to what was it not true for all we need is a simple outcome of the investigation and i'll take it from there that's all he was looking for in watching folks come outside of the government and folks inside the government gordon in mick mulvaney were thinking maybe it's due to folks
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that want to brief themselves with the president and do the bidding of sorts and watching it with the president to being the valued force. >> just on that context, you watched the train wreck happened and when the president asked wolinsky for the favor looking at the ground strike in looking into hunter biden. do you think that background knowing what was going on with rudy doesn't help you with that, is unessential to determining this was something that he had to report and what the president and regardless was recordable. >> with the president did regardless was reportable but i had to understand what was going on and tim morrison had just joined the team and i knew him pretty darn well by fiona of what was going on with this
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train wreck he cannot quite grasp the new ones this was an executed arms-control guy and he had no business being in the european portfolio. as a senior director. but i could tell "after words" when we were going to the press release we did not talk about this and we didn't talk about this and he would say there was a congratulatory phone call. so he did not miss any other people that were left to what was going on and less understanding i knew as a director for european affairs in my portfolio it was my rispone's ability frankly if i didn't say anything the presidents wrongdoing it would not of been uncovered and in a way the
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president, simply put if i didn't make my complaint it wouldn't of been a piece of first-time and that was the beginning of the prize that continued because he wasn't held accountable very public in leadership it continued on through peaceful protest and continued on through train to steal an election and he would gain signals that he could do whatever he wants without accountability from a republican establishment, unfortunately. >> this leads to something i've been wondering you say if you did not report he would've been impeached, that's 100% the case, why were there more, olivia troy spoke out on covid task force which i thought was really brave but maybe this is just me being
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too conspiratorial, but it seems like the ukraine deal that was replicated in turkey and saudi arabia and other places. why weren't there more examples of this over the course of the four years and do you think there was other actions that didn't go unreported and likely this is only one. >> that is absolutely true in one of the things that i talk about now is accountability and examination of wrongdoing so we can learn from the power and hardened ourselves one of the solutions my twin brother has been talking about there probably should be in ig and inspector general on the nsc to report wrongdoing with obligation to report of congress as a check on the executive branch which there wasn't which is one of the reasons this unfolded as it did in the
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whistleblower there was no other recourse that could go through intelligence community inspector general channels to make sure that this did not get swept under the rug. the question as to why there were more of these, unfortunately there are two different branch possibilities, one presents a rosy understanding that people are trying to preserve imprecision as guardrails and protect institutions that they were charged with. you could live with something like that if there's an and norma some of humorous and failed understanding of the fact that there are countless people in position that could step in and do the job and do as well and continue to protect the institutions and continue to make it, that is a rosy one the
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less rosy is the advancement and not foreclosing on possibilities to cash in at some point my fear those of the motivations rather than the protecting institutions, all tell you the whistleblower and anti-tripper somebody who has to fight against the president there are plenty of options that have been proposed for me and those people that remain silent have access to all the options in a cold calculation some might suggest if there's self-serving that it was the right thing to do. but it's not the way i live my life and see things and certainly it's not the way i behaved. >> there's a massive cohort it
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truly is amazing you can say on one hand the number of people that decided to step forward and say what they knew and do the right thing over the course of the four years it's rather astonishing. i want to talk about the testimony first, the most powerful part of the testimony for me was obviously the title of the book which is speaking to your father, tell people who do not know your father was worried about you both from the standpoint of the supporter of the president in the standpoint of experience in russia and concerns about retaliation, just talk about that and thinking to testify and recognize a country but you had to come to your done. >> that was from a twin brother including that component which
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is good the little voice in your head is standing through you sometimes, it's harder to ignore but as soon as he mentioned it i put the words to paper and wanted to put my dads mind audis. i think early on there was the thinking from my dad that trump is the president of the united states and the office and being a trump voter he probably thought the president was in the right and the more he learned about it he dispelled that notion and he started looking to other sources and the program. to establish a small portion of his concern and in the book i talk about the fact that my dad had hoped early on before he
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understood the circumstances and why i spoke up that i would march in the president's office give him a sharp salute and said how do we figure this out. but it was no doubt in his mind that i did the right thing and most of his concern was based on the fact that he feared for my safety and in his context it was when i was a small child he was 11 when stalin passed away so he did not understand what was going on at that point in time anyway the next leader and there were learning about the atrocities by joseph stalin were
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thousands and thousands of people, not thousands, millions of people were slaughtered and people were put into concentration camps in his mind that's the beginning of his awareness it got a little better and without my father's experience if you challenge autograph, he was concerned about my physical well-being and the impact on my twin brother who is still an active duty serving across the hall and then the impact on family and that is where he wanted me too be particular cautious and i was in a lot of ways not going to be deterred from doing what i thought was right and not basically taking half measures
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the way most people would feel comfortable taking which is how the department of defense prefer i water down my testimony and more reluctant of something of that nature and i wasn't going to do that. >> the whole thing is a movie arc it gives me chills i think about the score, is your dad in his 40s and gives you guys an opportunity and you get to the height of power in america and you make a decision whether or not to do the right thing in your father is a reason why you got into that position and you got that path and that history and saying to him that you learn from him don't worry dad i'll be fine for telling the truth. >> i think that is beautiful art i'm just sitting here today and
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does he feel that way that you did find by telling the truth, do you feel that way. >> in a certain way were idealistic and continuing that not because anything fell into my lap or because they worked hard he will make sure that my family -- that i can still provide for my family and i invested a lot of time pursuing a doctorate in consulting in a think tank he sees some of the things that i recovered and he probably didn't understand i know my objectives but haven't quite figured out my second career was going to be or what i
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want to do and i've described a couple of things i'm invested in but i'm not sure which one i want to do just that. we are still trained to figure out and going with the volunteering to figure out what we want to do next and really enjoy exploring a bunch of different options and working her to do that i had a conversation with governor arnold schwarzenegger promoting my book which is a unique opportunity it's like your hero who is the first hero and then pretty interesting things and this is something in there trying to do the right thing and complete certainty letting you
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know and why you work these things out there is a real problem i don't want to minimize that i think your story demonstrates that people that spoke out ended up feeling invested about themselves and the ended up in the long arc obviously that's true of you and others. she met they got some questions from the audience if you ask a question you can do text to chat i have a couple more on the topic i want to go to this question this asked what went through your head when trump was acquitted by senate republicans. did you know he would be removed from the white house that day and what did it make you think about your decision to come forward. >> i certainly didn't miss the
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fact that it was almost certain the president would be acquitted, there's never been a president in which a party has voted against the president and impeachment to remove him. there is no doubt that that happening in my counsel my legal counsel there are folks that are public and folks that are not in republican scholars that have selected a team of republicans to provide the situation and leveraging their access to the white house they could pick up a phone and say how are we doing try to minimize the follow-up for me. and there's no way they can be removed and they wanted me too take half measures but that's not my job my job is to provide factual testimony on what i'd witnessed and let the other
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folks decide in liver their decisions. i try to not overthink the entire arc of events that helps play out i was simply trained to do my part to respond to a subpoena and provide truthful testimony and leave it to senior folks that are accountable to their constituencies to make the decision and that was a vindictive administration and little doubt i was going to stay on and maybe after testimony that that didn't happen in the government and the council to wait and he waited a couple of days, that was an exciting part he is acquitted on wednesday and
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i'd be out by thursday and of course everybody knows firing day was friday that's when firing happen he was dramatic firing day so they waited until friday and you have to wait a couple extra days into send the message to anybody you have to make sure you had firing day. >> it is interesting that the president thought it would increase his exposure to impeachment to admire you. >> and taking this in a much better cheer another people would and again, on their behalf by the notion that that friday there was essentially a block out of the white house of you
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and your brother and you would decide to be guilty of association, walk me through that into me of the trump administration. and on the top 25. >> there is a central relief. >> equated to a couple of instances of life in the combat zone and landing in the u.s. and in the fishbowl and that was more emotional than serving in russia for three years and walking out of the white house they are similar in enormous sense of relief i was out of the lions den and had a little bit
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at that time i had confidence or some confidence that the army and the department of defense would look after me and i still had it clear in this point i mentioned i'm ready been selected for senior service college which is an extremely high cut only 7% and i was all but assured and i thought i could move on and figure out what to do initially there were discussions about doing something useful for this department of defense as an instructor in the country defense university but i pretty much bundle those wishful notions and i was offered a unique opportunity and yet to be in the army in about as far away from d.c. as possible and basically keeping us far away
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from the pentagon as possible in the capital everybody had plenty of indications that i was on shaky ground, very senior officials and not one of them is four-star and basically i was toast, but on that day it was a sense of relief and your brother there was that nice were you upset that he got wrapped in. >> he didn't deserve it but he was also in the same vein as i was he was investigating wrongdoing by the national security advisor o'brien and it was just the fact that he had the same face as me and the same last name he was also investigating a wrongdoing by senior officials and it was convenient for them to push them
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out and frankly i hadn't been addressed yet this is one of the examples of accountability and we hadn't had full accounting of wrongdoing. at the same time we walked out of the building with their heads held high and known that we had served honorably. >> talk about the politics of the day and a couple other questions from the audience, talk about the retirements aspect of this. when someone raves spun to be on twitter and said they were mostly upset at the military for not having you back in this regard it was a lengthy period to go over in the book trying to avoid this notion of whether you should retire or not, talk about why you waited so long and agonizing mission. >> in the department of defense to do the right thing.
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that's why i waited until the very, very last day and i can do it without incurring an additional service application because the army gives you orders and then sometimes you execute those orders and incur more service obligation. i dropped my retirement paper on the very last day i can do without incurring additional service obligation that could've been as lengthy as three years in a lot of ways it unfolded and justified my actions and i'll come around to that in a second but all the data points are collected from the seniors telling me very kindly being super forthright and being of the military and my prospects might be elsewhere and another one telling me as close as the sun and people would it take kindly to my actions just living
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up to my oath of office and staying true to my values and i talk about those in the book and ultimately the military not living up to protect them in statements made that i'll be okay returning back to the military and there would be investigations or and there were investigations into me based on false statements offered by the white house and the president chief of staff meadows mark meadows calling in the secretary of defense, the secretary of the army to did nelson for considering putting my name on the promotion list you know how far down in the weeds that is that is crazy stuff and ultimately like i said earlier dropping the paperwork on the last day was a wednesday and within two days i had my retirement orders people don't
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understand how improbable that is in the military is a year-long process it takes six months to get your orders they turned my orders in today's on that same day they pre-positioned a list i had been held up for months at that point they were supposed to come out in april and didn't release until july and they held it for months in the same day my retirement was approved and they were happy to put the list forward and i wouldn't be able to continue to serve in my twin brother is his story to tell and i don't want to go too far into it and he continues to suffer some of the same stigma with their proper actions to the state. >> that is insane to me in the black mark on the military and
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mark meadows coming after you and properly trained to investigate now holding imaginary cabinet meetings on a golf club and things have turned out all right in my comparison i want to get into some rampant politics stuff we have ten minutes left some of the questions for the audience me being curious what your take is from the audience a couple of them first what is your thought about the capital police after january 6 and how did your experience inform what you saw happen that day. >> it's atrocious i feel kinship with those folks because they are attacked by trumpets to figures and far right media for doing their jobs and holding the line in the critical moment for this nation and for democracy
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and i feel a sense of kinship and i tried to reach out to those folks and give them some support peter as well as other folks dig deeper into trump's retaliation on good order and discipline in folks that reported amy gallagher made a connection and in contact with them to change thoughts and send support to each other. it's horrible to do and it's interesting to have this conversation and i endure rapidfire arnold schwarzenegger was laser focused on unity and i completely agree with that and would love for this country to come together to set up side our differences but frankly we cannot do that with open wounds and absent accountability and shining a light on the big lies of the covid mismanagement that
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emerged of the house republicans and senate republicans failing to hold the president accountable all these things need to be dealt with to come together as a country. >> our next question from the audience what do you think trump will do it will be elected in 2024 and you think he's an aberration of a sign of the gop to come. >> i think, i don't think he's liable in 2024 and a think is liable in 2024 primarily because he continues to get smaller and smaller pieces of the pie and that is not a winning strategy and he's alive and well and prospering in a lot of ways but you have is a further radicalization of one's honorable party and until they
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break with tropism there are a lot of risks to our democracy. >> to quick foreign-policy questions i had to ask you you talking about the effort in iraq just looking back on that what was the failure there and one of the lessons learned from that in your background to understand the process really did work and selling the american democratic ideal not in iraq what was the take away from that. >> part of the part was an application of resources it was half measures by the american people and in part it justifies president biden's decision to withdraw from afghanistan because he senses there is no will to apply adequate resources to win the hearts and minds it will take a lot more in regards to the security of the population and a lot more to treasure and potentially lives
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lost and we didn't do the obviously in the administration with the amount of resources that were required to reveal the facts, i think that is probably at maybe there's an element of hubris and that he considers a sense, we can't but at the same time it's really a resource issue for those. >> afghanistan what is your sense of the withdrawal. >> deeply mixed feelings because of the expense and i keep asking myself why. . . .
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military and political objectives, we couldn't continue to pool resources there endlessly so i think the president ultimately is doing the right thing but there are things, there are checks that have not been cast yet and those include a check to those that helped us , those interpreters so that helped to this country and we need to get those people safe and secure >> one last question to me and a final from a special questioner. given your expertise what to expect next and what is the short-term expectation from russia as far as aggression in the bilateral relationship . >> it's been unchecked and it's been unchecked mainly because in the trump administration, even though a lot of the government was
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marching lockstep to implement a national security strategy, a statement from the chief executive or that russia could act with impunity . we needed along the way to deter russia from running bounties on us troops, from cyber attacks and we didn't do that because the teeth executive lost a lot of those . i think the biggest challenge in the short term is going to be reestablishing deterrence , indicating to the russians that they can't act with impunity but that is also going to increase the risks of confrontation because there is a mismatch between expectations and being held accountable we have to go through that passage and that's going to be a challenge or the biden administration. >> for sure. the real star of the book is your wife rachel. i recommend you follow her. she helped you gather a new team for the testimony. she helped you with the
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testimony itself. steals your family and i think a tough time, a lot of requests were coming in so i wanted to ask you one question based on the book that she thought i should ask you and she points to a section about the engagement. in your engagement you say in the book that she was badgering you to kind of get on with it so you sort of rushed the engagement and didn't do the beautiful picturesque engagement she hoped for and she says is it possible the fact that you were eager to be engaged and it was not her fault and given the fact you have a top-secret clearance it's hard to believe a little pressure from her was all it took for you to crack so what do you say tothat ? >> you're right, i was super eager to marry you but you can tell that story in your book, this is my book and that's the way history says
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it right now. encouragement for you to do yours. she was awesome. both my wife and my daughter, my twin brother. they were rocks throughout this whole thing and i'm very lucky to have them all. >> i'm grateful for your service lieutenant colonel vindman, i'm glad your dad made that decision all those years ago and on behalf of the commonwealth club i want to say to everybody our thanks to alexander vindman for joining us and by the book, is wonderful. there's much more we didn't get into. i'd like to thank the audience for watching and sending in questions and if you'd like to watch more programs or support the commonwealth club efforts in making virtual programming please visit commonwealth . thank you, stay safe, stay healthy. go tigers. we will see you all.


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