- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a retired US Army officer and key witness to the impeachment, told The Atlantic that President Donald Trump was a "useful idiot" for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- "You may or may not have dirt on it, but you don't have to use it," Vindman said. "You have more effective and less risky ways of hiring him."
- He said Trump "has aspirations to be the kind of leader Putin is and that's why he admires him," adding, "He likes authoritarian strong men who act with impunity and control. So he will try to get Putin too." like."
- Trump fired Vindman from the National Security Council in February after Vindman testified in impeachment hearings. Vindman eventually quit the military altogether after calling a "campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies".
- Vindman isn't the first national security officer to suggest Trump could be compromised by the Russians. Dan Coats, the former director of the national secret service, reportedly had "secret beliefs" that Putin had something to do with Trump.
- Former US spies expressed feelings similar to those of Insiders last year after the G7 summit when Trump strongly advocated the re-entry of Russia into the alliance.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former army officer and key witness to the impeachment, described President Donald Trump as a "useful idiot" who seeks to please Russian President Vladimir Putin an interview with The Atlantic Published Monday.
Trump "should be viewed as a useful idiot and fellow traveler, which makes him an ignorant agent of Putin," said Vindman Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic.
"You may or may not have dirt on it, but you don't have to use it," he continued. "You have more effective and less risky ways of hiring him. He aspires to be the kind of leader Putin is and that's why he admires him. He likes authoritarian strong men who act with impunity and control. So he will to do." try to please Putin. "
Vindman told the outlet that Trump is what the Army calls "free chicken," something that just comes to you with no extra work required.
Vindman was the leading Ukrainian expert on the National Security Council and had firsthand knowledge of Trump's infamous phone call asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden while Trump was holding key security measures and a meeting at the White House .
Vindman testified in the House of Representatives impeachment investigation against Trump last year, describing Trump's actions as "inappropriate" and "inappropriate".
After Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, he fired Vindman and his twin brother Yevgeny, who were not involved in the impeachment process, from the National Security Council.
Vindman quit the military altogether from what it characterized a Washington Post article as "a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies" that "forever limited the progress of my military career".
Vindman isn't the first national security official to question whether the president is an ignorant Russian asset.
Dan Coats, former director of national intelligence, had "a secret belief that had grown rather than diminished, despite not being backed by intelligence evidence that Putin had anything about Trump," wrote journalist Bob Woodward in his new book " Rage "" An early copy of this was obtained from Insider.
"Coats could see no other explanation" for the president's conduct, wrote Woodward.
Last year, after the G7 summit, current and former US spies expressed feelings similar to those of insiders when Trump advocated allowing Russia to join the alliance again.
Glenn Carle, a former undercover CIA agent and frequent Trump critic, told Insider that he had "no question" for years that the president was acting like a "spy for the Russians".
"The evidence is so overwhelming that I've never seen anything so certain in my 35 years on the secret service," said Carle. "Trump is clearly responding positively to praise. And over the years the handler – in this case, Putin – realizes what the asset wants, and that's what they offer. Trump wants to know he's the greatest, so keep telling him and again and again until he believes that this is the motivation for his action. "
Trump's "intent and strange personal fascination with President Putin is worth serious consideration," John Sipher, a former CIA secret agent who had spent 28 years with the agency, told Insider. "We have ample evidence that his actions and comments contradict both our allies and the professionals in his own administration. If the president violates intelligence analysis and the advice of numerous experienced professionals, it indicates that he is something else animated.
"Until the president makes the effort to articulate his own policies and views," he said, "I have no choice but to believe that he is in some way compromised."
Former FBI agent Peter Strzok repeated this in his new book, Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Donald Trump Threat. Strzok told NBC's Meet the Press over the weekend that Trump's financial interests in Moscow had put him in a position "where the Russians have control over him and are able to influence his actions."