In his first interview since testifying against President Trump during the impeachment trial earlier this year and subsequently leaving the U.S. Army after what he described as "a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation", retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman used some colorful, poultry-based imagery to describe how he views Trump's relationship to Russian Federation.
Vindman, however, denies that he was the whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump's call to Ukraine.
He told Holt that it was not bitterness or anger that compelled him to speak out against Trump for the interview.
Vindman said he is speaking out about the president in hopes of encouraging Americans to "choose an alternative to what we have" in Trump, and after the president "attacked and politicized me directly".
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Vindman testified in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial previous year, claiming to have witnessed Trump pressure the Ukrainian President in a phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
He argued that he had been nonpartisan before impeachment but now was "absolutely" a Never Trumper. "They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him", Vindman said, adding that Trump looks up to Putin and wants to emulate him.
Vindman served for 21 years in the military, but retired because "it has been made clear that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited", David Pressman, Vindman's lawyer, said. He also left the Army but says nobody told him he had to leave.
"If the president were not to be re-elected, for instance, I probably could have continued on but that's a huge if", he told Holt.
Vindman was an important witness for Democrats during the House impeachment inquiry.
"That memorandum that I had classified, the White House leaked to the Republicans, a classified memo, to try to trip me up", Vindman told NBC News. "I have assumed a - what I analyze to be a significant amount of personal risk, reputational risk to come out here and to talk to you with one hope in mind".