When former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly tried defending Lt. Col. Vindman, he made a major mistake. That isn’t in dispute. What’s still in question is whether it was a mistake or whether it was intentional.

Vindman was rightly disturbed by Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, Kelly suggested: Having seen something “questionable,” Vindman properly notified his superiors, Kelly said.

In his testimony, Lt. Col. Vindman said that his first call was to a lawyer. His first call should have been to Tim Morrison. This actually happened during Jim Jordan’s cross-examination of Lt. Col. Vindman:

During Jordan’s cross-examination, Lt. Col. Vindman said that he first called a lawyer named John Eisenberg. Later, Lt. Col. Vindman testified that he attempted to contact “Tim Morrison, the former top Russia and Europe adviser on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council.”

Jordan followed up, saying “Not only didn’t you go to your boss. You said you tried but you didn’t go to your boss, you went straight to the lawyer and the lawyer told you not to go to your boss? Lt. Col. Vindman replied “No, he didn’t tell me until — what ended up unfolding is I had the conversation with the attorney, I did my coordination. I did my core function, which is coordination. I spoke with the appropriate people in the interagency and then I circled back around to Mr. Eisenberg told me not to talk with anyone else.”

Congressman Jordan then read from the transcript. He asked Lt. Col. Vindman “Why didn’t you go to your direct report, Mr. Morrison? This is page 102. Because Mr. Eisenberg had told me to take my concerns to him. Then I asked you ‘Did Mr. Eisenberg tell you not to report, to go around Mr. Morrison?’ And you said “Actually, he did say that, that you shouldn’t talk to any other people. Is that right?'”

That’s a pretty major difference. At the time of the call, Tim Morrison was the top Russia and Europe adviser on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council. According to this article, “Moments after President Trump ended his phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25, an unsettled national security aide rushed to the office of White House lawyer John Eisenberg.”

I’m betting that Gen. Kelly doesn’t think that the military trains its officers to go around the military’s chain of command. That wouldn’t make sense. In that light, Gen. Kelly’s previous comment sounds more like a generic defense of Lt. Col. Vindman than a full-throated defense of Lt. Col. Vindman. It also sounds a bit like sour grapes.

The truth is that Lt. Col. Vindman isn’t the hero that the MSM consistently portrays him as. Lt. Col. Vindman is a military veteran who earned a Purple Heart. For that, I salute him. For his work at the NSC, I thank him but I don’t think of him as a hero.

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