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Former Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman will serve as a visiting fellow at Penn’s Perry World House this academic year. (Photo by Mykola Lazarenko | CC BY 4.0)

One of the main figures in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will serve as a visiting fellow at Penn’s Perry World House this academic year.

Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was fired from the White House National Security Council in February, played a central role in the scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives in late 2019.

Vindman’s appointment as a Perry World House visiting fellow is the latest step in his transformation from a little-known government official to a prominent anti-Trump national security figure.

Vindman testified against Trump last November, telling the House that the president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “improper” and concerning. At the time, Vindman was the White House’s top Ukraine expert. Trump fired Vindman from his post in the administration’s National Security Council in February, shortly after the Senate voted to acquit the president. 

In July, Vindman officially retired from military service after his promotion to colonel was held up by the Trump administration. He had earned a Purple Heart after being injured in combat while serving in Iraq.

“I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career,” Vindman wrote in an August op-ed in the Washington Post.

In the months following his exit from military service, Vindman launched a Twitter account, gained over 400,000 followers, and became a doctoral student at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Vindman and 22 others were announced as Perry World House visiting fellows for the 2020/21 academic year on Sunday afternoon. 

Other high-profile visiting fellows for the year include former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

"Traditionally, Perry World House’s Visiting Fellows engage with students and faculty in lectures, public events, workshops, and office hours," the announcement read. "Since March, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced Penn’s operations online, Perry World House has developed the tools to allow for virtual visitors, leveraging technology to introduce innovative ideas to students, faculty, and the broader public policy community."

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