The Atlantic: John Kelly says Vindman was right to report Trump’s call with Zelensky

“Having seen something ‘questionable (in the call),’ Vindman properly notified his superiors,” Kelly said at an event at Drew University, according to the magazine. “When subpoenaed by Congress in the House impeachment hearings, Vindman complied and told the truth.”

“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” he said, according to the magazine. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

In addition to heaping praise on Vindman for his conduct during Wednesday night’s 75-minute question-and-answer session, Kelly offered a litany of “misgivings” about his former boss, according to The Atlantic. He reportedly took issue with Trump’s characterization in 2015 of Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals, telling attendees that “it’s wrong to characterize them that way.” He also cast doubt on Trump’s attempts to get North Korea to denuclearize, saying he “never did think (Kim Jong Un) would do anything other than play us for a while.”

Kelly, who left the White House under contentious circumstances in January 2019, has occasionally voiced criticisms of the Trump administration since leaving his post, but his comments on Wednesday are perhaps the furthest he’s gone in his rebuke of the administration over the last year.

Last month, Kelly said he believes John Bolton’s allegation that Trump told the former national security adviser that US security aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation of the President’s political rivals, adding that Bolton should be heard from. At the time, congressional Democrats were trying to get the Senate to subpoena Bolton to testify during Trump’s impeachment trial but the efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

In October, Kelly said the President would not be in the middle of an impeachment process if he were still chief of staff, implying that White House advisers could have prevented it. He also said before he left the White House he advised Trump on hiring his replacement.

“I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” Kelly said at the time. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

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