Vindman: Trump’s NATO threat likely a ‘contributing factor’ in Navalny’s death

Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman argued that former President Trump’s recent comments about NATO are likely a “contributing factor” in the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“Donald Trump invited Vladimir Putin to attack NATO. I would say that that probably was a contributing factor in the calculus around the assassination of Navalny,” Vindman told MSNBC’s Michael Steele Friday.

Vindman’s comments come just a week after Navalny died in prison. The Biden administration has blamed Russia’s government for the death, but Russia has said he died of natural causes.

The GOP presidential front-runner sparked international concern after he said he would encourage attacks on NATO members that failed to meet defense spending commitments.

Vindman said Russia killed Navalny, who rose to fame for his opposition of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a way to test the waters.

“That is a signal that Russia is ready to be more aggressive because it…has a sense of impunity,” he said. “Why? Because Trump is not just the likely Republican nominee, he’s the head of the Republican Party.”

“He issues marching orders to Speaker Johnson. He issues marching orders to this radical MAGA, a political establishment that is now their Republican House,” Vindman continued.

He argued that the House is in “absolute paralysis” after Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) recessed the House last week before bringing a Senate-passed Ukraine aid package to the floor for a vote. Johnson has expressed opposition to the deal, which would provide Ukraine with $60 billion in aid for its war against Russia on the two-year anniversary of the Kremlin’s invasion.

Vindman, a key witness in Trump’s first impeachment, noted his wife is worried that if Trump is reelected, they will have to flee the country.

“What I try to do is I try to raise the alarm and this should sound alarming to the American public. The threat of MAGA, the threat of Trump is real,” he said. “It is not a threat in the distant future, November, or if he gets seated again in January.”

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