Time honors impeachment witnesses as 'Guardians of the Year'

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Public servants who blew the whistle on Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine get a special shout-out in Time magazine's 'Person of the Year' issue.

Government employees who risked their careers by exposing Donald Trump's efforts to force an American ally to investigate his political rivals were named "Guardians of the Year" by Time magazine on Wednesday.

Time's coveted "Person of the Year" award went to youth climate activist Greta Thornberg.

Time wrote that people like the whistleblower whose complaint first sparked the House impeachment inquiry into Trump, as well as career officials — including former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, diplomat Bill Taylor, National Security Council adviser Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, foreign service officer David Holmes, and former NSC expert Fiona Hill — all deserved plaudits for speaking out about Trump's attempts to wield the powers of the presidency for personal political gain.

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"For each, the decision to step forward came at a cost," Time wrote. "None expected to become household names or to find their faces on televisions across the country night after night. And though each followed the rules and used the proper channels, some have found themselves vilified online, their decades of government service impugned and their background questioned."

Vindman's patriotism, for example, was questioned, with Republicans smearing him as a double-agent. The Purple Heart recipient and his family had immigrated to the United States from Ukraine — then part of the former Soviet Union — when Vindman a young child, fleeing religious persecution. Vindman is now an American citizen and was wounded while fighting for the U.S. military in Iraq, in 2004.

Time wrote that the public servants had come forward to report Trump's actions toward Ukraine — for which he now faces articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of justice — despite Trump's threats.

Trump has called the anonymous whistleblower a traitor who should be executed and repeatedly smeared the impeachment witnesses as Never-Trumpers, claiming about Yovanovitch specifically that "everywhere [she] went turned bad."

Time also noted that the public servants deserved praise for putting their country first.

"In shouldering the 241-year principle of speaking truth before the American people, each performed a duty," Time wrote. "The first day on the job, every federal employee takes an oath, swearing to the same promise the President-elect pledges on the West Front of the Capitol-: to defend the Constitution. The courage they summoned was not to break the law, but to follow it."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.