Friday’s removal of Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council reflects President Donald Trump’s “campaign of intimidation” against those who testified in impeachment hearings, Vindman’s attorney said.
Trump on Friday removed Vindman, a high-ranking U.S. army official, from his position as an expert on US policy in Ukraine. He also recalled Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
The moves offered an answer to the question of who would pay a price for offering damaging testimony about Trump’s Ukraine dealings. Both Vindman and Sondland testified against Trump in the House of Representatives, providing damaging testimony that led to Trump’s impeachment. Their removal comes just days after Trump was acquitted by the Republican-led U.S. Senate in an impeachment trial.
“The truth has cost Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy,” his attorney, David Pressman, said in a statement, adding that Trump had “made a series of obviously false statements concerning Lieutenant Colonel Vindman.”
Also on Friday, Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was asked to leave his job as a White House lawyer. Both Vindmans, Jews who immigrated with their father from Ukraine in 1979, were reassigned to the Army.
Trump defended his decision in a series of tweets Saturday.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Calif., who was lead prosecutor in Trump’s impeachment hearing in the Senate, criticized the firings.
“President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward, and testified about his misconduct. These are the actions of a man who believes he is above the law — Precisely the kind of conduct Congressional Republicans enabled,” he tweeted.