WASHINGTON — The White House is set to remove Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Jewish staffer who was among the first to raise flags about President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate a political rival, from the National Security Council.
Trump said on Friday that he was unhappy with Vindman, and two senior White House officials told the New York Times that Vindman would be reassigned to the Pentagon.
“Well I’m not happy with him — you think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not,” Trump said. Pressed as to whether he would seek Vindman’s removal, he said, “They’ll be making that decision,” without specifying to whom he was referring.
Vindman’s removal from the National Security Council, which shapes national security policy, comes just days after Trump was acquitted by the Republican-led US Senate in an impeachment trial that centered on Trump’s Ukraine dealings.
Vindman testified to Congress during impeachment hearings that he alerted his superiors immediately after listening to the call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, believing that Trump was signaling that he would withhold critical defense aid if Ukraine did not investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Vindman said during his testimony that his father, who in the 1970s fled from the former Soviet Union with his Jewish family, feared that his speaking out would bring retaliation.