The Hill

Though former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter weren't the ones on trial in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, they played a key role in the historic event.

In case you need a refresher, the President was impeached for withholding congressionally approved aid to pressure Ukraine's president to open investigations into the Bidens. Trump later claimed that Hunter Biden's board position with a Ukrainian energy company—and his father's calls to fire the prosecutor investigating the company—amounted to corruption.

Wrongdoing on the part of the Bidens is widely thought to be little more than a conspiracy theory, but with Joe Biden's campaign revived after the Super Tuesday primaries, Republicans are now setting their sights on reviving the investigation as well.

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Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images // David McNew/Getty Images

President Donald Trump replaced former Acting Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with longtime Trump ally and ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. The move came after Trump rebuffed Coats for announcing Russia's ongoing attempts to interfere in the 2020 election.

Grenell was deemed vastly unqualified for the position, to the point that officials had to assure Americans that the new Director of National Intelligence would be announced soon.

Trump said he was considering his longtime ally in Congress, Representative Doug Collins (R-GA), for the position...but there's just one problem.

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Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images // Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Just two days after the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump in its impeachment trial, Trump began taking revenge against key figures who testified before the House Committee overseeing impeachment.

Trump started by firing Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images // Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was among the first to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in its impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Vindman was one of the officials listening in on Trump's infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and later complied with a Congressional subpoena to testify regarding the call.

As a result, his character was attacked during his testimony, while lawmakers and pundits alike even questioned his allegiance to the United States. The White House's official Twitter account even tweeted a graphic criticizing Vindman's decades long career in the military.

Now, with Trump acquitted, it appears the aspersions against Vindman aren't over.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the White House considered dismissing Vindman from the National Security Council, with intentions to paint the dismissal as a general downsizing, rather than vengeance.

The next day, Vindman was dismissed and escorted out of the White House by security.

Vindman's twin brother, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny S. Vindman, was fired from his position as an NSC lawyer and escorted out as well, despite playing no part in the impeachment inquiry and never testifying against the President.

The Lieutenant Colonel A. Vindman's attorney, David Pressman, said of the decision:

"There is no question in the mind of any American why this man's job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House. Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful."

Vindman's testimony last November garnered spontaneous applause from observers when one lawmaker asked him why he decided to come forward:

"Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all of my brothers have served. And here, right matters."

He also assured his father—an immigrant who escaped the Soviet Union—that no harm would come to him because of his testimony:

"Dad, my sitting here today, in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth."

Now dismissed from the NSC in an unmistakably vindictive move, it's unclear whether or not Vindman was right.

People were outraged at the White House's decision.

Meanwhile, numerous Trump supporters on Twitter are calling for Vindman to be tried for treason for testifying against the President.


On Friday evening, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland announced that he had been dismissed from his post as well. Sondland, appointed after donating $1 million to Trump's inauguration, testified in the impeachment inquiry last year that "everyone was in the loop" on the dealings in Ukraine—including the President.

Sondland said:

"I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union."

Check out the book How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky, available here.

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address to Congress and members of the Supreme Court on Tuesday night.

The speech was rife with some of Trump's most famous lies. He claimed to be working to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, despite his administration fighting the Affordable Care Act in court. He painted undocumented immigrants as murderous "aliens." He claimed he'd sign a bill to lower prescription drug prices without mentioning the House drug pricing bill currently dying in the Senate.

Trump peppered the speech with made-for-tv moments—scholarship announcements, impromptu medals of freedom, soldiers reuniting with families—intended to please his supporters.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wasn't satisfied with the speech.

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JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images // Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Congressman Justin Amash (I-MI) left the Republican Party in July of last year after frustration with its enabling of President Donald Trump.

Since then, Amash has publicly taken Trump and others to task for lying, and he sided with Democrats in favor of Trump's impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Amash is at it again after Trump tried to dismiss new allegations by former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who wrote in a manuscript of his upcoming memoir that Trump sought to withhold congressionally approved aid from Ukraine until its President announced investigations into the Bidens.

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During the House's impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump last year, Republicans challenged Democrats to find a law that Trump broke by withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, pressuring the country's officials to open an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Some House Democrats insisted that Trump violated the Impoundment Control Act, a 1974 law limiting the President's ability to withhold funds already allocated by Congress.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the highest audit institution of the U.S. federal government, just took those Democrats' side.

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