The White House Fired Lt. Col. Vindman and Had Him Escorted Out by Security Two Days After Trump's Acquittal
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.
News — Lt. Col. Vindman was just escorted out of the White House by security and told his services were no longer needed.— Kaitlan Collins (@Kaitlan Collins)1581108429.0
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.
Escorting Lt. Col. Vindman from the White House today was Trump’s petty idea of revenge against the holder of a Pur… https://t.co/v7GkkX3buR— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe)1581108880.0
This is reprehensible. There was no need to humiliate Vindman this way, nor was it appropriate to retaliate against… https://t.co/SJxWt7G7qQ— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub)1581109342.0
This is what the slide from democracy looks like. Whistle blowers and patriots are purged. "Vindman was just esc… https://t.co/q801lyBCY0— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman)1581108858.0
You can serve honorably or you can serve Trump, but it is impossible to do both. Forever grateful that Vindman chos… https://t.co/feejaeJxis— Matthew Miller (@Matthew Miller)1581093689.0
Lt. Col. Vindman is a Purple Heart recipient, a son of Jewish refugees who served his country. He spoke up knowing… https://t.co/eaj0BX9ZWQ— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali)1581089393.0
When Lt. Col. Vindman heard what Trump said, he knew it was wrong & he said something about it. He knew it was wro… https://t.co/NtsicNwQnV— Sean Patrick Maloney (@Sean Patrick Maloney)1581092020.0
We were all kicked out of the WH today. It’s no longer the people’s house: Vindman, who provided key impeachment te… https://t.co/XTQ3c0FwIz— Frank Figliuzzi (@Frank Figliuzzi)1581109066.0
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.
"I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union."