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.
Vindman was one of the officials listening in on Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman expressed concerns about the call at the time and later complied with a congressional subpoena and testified about the call before the House Committee overseeing impeachment.
On Friday, Trump fired Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, a career military official and Purple Heart recipient. To add insult to injury, Trump had Vindman escorted out by security.
Vindman's twin brother, a fellow National Security Council employee, was fired as well, despite never testifying against the President and playing no role in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump took to Twitter defending his decision.
Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about “Lt. Col.” Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Ac… https://t.co/5A9tYC1oFv— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1581172869.0
....was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had pro… https://t.co/7wDwzPyqzn— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1581172869.0
Trump claimed he fired Vindman due to a "horrendous report" from his superior. A Republican congressman brought this report up during Vindman's testimony, only for Vindman to read the glowing report from that same superior.
It was Trump's claim that Vindman incorrectly reported the contents of Trump's "perfect" calls which, to many, indicated the real reasons for ousting Vindman.
When @realDonaldTrump says he got rid of Vindman because Vindman “reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrect… https://t.co/nrylQW1aqU— George Conway (@George Conway)1581340720.0
Both Don Jr. and now Trump himself have confirmed that Vindman was fired for testifying that Trump's call was not "… https://t.co/dqxNm7nqQS— Adrienne Cobb (@Adrienne Cobb)1581173749.0
@realDonaldTrump @CNN You RETALIATED against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, you petty Liddle' chump. He was awarded t… https://t.co/ma8e2Dgfbg— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!)1581185145.0
Well, this certainly undermines the NSC line that Vindman's departure was due to regular staffing changes, and bols… https://t.co/TX5MTnXJVY— Grace Segers (@Grace Segers)1581173671.0
It appears @realDonaldTrump confirmed he dumped Vindman because of his testimony. Comes as no surprise, but POTUS i… https://t.co/E5xlPFV1EL— Brian J. Karem (@Brian J. Karem)1581189907.0
@realDonaldTrump @CNN Vindman complied with a Congressional subpoena, unlike others in your administration who stil… https://t.co/Z1XghBtXsa— D Villella ❄️ (@D Villella ❄️)1581180319.0
If it was a "perfect" phone call, why is Donald firing everybody who told the truth about it?— bad websites (@bad websites)1581249866.0
@realDonaldTrump @CNN Sounds like a retaliatory firing to me.— super mom Ⓜ️💥💥🇺🇸 (@super mom Ⓜ️💥💥🇺🇸)1581307734.0
Since firing Vindman, Trump also fired ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified before Congress as well. Sondland had donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration.
For the most detailed look inside the Trump White House yet, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.