Dems Strike Back After Trump Fires Vindman And Sondland
There is an old saying: “when you come for the king you better not miss.” President Donald Trump proved that theory days after he was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial as he exacted his revenge on two key witnesses.
Trump Draws First Blood On Vindman
War veteran Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was born in the Ukraine, was removed from his post at the National Security Council on Friday and escorted from the White House. His twin brother, NSC attorney Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman was fired along with him, CNN reported.
“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 attorney David Pressman said. “LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”
He said that Yevgeny was fired “suddenly and with no explanation, despite over two decades of loyal service to this country.” Alex Vindman is expected to continue to work for the Pentagon though it is unknown what his role will be.
“We welcome back all of our service members, wherever they serve, to any assignment they are given,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. “We can confirm that both Lt. Cols. Vindman have been reassigned to the Department of the Army, out of respect for their privacy, we will not be providing any further information at this time,” he said.
A source told CNN that Vindman believed he would still be able to do his job at the NSC, even after his testimony, but found that was not the case when he went back.
“Alex was a bit naïve about it at first — because he believed that since he did what he thought was right, things would work out,” the source said. “But it eventually became clear that wasn’t how things were going to go this time.”
Gordon Sondland Thanks Trump
European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland was the second person to be fired by the president on Friday. He issued a statement thanking the commander-in-chief for the opportunity to serve, even though most believed he was fired as an act of vengeance for his testimony during the House impeachment inquiry.
“I was advised today that the President intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union,” he said. “I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. I am proud of our accomplishments. Our work here has been the highlight of my career.”
But top Democrats were not as forgiving of the president as they issued damning statements against his actions.
““Lieutenant Colonel Vindman has proven to be an American patriot: on the battlefield when he earned a Purple Heart, and in the House trial when he spoke truth to power. His brave testimony showed America that right still matters,” House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi said.
“President Trump is impeached forever. The shameful firing of Colonel Vindman was a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President’s fear of the truth. The President’s vindictiveness is precisely what led Republican Senators to be accomplices to his cover-up. The firing of this patriotic soldier is a sad and shameless loss for America’s security. History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American hero,” she said.
“Lt. Col. Vindman did his job. As a soldier in Iraq, he received a Purple Heart. Then he displayed another rare form of bravery — moral courage. He complied with a subpoena and told the truth. He upheld his oath when others would not. Right matters to him. And to us,” Rep. Adam Schiff said.
“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 said.
An advisor to the president told CNN that the move was “Flushing out the pipes,” said that “It was necessary.” And the president’s son, Donald trump Jr., echoed that mindset.
“Allow me a moment to thank—and this may be a bit of a surprise—Adam Schiff. Were it not for his crack investigation skills, @realDonaldTrump might have had a tougher time unearthing who all needed to be fired. Thanks, Adam!” he said.