White House Fires Alexander Vindman
Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry, was fired from the National Security Council and escorted out of the White House on Friday, CNN first reported.
Vindman’s attorney, David Pressman, confirmed his client’s termination and subsequent removal from the White House.
“Today, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his President. He does so having spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress,” Pressman said in a statement.
“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. [He] was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful,” the lawyer added.
“LTC Alexander Vindman leaves the White House today. But we must not accept the departure of truth, duty, and loyalty that he represents. In this country right matters, and so does truth,” he concluded.
CNN also reported that Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny, a lawyer on the NSC, was also fired and escorted off the property.
The development comes after Bloomberg News reported Thursday evening that Vindman’s removal was likely as part of a plan to cut down the Trump administration’s foreign policy bureaucracy. Asked by reporters earlier Friday whether Vindman was set to be removed, President Trump replied: “I’m not happy with him. You think I’m supposed to be happy with him?… They’re going to be making that decision.”
Vindman served as the NSC’s expert on Ukraine and monitored the July 25 telephone between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A partisan CIA officer alleged in a whistleblower complaint that the president seemingly attempted to exchange U.S. security aid to Ukraine for an investigation into allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. RealClearPolitics first reported that the whistleblower is suspected to be the Eric Ciaramella, who left the NSC in mid-2017 due to concerns about negative leaks to the media to re-join the CIA. Both world leaders have denied the whistleblower’s accusations and the White House released a transcript of their call as evidence that no wrongdoing occurred.
In his October testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Vindman criticized the Trump-Zelensky call and claimed that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower.
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Vindman told lawmakers.
“I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and [gas company] Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play, which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained,” he continued.
“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” he added. “Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.”
Several Republicans such as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have repeatedly accused Vindman of leaking details of the call to the whistleblower.
“Alexander Vindman broke the chain of command and leaked the contents of the President’s July 25th phone call to his pal, the ‘whistleblower.’ Over a policy dispute with the President! How is that not vindictive?” the Tennessee Republican tweeted last month.