Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Democrats’ key witness in their impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, was fired from the National Security Council and escorted out of the White House on Friday, Feb. 7.
Vindman’s attorney, David Pressman confirmed Vindman’s termination in a statement.
“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.
“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.
The news came after reports that Vindman’s removal was likely part of a plan to shrink the White House’s foreign policy bureaucracy.
President Trump, when asked earlier Friday about the reports, told reporters that he was “not happy with him.”
“You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not,” the president said. “They’ll make that decision. You’ll be hearing. They’ll make a decision.”
Pressman accused President Trump of exacting “revenge” on his client.
“He did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day: He followed orders, he obeyed his oath, and he served his country, even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal peril,” Pressman said. “And for that, the most powerful man in the world—buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit—has decided to exact revenge.”
Vindman, who monitored the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, criticized it as inappropriate during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Though Vindman admitted to the lawmakers in the House to speaking about the call with two individuals not in the White House, he claimed that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower.
Several Republicans have repeatedly accused Vindman of leaking information of the call to the whistleblower and being a disgruntled officer, with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) arguing that Vindman fits the profile of a Never-Trumper.
“A significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch have never accepted President Trump as legitimate and resent his unorthodox style,” Johnson said. “It is entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile.”
During the impeachment hearings, Senior NSC official Timothy Morrison, who was Vindman’s former boss, testified that Vindman’s bosses had numerous concerns over his leaking problem and other issues.
Top official Tim Morrison said Alexander Vindman’s bosses had a lot of concerns about him:
- Potential leaker
- Did not keep his bosses in the loop on what he was doing
- Went around his bosses’ backs
- Was mad he was cut out of working on Ukraine pic.twitter.com/Z9qgSVs9dt
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 19, 2019
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who listened to Vindman’s testimony, said he would agree with the White House decision to fire Vindman.
“I’d fire him,” Massie wrote. “I listened to his testimony in the SCIF. He’s a leaker, not a whistleblower. Vindman was upset that @realDonaldTrump didn’t follow the script Vindman prepared for the phone call. Current Commander in Chief doesn’t take orders from a Lt. Col.”