Alexander Vindman, Army Officer Who Testified Against Trump, Escorted Out Of White House
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated Army officer who served as the Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, was escorted out of the White House on Friday after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump would be punishing people who testified during his impeachment trial.
Vindman is a national security official who testified about his knowledge of a July call with the Ukrainian president that set off Trump’s impeachment inquiry and proceedings. Up until Friday, Vindman worked in the White House and his term in the NSC would have ended in July.
The White House planned to inform Vindman that he was being moved into a role at the Pentagon, The Washington Post reported late Thursday night, citing two people familiar with the plan.
Vindman had previously told senior officers that he planned to leave his posting early, The Washington Post reported, but Trump reportedly wanted to make him a target for his fury.
The officer’s attorney confirmed to ABC News that Vindman was escorted from the White House on Friday, adding that he was “asked to leave for telling the truth.”
“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,” attorney David Pressman said in a statement. “LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”
Vindman’s attorneys did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Vindman was the first person to testify in the House’s impeachment hearings who had personally listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, and he told lawmakers he repeatedly expressed concerns to his superiors that Trump’s behavior was inappropriate.
Trump’s allies moved to smear Vindman at the time, despite his extensive military career and résumé, but the officer said he acted out of a “sense of duty” rather than fear of retribution.
“Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth,” Vindman told his father during his remarks in November.
Despite hopes from some Republicans that Trump might have learned his “lesson” after being impeached, the president has signaled that he plans to continue to target his political opponents. He attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as a “horrible person” on Thursday during what he called an acquittal “celebration.” He called the investigations into his actions “evil” and has all but assured that he plans to use the outcome to drum up support and fundraising going into his 2020 reelection campaign.
The Post noted Thursday that Trump’s ire may extend throughout the White House to other administration officials who spoke or testified during the impeachment inquiry. During the House impeachment hearings, dozens of current and former officials detailed the president’s demand that the leader of Ukraine announce that he was opening an investigation into a political rival, Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter.
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