President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he expected the military to consider disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the ousted National Security Council official who testified in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Speaking to reporters from the Oval Office, Trump repeatedly tied Vindman’s ouster to his testimony and said it would be up to the military what to do with Vindman — who will reportedly return to the Army after being escorted out of the White House last week alongside his brother, who was also ousted from the NSC despite not testifying.
“That’s going to be up to the military, we’ll have to see,” Trump told a reporter who asked if he thought the military should take disciplinary action against Vindman.
“But if you look at what happened, I mean, they’re going to certainly, I’d imagine, take a look at that,” he added. “What he did was, he reported a false call.”
Vindman listened in on the now-infamous July 25 phone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue investigations into Trump’s political rivals. Vindman later testified behind closed doors and in a public hearing about what he’d heard the President say.
In the Oval Office Tuesday, Trump repeatedly connected Vindman’s ouster to his testimony.
“I obviously wasn’t happy with the job he did,” Trump said of Vindman. “First of all, he reported a false call.”
“The military can handle him any way they want,” Trump added later.
Vindman and his brother’s ouster from the NSC Friday came as Democrats expressed fear that Trump would seek retaliation against impeachment probe witnesses in the wake of the Senate’s acquittal of him on both impeachment charges against him.
Also on Friday, another impeachment probe witness, Gordon Sondland, said he had been recalled as the ambassador to the European Union.
And on Tuesday, four career Justice Department prosecutors withdrew from the department’s case against Roger Stone — and, in two cases, resigned from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. entirely — as the department prepared to release a watered down sentencing recommendation that was more favorable to Stone. The Trump friend and adviser was found guilty of all counts against him in November.
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