President Trump weighed in on the ouster of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council in a Saturday morning tweet, appearing to bolster the White House’s references to “retribution” following the Senate’s acquittal of both impeachment charges against him.
Following his acquittal by the Senate Wednesday, the White House issued a statement asking: “Will there be no retribution?”
While speaking to reporters Friday, Trump said that he was “not happy” with Vindman when asked to respond to reports that he was leaving. Later Friday, Vindman’s attorney David Pressman said in a statement that his client “was escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his President.”
“You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not,” Trump said Friday. “They’ll make that decision. You’ll be hearing.”
Trump’s Saturday morning tweet dug in further, claiming that he didn’t know Vindman and that he reported “contents of my ‘perfect’ calls” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “incorrectly.”
….was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, “OUT”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
Although Trump’s Saturday morning tweet was his first to directly mention Vindman’s ouster, within hours after news broke Friday of Vindman’s ouster, the President retweeted his son Donald Trump Jr.’s take on it.
On the bright side, he may still be able to take the defense minister position in the Ukraine that he was offered a few times. https://t.co/xcFxaziD8r
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 7, 2020
U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland also became the second impeachment witness to lose his job Friday. The ousters of Sondland and Vindman followed reports that Trump was looking to purge administration officials who testified in the House impeachment inquiry into his pressure campaign on Ukraine.
Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, the senior NSC lawyer who did not testify in the impeachment probe, was also removed from his post, according to Politico and The New York Times.