President Donald Trump’s organization on Friday removed the two witnesses who gave the most harming declaration during his impeachment examination: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Two days after Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate on charges of attempting to constrain Ukraine to research a political opponent, Vindman — the top Ukraine master at the White House’s National Security Council — was accompanied out of the structure, as per his legal counselor.
“Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth,” said his lawyer, David Pressman.
Hours later, Sondland said he had been fired from his post as U.S ambassador to the European Union. The two men served as star witnesses during the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation last year. Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, who worked as a lawyer at the NSC, also was escorted out of the White House, according to Michael Volkov, who represented Vindman when he testified in the impeachment inquiry. Trump has said he is still upset with Democrats and government officials involved in the impeachment investigation, even after he was acquitted on Wednesday.
“I’m not happy with him. You think I’m supposed to be happy with him?” he said of Vindman on Friday.
An NSC spokesman declined to comment. Vindman, a decorated combat veteran, testified in November that he “couldn’t believe what I was hearing” when he listened in on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskiy that became the focus of the inquiry. Trump asked Zelenskiy to launch investigations into both Democratic rival Joe Biden and a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, colluded with Democrats to harm Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Sondland, a wealthy Republican donor and Oregon hotelier who served as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, testified that he was following Trump’s orders when he pushed Ukrainian officials to carry out investigations sought by the president.
“I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve,” he said.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sondland’s removal.
“This is as clear a case of retribution as I’ve seen during my 27 years in the Senate,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Biden’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination suffered a serious setback when he came in fourth place at the Democrats’ first state contest in Iowa this week. Vindman’s two-year stretch at the White House had been because of end in July. An Army representative said the two siblings had been reassigned to the Army, however declined to give additional data “keeping in mind their protection.” Another senior White House helper who affirmed over impeachment, Jennifer Williams, left for the current week for a post at the U.S. military’s Central Command, as indicated by Bloomberg News.
Vindman minimized worries that he would languish recompense over standing up when he vouched for Congress. “I will be fine for coming clean,” he said.
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