World Impeachment Witness Alexander Vindman Will Be Transferred From the White House

21:25  07 february  2020
21:25  07 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Impeachment witness Alexander Vindman and his twin brother were abruptly fired and escorted from the White House as part of Trump's payback. Vindman was a key witness in the impeachment inquiry into Trump and directly listened in on the July 25 phone call at the center of the investigation.

Alexander Vindman — who testified against President Trump during the House impeachment proceedings — was booted from the White House Friday along with his brother, who is also an Army officer. A White House spokesman said they do not comment on personnel matters. With Post wires.

a group of people in uniform: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman preparing to testify during the House impeachment inquiry in November.© Erin Schaff/The New York Times Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman preparing to testify during the House impeachment inquiry in November.

The White House plans to transfer Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, whose testimony in the House impeachment hearings infuriated President Trump and his allies, out of the National Security Council staff as early as Friday, two senior administration officials said.

Mr. Trump essentially confirmed the move in brief comments with reporters before leaving on a day trip to North Carolina. “I’m not happy with him,” the president said of Colonel Vindman. His senior officials, he added, would inform the colonel of his future soon. “They’ll make that decision.”

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Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official who testified in the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, has He has spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress," said Vindman's attorney, David Pressman, in a statement.

Alexander Vindman Alexander Vindman CIA impeachment whistleblower forced to live under surveillance due to threats: report Alexander Vindman to Yevgeny Vindman, Vindman’s twin brother who also works at the NSC, was also escorted from the White House and removed from his position

It was not immediately clear where he would next be sent within the Defense Department, one administration official said, but Colonel Vindman is on active duty in the military.

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The action comes just days after Mr. Trump was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial that turned in part on the testimony of Colonel Vindman and other administration officials who described a campaign to pressure Ukraine into announcing corruption investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.

Mr. Trump made clear as recently as Thursday his personal antipathy for Colonel Vindman, who oversaw American policy toward Ukraine on the National Security Council staff and whose twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, works as a lawyer for the N.S.C. “Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother, right?” the president said at one point during a rambling hourlong venting session at the White House. “We had some people that — really amazing.”

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The purge of impeachment witnesses has begun. An Army spokeswoman said in a statement that the two men had been transferred : "We can confirm that both Lt. His testimony elicited a mid-hearing attack from the official White House Twitter account and drew the ire of the president's allies.

Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Trump's impeachment inquiry, has been fired from his position with the White House National Security Council.

The decision to move Colonel Vindman out of the White House complex, reported previously by Bloomberg News and The Washington Post, comes as Mr. Trump and his allies have made clear that they will seek to exact payback against those he blames for triggering his impeachment and trial. During his White House event, Mr. Trump denounced the “evil” and “corrupt” people who investigated him, and his spokeswoman went on television to declare that anyone who hurt the president “should pay for” it.

Colonel Vindman has not heard from the White House but has realized that he might not be able to continue serving in his current post and has consulted with Army officials about other options, according to a person briefed on his plans. As an active duty officer, he would normally return to military service, but it was not immediately clear what his next assignment would be.

As of a few weeks ago, Colonel Vindman was still doing his day-to-day job of coordinating Ukraine policy with career officials at other agencies, but had been largely cut off from political appointees and had not yet met the new national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, who has been in the job since September, according to the person briefed on the plans. His associates did not take that as a good sign.

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Rachel Vindman, the wife of key impeachment witness Alexander Vindman, hit out against the president in the clip released by the Republican Lt Col Vindman also decided to resign from the Army because he believed that staying would result in more retaliation from the president and allies

Colonel Vindman, a Ukrainian immigrant and decorated Iraq war veteran, told the House Intelligence Committee that he was surprised when he heard Mr. Trump pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden and a conspiracy theory involving Democrats and the 2016 election during a July 25 telephone call. He told lawmakers that he reported his concerns to other N.S.C. officials.

Republicans questioning his motivations during the hearing pointed to the fact that Ukrainian officials sounded him out about becoming the country’s defense minister, a suggestion he said he rejected and reported to his superiors.

Even before the hearing, Colonel Vindman was subjected to virulent attacks on his patriotism on Fox News and social media that caused concern for his personal safety. Mr. Trump called him a “Never Trumper,” a term the colonel rejected. Fox aired a segment in which commentators noted that Colonel Vindman was an immigrant “working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest,” suggesting that might amount to “espionage.”

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Colonel Vindman made Mr. Trump and his allies even angrier when he wore his uniform at the televised hearing and made comments that seemed more political than the other witnesses. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, called the colonel “a low level partisan bureaucrat and nothing more.”

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The attacks resumed during the Senate trial last month. “Adam Schiff is hailing Alexander Vindman as an American patriot,” Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, wrote on Twitter during the trial, referring to the lead House manager prosecuting the case. “How patriotic is it to bad-mouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America’s greatest enemy?”

She posted another message a few hours later quoting a former commander about Colonel Vindman: “Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform.” Mr. Trump retweeted the post.

Colonel Vindman’s lawyer fired back at what he called the senator’s “slander” and “cowardice,” saying his client would continue to “serve our country dutifully and with honor.”

With impeachment over, Mr. Trump is debating whether to make additional changes in the White House staff. Some of his advisers are encouraging him to part ways with his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; those advisers have pointed fingers at Mr. Mulvaney for his role in the freeze of the security aid to Ukraine that paved the way for the impeachment inquiry in the House. Mr. Mulvaney was ordered to freeze the aid by Mr. Trump, according to several administration officials.

Other advisers are telling Mr. Trump that he should wait to make major changes until after the election. Some advisers hope that Representative Mark Meadows, Republican from North Carolina, who is retiring, will join the White House as a senior adviser, though not as chief of staff. Mr. Meadows was traveling with Mr. Trump on Air Force to North Carolina on Friday.

Maggie Haberman reported from New York and Peter Baker from Washington. Danny Hakim contributed reporting from New York.

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