Now that Senate Republicans have formally voted to allow President Trump to act outside the law, Trump is reportedly eyeing retaliation for all those career public servants that testified in his impeachment trial. At the top of the list appears to be Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council aide who brought his concerns about Trump soliciting foreign campaign help on the July 25 call with the president of Ukraine to the White House counsel’s office. Vindman, a Kiev-born, naturalized American citizen was on the call as the NSC’s top expert on Ukraine. Vindman testified during the impeachment hearing, setting him square in the Trump crosshairs for reprisal.
Now that the impeachment trial is done, Trump is looking for revenge and Vindman reportedly could be on his way out as early as Friday. The senior aide was already scheduled to end his stint in the White House early, as the Purple Heart recipient informed the NSC he was planning on leaving his post at the end of the month. Vindman was appointed for a two-year term in July 2018. But allowing Vindman, someone who testified with conviction as a public servant, to respectfully exit the national stage having said his piece is not how Trump world operates.
“Trump has complained about Vindman in private, mocking the way he spoke, wore his uniform and conducted himself during the impeachment inquiry,” the Washington Post reports. “But Trump is eager to make a symbol of the Army officer soon after the Senate acquitted him of the impeachment charges approved by House Democrats… [Vindman] will be informed in the coming days, likely on Friday, by administration officials that he is being reassigned to a position at the Defense Department, taking a key figure from the investigation out of the White House.”
Update, 4:56 p.m.: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was “escorted out of the White House” on Friday afternoon, his lawyer said in a statement.
Update: 5:16 p.m.: CNN is reporting that Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was fired from his own job as an NSC attorney and left the White House with his brother.