02/10/2020

The Trump administration has removed Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from his position as the White House’s top Ukraine expert following his damaging testimony during the impeachment trial.

The Trump administration has removed Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from his position as the White House’s top Ukraine expert after he provided damaging testimony about President Donald Trump during the impeachment process, Vindman’s lawyer said.
Mr Vindman was escorted out of the White House where he had worked on the National Security Council (NSC), lawyer David Pressman said in a statement, adding that the move was retribution for Vindman’s testimony.
“There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House. LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth,” Mr Pressman said.
LTC Vindman testified to the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry in November that Donald Trump made an improper demand of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call that became the center piece of the probe of the Republican president.
Mr Vindman told a Democratic-run committee “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing” in the phone call. President Trump asked Mr Zelensky to launch investigations into both Democratic rival Joe Biden and a widely debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
In that appearance, Mr Vindman also downplayed concerns that he would suffer payback for speaking out. “I will be fine for telling the truth,” he said.
President Trump emerged victorious from his impeachment trial this week
A spokesman for the NSC declined to comment.
President Trump emerged victorious from his trial this week with a vote in the Senate, controlled by fellow Republicans who rejected abuse of power and obstruction of justice charges.
Asked earlier about media reports that he might remove Mr Vindman, President Trump told reporters: “I’m not happy with him. You think I’m supposed to be happy with him?…They’re going to be making that decision.”
A source familiar with the situation said that Mr Vindman would be reassigned to the Defense Department.
Mr Vindman’s two-year stint at the White House was due to end in July.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the Pentagon protects all service members from retribution.
Donald Trump, who became only the third US president to be impeached, has said he is still bitter as he turns his attention to seeking a second four-year term in the 3 November presidential election.