Trump attacks Vindman as ‘insubordinate’ after firing him
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Saturday defended his decision to fire Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the national security aide who was marched out of the White House on Friday by security officers, calling the decorated Army officer who testified at a House impeachment hearing “very insubordinate.”
Trump denigrated Vindman, a veteran of the Iraq War who appeared in November before the House Intelligence Committee under subpoena and described the July 25 telephone call in which the president pressured President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats.
“Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about ‘Lt. Col.’ Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was,” Trump wrote on Twitter, without explaining why he put the colonel’s rank in quote marks.
“Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!),” the president continued, “but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls 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’.”
Trump offered no explanation for why Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman,
who is also an Army lieutenant colonel and who worked as a lawyer on the National Security Council staff, was also fired and escorted out of the White House complex at the same time even though he did not participate in the House hearings. Nor did the president mention his decision to recall Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, who was also an impeachment witness.
The president’s dismissals of the Vindman brothers and Sondland opened a campaign of retribution just days after the Senate acquitted him on two articles of impeachment. Fresh from that political victory, Trump and his staff have made clear that they plan to “exact payback” on those they blame for his impeachment. Sondland and Vindman were key witnesses in the House impeachment hearings.