Trump at­tacks Vind­man as ‘in­sub­or­di­nate’ af­ter fir­ing him

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - POLITICS - By Peter Baker

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.


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