Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s days at the White House are over just two days after President Donald Trump was acquitted at the impeachment trial in the Senate, during which Trump’s lawyers noted Vindman was a witness against the president.
Vindman started working on the National Security Council (NSC) in July 2018 and was supposed to stay there for two years. That stint has ended a few months early.
Vindman’s lawyer said his client was clearly ousted for “telling the truth” about the president’s July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful. During his decades of service to this country, LTC Alexander Vindman has served quietly but dutifully, and he has served with honor,” David Pressman said.
Vindman was escorted out of the White House by his NSC lawyer twin brother Yevgeny, who was also let go. Technically, Vindman wasn’t fired given that he is still active military and is going to be reassigned, but he was nonetheless removed from his NSC post months ahead of schedule.
What they will be doing next:
Many immediately reacted to confirmation of Vindman’s ouster by using two words: “Witness retaliation.”
Conservative media figures, lawyers, and lawmakers said that Vindman “deserved to be fired.”
They said the same was true of Vindman’s brother.
They got their wish.
We shall see what justification or pretext the White House offers. “Downsizing” NSC staff generally was what was floated in the media before this ouster officially occurred.
Steve Castor, the lawyer who did the questioning for House Republicans during the impeachment inquiry, was criticized for questioning Vindman’s loyalty back in Nov. 2019.
Following that line of questioning, Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) said it was “designed exclusively to give the right-wing media the opportunity to question your loyalties.”
In response to questioning by Himes, a uniformed Vindman explained how he came to be a Purple Heart recipient.
“In 2014, in the ramp up to probably the largest urban operation in decades, outside of Fallujah, we were conducting a reconnaissance patrol in conjunction with the Marines, and my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device that penetrated the armor,” he said.
“Were you injured?” Himes asked.
“I was,” Vindman answered.
Donald Trump Jr. reacted by calling Vindman a “coached” up, “low level” partisan bureaucrat.”
The White House official Twitter account also got involved in criticism of Vindman.
Vindman, when asked during the hearing if he has was a “Never Trumper,” responded that he was “never partisan.”
[Image via Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images]
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