Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a central witness in the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, was removed from his job and escorted out of the White House on Friday, according to his lawyer, raising concerns that the president has kicked off a long-foreshadowed campaign of retribution.
Vindman’s removal from a detail at the National Security Council, first reported by CNN, came just two days after Trump’s acquittal in his impeachment trial and hours after the president told reporters he was “not happy” with the NSC aide.
One of Vindman’s lawyers, David Pressman, said his ouster was clear political retribution for his role in the impeachment inquiry. “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,” Pressman said in a statement shared with reporters.
“The truth has cost LTC Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy,” Pressman said.
Vindman’s attorney indicated that the Iraq War veteran’s twin brother Yevgeny, who serves as a senior lawyer on the NSC, was also removed from his post and exited the White House alongside his brother.
Yevgeny Vindman was not a witness in the impeachment process, and his removal prompted acute worries that their removal was an act of political revenge by Trump. Pressman said Yevgeny’s ouster came with “no explanation” and that he is “deeply disappointed that he will not be able to continue his service at the White House.”
An Army spokeswoman said in a statement that the two men had been transferred. “We can confirm that both Lt. Cols. Vindman have been reassigned to the Department of the Army, out of respect for their privacy, we will not be providing any further information at this time,” the statement said.
Alexander Vindman, a military officer on active duty, was a top adviser responsible for Ukraine during his time at the NSC.
The unceremonious removal of the Vindmans was quickly denounced by Democrats as an act of retribution against those who testified against Trump, one previewed by a White House that has warned of “payback” for Trump’s detractors. Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called it “shameful” and said GOP senators who acquitted Trump would be asked to account for Vindman’s removal.
The Vindmans were not Trump’s only target on Friday.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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