Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top White House expert on Ukraine who testified in the House phase of the recently concluded impeachment trial, was fired from the White House Friday and escorted out, according to his attorney.
“LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth,” Vindman’s lawyer David Pressman said in a statement. “The truth has cost LTC Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy.”
Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified to the House Intelligence Committee in November that he had discussed the controversial July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president with an unknown intelligence community member as well as State Department official George Kent, who also testified to lawmakers.
Vindman listened to the call between Trump and Ukrainian president Voldymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Joe Bidens. The White House meanwhile temporarily froze $391 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine, prompting Democrats to accuse Trump of attempting a quid pro quo in which the release of the aid was contingent on Ukraine’s agreement to investigate the former vice president.
Vindman told Congress he felt it “improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”
“The most powerful man in the world – buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit” has “decided to exact revenge” on Vindman, his lawyer said.
Trump had expressed frustration with Vindman’s testimony and on Friday said he was “not happy” with him.
“You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not. They’ll make that decision. You’ll be hearing,” Trump said.
Also on Friday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon does not allow retribution against service members.
“We protect all of our persons, service members, from retribution or anything like that,” Esper told reporters. “We welcome back all of our service members wherever they served, to any assignment they are given.”
Vindman was not scheduled to leave the White House until July. He is expected to return to work at the Pentagon.