House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) accused President Donald Trump of retaliating against an impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was dismissed from his job at the National Security Council last week.
In a statement on Friday night, the speaker said it was a “clear and brazen act of retaliation.”
“Vindman has proven to be an American patriot: on the battlefield when he earned a Purple Heart, and in the House trial when he spoke truth to power. His brave testimony showed America that right still matters,” Pelosi added.
Schiff, one of the key Democratic leaders in the push for the impeachment of Trump, echoed Pelosis claims and wrote that Trump “is exacting his retribution” on a witness “who complied with subpoenas.” He repeated impeachment inquiry allegations that Trump “believes he is above the law.”
During a public impeachment inquiry hearing, Vindman said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Joe and Hunter Biden on a July 25 phone call. Vindman said he listened on the call, as it was part of his job, but both Zelensky and Trump both said their conversation was fine.
“I couldnt believe what I was hearing,” he told the Democratic-controlled House panel.
During the hearings in November, his boss, Tim Morrison, the National Security Councils senior director for European affairs, said that multiple other officials had cast doubt on Vindmans judgment. Morrison said that these colleagues had expressed concerns about whether Vindman had leaked information and confirmed that Vindman didnt keep him “in the loop at all times.” Vindman also did not immediately speak to Morrison about his concerns about the July 25 phone call, Morrison also said during the hearings.
Over the weekend, Trump commented on the firing of Vindman, saying it had nothing to do with his impeachment.
“Actually, I dont know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I dont believe!) 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,” Trump wrote in a statement on Twitter. “In other words, OUT,” he added.
Vindmans attorney, David Pressman, confirmed the official was escorted out of the White House after he was fired on Friday. But he denied the presidents assertions to news outlets on Saturday.
“They conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the President is well aware,” he said in a statement.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) _