Senate Republicans said President Donald Trump has every right to dismiss two key witnesses who testified against him during the impeachment inquiry last year.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was dismissed from his National Security Council (NSC) role last week while Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, confirmed via his lawyer that he was recalled back to Washington but thanked Trump for allowing him to serve. Vindman will now work in the Pentagon, according to officials.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), denounced the move, while Schumer on Feb. 10 sent letters to dozens of inspectors general about protecting whistleblowers.
“These attacks are part of a dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing,” Schumer wrote in a letter, while Pelosi described Vindmans dismissal as a “clear and brazen act of retaliation.”
Vindman had testified in November 2019 about a July 25, 2019, phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that he had raised concerns. Over the weekend, Trump wrote that Vindman was dismissed because he was “very insubordinate” and received poor reports from his former NSC boss, and he noted that other NSC staffers had raised concerns that he was leaking information.
However, Republican senators, most of whom voted to acquit the president on the articles of impeachment, said the president was well within his bounds to dismiss the two officials.
“I think the president has every right to believe that the people that are advising him give him advice and then follow the policy,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Senates leadership, according to The Hill.
He said the president can decide who can serve “in the executive branch in jobs particularly that are either directly appointed by him, like ambassadors, or directly advising him, like people at the National Security Council,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Blunt said Vindman “shouldnt be taking action on a policy problem outside the chain of the command,” according to reporters. “I would have dismissed him for that. I would have dismissed him earlier.”
“Its the presidents prerogative,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), The Wall Street Journal reported.
The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), noted that Vindman wasnt fired by Trump but reassigned to a different job in the executive branch, and that this was appropriate.
“Is it appropriate for the news to say he was fired when he was not, he was reassigned?” McCarthy told reporters during a Feb. 11 press conference. “I think that is appropriate.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) saRead More – Source