Feb 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump retweets congressman calling for Alexander Vindman's firing

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump retweeted a statement from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) calling for the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Friday as part of a larger tweetstorm against the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert.

Why it matters: With the retweet, the president is publicly endorsing the idea of removing a key national security official that testified during the House impeachment inquiry — a move that he has privately pushed for in recent days, per the Washington Post.

Flashback: Vindman testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — which he listened in on — was "improper."

  • Vindman, who was born in Ukraine, used his opening statement during that testimony to tell his father that his ability to speak freely during the proceedings was "proof that [he] made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union ... in search of a better life for our family."
  • Leading up to his testimony, Vindman faced unsubstantiated cable news attacks that questioned his loyalty to the U.S.

The state of play: Trump also retweeted Tom Fitton, the president of conservative activist group Judicial Watch, who said that Vindman should be fired as soon as possible "to protect our foreign policy from his machinations."

  • And before departing the White House for North Carolina on Friday, the president told the press corps that he was "not happy with" Vindman after being asked if he wanted him to be removed.
  • "They'll make that decision," Trump added.

The big picture: The Post first reported late Thursday that Trump was preparing to push Vindman out "after he expressed deep anger ... over the attempt to remove him from office because of his actions toward Ukraine."

  • Asked by reporters Friday about the report, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the Pentagon "[protects] all of our persons, service members from retribution or anything like that."

Go deeper: Vindman dismisses offer to become Ukraine's defense minister

Go deeper

Trump justifies firing Alexander Vindman for being "insubordinate"

President Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Saturday morning to explain why he fired national security official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who had testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the president's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was "improper."

"I don't know [Vindman], never spoke to him or met him (I don't believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my 'perfect' calls incorrectly.......and 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. In other words, 'OUT.'"

Army secretary: "There's no investigation" into Alexander Vindman

Alexander Vindman before testifying during Trump's impeachment inquiry on Nov. 19, 2019. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Army is not investigating Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key national security official who was fired and escorted from the White House last week, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said at the National Press Club on Friday.

Why it matters: Firing Vindman was one of Trump's first acts of retribution against officials who testified at his House impeachment hearings. After Vindman's ouster, Trump made it clear that what happens next in Vindman’s career is "up to the military."

Alexander Vindman "escorted" from White House, lawyer says

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Photo: Barcroft Media / Contributor

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key national security official who testified during the House impeachment inquiry, has been "escorted" from the White House, according to a statement from his lawyer.

Why it matters: Vindman testified before the House Intelligence Committee that President Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — which he listened in on — was "improper."