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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

23 mins ago - World

South Korean president: Trump "beat around the bush and failed" on North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaking in Seoul in March 2021. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized former President Trump's attempts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, telling the New York Times he "beat around the bush" with North Korea and "failed to pull it through."

Why it matters: Moon, now in his final year in office, called denuclearization a "matter of survival" for South Korea and urged President Biden to resume negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after a standstill of nearly two years.

37 mins ago - World

U.S.-Israel tensions build as Iran talks progress

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

As nuclear talks in Vienna enter a critical stage, the gaps and suspicions over Iran between the Israeli government and the Biden administration are growing.

Why it matters: Both sides want to avoid the kind of public fight that emerged during the negotiations over the 2015 deal. But in private, there's growing frustration on both sides about the lack of trust, coordination and transparency.

57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Cadillac's electric shift begins with launch of 2023 Lyriq SUV

2023 Cadillac Lyriq. Photo: GM

GM plans to start taking orders in September for the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, a striking electric SUV coming early next year at a starting price of $59,900.

Why it matters: The production version of the Lyriq, which debuted Wednesday, marks the beginning of the luxury brand's phaseout of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030.