Feb 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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.'"

What they're saying:

“The President this morning made a series of obviously false statements concerning Lieutenant Colonel Vindman; they conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the President is well aware. While the most powerful man in the world continues his campaign of intimidation, while too many entrusted with political office continue to remain silent, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman continues his service to our country as a decorated, active duty member of our military.”
— Alexander Vindman's attorney David Pressman responding to Trump's tweets

Context: Vindman was fired on Friday just before U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was dismissed. The firings took place two days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

  • Trump "expressed deep anger ... over the attempt to remove him from office because of his actions toward Ukraine," the Washington Post writes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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."

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."

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.