On Friday US President Donald Trump fired two key witnesses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland from the White House. Vindman was the top Ukraine expert at National Security while Sondland was the US Ambassador to the European Union.
One of President Trump’s advisors said to CNN that firing of the witnesses was a necessary method to flush out the pipes showing that anyone who tries to side against the President would not be tolerated.
According to the statement of Vindman’s attorney, Vindman was pushed out of his role months earlier than expected. He was not supposed to leave until July but he was mentioning to his colleagues that he might end up leaving soon. On the other hand, Sondland said that he was recalled from his post which was effective immediately. Sondland said that he was grateful for the opportunity to work under President Trump, and he was proud of his accomplishments.
These dismissals appear to be some sort of payback to Vindman and Sondland’s most damning testimonies given to the House impeachment probe last year which was both under subpoena. Their explosive testimonies during last year’s fall’s public hearing made them a target for Trump supporters both inside and outside the government. The firings followed two days after the Senate votes to acquit Trump on two articles of impeachment which largely sides with party lines.
Vindman was not alone as his twin brother who was a National Security Attorney Lt. Col Yevgeny Vindman, was also fired without any explanation. He was not involved and did not even testify. Yevgeny regrets not being able to serve the White House after his loyal service for over two decades.
Sondland’s dismissal comes after three months from when he connected Trump directly to the quid pro quo trading Ukrainian investigations into Trump’s political opponents for official actions. He claimed to be working on Ukraine under the express direction of the President along with Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani. Sondland even said that Trump withheld a White House invitation from the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky until the investigations were announced by Zelensky. Other witnesses also claim US military assistance p[art of quid pro quo but according to Sondland Trump never mentioned foreign component.
Trump fumed privately about both Vindman and Sondland’s testimonies. He was not happy with either of them and denied all along that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine.