What do you know? The same day as Donald Trump’s vindictive “celebration” of his acquittal, news came out that the White House is planning to push Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman out at the National Security Council—validating the concerns of the nonpartisan officials who testified in the impeachment inquiry.
Vindman was a key witness in the impeachment inquiry. In his capacity as an NSC Ukraine expert, he was on Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and immediately thought it was inappropriate and went to the NSC’s top lawyer to raise concerns. And his testimony was especially powerful, coming from an immigrant and a decorated Army officer, and because, as his former boss Dr. Fiona Hill said, he clearly wasn’t a politically adept diplomat. He was a guy with a moral compass trying to find his way in a corrupt environment.
Bloomberg reports that Vindman would likely be rotated to the Department of Defense, ending his time at the White House several months early, and says, “The White House intends to portray any house-cleaning as part of a downsizing of the NSC staff,” according to two sources “familiar with the matter.” There’s no word on what will happen to his brother, Yevgeny Vindman, who also works for the NSC. At Wednesday’s appalling celebration, Trump made a sneering reference to “Lt. Col. Vindman and his twin brother,” so you know that both are on his mind.
The White House move on Vindman is particularly flagrant since The Washington Post reports that Vindman had already decided to leave his post early—but apparently Trump needed to have a “You can’t quit because I fired you” moment.