President Donald Trump fired two officials who were witnesses against him during impeachment proceedings last year.
Gordon Sondland, who was the US Ambassador to the European Union, released a short statement yesterday evening in which he said he was told, “the President intends to recall me effective immediately.”
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who was a director on the National Security Council with Ukraine expertise, was also dismissed yesterday. His lawyer, David Pressman, issued a statement on his behalf. He began by saying that Vindman had been “escorted out of the White House” and that “LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth.” Pressman emphasized his client’s dedication to the United States and the rule of law, noting that he testified before the House only after being subpoenaed and “did what the law demanded.” Pressman ended his statement with a warning: “If we allow truthful voices to be silenced, if we ignore their warnings, eventually there will be no one left to warn us.”
During the impeachment, Vindman testified about a phone call that he was part of in which Trump pressed Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky for an investigation into former vice president and current Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter.
Sondland testified to a quid pro quo deal in which Zelensky would be granted a White House visit in exchange for the investigation into the Bidens.
Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, Alexander Vindman’s twin brother, was also dismissed from the National Security Council yesterday, where he worked as a senior lawyer. Yevgeny Vindman was not a witness during the impeachment, but he was also “escorted off of the grounds of the White House, suddenly and with no explanation, despite over two decades of loyal service to this country,” Pressman said. Both Vindman brothers have been reassigned to the Department of the Army.