Trump Fires Adam Schiff's Star Impeachment 'Witnesses'
Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman both fired by White House
President Donald Trump's administration has begun cleaning house by firing two of Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) star "witnesses" during the impeachment hearings, according to reports.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and National Security Council aid Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman were both fired by the Trump admin on Friday night.
Vindamn was first to go and was marched out of the White House by security, according to News Thud.
Shortly after, Sondland, who testified about President Trump’s Ukraine dealings during the House impeachment hearings, revealed he had been recalled from his overseas position.
"I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States ambassador to the European Union," Sondland said in a statement.
With Sondland and Vindman out, eight of 12 officials who testified publicly during the impeachment hearings have left their roles, been fired, or reassigned, according to Fox News.
"I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union," Sondland said Friday.
"I am proud of our accomplishments. Our work here has been the highlight of my career.”
In November, Sondland tied top officials to a “potential quid pro quo” involving U.S. military aid to Ukraine and investigations desired by Trump during his highly anticipated impeachment hearing testimony – yet said he never heard that link from the president himself.
The impeachment inquiry was sparked by a "whistleblower" complaint about Trump's July 25 call.
The complaint, based only on hearsay, alleged that Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for political investigations – including involving former Vice President Joe Biden's family -- at the same time U.S. military aid for the ally was stalled.
The call's transcript shows no such conversation took place, however, and US aid was never mentioned.
Democrats expressed outrage over the dismissals.
“Those who suggested President Trump’s behavior would improve following his impeachment have been proven wrong,” said New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I sincerely hope that all members of Congress condemn this latest reprehensible, yet sadly predictable conduct by President Trump.”
Vindman was on detail to the National Security Council from the Department of Defense, and it is expected he will return there.
Vindman’s attorney, David Pressman, confirmed that Vindman had been escorted out of the White House on Friday.
“There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House,” Pressman said.
“LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”
A senior administration official also told Fox News that Vindman’s twin brother Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman has also left the National Security Council.
Yevgeny Vindman was assigned to the office that vetted publications like former national security adviser John Bolton’s book – though he has said he was not involved in the vetting of the Bolton manuscript.
Trump, when asked about Vindman on Friday, told reporters that he was "not happy with him."
"You think I'm supposed to be happy with him? I'm not," Trump said, adding that a decision would be made soon.
Lt. Col. Vindman was an important witness for Democrats during the House impeachment inquiry.
Vindman raised concerns over Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky.
During his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Vindman admitted to fabricating details from the conversation between Trump and Zelensky in an official summary of the call.
In the summary, Vindman listed talking points between the two leaders that never took place.
One of those talking points was a false claim that the two men agreed to "root out corruption" - a claim that aligned with the Democrats' impeachment agenda.
Vindman confessed during testimony, however, that the conversation never took place.