Nancy Pelosi: Trump impeachment witness Vindman's 'shameful' firing a 'brazen act of retaliation'




  • In Politics
  • 2020-02-08 18:59:49Z
  • By USA TODAY
Nancy Pelosi: Trump impeachment witness Vindman\
Nancy Pelosi: Trump impeachment witness Vindman\'s \'shameful\' firing a \'brazen act of retaliation\'  

WASHINGTON - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi slammed President Donald Trump for the abrupt removal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served on the National Security Council and provided damning testimony against the president during the impeachment inquiry.

"President Trump is impeached forever," Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. "The shameful firing of Colonel Vindman was a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President's fear of the truth."

She added, "History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American hero."

Vindman's lawyer said he was escorted out of the White House by a security escort Friday, along with his twin brother Yevgeny Vindman, also a security adviser, who did not testify during impeachment. Hours later, Trump fired Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from Brussels.

Read senators' impeachment notes: 7 senators' handwritten notes offer a new view of Trump's impeachment trial

Both Vindman and Sondland provided key testimony in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's alleged pressuring of the Ukraine government to open investigations into domestic political rivals and leveraging of military aid money to do so. The firings came just days after the president was acquitted of impeachment charges by the Republican-majority Senate.

Impeachment witnesses out: Trump administration ousts Alexander Vindman, Amb. Gordon Sondland days after Senate acquittal

"Lieutenant Colonel Vindman has proven to be an American patriot: on the battlefield when he earned a Purple Heart, and in the House trial when he spoke truth to power. His brave testimony showed America that right still matters," Pelosi said.

Vindman said during his hearing that it was "inappropriate" for the president to make such a request of Ukraine's president, and revealed he spoke of his concerns to supervisors after listening in on the now infamous July 25, 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

And Sondland provided explosive testimony that there was a quid pro quo linking the military aid and the investigations Trump wanted. Sondland said he worked at "the express direction of the president" with Rudy Giuliani to secure the investigations. Sondland told lawmakers that he communicated the quid pro quo to a Ukrainian official. The former ambassador was previously a high-dollar donor to Trump's inaugural committee.

Who is Alexander Vindman?: Key witness to Trump impeachment removed from White House job

"I'm not happy with him," Trump said about Vindman on the South Lawn Friday when asked about reports that his job could be at risk.

Trump tweeted Saturday morning that he doesn't think he had ever met or spoken to Vindman, whom he called "insubordinate."

Vindman's attorney David Pressman said Trump made "obviously false statements" in his tweets, and added that his client will continue his career in the military.

"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," Pressman said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who led Democrats in the impeachment inquiry and later served as lead House manager in the Senate trial, said that Vindman "upheld his oath when others would not." Schiff lauded Vindman for cooperating with impeachment investigators despite a White House order not to appear.

"Right matters to him," Schiff said. "And to us."

"President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward, and testified about his misconduct," Schiff tweeted Friday night.

Pelosi said that Trump's "vindictiveness" caused Republican senators who voted for his acquittal to be "accomplices to his cover-up." Only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with the party and voted to convict Trump on the abuse of power article of impeachment. None voted for conviction on the second article, obstruction of Congress.

Democrats previously came to Vindman's defense at the time of his testimony, when he was publicly attacked by Trump and his allies as a "Never Trumper" and his patriotism questioned due to his having been born in Ukraine.

"The firing of this patriotic soldier is a sad and shameless loss for America's security," Pelosi said. "History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American hero."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pelosi says Trump firing impeachment witness Vindman is 'retaliation'

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