The White House is reportedly considering options to oust Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness against President Trump in his impeachment case, from the National Security Council as it reduces its staff.
Bloomberg reported that the White House plans to frame it as part of an NSC staff downsizing, not a retaliation.
Lt. Col. Vindman’s testimony supported Democrats’ accusations that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call last July to announce a corruption investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden.
Mr. Trump told reporters Friday that the decision is up to the NSC.
“Well, I’m not happy with him,” the president said of Lt. Col Vindman. “They’ll make that decision.”
The NSC had no immediate comment.
White House national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien, who is leading a reform effort, told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview in December that 40 to 45 NSC staff officials were sent back in recent months to the agencies where they originally worked, with more likely to be moved out. He said it’s part of a plan to improve efficiency.
The president referred to Lt. Col. Vindman on Thursday while taking a victory lap over his acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial.
“Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother — right? — we had some people that — really amazing,” Mr. Trump said while discussing a transcription of his call. Lt. Col. Vindman was one of the staffers who listened in on the call.
His identical twin, Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, is an ethics lawyer for the NSC.
Alexander Vindman was appointed to the NSC post in July 2018 and had been expected to stay for two years.
CNN reported that Lt. Col. Vindman has been telling colleagues that he expects to be leaving the NSC and return to work at the Pentagon.
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