Trump Rails Against Impeachment Witness Vindman a Day After Ousting Him

After ousting impeachment witness Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted about him and criticized his work.

Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about “Lt. Col.” Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my “perfect” calls incorrectly, &...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020

Vindman was escorted from the White House on Friday, days after Trump was acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial. In a statement, Vindman's lawyer David Pressman announced that Vindman was fired from his position as Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council. Vindman's brother, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, was also fired from his role as a senior lawyer and ethics official. According to NBC News, both Vindmans were reassigned to the Department of the Army.

On Saturday, Trump criticized the media for coverage regarding Vindman's firing. "Fake News @CNN & MSDNC [sic] keep talking about 'Lt. Col.' Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was," he wrote.

Trump also denied that he ever knew Vindman, although did say that if he had met the lieutenant colonel, he did not remember. "Actually, I don't know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don't believe!)," he wrote.

The reasons Trump gave for firing Vindman included him being "very insubordinate, reported contents of my "perfect" calls incorrectly, &...was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information.

"In other words, "OUT,"" the president concluded.

The White House did not immediately respond to emailed request for comment.

Pressman released a statement calling Trump's statements "obviously false."

"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," the statement read.

Vindman’s attorney responds to Trump’s tweets, saying they “conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the president is well aware.”

He also slams lawmakers who “continue to remain silent.”

— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) February 8, 2020

Vindman took part in the July 25 phone call in which President Trump allegedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter that was tied to U.S. release of military aid to Ukraine. Vindman later testified at Trump's impeachment hearings.

"Today, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House where he dutifully served his country and his President. He does so having spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress," Pressman wrote in the statement from Friday.

Pressman implied in the statement that Vindman was fired for testifying, despite following orders and that Trump was "exacting revenge." "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. LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful."

Ambassador the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified in impeachment hearings, was also fired on Friday night. Sondland expressed gratitude to Trump "for having given me the opportunity to serve." He also called his work for the Trump Administration the highlight of his career.

Update 2/8, 2:30 p.m. EST: This story has been updated to include the statement released by Vindman's lawyer about the president's tweets.

alexander vindman
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Director for European Affairs, departs after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Vindman was fired on Friday. Trump tweeted about the lieutenant colonel on Saturday morning. Drew Angerer/Getty