Trump seeks revenge by firing officials who testified against him on impeachment
Donald Trump exacted swift revenge on two government officials who gave evidence against him during his impeachment hearings.
Just days after his acquittal by the Senate the US President wielded the axe on national security aide Lt Col Alexander Vindman and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland.
The decorated soldier was escorted from the White House, with his lawyers later claiming he was being ousted for ‘telling the truth’.
David Pressman added in a statement: ‘The truth has cost Lt Col Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy.
‘He did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day: he followed orders, he obeyed his oath and he served his country, even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal peril.
‘And for that, the most powerful man in the world – buoyed by the silent, the pliable and the complicit – has decided to exact revenge.’
Hours later came Mr Sondland’s turn to receive his marching orders.
Mr Sondland was a crucial witness in the House impeachment inquiry, telling investigators ‘everyone was in the loop’ on the president’s desire to press Ukraine for politically charged investigations.
He described how he came to understand there was a ‘quid pro quo’ connecting a desired White House visit for Ukraine’s leader and an announcement that the country would conduct the investigations the president wanted.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said on Thursday that Mr Trump was glad the impeachment trial was over and ‘maybe people should pay for that’.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mr Vindman’s sacking was ‘a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President’s fear of the truth’.
She added: ‘The President’s vindictiveness is precisely what led Republican Senators to be accomplices to his cover-up.’
Californian Democrat Jackie Speier dubbed it ‘the Friday Night Massacre’, likening the situation to President Richard Nixon’s so-called Saturday night massacre, when top justice department officials resigned after refusing to do his bidding by firing a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.
Ms Speier added in her tweet: ‘I’m sure Trump is fuming that he can’t fire Pelosi.’
Since his acquittal, Mr Trump has held nothing back in lashing out at his critics, including Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote against him.
On Friday, he also took after Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia whom Trump had hoped would vote with the Republicans.
Mr Trump tweeted that he was ‘very surprised & disappointed’ with Mr Manchin’s votes, claiming no president had done more for his state.
He added that Mr Manchin was ‘just a puppet’ for the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.
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