The Trump administration acted Friday to purge its ranks of high-level staff who testified to House Democrats in President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
Gordon Sondland, who as the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union was a central figure in the administration’s dealings with Ukraine, announced Friday that he was losing his job, according to Fox News.
The action came shortly after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who also testified before House Democrats, was removed form his position as a member of the National Security Council and returned to duty at the Pentagon.
Vindman’s twin brother Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman was also removed from an NSC post, Fox News quoted sources it did not name as saying.
“I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States ambassador to the European Union,” Sondland said.
As of Friday, eight of 12 officials who testified publicly during the impeachment hearings have left the posts, either voluntarily or otherwise.
Trump was asked Friday about Vindman.
“Well, I’m not happy with him. Do you think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
Trump was repeatedly asked what would happen to Vindman and told reporters to stay tuned.
The changes raised the ire of some Democrats.
“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.”
Others said the changes were necessary.
Col. Vindman wasn’t “fired” he’s still an Army officer. He was assigned to NSC to serve the President who has a right to have people he trusts on his staff
Sondland was a politically appointee. No point in having a political appointee who no longer has the Presidents confidence
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 8, 2020
Good riddance. https://t.co/rOjeW8pGq5
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) February 7, 2020
Allow me a moment to thank—and this may be a bit of a surprise—Adam Schiff. Were it not for his crack investigation skills, @realDonaldTrump might have had a tougher time unearthing who all needed to be fired. Thanks, Adam! ? #FullOfSchiff
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 8, 2020
Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Friday said on “The Ingraham Angle” that the actions were part of what she termed Trump’s “best week ever” and should continue.
“He now has the best cabinet that I can recall any president having in my lifetime, and as we just discussed on the show, the White House is finally doing some much needed housecleaning,” she said.
“So keep it up. Get rid of the radicals undermining from within and replace them with people who believe in your agenda, Mr. President, and are competent enough to carry it out,” Ingraham said.
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