Last Friday, Donald Trump fired two major impeachment witnesses who had testified against him. Trump dismissed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, as well as Gordon Sondland US Ambassador to the EU. Both decisions have been criticized as being politically motivated.
Vindman was removed from office because the President claims that he “reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly” and that his superiors had given him “horrendous” reports. Vindman’s boss, Tim Morrison, questioned Vindman’s judgement during Congressional testimony last November. Vindman’s lawyer denies Trump’s claims about his defendant. He also described the attack on Vindman as being part of an intimidation campaign.
Lt. Col. Vindman was born in Ukraine and his parents immigrated to the US when he was a child. Vindman suffered from xenophobic attacks during the impeachment investigations.
In his Congressional testimony, Gordon Sondland said that he was working with Trump’s attorney Ruddy Giuliani on Ukraine relations under the “express direction of the President of the United States.” Sondland also testified that he had several conversations with Trump about opening investigations into Burisma (the oil company where Hunter Biden was a board member) and into a conspiracy theory about Ukrainian intervention in the 2016 US election. He also testified that he thought it was clear that the military aid was being made contingent upon Ukraine launching the investigations. Given Sondland’s damning testimony against Trump, many had expected that he would be fired.