Trump Calls For Lt. Col. Vindman To Be Punished By The U.S. Military
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s removal from the White House was not a sufficient enough consequence for his testimony impeachment testimony, President Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday.
According to The Hill, Trump expressed his belief that the military should consider additional disciplinary measures against the Army officer, who told House impeachment investigators that Trump’s conduct on the July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president was inappropriate — and that he notified his superior of his concerns.
White House officials have insisted that Vindman’s ouster was not retribution for testifying but rather a matter of cleaning up the National Security Council. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said of the matter on Tuesday: “At the end of the day, the president is entitled to staffers that want to execute his policy, that he has confidence in, and I think every president is entitled to that. But there is absolutely no retaliation with respect to the Vindmans as far as impeachment goes."
However, Trump’s take appears to differ.
"We sent him on his way to a much different location, and the military can handle him any way they want," Trump told reporters. "Gen. Milley has him now. I congratulate Gen. Milley. He can have him."
Asked if he believes the Pentagon should pursue further disciplinary action against Vindman, Trump said that would be “up to the military” to decide.
"But if you look at what happened, they’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that," he added, also saying: "I obviously wasn't happy with the job he did. What was said on the call was totally appropriate. I call it a perfect call; I always will call it a perfect call."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week that Vindman will not be punished upon returning to the Defense Department.
“We protect all of our persons, service members, from retribution or anything like that. We’ve already addressed that in policy and other means,” he said.