KEY POINTS

  • Trump: The military may seek to punish Vindman
  • Democrats claim Vindman's dismissal was retaliation for his impeachment testimony
  • Trump had described Vindman as "very insubordinate"
  • Sen. Schumer is calling for a probe into Vindman's dismissal

As President Donald Trump takes his foes to task in the aftermath of his impeachment trial acquittal, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman still has yet to escape the president’s wrath. This week, Trump said that Vindman could very well end up facing military discipline.

Discussing Vindman this week, Trump appeared to imply that the former aide, who has been reassigned to the Pentagon, could face consequences from his military superiors, according to The Guardian.

“The military can handle him any way they want,” Trump said. “They’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at” possibly disciplining Vindman, he added.

Last Friday, Vindman was dismissed from his position in the White House as a National Security Council aide alongside several other officials, including the former ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. Both men gave crucial testimony to the House of Representatives during the impeachment inquiry; their accounts helped form the basis for the Democrats’ articles of impeachment against Trump.

Vindman stated before the House that he was aware of a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump allegedly asked that his counterpart open an investigation into the Bidens in exchange for the release of military aid.

Vindman’s testimony made him one of the objects of Trump’s ire, as behind closed doors the president reportedly mocked and derided Vidman’s appearance and the way he comported himself in the House. Publicly, Trump has described the former security aide as “very insubordinate” and, more recently, said that he “obviously wasn’t very happy with the job [Vindman] did. First of all he reported a false call.”

On Tuesday, Robert O’Brien, the White House’s national security adviser, rejected the notion that Vindman’s firing was political in nature.

“The president is entitled to staffers that want to execute his policy, that he has confidence in. We’re not a country where a bunch of lieutenant colonels can get together and decide what the policy is of the United States. We are not a banana republic,” O’Brien said while speaking at the Atlantic Council think tank.

O’Brien also rejected the characterization of Vindman’s dismissal as being fired. “It’s a privilege to work at the White House, it’s not a right,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for an investigation into the firings of Vindman and others for their roles in the impeachment inquiry.

White House national security official Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was to testify that he witnessed improper efforts to pressure Ukraine to provide political support for President Donald Trump White House national security official Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was to testify that he witnessed improper efforts to pressure Ukraine to provide political support for President Donald Trump Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN