Trump Fires Impeachment Witnesses Gordon Sondland and Alexander Vindman in Post-Acquittal Purge


“These are the actions of a man who believes he is above the law,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the lead House impeachment manager. Mr. Schumer said the White House was running from the truth. “This action is not a sign of strength,” he said. “It only shows President Trump’s weakness.” Ms. Pelosi said, “This goes too far.” At the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. asked the audience to stand in support of Colonel Vindman.

The White House would not discuss the Vindman decision. “We do not comment on personnel matters,” said John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, celebrated the dismissals, offering mock thanks to Mr. Schiff. “Were it not for his crack investigation skills, @realDonaldTrump might have had a tougher time unearthing who all needed to be fired,” he tweeted.

“The president had every right to make the moves that he did today,” Representative Lee Zeldin, Republican of New York, said in an interview. “Moving Lt. Col. Vindman, for example, is a good move based on the fact that there is a lack of trust. He disagrees with the president’s policies.” As for Mr. Sondland, “the president can recall an ambassador at any time with or without cause, and in the case of Gordon Sondland, the guy was a hot mess, anyway.”

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, expressed no regrets over Mr. Sondland’s dismissal. “Somehow I think America will be able to deliver foreign policy without Gordon Sondland,” he said by text message.

Other witnesses have left with less drama recently. Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled from her post last spring because she was seen as an obstacle to the president’s plans, retired last month from the Foreign Service. William B. Taylor Jr., who replaced her in an acting capacity, was essentially brought back early, as well. And Jennifer Williams, a career official working for Vice President Mike Pence, quietly returned to the Defense Department.

Several had already left government, like Fiona Hill, the Europe policy chief at the National Security Council, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, who resigned days before testifying. But others remain, including George P. Kent at the State Department, Laura Cooper at the Defense Department and David Holmes at the embassy in Ukraine.



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