Key impeachment witness Vindman fired from White House job

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WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 19: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council Director for European Affairs, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the third day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, who House Democrats say withheld U.S. military aid for Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian investigations of his political rivals. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, was pushed out of his role Friday months earlier than expected, according to a statement from his attorney. Vindman was not slated to leave until July, but had been telling colleagues in recent weeks he would likely leave soon. It was not his decision to leave, however, according to one person familiar with the situation.

President Donald Trump has continued to fume privately about Vindman’s testimony during the impeachment inquiry, and some Democrats say the move is clearly retribution for it.

Vindman is expected to return to the Pentagon, though it’s still unclear what his assignment will be until he’s expected to attend war college this summer.

“We welcome back all of our service members, wherever they serve, to any assignment they are given,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday when asked about Vindman’s expected ouster.

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