Now that President Donald Trump has been acquitted of the impeachment charges leveled against him by House Democrats, he has turned his attention toward ways to punish White House officials who testified against him, according to the Washington Post.
One of the first to face consequences for his role in the impeachment process may be National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was among the first officials to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee in November.
Vindman, who likely understood the consequences of his testimony, has reportedly already planned to step down from the NSC by the end of this month. However, President Trump may desire to send a message by removing Vindman more quickly. The Post reports:
[Vindman] will be informed in the coming days, likely on Friday, by administration officials that he is being reassigned to a position at the Defense Department, taking a key figure from the investigation out of the White House, according to two people familiar with the move who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss personnel decisions.
Vindman had already informed senior officials at the NSC that he intended to take an early exit from his assignment and leave his post by the end of the month, according to people familiar with his decision, but Trump is eager to make a symbol of the Army officer soon after the Senate acquitted him of the impeachment charges approved by House Democrats.
Vindman was on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was flagged by an anonymous whistleblower in a complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry. In his testimony, Vindman raised concerns about the appropriateness of the call's content, and the accuracy of the transcript released to the public.
While the president was able to discourage or prevent testimony by senior officials such as chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, numerous lower-ranking White House or State Department officials contributed to House Democrats' impeachment case against Trump.
As a result, President Trump is considering more terminations or reassignments in an attempt to remove opposition and shrink the overall size of his national security staff.