FILE PHOTO: National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, takes a break as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill as part of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2019. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the ouster of impeachment witness Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from the White House National Security Council, calling him “insubordinate” and saying he had incorrectly reported the contents of his “perfect” telephone calls.
Trump tweeted that “Fake News” media kept “talking about ‘Lt. Col.’ Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was.
“Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly,” Trump said.
Trump added that Vindman was “given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgment, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT’.”
Vindman was one of two witnesses who provided the most damaging testimony during Trump’s impeachment investigation, both of whom were ousted by the administration on Friday.
He was one of the officials who listened to a July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s president, Volodimir Zelenskiy, at the center of the impeachment probe and testified that he went immediately to the NSC’s chief lawyer to express his concern about it.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump, a Republican, on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings with Ukraine, but he was acquitted by the Republican-dominated Senate on Wednesday.
Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Brad Heath in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis