Washington (CNN) – 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.
Vindman, a decorated veteran who was born in Ukraine, was escorted out of the White House by security and told his services were no longer needed, according to Vindman’s lawyer, David Pressman.
His twin brother Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a National Security Council attorney, was also fired and walked off the White House grounds alongside him.
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. Trump foreshadowed Vindman’s dismissal earlier Friday.
Well, I’m not happy with him,” Trump said. “You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not.”
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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