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The White House has dismissed Lt. Col. Vindman after his testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, one of the witnesses that testified during President Donald Trump's impeachment, was reportedly fired from his role on the National Security Council on Friday afternoon, according to CNN. Vindman's twin brother, who also serves on the NSC, was also fired and escorted from the White House.
A statement from his attorney, David Pressman, says that Vindman was "escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his President."
"We can confirm that both Lt. Cols. Vindman have been reassigned to the Department of the Army," an Army spokesperson told Task & Purpose. "Out of respect for their privacy, we will not be providing any further information at this time."
"There is no question in the mind of any American why this man's job is over, why this country has one less soldier serving it at the White House," Pressman said in the statement. "LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful."
The Washington Post reported on Thursday night that Trump was "preparing" to push Vindman out.
Vindman was already planning on leaving his position on the NSC by the end of this month, per the Post, but Trump was reportedly "eager to make a symbol of the Army officer."
Trump hasn't been secretive about his dislike for Vindman. After Vindman's testimony in October, Trump maintained that the officer was a "Never Trumper."
When asked on Friday about the reports that Vindman would soon be shown the door, Trump told reporters that he was "not happy" with him.
"You think I'm supposed to be happy with him?" Trump asked. "They're going to be making that decision."
Earlier on Friday, Trump retweeted a November tweet from the president of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton, which said Vindman's "behavior is a scandal," and that he should be "removed from the...White House ASAP."
Trump also shared a tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who said he'd "fire" Vindman.
Vindman — who emigrated with his family to the U.S. from Ukraine, while it was still part of the Soviet Union, as a child — is a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
He deployed to Iraq in September 2004 and was wounded by an improvised explosive device a month into his tour. He finished his deployment and returned to the U.S. in September 2005.
During his testimony, Vindman discussed the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
Vindman was on the call, and said there was "no ambiguity" that Trump was "calling for an investigation that didn't exist" into the the relationship between Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Ukrainian company Burisma.
Despite past criticism from his commander-in-chief, Army spokesman Matt Leonard said in October that Vindman, "who has served his country honorably for 20+ years, is fully supported by the Army like every soldier."
In November, Army spokeswoman Col. Kathy Turner said that the Army was working with authorities "to ensure that [VIndman[ and his family are properly protected."
That same month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that Vindman "shouldn't have any fear of retaliation."
On Friday, Esper reiterated that service members would be protected from retaliation.
"As I said, we protect all of our persons, service members, from retribution or anything like that," he said. "We've already addressed that in policy and other means."
Irvin McCullough, a national security analyst at the Government Accountability Project, emphasized what kind of precedent Vindman's reassignment could have on future officials who speak out.
"Reorganizations are hotbeds for disguised retaliation," McCullough said. "Bad actors use massive organizational shifts to strike back against truth-tellers that may be otherwise untouchable. ... If the President overrules his Secretary, and uses this shift as cover for reprisal, he demonstrates that no whistleblower is out of his reach."
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.
Some Fort Bragg paratroopers who left for the Middle East on a no-notice deployment last month came home Thursday.
About 3,500 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team were sent to Kuwait beginning Jan. 1 as tensions were rising in the region. The first soldiers were in the air within 18 hours of being told to go.
Large cargo ships, small fishing boats and other watercraft sail safely past Naval Station Norfolk every day, but there's always a possibility that terrorists could use any one of them to attack the world's largest naval base.
While Navy security keeps a close eye on every vessel that passes, there's an inherent risk for the sailors aboard small patrol boats who are tasked with helping keep aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers on base safe from waterborne attacks.
So the Navy experimented Wednesday to test whether an unmanned vessel could stop a small boat threatening the base from the Elizabeth River.