According to people close to the situation, aides of President Donald Trump’s have been considering moving some crucial impeachment witnesses who are on loan to the White House from their respective agencies BACK to their home departments and positions well before their scheduled time. Yes, effectively, FIRING THEM.
The recent public hearings have made names like Lt. Col Alexander Vindman and Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, highly recognizable to anyone watching the news and Trump is not happy. He has been asking questions about their history, particularly how they came to work for him, and has been frustrated to the point of wanting them gone. His advisers have made sure to emphasize that any kind of move on them at this point may be viewed by the public at large as one of retaliation and revenge.
Trump’s impulsive behavior often leads him straight to social media and this situation has been no different. He has used Twitter to attack several officials involved creating an even bigger mess for the White House. Now, while Trump hasn’t actually fired anyone, he’s been crystal clear about his feelings, labeling many involved, including some staff members, as “Never Trumpers.” Other staffers say this has created an awkward work environment for everyone.
It’s created an odd and uncomfortable situation for staffers, who say they are unclear on their colleagues’ futures in the administration.
Of course there are SOME people who agree with President Trump, including his son, Donald Trump Jr. who said in a tweet at the beginning of ousted ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s hearing testimony, “America hired @realDonaldTrump to fire people like the first three witnesses we’ve seen… Career government bureaucrats and nothing more.”
Just a day after that, Trump took to Twitter to brag that he had fired three State Department officials who had appeared in the impeachment hearing. He even quoted Rush Limbaugh and said, “You elected Donald Trump to drain the Swamp, well, dismissing people like Yovanovitch is what that looks like. Dismissing people like Kent and Taylor, dismissing everybody involved from the Obama holdover days trying to undermine Trump, getting rid of those people, dismissing them, this is what it looks like,”
The “Kent” in that tweet is George Kent, current deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
Yet, the very thing he was bragging about didn’t come to pass. He didn’t fire Kent or Taylor and while Yovanovitch took a position at Georgetown University, she is still a State Department employee. Administration officials say Trump hasn’t gone through the necessary steps to remove these officials from their posts. Another bunch of lies from the President, it would appear.
Taylor was encouraged out of retirement by Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when Yovanovitch was recalled. Pompeo was recently asked if he felt confident about Taylor. He said, “The State Department is doing a fantastic job. I think we’ve delivered in a way that the Obama Administration has not delivered on Ukraine… I always defend State Department employees. This is the greatest diplomatic corps in the history of the world. Very proud of the team.”
Trump has reportedly watched the hearings and hours upon hours of news coverage surrounding them. He has lashed out multiple times on Twitter, recently saying about Jennifer Williams, a State Department employee who hails from the VP’s office where she works as a foreign policy adviser, “Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement (sic) from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”
As for Lt. Col. Vindman? Well, he may have bigger problems than his job… In the days following his testimony and in the wake of a series of Twitter attacks from our own president, Vindman and family have been placed under close security monitoring by US Army officials due to concerns for his personal safety.