White House purges the truth-tellers

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, provided some of the key testimony incriminating President Donald Trump of withholding military aid to Ukraine in return for its investigation of political rival Joe Biden.

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Opinion

February 11, 2020 - 10:56 AM

Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on November 20, 2019. Photo by (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

President Trump waited barely 48 hours after his acquittal by the U.S. Senate to exact revenge against witnesses who gave sworn testimony to Congress about the administration’s withholding of military assistance to Ukraine. The retaliation was raw, in the open and reminiscent of the purges seen in an authoritarian regime that equates truth telling with disloyalty.

Army Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.Photo by (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)

First to go Friday was Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official who had testified in the House impeachment inquiry that he flagged a White House lawyer about what he regarded as Trump’s improper call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy. Next out was his twin brother Yevgeny, who served as a senior lawyer on the NSC.

Vindman had listened in on that July 25 phone call between the two presidents.

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