There were dueling messages on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the White House on Tuesday, with President Trump suggesting the impeachment witness might be disciplined by the military and national security adviser Robert O'Brien insisting he had not been retaliated against—or even fired. Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, was escorted from the White House on Friday, months before his placement was due to end. His twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, played no role in impeachment proceedings but was also ousted. "We sent him on his way to a much different location and the military can handle him any way they want," Trump said of Alexander Vindman on Tuesday, predicting that the military will "certainly" at least "take a look" at disciplining him for his testimony.
O'Brien told CNN that the brothers were "reassigned" and it was "standard procedure" to escort them from the White House. He said the US is not a "banana republic" where lieutenants colonels can dictate policy. "The president is entitled to a staff that he has confidence in," he said. "I can absolutely tell you they were not retaliated against." Lawyers for the brothers say they were clearly fired because Alexander Vindman testified that he considered Trump's Ukraine phone call inappropriate and alarming. "There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House," Vindman lawyer David Pressman said, per the Guardian. "Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth." (Read more Alexander Vindman stories.)