Bloomberg News is reporting, based on multiple sources inside the White House, that it has learned of the intention of the administration to have Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman removed from his position on the National Security Council. If this plays out it is not clear if he is being specifically targeted, if he is part of a larger plan to downsize the NSC staff size, or if a sweep of disloyal members is in play.
Whichever the case, his removal seems justified. One of the bigger testimonies to come out of the House impeachment inquiry this past November was that of Vindman. Being the rare witnesses with intimate knowledge of the infamous Ukraine phone call from last Summer, Vindman was expected to deliver the most damning witness account. It did not turn out that way.
He confirmed the accuracy of the transcript of the call, something that had been contested as being contorted by the administration. But in the course of detailing the contents of the call the most damning thing he could say was how he was personally concerned with some of the aspects of the discussion. He could not detail anything in particular that rose to the level of illegality.
Though as he felt emboldened on the stand Vindman may have implicated himself far more than damaged the president. His superior was Tim Morrison, the Senior Director for European Affairs, and Morrison expressed deep concerns about Vindman honoring the chain of command and of being a source of leaks. This was something Vindman ended up confirming from his testimony.
At one stage in his question and answer segment surrounding his concerns about the call, Vindman mentioned his efforts to discuss the matter with others. He did not involve Morrison, his superior, and at one point mentioned that he discussed the details with an individual in the intelligence community. This admission carried significant import. The first matter was that presidential calls with world leaders are classified information and his discussing the details outside his White House scope was an ethical breach.
The other matter is that Vindman had testified that he does not know the identity of the whistleblower. Yet when Devin Nunes asked who it was that Vindman had spoken with outside the White House the question was shut down by Adam Schiff. ”We need to protect the whistleblower,’’ said Schiff at this time. This was a direct tipoff that Schiff does, in fact, know the whistleblower’s identity, and probably Vindman as well, as he named one of the people he spoke with but was cagey enough to refer to anonymously, before Schiff’s interjection.
This means that perjury could be added to Vindman’s other insurrections. It supports the narrative surrounding his name that he was an activist working against the President. It also would justify his removal from his post within the White House.