Saturday 8 February 2020 12:11 pm

Trump fires two impeachment witnesses

US President Donald Trump has removed two senior officials from their posts after they testified against him at his impeachment trial.

The US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, issued a statement on Friday saying he had been recalled from his post by the president.

Sondland, who was a Trump political donor before being assigned the ambassadorial post, stood the impeachment inquiry in November that the President had sought a “quid pro quo” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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The White House’s leading expert on Ukraine, Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, was escorted from his post on Friday, his lawyer David Pressman confirmed.

He had told the impeachment inquiry that Trump had made an improper demand of Zelenskiy on the during July’s phone call that instigated the proceedings.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he said about the phone call, which he also called inappropriate.

Pressman spoke about his client’s removal from his position at the National Security Council, the foreign policy arm of the White House.

He said: “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.

“LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth.”

He said “the most powerful man in the world – buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit” had “decided to exact revenge” on his client.

Trump has always said the impeachment was a hoax and an effort from Democrats to destabilise his re-election campaign.

He was acquitted earlier this week following a vote in the Senate, controlled by Republicans. The house rejected both charges against him of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

“It was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars,” Trump said after being acquitted. “This should never, ever happen to another president.”

Asked on Friday if he was set to fire Vindman, he said: “I’m not happy with him. You think I’m supposed to be happy with him?”

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When asked how he would pay back those who gave evidence against hi, he said: “You’ll see.”

Vindman was due to end his two years at the White House in July and will be reassigned to the Defence Department according to some reports.

His twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, a lawyer for the NSC, was also fired on Friday.