While President Donald Trump may have sought the removal of Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman because of his unflattering testimony during the House impeachment inquiry, there could be another, much more likely reason that came to light during those hearings, namely that Vindman had been suspected of leaking information outside of the National Security Council (NSC), where he was based, according to Breitbart.
Back in October, testimony from fellow NSC official Tim Morrison made it clear that others within the agency believed Vindman may have been leaking information. Some suspected that it was possible that Vindman is the person who told the so-called Ukraine whistleblower about the July 25 phone call that launched the entire impeachment probe.
Morrison answered “yes” when asked by GOP lawyer Steve Castor, “Did anyone ever bring concerns to you that they believed Colonel Vindman may have leaked something?”
Though Morrison did not say that he knew of any leaks himself, he explained that others had told him they thought Vindman was a leaker. In Trump’s eyes, leaking would certainly be just as good a reason for firing Vindman as the testimony he gave in the House.
Vindman denies leaking
Vindman has denied leaking any information, calling accusations that he did so “preposterous,” according to The Hill. In his House testimony, though, he said that he did share information about the call with someone “within the intelligence community,” but declined to give a name.
At that point in Vindman’s testimony, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) jumped in and prevented him from revealing that individual’s identity, saying that it wasn’t appropriate to disclose the whistleblower’s name in public.
It’s a logical conclusion from this exchange to think that Vindman leaked information about the call to the whistleblower, no matter how much he protests to the contrary.
And if there’s one thing Trump cannot allow to remain in his administration, it’s leakers. While he had plenty of reasons to fire Vindman, leaking important information would have been front and center on that list, even prior to the Lt. Col.’s attempt to skewer Trump before Congress.
Trump has already answered those who are questioning the Vindman firing in a tweet that should put the matter to rest.
Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about “Lt. Col.” Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my “perfect” calls incorrectly, &…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
A follow-up tweet from the president also noted that Morrison said Vindman had “problems with judgment” including following the chain of command and — surprise, surprise — leaking.
It would have been utterly foolish for Trump to continue employing folks like Vindman and recently recalled Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who have both demonstrated their willingness to undermine the president at every opportunity, both at home and abroad. With friends like those, who needs enemies?