President Trump said on Tuesday that the U.S. military should look at disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who gave testimony against the president in the impeachment inquiry.
Mr. Trump told reporters that the White House removed Lt. Col. Vindman last week from the National Security Council and that the military can deal with him any way it wants.
But he said he wasn’t happy with Lt. Col. Vindman or his brother, Yevgeny, who also worked for the NSC and was removed from that job last week.
The president said the brothers falsely reported information about his phone calls with Ukraine’s president last year, conversations that led to the impeachment.
“If you look at what happened, I would imagine they would certainly take a look at that,” the president said of a possible disciplinary review. “It’s up to them. We sent him on his way to a much different location. The military can handle him any way he wants.”
Lt. Col. Vindman’s lawyer said he was being punished for speaking out against the president.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said last week in response to a question about Lt. Col. Vindman that military officers are free from “retribution” when they return to the Pentagon from jobs elsewhere.
Lt. Col. Vindman told lawmakers that he listened to the president’s phone call as part of his job with the NSC, and was startled to hear the president pressuring Ukraine’s leader to start an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden.
The president said again on Tuesday that his phone calls with Ukraine’s president were “perfect” and that Lt. Col. Vindman and others gave false interpretations of them.
“I obviously wasn’t happy with the job he did,” Mr. Trump said. “First of all he reported a false call. That wasn’t what was said on the call. What we said on the call was totally appropriate.”
He said of Lt. Col. Vindman, “the person he reports to said horrible things, avoided the chain of command and leaked, did a lot of bad things. And so we sent him on his way to a much different location.”
“General Miley has him now,” Mr. Trump said of Gen. Mark A. Miley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I congratulate Gen. Miley. He can have them. And his brother also.”
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