White House counselor Kellyanne Conway would like to make a distinction.
Conway on Monday disputed the idea that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother, Yevgeney Vindman, were fired from their posts at the National Security Council in retaliation for the former's testimony during the House impeachment inquiry. In fact, Conway said President Trump didn't fire them at all. Instead, she said they were simply being reassigned to their original jobs because National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has wanted to trim down a "bloated staff" since he took over.
"They weren't fired," says @KellyannePolls this morning of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman or his brother. She says they were detailed to the WH by the Army and are merely returning to their previous assignments. Disputes WH retaliating for Vindman's public criticism. pic.twitter.com/gkcNHksuS1
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) February 10, 2020
Not everyone is buying this, especially because some people believe it's quite clear Trump wanted Vindman's removal to be seen as revenge.
And it's clear @realDonaldTrump **wants it seen** as vindictive. That's what makes @KellyannePolls explanation so ridiculous and insulting. The day after the acquittal Trump just happens to get around to recalling Sondland and re-assigning both Vindman brothers? Foolishness! https://t.co/x7DitDgJbg
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) February 10, 2020
But Conway wants to know why Trump would have waited so long to get rid of impeachment witnesses. "Victory is the ultimate statement," she said, referring to Trump's acquittal in the Senate. "If he wanted to clean house of the testifiers he could have done that quite a while ago."