Donald Trump justifies 'revenge sacking' of 'insubordinate' soldier Alexander Vindman

8 February 2020, 15:48 | Updated: 8 February 2020, 18:55

Donald Trump has justified the sacking of an official who gave evidence against him to impeachment hearings, calling army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman "very insubordinate".

The decorated soldier, who was working at the National Security Council, was marched out of the White House on Friday, along with his twin brother Yevgeny Vindman.

The US president said on Twitter that he "never spoke" to Lt Col Vindman, who he said "was very insubordinate" and "reported contents of my perfect calls incorrectly".

Lt Col Vindman "was given a horrendous report by his superior", who said the whistleblower had problems with "judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information".

Mr Trump concluded: "In other words, 'OUT'"

The phone call in question was between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July last year which the official and others listened in on.

Mr Trump allegedly asked his opposite number to investigate whether his Democrat rival Joe Biden had been involved in corruption in Ukraine.

Mr Vindman, the White House's top expert on Ukraine, told the impeachment inquiry that Mr Trump's demand was improper, stating: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing."

The US president was acquitted on Wednesday of both impeachment charges - abuse of power and obstruction of justice - after a vote in the Senate, controlled by fellow Republicans.

Lt Col Vindman's two-year stint at the White House was due to end in July. According to reports, he will be reassigned to the Defence Department.

Also sacked in Mr Trump's post-acquittal purge of those who, in his view, betrayed him was Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union.

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The diplomat, who delivered some of the most damning evidence, is a wealthy Oregon hotelier and was a Trump political donor before being appointed by the president to his ambassador post.

He told the House of Representatives "everyone was in the loop" on Mr Trump's desire to press Ukraine for politically charged investigations.

He explained there was a "quid pro quo" that if Ukraine investigated Mr Biden, President Zelenskiy would get a desired White House meeting.