Trump Administration Has Removed 70 Obama Holdovers at NSC

US President Donald Trump(L)speaks next to new national security advisor Robert O'Brien on September 18, 2019 at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. - Last week, Trump abruptly fired John Bolton, a vigorous proponent of using US military force abroad and one of the main hawks in the …

By HANNAH BLEAU

The Trump administration has removed 70 Obama holdovers at the National Security Council (NSC), Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard reported on Monday.

President Trump and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien have removed 70 Obama holdovers from the NSC, which previously boasted a staff of roughly 200 people, according to the Washington Examiner:

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The news follows Saturday’s CNN report, which indicated “major cuts” to NSC staff in the coming days, citing “two sources familiar with the matter.”

It comes days after the contentious impeachment battle on Capitol Hill — a battle ignited by a complaint from a so-called “whistleblower.” The “whistleblower’s” complaint, regarding Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, sparked the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry, which ultimately ended in a full acquittal.

The administration removed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, from his post at the NSC last week. It also removed his twin brother Yevgeny, who worked as a lawyer on the NSC.

While Vindman has denied knowing the identity of the “whistleblower,” he has been suspected of being a leaker in the past. Some Republican lawmakers, such Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), believe the former NSC official leaked details the president’s July 25 phone call to the “whistleblower.”

As Breitbart News reported:

First and foremost, Vindman admitted openly during his testimony before HPSCI last year under questioning from ranking GOP member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) that he leaked the contents of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to two officials who were not in the White House. Vindman claimed during his testimony then that these two officials he leaked the call to were “cleared U.S. government officials with appropriate need to know.” While Vindman claimed under oath he did not know who the whistleblower was, Schiff intervened saying that answering Nunes’s questions identifying the individuals outside the White House to whom Vindman leaked the Trump-Zelensky call details may out the identity of the whistleblower who filed the original complaint.

The person who filed the complaint has been long been–and was at the time of this hearing–publicly reported to have been CIA official Eric Ciaramella. According to a follow-up report published this week by the outlet that first reported Ciaramella’s identity, RealClearPolitics, Vindman was the person who leaked the call details to Ciaramella.

Vindman’s removal drew a strong reaction from Democrat leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CAcalled his firing “shameful” and a “brazen act of retaliation,” and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday wrote a letter to 74 inspectors general, requesting an investigation into “any and all instances of retaliation” against whistleblowers, according to the Hill.

“These attacks are part of a dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the President and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness,” Schumer claimed.

The Trump administration has also identified and will remove the senior official who penned an anonymous “resistance” op-ed and book, according to U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova.

Alexander Vindman Admits Making up Parts of Trump Call Summary

National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By Charlie Spiering

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman admitted he made up elements of President Donald Trump’s call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an official summary.

Prior to the call, Vindman included a discussion about corruption in the talking points provided to the president but Trump did not use them in the call.

The summary Vindman wrote after the call read:

President Trump underscored the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – within its internationally recognized borders – and expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.

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But Vindman clarified during his testimony that the president did not bring up the topic rooting out corruption during the phone call, but he included it in his summary of the call anyway.

When asked by the Democrat counsel about whether the summary he wrote was false, Vindman hesitated.

“That’s not entirely accurate, but I’m not sure I would describe it as false, it was consistent with U.S. policy,” Vindman said.

Vindman said he included the rhetoric about corruption as a “messaging platform” to describe U.S. policy toward Ukraine, even though it was not discussed on the call.

Vindman Testified Earlier That He DID NOT Know the Identity of the Whistleblower But Nunes Just Caught Him (VIDEO)

 

On Tuesday NSC leaker Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified on day 3 of the Adam Schiff Show Trial.

Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) straight up asked Vindman if he discussed the July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call with anyone outside of the White House.

Vindman testified on Tuesday that he spoke two people about Trump’s call to Zelensky — George Kent, a State Department employee and ‘someone in the intelligence community’ about Trump’s phone call — Vindman would not name the second person.

House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) quickly interjected when Nunes began to drill down to find out which agency this second anonymous person worked for.

Schiff said he wanted to “protect the whistleblower” and wouldn’t let Vindman answer.

Nunes then pointed out that Vindman previously testified in a closed-door deposition that he DID NOT know the identity of the whistleblower and if that were true then how would he know to keep the second person’s name private?

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Vindman testified behind closed doors recently that he has no idea who the whistleblower is.

“I want the committee to know I am not the whistleblower who brought this issue to the CIA and the committee’s attention. I do not know who the whistleblower is, and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower,” Vindman previously said under oath.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Secrity and Governmental Affairs Ron Johnson (R-WI) blasted Lt. Col Vindman in an 11-page letter written to ranking member of the House Intel Committee Devin Nunes and Rep. Jim Jordan and accused Vindman of illegally leaking contents of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky.

Suspicions are growing on The Hill that Lt. Col Alexander Vindman was also the source of leak of the suspension of US aid story published by far-left Politico in August.

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