President Trump has dismissed the second witness who testified in his impeachment trial, former U.S. envoy to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
Wow — EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland recalled. His attorney sends me this statement on his behalf pic.twitter.com/UrCfHaENjE
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) February 7, 2020
The news came Friday evening, hours after the White House removed Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman from his National Security Council post.
Now there are reports that a cadre of Republican senators attempted to dissuade Trump from firing Sondland, to no avail.
Per The Hill:
According to the paper’s sources, the group of GOP senators – Susan Collins (Maine), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Ron Johnson (Wisc.) – thought the ousting of Sondland would look bad, especially since he was already in talks senior officials about leaving his post after the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial.
However, on Friday, State Department officials informed Sondland that he needed to resign by the end of the day.
An allegedly indignant Sondland replied they would have fire him. The White House promptly recalled the diplomat from his post, effective immediately.
Vindman and Sondland were both key witnesses in House Democrats’ impeachment hearings, but the Times says that the group of lawmakers only registered concern about Sondland’s ouster, not Vindman’s.
A senior official confirmed the lawmakers’ outreach, but the White House declined the Times’ request for comment.