National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien commented Tuesday night on the abrupt dismissal from the National Security Council last Friday of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman.
He hinted that the reason for their dismissal was because they were trying to set foreign policy for their native Ukraine.
O’Brien was interviewed by CBS Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan. While he did explain than fiscal concerns and the historical limit of 100 personnel helped lead to their departure.
But he said :
“I mean look, we’re, we’re not a country where a, a group of lieutenant colonels can get together and dictate what the policy of the United States is. The policy of the United States is uh, formulated and decided by an elected President of the United States. We’re not some banana republic where lieutenant colonels get together and decide what the policy is or should be.”
He said he wasn’t accusing the Vindmans of anything, but coincidentally, both are Lt Cols.
O’Brien, “…but with the timing of what just has happened with the conclusion of impeachment, the fact that Vindman and his brother Yevgeny who was an ethics lawyer on the National Security Council were both fired on Friday and walked out, it sounds like the thing you said you wouldn’t do which is to retaliate. Can you answer that specifically, can you say unequivocally it wasn’t that?”
“No, look, ab-absolutely, and uh, so, so number one, uh, they weren’t fired. Uh, so, none of the detailees that leave the NSC are fired. Uh, folks may think it that, you know, it feels that way, and, look, it’s great to work at the White House, everybody likes working at the White House, uh, but there will come a time for all of us who work at the White House, including me, uh, that will leave the White House.
“And as far as being walked out that’s standard procedure and folks who, who’ve worked at the White House know this, your last day you lose your badge, and someone walks you out to the uh, gate and so that happens when you’re at the White House as a visitor, you have an escort who escorts you out. People aren’t kind of free range in the White House. And if you don’t have a badge to open the gate, somebody has to let the Secret Service know and they let you out. So uh, I, I just wouldn’t read anything into that.
“But look at the end of the day the President is entitled to staffers uh, that, that want to execute his policy, that he has confidence in and uh, and I think every, every president’s entitled to that. Uh, but, but there’s no, absolutely no retaliation with respect to the Vindmans as far as impeachment goes. But the president is entitled to a staff that he has confidence in and that he believes will execute his policies.