President Donald Trump's aides are exploring moving certain impeachment witnesses, like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, out of their White House posts and back to their home departments ahead of schedule, while the president has asked how people like Vindman and acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor have ended up working for him, CNN reported Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Trump has also hinted at dismissing the witnesses, according to the sources, while at the same time publicly attacking some, like ousted Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who he slammed on Twitter as she testified last week, sparking talk of possible witness intimidation.
Many of the witnesses remain employed, however, even though Trump has suggested that they have either have already been fired or they are "Never Trumpers," even though none have been let go at this time. Yovanovitch was recalled from Ukraine but remains a State Department employee.
Trump's backers, though, say he has the right to choose his own team, with his son, Donald Jr., tweeting that Americans "hired" his father to "fire people like the first three witnesses we've seen."
Trump himself the next day quoted conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who had said he was draining the "swamp" by dismissing Yovanovitch and "everybody involved from the Obama holdover days trying to undermine Trump," including Taylor and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Bill Taylor, the current top US diplomat in Ukraine.
All three named in the tweet remained still employed, with Kent and Taylor remaining in their posts and Yovanovitch remaining a State Department employee but working in a position at Georgetown University.
Meanwhile, Pompeo, when asked if Trump still has confidence in Taylor, didn't answer directly about the envoy but commented that the State Department, in general, is "doing a fantastic job" and delivering on Ukraine better than the State Department had.
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