2/08/2020 — 

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement today in response to President Trump’s retaliation against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland for truthfully testifying under oath during the Trump impeachment investigation:

“Lieutenant Colonel Vidman and Ambassador Sondland both knew that testifying under oath could cost them their jobs, but they told the truth anyway.

“Presidents have the power to make personnel decisions, but President Trump’s personal insecurities and vindictiveness are making our nation less secure.  By firing Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and Ambassador Sondland like this, the Trump Administration signaled it won’t tolerate people who tell the truth.  The fact that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman’s brother was also removed from the NSC, as well as the transfer of Ms. Williams from Vice President Pence’s staff, are signals that the President places blind loyalty above all else, including testimony under oath.

“Our uniformed military officers, diplomatic personnel, and civilians who serve on the National Security Council and in the Executive Branch work for the President, but they also have a duty to serve the best interests of the nation.  They must speak up when they see someone do wrong, even if that person is their boss.  Especially if that person is their boss.  Even many Republicans admit that what President Trump did on that phone call was off the rails.

“This is a petulant president who continues to purge national security professionals.  He’s on his sixth national security advisor in three years.  And his Attorney General has barred law enforcement from investigating this administration between now and the election while he seeks revenge on those who testified under oath despite his likely unconstitutional blockade of Congress.  This is a dangerous moment for our democracy and the non-partisan institutions charged with defending it and upholding the law.”