- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday defended President Trump’s decision to oust Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the White House National Security Council after serving as key impeachment witness.

“I think his reassignment was justified,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, told CBS’s Face the Nation. “I don’t think he could be effective at the NSC.”

During a House probe, Lt. Col. Vindman testified that Mr. Trump inappropriately pressured Ukraine’s leader to start an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden during a July 25 phone call.

The call played a major role in the impeachment of Mr. Trump, who was acquitted last week by the Senate.

Lt. Col. Vindman was escorted from the White House on Friday and will be reassigned to the Defense Department. The unceremonious ousting caused some to question if Mr. Trump is being vindictive against a decorated veteran who testified under subpoena.

The president over the weekend confirmed, via tweets, he ousted Lt. Col. Vindman for being “insubordinate.”

“As much as I support our military people telling the truth when asked — it’s important they do — what have I learned in the last two years? CIA agents, Department of State, Department of Justice lawyers, FBI agents have a political agenda and they acted on it,” Mr. Graham, a former military lawyer, told CBS.

Mr. Graham said they “took the law in their own hands” in probing the Trump campaign in 2016 with the help of the court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The senator wants to know if Mr. Vindman’s own political leanings affected his work, or if he coordinated with a whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry by filing a complaint about Mr. Trump.

“He’s never been asked [the question], ‘Did you leak to the whistleblower?’” Mr. Graham said. “I want the man to be asked about what he did with the information.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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