Last week Donald Trump was handed a brief post-acquittal window of opportunity, which he could use however he wanted, before the media and the public got back to realizing that he’s the same old Trump and that nothing has magically changed for him. Trump used that opportunity to oust Alexander Vindman, and his brother, and Gordon Sondland. In other words, Trump was going for revenge, not winning. Now it turns out he couldn’t even do the revenge right.
Politico’s Natasha Bertrand is reporting that Alexander Vindman’s brother, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, has still been given “no explanation whatsoever” for why he’s been ousted from the White House National Security Council. This is a huge mistake on Trump’s part. Even though Alexander and Yevgeny weren’t fired from the military, they were prematurely removed from their prestigious White House posts, in what is clearly retaliation for Alexander having testified in the impeachment hearings. It’s plainly illegal.
If Trump wants to pull this kind of thing off, he has to come up with some phony “legitimate” reason for making these moves. Trump’s camp has been touting the fact that one of Alexander Vindman’s former supervisors said some negative things about him. This is horse crap, but it at least gives Trump’s camp some kind of reasonable doubt. But they clearly didn’t even bother to come up with anything about Yevgeny Vindman before ousting him.
A competent villain would have combed over Yevgeny’s record, found some real or perceived minor violation from the past, and made clear that it was the supposed reason for his ouster. But it’s too late now. Donald Trump and his team have handed Yevgeny Vindman a huge opening here. This gives him a nearly airtight civil case if he goes that route. And if Trump loses in November, it helps increase the odds that Trump and his co-conspirators will be convicted on the criminal charges they end up facing for felony witness intimidation. Trump can’t even get his villainy right.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report