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U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday defended his ouster of a key witness in the impeachment investigation against him in a series of scathing tweets, calling him “very insubordinate.”

Trump lashed out at Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman, a decorated army lieutenant colonel who was dismissed and escorted out of the White House a day earlier.

“I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly, and was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT,’” Trump wrote.

Vindman, who worked on the National Security Council, was one of a number of Trump administration officials who listened in on a July 25 call in which the president asked Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to do a “favour” and investigate his political rival.

Vindman testified that he believed the call was inappropriate.

Trump on Friday also fired Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who testified publicly that he believed there was a quid pro quo in Trump’s demand that Kiev pursue investigations.

The dismissals were an astonishing move by the president to clear his administration of people who have testified in the impeachment probe, which investigated Trump’s attempt to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations that could help his 2020 re-election bid.

Trump was impeached in December in the House of Representatives, where the opposition Democrats have a majority, and acquitted earlier this week by the Republican-controlled Senate.

(dpa/NAN)

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