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President Donald Trump has recalled U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified in the impeachment hearing, Fox News reports.
“I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States ambassador to the European Union,” Sondland said.
This announcement came just hours after a National Security Council aide who testified against the president was also fired. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was also fired by the National Security Council and escorted off of the White House grounds on Friday, the report adds.
The Trump White House has made these changes with personnel just two days after Trump was acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial.
Trump was found not guilty on two articles of impeachment brought by the House last year over his dealings with Ukraine.
“With Sondland and Vindman out, eight of 12 officials who testified publicly during the impeachment hearings have left their roles, been fired, or reassigned,” Fox News reported.
Sondland said, “I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.”
“I am proud of our accomplishments,’ Sondland added. “Our work here has been the highlight of my career.”
Sondland was a major donor to Trump before being tapped to serve overseas. Sondland has reportedly been supportive of the President.
Sondland said. “I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.”
Sondland’s dismissal comes nearly three months after his testimon.
Sondland, a political appointee and hotel magnate with no background in government before joining the Trump administration, testified in November that he was working with Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters.
Sondland confirmed in his testimony that Trump had never told him that US military assistance was contingent on Ukraine announcing investigations into Burisma and the 2016 election, which did not help the Democrats’ case for impeachment.
Despite Sondland’s defense of President Trump in the impeachment trial, Sondland’s testimony seems to have distanced himself from the Trump administration.
A US official told CNN, “Sondland was a dead man walking.”
“We all knew it was coming and it was going to happen fast, it was just a question of when Trump was going to do it,” CNN reported.
Even other US ambassadors who were appointed by Trump and had been close to Sondland tried to maintain an arms-length distance from him, the official said.
Sondland had resisted resigning, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.