Republican Senators Tried to Stop Trump From Firing Impeachment Witness ,
A handful of Republican senators tried to stop President Donald Trump from firing Gordon Sondland , the ambassador to , the European Union who testified in the House impeachment hearings, but the president relieved the diplomat of his post anyway,
According to people briefed on the discussions. The senators were concerned that it would look bad for Trump to dismiss Sondland and argued that it was unnecessary, since the ambassador was already talking with senior officials about leaving after the Senate trial, the people said. The senators told White House officials ,
Sondland conveyed to the State Department officials that if they wanted him gone that day, they would have to fire him. And so the president did, ordering the ambassador recalled from his post effective immediately.
Sondland’s dismissal was announced just hours after another impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, were marched out of the White House by security officers and told their services were no longer needed.
The White House was Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who after voting to acquit Trump said she thought he had learned a lesson. Others included Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment Saturday but a senior administration official confirmed the senators’ outreach.
Collins said Saturday that her lesson comment had been misinterpreted. “The lesson that I hoped the president had learned was ,
That he should not enlist the help of a foreign ,Government in investigating a political rival,” A lawyer for Vindman said Trump’s Twitter messages contained “obviously false statements” about his client.