Trump Slams John Kelly For Defending Key Impeachment Witness

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FILE - In this June 27, 2018 file photo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, right, leans in to talk with President Donald Trump during Trump's meeting with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Kelly is defending former White House national security aide, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who raised concerns about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president that spurred his impeachment. Kelly made the comments at a public forum Wednesday evening in Morristown, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out against former White House chief of staff John Kelly for being disloyal after the ex-adviser came to the defense of a former national security aide who offered key testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

The president’s comments targeting Kelly came after Kelly defended Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was among administration officials who raised concerns about Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president. That call spurred the president’s impeachment trial, which ended in acquittal last week.

“Like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut,. which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do,” Trump tweeted about Kelly. “His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you.’ Wrong!”

Kelly, speaking at a public forum on Wednesday in Morristown, New Jersey, said that Vindman did exactly as he was trained in raising concerns to his superiors after hearing “questionable” comments from Trump, according to a report by The Atlantic magazine. Vindman was ousted last week from his position as a Ukraine specialist detailed to the White House National Security Council.

“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” said Kelly, a retired Marine general who served as Trump’s chief of staff from the summer of 2017 until early last year. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

Vindman was a key witness in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of Trump.

The Army officer was ousted from his job on the White House National Security Council last Friday, just two days after the Senate acquitted Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of justice charges. He is to be reassigned by the Pentagon. His twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, who worked as an ethics lawyer at the NSC, also was ousted from his job and was re-assigned to the Army General Counsel’s Office.

Kelly came to Vindman’s defense after Trump suggested this week that the Pentagon should review Vindman’s conduct in the Ukraine episode and potentially consider disciplinary action against him.

Trump has insisted that his call to Zelenskiy was “perfect.” During the conversation, Trump asked Zelenskiy to do him “a favor” and look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

Vindman testified that he raised his concerns inside the White House after concluding that Trump was inappropriately conditioning nearly $400 million in military aid to the country on getting Zelenskiy’s help digging up dirt on the Republican president’s political rival.

Kelly said at the forum that Vindman’s decision to raise his concerns was valid.

“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy (Vindman) was most interested in.”

Trump initially tapped Kelly after the 2016 election to serve as his secretary of Homeland Security, before Trump asked him to become his chief of staff. Kelly suggested at the forum he had some hesitation about joining the administration but ultimately decided to at the urging of his wife.

“I frankly think he needs you and people like you,” Kelly recalled his wife telling him.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday that she was “disappointed” by Kelly’s comments. She compared him to former national security adviser John Bolton, another top aide who was critical of Trump’s efforts to pressure Zelesnkiy.

“I thought it was a little disingenuous,” Grisham said in an interview on Fox New Channel’s “Fox & Friends” “It’s interesting that he’s starting to poke his head out a little bit more, just like John Bolton, as we’re getting close to an election.”

Bolton, according to excerpts of a manuscript leaked to the media during the Senate impeachment trial, says Trump told him he was conditioning the release of military aid to Ukraine on whether its government would help investigate the Bidens.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. When I was in basic training, (USAF), one of our instructors taught us that we had a duty to disobey an illegal order. Then, to his credit he mentioned the frivolous defenses that key Nazis used, when they were prosecuted. They kept stating that “we were only following orders”. The instructor told us that such defenses were illegal. I am not commenting about Vindman; I am only trying to further expand upon what General Kelly stated. Incidentally, when General Kelly worked at the White House, he and the President did not always get along, as there was a tense relationship between them. General Kelly was quoted as stating that “this is the worst job that I ever had”.

    • I see your screen names are down to the starting letter of Y, Make sure when start all over after hitting Z you shouldn’t mix up with the one’s you used the prior A-Z cycle.

    • Very simple. Trump was elected, and is Constitutionally the head of the executive branch; Kelly and everyone else report to him, and most of them serve at his pleasure. We didn’t elect Kelly, or Vindman, or whoever, to come up with their own foreign policy. If they want one of their own, let them run for president and get elected.

  2. Of course VIN will keep peddling the lie that Trump asked Zelinsky to do “him” a favor instead what he actually said to do “us” a favor which means do a favor for the US government.

    • Loyalty to a madman isn’t required, but in this administration it sure helps.

      Sort of like having a 1970’s bigot as a VIN icon – it doesn’t make anyone the biggest laughing stock but it sure goes a long way.

  3. “Call me Lt. Col. Vindman” is an arrogant sob who believes that he, an unelected nobody, sets policy and not a president. Apparently the swampster Kelly agrees.
    Counting still?? Their last hope was Bolton. We’re down to Kelly, now.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow. Who’s it gonna be?

      • Vindman served, but then committed betrayal by going against his commander-in-chief. (Not much different than Benedict Arnold, who also served his country honorably – even lost a leg in battle against the British – but then turned traitor.) Trump has also served his country honorably as president, done well for the country so far (and, with Hashem’s help, will continue to do so), and withstood attacks such as few others have. But the bottom line is that Trump was elected and is head of the executive branch, and Vindman was not and is not.

  4. Yup, anyone who disagrees with Trump is an enemy of the American people, regardless of decades of service in uniform or the diplomatic corps or civil service while trump was busy dodging the draft, screwing contractors, bankrupting companies, sleeping and marrying an assortment of porn models and actresses and making greed a national sport.

    Here it comes: What about Bill Clinton (I voted against him twice), you’re a lib (I’m not, I voted for Reagan, GHW Bush, Bob Dole and GW Bush) Democrats all hate Israel (not to any greater a degree than the extreme right hates Jews) and Trump was elected (elected president, not king), his grandchildren are Jewish (debatable, and if true proof of nothing. Bnai banov shel Haman londu b’bnai braq) and frankly that is all irrelevant because even if it were all true, none of it or any of it would justify Trumps many lies and crimes.

    Nebach on yiddin who buy into his krumkeit.

      • Why hasn’t Trump ordered the DOJ to investigate the Bidens???
        He asked the Ukranians, why not his own administration???

        Obviously Trump knows better than anyone that he is full of ‘it’ (with an uppercase S).

  5. Listen love trump or hate trump I don’t care. The important thing is that he drain the swamp. All these career unelected diplomats are swampy swampers and they need to go. They call themselves “webees” we be here when you come and we be here when you leave. These guys are deeply embedded in every department and they do whatever they want and they don’t care what the president wants. That’s why in case you ever wondered that no matter who is president some things never changed like in the state Department. All this also known as “the swamp”. So when we voted trump to drain the swamp we mean just that. Get rid of all these guys. Good Americans or bad Americans I don’t care. DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!!!

    • Very sad that anyone would slander a decorated combat veteran without offering a hint of evidence, all is the defense of a slimy and scummy morally and ethically, as well as repeatedly financially, bankrupt degenerate.

        • You know because you served in combat with him? He has more true American patriotism in the tip of his smallest toenail than your orange avoda zora has in his entire overstuffed bloated carcass, including his YUGE bone spurs and tiny hands.

          • You don’t know what you’re talking about. I also got a purple heart metal. I served my Nation admirably. I served as secretary of State under President Obama, I’ll have you know. I even ran for President. How dare you question my patriotism!

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