Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Trump’s impeachment inquiry was fired from his job at the National Security Council.
USA TODAYWASHINGTON — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi slammed President Donald Trump for the abrupt removal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who served on the National Security Council and provided damning testimony against the president during the impeachment inquiry. “President Trump is impeached forever,” Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. “The shameful firing of Colonel Vindman was a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President’s fear of the truth.”She added, “History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American hero.”Vindman’s lawyer said he was escorted out of the White House by a security escort Friday, along with his twin brother Yevgeny Vindman, also a security adviser, who did not testify during impeachment. Hours later, Trump fired Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from Brussels.Read senators’ impeachment notes: 7 senators’ handwritten notes offer a new view of Trump’s impeachment trialBoth Vindman and Sondland provided key testimony in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump’s alleged pressuring of the Ukraine government to open investigations into domestic political rivals and leveraging of military aid money to do so. The firings came just days after the president was acquitted of impeachment charges by the Republican-majority Senate.Impeachment witnesses out: Trump administration ousts Alexander Vindman, Amb. Gordon Sondland days after Senate acquittal”Lieutenant Colonel Vindman has proven to be an American patriot: on the battlefield when he earned a Purple Heart, and in the House trial when he spoke truth to power. His brave testimony showed America that right still matters,” Pelosi said. Vindman said during his hearing that it was “inappropriate” for the president to make such a request of Ukraine’s president, and revealed he spoke of his concerns to supervisors after listening in on the now infamous July 25, 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.Lieutenant Colonel Vindman has proven to be an American patriot. His firing was a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President’s fear of the truth — and the vindictiveness which led Republican Senators to be accomplices to President Trump’s cover-up.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 8, 2020And Sondland provided explosive testimony that there was a quid pro quo linking the military aid and the investigations Trump wanted. Sondland said he worked at “the express direction of the president” with Rudy Giuliani to secure the investigations. Sondland told lawmakers that he communicated the quid pro quo to a Ukrainian official. The former ambassador was previously a high-dollar donor to Trump’s inaugural committee. Who is Alexander Vindman?: Key witness to Trump impeachment removed from White House job“I’m not happy with him,” Trump said about Vindman on the South Lawn Friday when asked about reports that his job could be at risk.Trump tweeted Saturday morning that he doesn’t think he had ever met or spoken to Vindman, whom he called “insubordinate.”Fake News @CNN & MSDNC keep talking about “Lt. Col.” Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, 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, &…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who led Democrats in the impeachment inquiry and later served as lead House manager in the Senate trial, said that Vindman “upheld his oath when others would not.” Schiff lauded Vindman for cooperating with impeachment investigators despite a White House order not to appear.”Right matters to him,” Schiff said. “And to us.””President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward, and testified about his misconduct,” Schiff tweeted Friday night.President Trump is exacting his retribution, removing those who complied with subpoenas, came forward, and testified about his misconduct.These are the actions of a man who believes he is above the law —Precisely the kind of conduct Congressional Republicans enabled.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 8, 2020Pelosi said that Trump’s “vindictiveness” caused Republican senators who voted for his acquittal to be “accomplices to his cover-up.” Only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with the party and voted to convict Trump on the abuse of power article of impeachment. None voted for conviction on the second article, obstruction of Congress.Democrats previously came to Vindman’s defense at the time of his testimony, when he was publicly attacked by Trump and his allies as a “Never Trumper” and his patriotism questioned due to his having been born in Ukraine.”The firing of this patriotic soldier is a sad and shameless loss for America’s security,” Pelosi said. “History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American hero.”AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideRead or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/08/trump-firing-impeachment-witness-alexander-vindman-brazen-act-retaliation-pelosi/4700103002/
B.C. voters heading to the polls as snap election called for Oct. 24 | CBC News
After weeks of speculation, B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan has made official the worst-kept secret in the province: British Columbians are heading to the polls. Horgan said Monday he had called an election for Oct. 24 after meeting with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and asking her to dissolve the legislature.”I’ve struggled mightily with this decision, and it did not come easily to me,” said…
After weeks of speculation, B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan has made official the worst-kept secret in the province: British Columbians are heading to the polls. Horgan said Monday he had called an election for Oct. 24 after meeting with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and asking her to dissolve the legislature.”I’ve struggled mightily with this decision, and it did not come easily to me,” said Horgan, acknowledging the controversy of calling an early election during a pandemic. But he said that, with COVID-19 expected to be a fact of life for the next year, an election made sense now. “We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the 12 months … or we can do what I believe is always the right thing and ask British Columbians what they think.” The announcement comes after weeks of speculation that Horgan would call an election just over three years into his mandate, and it comes after six cabinet ministers announced their retirements in the past seven days. The NDP currently have 41 seats in the legislature, as do the opposition Liberal Party, while the Green Party has two. WATCH | B.C. premier announces Oct. 24 election: British Columbia voters will head to the polls on Oct 24. Some are criticizing the premier for moving forward early, but John Horgan says COVID-19 would have been a factor no matter when he called an election. 1:59 How did we get here? Horgan has led a minority government since July 2017 after his New Democratic Party and the Greens teamed up to defeat the Liberals in a confidence vote following a May election with no clear decision. Since that time, he has led the province with the support of the Green Party — under a unique and formal agreement — and passed legislation setting a fixed election date for October 2021. The agreement also stipulated Horgan “will not request a dissolution of the legislature … except following the defeat of a motion of confidence.” But, in calling the election, Horgan argued the province found itself in unique circumstances because of the pandemic and that the Green Party had also broken a rule of the agreement by introducing an amendment to a government bill without notification. “The issues of 2017 are not the issues of 2020,” said Horgan. “What we did in the past is one thing, and what we need to do in the future is quite another matter.” Horgan also repeatedly argued that an election would create more certainty for the province if one party had a majority government and the ability to make decisions without consulting other parties. “We need a stable government,” he said. Up in the polls Horgan will attempt to become the first two-term NDP premier in B.C. history and heads into the campaign with his party up in the polls and with the highest personal approval rating of any premier in Canada, according to recent surveys by Angus Reid. In recent weeks, the B.C. Liberal Party and the Green Party have criticized Horgan for considering an election during a global pandemic. While British Columbia received plaudits for its initial containment of the virus, cases of COVID-19 have surged in recent months, and the effects of students returning to class are still not fully known. The opposition parties quickly attacked Horgan for calling an election. “Today, John Horgan chose politics over people,” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, who said his party will announce its platform and full list of candidates in the coming weeks. “The only reason for this general election is to try and secure the jobs of the NDP … it’s not necessary.” Horgan is seen after the news conference in Langford, B.C., where he announced the election. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press) Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau said she spoke with Horgan on Friday, and told him she and fellow Green MLA Adam Olsen would continue to support the NDP on legislation if an election was not called. “When people are worried about their kids being back in school, when people are worried about their jobs, when people are worried about their housing, this is not a time where we put the interest of a political party ahead of British Columbians,” she said. A number of longtime MLAs have said they won’t be seeking re-election, including NDP cabinet ministers Carole James, Judy Darcy, Shane Simpson, Michelle Mungall, Doug Donaldson, Claire Trevena and Scott Fraser. Liberals Rich Coleman and Linda Reid, and former Green Party leader Andrew Weaver have also said they will not run again.
First man to climb Everest 10 times dies at 72
All the ascents to the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of the world’s tallest mountain between 1983 and 1996 by Ang Rita, who went by his first name, like many Sherpas, were made without bottled oxygen.The 72-year-old, who had suffered brain and liver ailments for a long time, died at his home in the Nepali capital of…
All the ascents to the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of the world’s tallest mountain between 1983 and 1996 by Ang Rita, who went by his first name, like many Sherpas, were made without bottled oxygen.The 72-year-old, who had suffered brain and liver ailments for a long time, died at his home in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, his grandson, Phurba Tshering, said.Ang Rita was also known as the “snow leopard” for his climbing skills.”He was a climbing star and his death is a major loss for the country and for the climbing fraternity,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.The body will be placed at a Sherpa Gomba, or holy site, in Kathmandu, and cremated on Wednesday according to sherpa tradition, Ang Tshering said.Many other climbers have since surpassed Ang Rita’s feat, with one member of the community setting a record of 24 ascents.
U.S. Justice Department threatens to strip federal funds from cities it says allow ‘anarchy’ | CBC News
World·NewThe U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets.New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have been identified as 3 cities that could lose fundingThomson Reuters · Posted: Sep 21, 2020 4:22…
World·NewThe U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets.New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have been identified as 3 cities that could lose fundingThomson Reuters · Posted: Sep 21, 2020 4:22 PM ET | Last Updated: September 21Police and protesters square off Saturday, July 25, 2020, near Seattle’s Central Community College. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for cities such as Seattle, which it claimed has allowed anarchy and violence on the streets. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press )The U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.In a joint statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler accused the Trump administration of playing politics and said withholding federal funds would be illegal. “This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The president is playing cheap political games with congressionally directed funds,” the statement said. “Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House.” Many cities across the United States have experienced unrest since the May death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. In some cases the protests have escalated into violence and looting, but the majority have been largely peaceful. Protesters march in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. Last week, the DOJ urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity in American cities. (Mark Graves /The Oregonian via The Associated Press) The federal government has mounted a campaign to disperse the racial justice protests, including by sending federal agents into Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to bring charges. Last week, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity. Monday’s threat to revoke federal funds was the government’s latest escalation in its quest to curb the protests. It comes after U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month issued a memo laying out criteria to consider when reviewing funding for states and cities that are “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities.” The criteria include things such as whether a city forbids the police from intervening or if it defunds its police force. In all three cities, the Justice Department said, leadership has rejected efforts to allow federal law enforcement officials to intervene and restore order, among other things. In a press briefing earlier on Monday, New York City Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson promised a court battle if the Trump administration proceeds to cut off the funds. “The president does not have the authority to change the will of Congress,” he said. “We are preparing to fight this in court if, ultimately, he actually takes concrete steps to withdraw federal funds.”With files from The Associated Press