President Donald Trump may commit further crimes if he follows his instinct to punish officials testifying in the impeachment inquiry.
To date, the evidence presented in public impeachment hearings has been very damning, and it has angered the president.
“President Donald Trump’s aides have explored moving some impeachment witnesses on loan to the White House from other agencies, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, back to their home departments ahead of schedule,” CNN reported Monday, citing people familiar with the conversations.
Advisors have warned the president not to follow his gut on this issue.
“As public hearings bring the officials’ allegations to his television screen, Trump is asking anew how witnesses such as Vindman and Ambassador Bill Taylor came to work for him, people familiar with the matter said. He has suggested again they be dismissed, even as advisers warn him firing them could be viewed as retaliation,” CNN reported. “The possible move of officials out of the White House could still be viewed by some as evidence of retribution for their testimony.”
Trump has been attacking his own officials.
“The uncertain fate and public thrashing of these officials has created a thorny situation for a White House wading through the impeachment process. Trump’s impulse to dismiss them hasn’t been realized, but he’s made clear nevertheless he views them as unwelcome,” CNN reported. “It’s one of the persistent anomalies of the impeachment inquiry: most of the witnesses airing concerns at Trump’s approach to Ukraine remain employed by him, despite his claims they are “Never Trumpers” and his overt suggestions they’ve already been fired.”
The president’s eldest child has urged his father to fire the witnesses:
America hired @realDonaldTrump to fire people like the first three witnesses we’ve seen. Career government bureaucrats and nothing more.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 15, 2019
Mike Pence has also distanced himself from Jennifer Williams, his top Ukraine advisor.