Sondland and Vindman were both planning to leave -- but Trump pushed them out early to humiliate them: CNN
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland were both pushed out of their positions over the weekend -- but sources tell CNN they were both planning on leaving anyway and that President Donald Trump wanted to push them out sooner.


According to CNN's sources, both Sondland and Vindman "had seen their standings diminished significantly after they appeared before Congress and under subpoena" during the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, which prompted them to begin planning their exits.

However, sources described as "familiar" with Trump's thinking said that the president "didn't want them to go quietly," despite pleas from advisers and Republican senators to not create a public spectacle by firing prominent impeachment witnesses.

During impeachment hearings, Vindman testified about his concerns about President Donald Trump's now-infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he pressed him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sondland, meanwhile, testified that there was a quid-pro-quo agreement that linked an Oval Office visit for Zelensky with his willingness to launch investigations into the Bidens.