President Donald Trump plans to oust a national security official who testified against him in his impeachment trial, according to Bloomberg News.
The dismissal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council is expected to be part of a broader purge of NSC staff who are considered disloyal to the president.
And it’s likely only the beginning of Trump’s post-acquittal trail of revenge.
“We’re in the heads-on-pikes phase of burgeoning authoritarianism,” former White House ethics czar Walter Schaub wrote on Twitter on Thursday night, alluding to Trump’s recent threat toward GOP senators.
More from the Washington Post: Some of the president’s aides are discussing whether to remove or reassign several administration officials who testified during the impeachment inquiry, according to aides and advisers who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plans. Meanwhile, Senate committee chairmen are ramping up their investigation into Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine while his father, Joe, was vice president. … [Trump] has discussed with aides removing other national security officials who testified or cooperated with House Democrats, with Trump calling them disloyal and asking whether he should further cull his national security staff after impeachment. He remains incensed that so many people in his administration testified last year, according to allies of the president.
Politico reports that Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the lone Republican who voted to convict Trump, tops the list of the president’s targets:
Romney is not the only one in the Trump administration’s crosshairs. Two Republican senators sent a letter to the Secret Service requesting information about Hunter Biden’s travel during Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president, part of an attempt to conduct the investigation that Trump couldn’t get Ukraine to launch. “People should be held accountable,” [White House press secretary Stephanie] Grisham warned in an interview on Fox News Wednesday morning. “The Democrats should be held accountable for not only what they did to the president and to his family but the country.” Another move over at the Justice Department also had Trump’s critics worried that the Trump administration was also taking steps to protect the president from further scrutiny. Attorney General Bill Barr issued a memo requiring his own sign-off on any investigations into a 2020 presidential candidate. Barr has long expressed skepticism about the probe that was launched into Trump’s 2016 campaign.
According to Salon, Trump is compiling a Nixonian “enemies list” topped by former national security adviser John Bolton:
Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman reported Monday that “Republicans briefed on Trump’s thinking believe that the president is out for revenge against his adversaries.”
“It’s payback time,” an anonymous Republican lawmaker told Vanity Fair. “He has an enemies list that is growing by the day.”
According to Sherman, names mentioned in his conversations with Republicans familiar with the president’s plans included House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Bolton, who Sherman noted is “at the top of the list.”
“Trump wants Bolton to be criminally investigated,” Sherman reported.
More from Twitter below.