Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, speaks at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Morristown, N.J. The retired Marine Corps general criticized President Donald Trump on several issues during the Drew University Forum lecture series, including the recent ouster of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council aide and impeachment witness. (Karen Mancinelli/Drew University via AP)
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Trump slams former White House chief of staff Kelly for defending key impeachment witness

22 Comments
By AAMER MADHANI

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.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


22 Comments

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lashed out against former White House chief of staff John Kelly for being disloyal 

Do never play with a stable genius’ ego.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Actually he didn’t, he leaked it to the so called whistleblower instead.

He went and told his boss what he just heard.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@balcklabeActually he didn’t, he leaked it to the so called whistleblower instead.

Have you through sources at the Internet Research Agency uncovered yet another plot?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We need more men like Vindman and fewer like Trump. Purple Heart vs loser scammer.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Gen John Kelly, career Marine, Gold Star family member, man of honor...is criticized by a draft-dodging coward, a wimp, and a pervert...

Don't sweat in General - your career and your service speak for themselves...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Oh thats not what you were saying about him when he was actually Chief of Staff though. forgot already all the horrible things liberals said about this man?

Gen John Kelly, career Marine, Gold Star family member, man of honor

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Trump is playing the left like a fiddle. LOL

Just look at the above statements for proof.

”gold star family member”?

Only politicians and MIC globalists use this phrase. Everyone else is not afraid to say the truth, that a family member has died in combat.

invalid CSRF

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Let me refresh your memory, I believe the terms were lying racist?

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/20/frederica-wilson-strikes-back-john-kelly-lying-rac/

John Kelly Confirms He Was Lying All Along: The White House Is in Chaos

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/kelly-exit-interview-773739/

He is just trying to get a book deal like everyone else now. He is jealous of that sweet, sweet money Bolton is gonna get. You guys love him again, when its convenient. Just like Bolton and all the others.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Uh, bass, all he did was point out what we already knew which was that Vindman told his superior as he was trained to do and testified to the House because he was served with a subpoena. I don't see how bringing up his despicable behavior in another case, something you cheered at the time, is relevant in any way except point out that you cheer despicable behavior. Doesn't make Vindman any less right for what he did.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You conveniently left out that vindman also told someone else. Who he and Schiff both know who it is but the American people do not

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Gen John Kelly, career Marine, Gold Star family member, man of honor

Oh thats not what you were saying about him when he was actually Chief of Staff though. forgot already all the horrible things liberals said about this man?

And what were Trump and Trumpers saying about him when he was hired; "only the best", "a military hero", "strong leader"... So what happened to those?

He is just trying to get a book deal like everyone else now. He is jealous of that sweet, sweet money Bolton is gonna get. You guys love him again, when its convenient. Just like Bolton and all the others.

And if on cue - he goes from hero to shady money grubber...thanks for the example.

Only politicians and MIC globalists use this phrase. Everyone else is not afraid to say the truth, that a family member has died in combat.

Why don't you go take your I hate the US military shtick somewhere else - these are families that gave the ultimate sacrifice of a family member in service to their country. The definition from the US Army is below;

https://www.army.mil/goldstar/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Scolded by Barr and now Kelly. Trump having a bad hair day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You conveniently left out that vindman also told someone else. Who he and Schiff both know who it is but the American people do not

Then how do you know he told someone else?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because he testified that he told someone else. Then Schiff jumped in and ordered him not to answer to protect the whistleblower.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

You conveniently left out that vindman also told someone else.

Prove it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The other day it was Lt. Col. Vindman, a decorated war hero. Today Trump's attacking former USMC General John Kelly. And yet the Always Trumpers prefer to put their blind trust and obedience in Trump. It's hard to imagine what a conversation between 3 or more Always Trumpers must sound like.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

prove what? Vindman said he discussed the call with two people, George Kent and someone else in the intelligence community. When asked the name of the other person, schiff jumped in.

Mr. Schiff said: "We need to protect the whistleblower. ... If the witness has a good faith belief that this may reveal the identity of the whistleblower, that is not the purpose that we are here for and I want to advise the witness accordingly."

who authorized Vindman to leak outside his chain of command?

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/four-witnesses-testify-impeachment-tuesday/card/1574180697

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Vindman said he told two people, both of whom had clearance and a need to know. You have zero evidence one of them was the whistleblower. If I'm wrong, tell me why he isn't either under investigation or indictment right this second.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He isnt under investigation or indictment because Schiff saved him from having to answer the question he was asked. 

That makes absolutely no sense. The GOP-controlled Senate can investigate whatever they want.

And Schiff objected not to the question but after a series of questions that became an obvious attempt to out the whistleblower, and he called them on it. Vindman also testified that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower.

His chain of command is ONE person, he told TWO.

He told TWO people who had clearance and a need to know basis. That's why you have nothing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That makes absolutely no sense.

You’re really expecting people that have huge issues with accuracy to make sense?

> The GOP-controlled Senate can investigate whatever they want.

Yes, it can. How will Black try to spin this one?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, it can. How will Black try to spin this one?

He's waiting to get the Kremlin's version.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trump should let Kelly ramble on, the man is a loser.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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