President Donald Trump delivered payback Friday to two key witnesses who testified in the House impeachment inquiry, firing Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and removing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his White House job.
Both officials provided critical information about Trump during public hearings, with Sondland saying the president sought a "quid pro quo" with Ukraine's leader and Vindman criticizing Trump's conduct during a July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as "improper."
The moves came hours after Trump was asked about his press secretary's comments that his opponents should pay a price. “Well, you’ll see," the president told reporters.
Sondland said in a statement Friday night, "I was advised today that the President intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union."
Jon Tester wrote about the need to call witnesses “NOW.” Tina Smith scribbled “protecting the election” – and underlined it. With a blue pen, Tim Scott declared “What a hot mess!”
For 13 days, 100 senators absorbed the arguments during the impeachment trial – and ultimate acquittal – of President Donald Trump. They weren't allowed to speak but they had a lot to say.
Prohibited from using phones or computers, members could only record their thoughts on one of the most consequential votes of their careers using the same technology they used in grade school: pen and paper.
And by doing so, senators instantly created historical artifacts.
USA TODAY reached out to dozens of senators and asked for a few pages of their notes during the trial. Seven of them – three Republicans and four Democrats – shared part of what they wrote. What they provided offers a glimpse of what senators, who acted as jurors in the historic proceedings, thought was important to record at the time – in their own words and in their own handwriting.
Some filled multiple notebooks, legal pads or small, bound journals at their mahogany desks as they sipped from glasses of milk or water. Others jotted just a few thoughts while others copied verbatim arguments from House impeachment managers and members of Trump's defense team. In black and blue ink, they underlined, starred, circled and bullet-ed what stood out to them.