Schumer calls for investigation into whistleblower retaliation

Click to play video: 'Two top Trump impeachment witnesses ousted just days after acquittal'
Two top Trump impeachment witnesses ousted just days after acquittal
WATCH: Two top Trump impeachment witnesses ousted just days after acquittal – Feb 8, 2020

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the nation’s 74 inspectors general to protect government whistleblowers amid President Donald Trump‘s ouster of key government officials in the impeachment probe.

In a letter Monday to the Defence Department inspector general, Schumer said Army Lt. Col. Alex Vindman has been “viciously attacked” by the Republican president after “bravely stepping forward to tell the truth.”

READ MORE: What happens now? And other unanswered questions from Trump’s impeachment trial

Vindman, a White House national security council official when he testified before the House impeachment inquiry, was removed Friday and reassigned.

Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, also was asked to leave his job as a White House lawyer.

Click to play video: 'Graham says Vindman couldn’t be ‘effective’ at National Security Council'
Graham says Vindman couldn’t be ‘effective’ at National Security Council

Also out Friday was Gordon Sondland, who had been Trump’s ambassador to the European Union. Sondland was among 17 people who provided public and private testimony in the impeachment proceedings.

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The firings, alongside efforts to name the still anonymous government whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s call with Ukraine sparked the impeachment probe, demand attention, Schumer said.

READ MORE: Trump ousts two officials who testified against him in impeachment

Similar letters are being sent to all 74 IGs calling on them to take immediate steps to investigate any “instances of retaliation against anyone who has made, or in the future makes, protected disclosures of presidential misconduct to Congress or Inspectors General.”

Federal employees have rights, including under the whistleblower law, that ensure they are protected through the inspector general offices and are able to provide information to Congress, as part of the legislative branch’s oversight role.

The White House has stood by the dismissals.

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