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Trump defends firing key impeachment witness

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the ouster of impeachment witness Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Vindman from the White House National Security Council (NSC), calling him "insubordinate" and saying he incorrectly reported the contents of his "perfect" telephone calls.

Lt-Col Vindman was one of two witnesses who provided the most damaging testimony during the impeachment investigation, both of whom were ousted by the administration on Friday.

Mr Trump tweeted that "Fake News" media kept "talking about 'Lt-Col' Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was".

"Actually, I don't know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don't believe) but he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my 'perfect' calls incorrectly," Mr Trump said.

Lt-Col Vindman was among officials who listened to a call between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Lt-Col Vindman testified that he went to the NSC's chief lawyer to express his concern.

His attorney rejected the President's statements about his client as "obviously false".

"They conflict with the clear personnel record and the entirety of the impeachment record of which the President is well aware," he said.

Both Lt-Col Vindman and his lawyer brother, Lt-Col Yevgeny Vindman, have been reassigned to the Department of the Army. - REUTERS

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