Rats! It was a ready-made story of petty vengeance on the part of Donald Trump. Yesterday, CBS News’s “Face the Nation” tweeted that Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was “out at NSC.” Vindman is the military careerist who listened in on Trump’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart and testified in one of Adam Schiff’s closed-door hearings that he was “concerned” over the call.
The tweet, which follows, states that “after testifying on the Hill, NSA [adviser Robert] O’Brien says Alexander Vindman will be removed from the National Security Council.”
VINDMAN OUT AT NSC: After testifying on the Hill, NSA O'Brien says Alexander Vindman will be removed from the National Security Council. "Everyone who's detailed at the NSC, people are going…back to their own departments and we'll bring in new folks" https://t.co/DNsbuDqAwb pic.twitter.com/nQ9U5lvxrG
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 10, 2019
Turns out that was all wishful thinking on part of CBS, which this morning changed the headline of the block-busting revelation to read, “Official who testified against Trump ‘still detailed’ to National Security Council.” In other words, war was not declared.
So what’s the actual story? By way of answering, let’s go back to National Security Council adviser Robert O’Brien’s appearance Sunday on the network’s “Face the Nation.” According to CBS News this morning:
The question about the duration of Vindman’s detail on the NSC arose when … host Margaret Brennan asked … O’Brien, even though he had criticized the president when he was interviewed by Congress in October.
Asked directly by Brennan, “Will he continue to work for you despite testifying against the president,” O’Brien responded indirectly.
“Well, look,” he replied, “one of the things that I’ve talked about is that we’re streamlining the National Security Council. It got bloated to like 236 people from, up from 100 in the Bush administration, under President Obama.”
He added, “We’re streamlining the National Security Council. There are people that are detailed from different departments and agencies. My understanding is he’s — is that Colonel Vindman is — is detailed from the Department of Defense. So everyone who’s detailed at the NSC, people are going to start going back to their own departments and we’ll bring in new folks. But we’re going to get that number down to around 100 people.”
Brennan followed up by asking O’Brien to confirm that this did not constitute retaliatory action against Vindman.
“I never retaliated against anyone,” O’Brien told Brennan.
Granted, O’Brien gave an inartful and unnecessarily convoluted answer to a simple question, but it took a major leap on the part of CBS to arrive at the claim that Vindman was being fired because of his testimony against the president.
After the show aired, Vindman’s attorney told CBS News that his client “is still detailed to the National Security Council. His detail ends July 2020. We are not aware of any change in his status.”
It’s a bad day for Dems and their water carriers in the mainstream media when a chance to smear the president blows up in their faces.