“They are working at the Army, where they were. They were detailed to the NSC. This is typical,” Conway said. “I’ve had detailees on my small staff. This is very typical in a White House to have a detailee for a temporary period of time who then returns to what their full-time job is.”
Conway did not explain why Vindman’s detail to the NSC ended on Friday when it was previously slated to finish in July.
As for Sondland, the former U.S. envoy to the European Union, Conway said “it was nice of the president to give him that post in the first place,” and described him as a reluctant Trump supporter. The president on Friday ordered Sondland’s recall “effective immediately,” the ambassador noted in a statement that was released just hours after Vindman’s exit.
“He wrote a big check to the inauguration but wasn’t really there before the president improbably, unsurprisingly, won, for people like that,” Conway said of Sondland, who received his appointment after donating $1 million to Trump’s inauguration committee.
Vindman and Sondland sat for closed-door depositions with House impeachment investigators and appeared before public hearings of the House Intelligence Committee in November, defying administration directives to not comply with the probe into the president’s conduct.
Since Trump’s acquittal last week in the Senate impeachment trial, White House officials have promised “payback” against those who testified or played a part in lawmakers’ efforts to remove Trump from office. A handful of the House’s 17 impeachment witnesses still maintain their jobs in the administration.