“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Those words, from the fictional Capt. John Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s satiric novel “Catch-22,” could well have come from President Donald Trump. Trump’s move against two impeachment witnesses (and a third man, the twin brother of one of the witnesses) has enraged and struck many as pure retaliation, and has led to calls for criminal and oversight investigations. Yet, while I believe that actions taken against Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and National Security Council staffer Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman were wrong, they are both legal and not unprecedented.
Various experts, such as CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, have described the removals as “criminal” while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on 74 inspectors general for “immediate action to investigate any and all instances of retaliation” against whistleblowers by the Trump administration.