US President Donald Trump has dismissed two senior officials who testified against him at his impeachment trial.
The US envoy to the EU, Gordon Sondland, said he “was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately”.
Just hours earlier, Lt Col Alexander Vindman, a top expert on Ukraine, was escorted from the White House.
Mr Trump is said to desire a staff shake-up after senators cleared him in the impeachment case on Wednesday.
In its historic vote, the Senate decided not to remove America’s 45th president from office on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine.
Lt Col Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, a senior lawyer for the National Security Council, was also sent back to the Department of the Army on Friday.
What about Mr Sondland’s recall?
In a statement issued by his lawyer, Mr Sondland said: “I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States ambassador to the European Union.
“I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the US mission to the European Union.
EU ambassador Gordon Sondland testifies that Trump’s personal lawyer “requests were a quid pro quo”
“I am proud of our accomplishments. Our work here has been the highlight of my career,” Mr Sondland said.
And how was Vindman removed?
Lt Col Vindman’s counsel, David Pressman, told the BBC his client had been “escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his president”.
“There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House,” said the statement.
“LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honour, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”
It added: “The truth has cost LTC Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy.”
Lt Col Vindman testified in November about the president’s “improper” call
Media captionLt Col Vindman testified in November about the president’s “improper” call
The statement continued: “The most powerful man in the world – buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit – has decided to exact revenge.”
Lt Col Vindman had reportedly turned up for work at the White House as usual on Friday.