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‘Friday Night Massacre’: CNN’s Jim Acosta Evokes Nixon in Trump’s Retribution Against Vindmans, Sondland

CNN’s Jim Acosta evoked Richard Nixon’s infamous mass firing during the Watergate cover-up, describing President Donald Trump’s moves to rid his administration of officials who testified against him in the impeachment investigation as a “Friday night massacre.”

Speaking with Wolf Blitzer, Acosta reported the breaking news that the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, was being recalled from his post. This move comes just hours after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was fired from his National Security Council post and publicly escorted from the White House grounds by security. Vindman, along with his twin brother, Eugene, who also worked in the NSC but did not testify against Trump, have been reportedly reassigned to work for the Department of the Army.

“Major development,” Blitzer noted. “Remember, Ambassador Sondland, before he became Ambassador, he gave a million — $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee. And that is part of what is going on.”

“This is a cleaning of house. And this comes from the top. And there is just no other way around it,” Acosta said. And though no White House officials would explain the personnel moves on the record, Acosta did cite a “Trump adviser” calling it “flushing out the pipes…it was necessary.”

“I was talking to a lawmaker, of one of the relevant committees a short time ago about this,” Acosta continued. “The expectation is that the president and his team are going to be going after each and every individual who, you know, got in their crosshairs during the length of this saga. And that includes Gordon Sondland.”

“If you expect the president to change the way he handles these things, he’s not. This is not somebody who’s going to change the way he operates,” Acosta said, citing another unnamed source close to the president. “So, I think we can continue to see the president carrying out these acts of retribution in the days to come. He clearly has not learned the kind of lesson that Republican senator Susan Collins and others were talking about earlier this week. The only lesson the president has taken is he’s escaped impeachment and now he can go after his enemies, real and imagined.”

“It’s a significant development. It’s a Friday night already…” Blitzer noted.

“Friday night massacre,” Acosta added, clearly alluding to the “Saturday Night Massacre,” an infamous attempt by Nixon to stop the Watergate investigation by firing Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Both his Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest rather than carry out the move.

“I’m sure that’s what people will call it,” Blitzer agreed.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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