In a wide view of American politics, the presidency of Donald Trump has seemingly allowed the country’s state of democracy to fall into a decline. Even prior to his impeachment trial, the world placed the country’s politics under a microscope- whether it was news media following every move of the two-party system or social media scrutinizing not only the president but also his supporters. America has become increasingly more partisan in the past four years, struggling to find a sense of unity among the Democratic and Republican parties. During Trump’s impeachment trial the divide became even more clear: he was impeached by the House of Representatives for “Abuse of Power” and “Obstruction of Justice” while acquitted by the Senate. While the acquittal of Trump’s impeachment by the US Senate can be interpreted as democratic backslide in itself, there are other, more specific, elements to the trail that highlight the state of democracy in America. The seeming purge of witnesses that testified against Trump can be used to magnify the extent of the president’s misuse of power.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council aide for the White House, was removed from his position on February 7, 2020, as was his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman. Vindman was questioned about Trump’s phone call to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. Vindman called Trump’s actions “inappropriate” and caused “significant national security implications.”  Vindman was not the only witness fired after testifying: Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union who confirmed a quid pro quo, was also recalled from his position.
The firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has been met with criticism from thousands of military veterans- speaking out against illegal actions and wrongdoings is expected of servicemen and women.  Trump’s dismissal of Vindman seems to only go towards protecting his reputation- as if to serve as a warning to those who wish to speak out against him as well: talk and you’re done. It runs deeper than just the ousting of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the firing of his brother brings up even more evidence of a democratic backslide.
According to Business Insider, “Alexander Vindman’s lawyer said Yevgeny was fired “suddenly and with no explanation, despite two decades of loyal service to this country.” The concerns following Yevgeny Vindman’s dismal is clear: he did not partake in the impeachment inquiry, he did not testify, and still he has been removed from his position.
Trump’s actions are a bold move of revenge that does not belong in a democratic conversation. The talking down of those who testified, the intimation schemes while witnesses were on the stand, the attack of anyone who sides against him, is not a cute look for American society. Trump’s response to news media covering the incident was made via Twitter, where the president claimed to have never have met Vindman or even spoken to him. 
The fact that the White House stands behind the President’s dismissals even after an advisor told CNN, “the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against the President will not be tolerated,” is evidence of democratic erosion in our modern-day America.
 Westwood, Sarah. “Trump Defends Firing of Key Impeachment Witness Vindman.” CNN, Cable News Network, 8 Feb. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/02/08/politics/trump-alexander-vindman-firing-ukraine-impeachment/index.html.
 “More Than 1,000 US Veterans Condemn Trump Over Vindman Firing.” Voice of America, www.voanews.com/usa/more-1000-us-veterans-condemn-trump-over-vindman-firing.
 Frias, Lauren. “Trump Also Fired the Twin of Impeachment Witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman in Apparent Retaliation for His Brother’s Testimony.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 7 Feb. 2020, www.businessinsider.com/yevgeny-vindman-ousted-white-house-same-time-as-alex-2020-2.
 Benen, Steve. “Following Trump Attacks, Veterans Rally behind Lt. Col. Vindman.” MSNBC, NBCUniversal News Group, 19 Feb. 2020, www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/following-trump-attacks-veterans-rally-behind-lt-col-vindman-n1138451.