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A day after House Democrats called out past commentary on Fox News about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s patriotism, a lawyer for the impeachment witness sent the network a legal letter demanding that it “retract and correct the falsehoods it has spread against LTC Vindman.”
The letter was sent to Fox News executive vp and general counsel Lily Fu Claffee by Boies Schiller Flexner partner David Pressman on Wednesday.
On the Oct. 28 edition of Laura Ingraham’s The Ingraham Angle, the conservative pundit discussed Vindman’s Ukrainian heritage in the context of his objection to President Trump’s conduct toward the country.
“Now, wait a second,” Ingraham said. “Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest, and usually they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?!” Her guest, former Bush administration attorney John Yoo, responded: “I find that astounding. Some people might call that espionage.” (Yoo is not a Fox News contributor.)
On Wednesday, Vindman’s attorney wrote: “At no time since the segment aired at 10 p.m. on October 28, 2019, has Fox News retracted or corrected the allegations despite knowing that they are false. Instead, Fox News has watched as the false narrative it originated about allegations of dual loyalties — an accusation that had never before been made against LTC Vindman, a decorated patriot and veteran — were republished by some of the most powerful people in the world. As such, it is all the more incumbent on Fox News to correct that record. But it is not too late for Fox News to retract and correct the allegations and help mitigate some of the harm the allegations have caused.”
In a statement, Fox News told The Hollywood Reporter: “As a guest on Fox News, John Yoo was responsible for his own sentiments and he has subsequently done interviews to clarify what he meant.” (The letter was first reported by The New York Times.)
The law firm argued that the network’s commentary about Vindman has put his safety at risk: “As a result, LTC Vindman and his family have been forced to examine options, including potentially moving onto a military base, in order to ensure their physical security in the face of threats rooted in the falsehood that Fox News originated.”
Nodding to the network’s enormous reach and influence, Vindman’s lawyer wrote: “When Fox News reports, and fails to correct or retract, that a Leuitenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, a Director on the National Security Council, has committed espionage, these words cause enormous and foreseeable harm — harm that has, as the above examples show, already occurred. … Fox News has a responsibility to help put out the fire it lit when it falsely accused a decorated soldier of disloyalty to his country.”
During Tuesday’s impeachment hearings, Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi also called out comments made by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade the morning after the contested Ingraham segment. “Recently Fox News host Brian Kilmeade said he — meaning you — ‘were born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine.’ I find this statement reprehensible because it appears that your immigrant heritage is being used against you.” the congressman told Vindman.
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