Vindman’s lawyer requests Fox News retract guest’s allegation about espionage

Greg Nash

A lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council, sent a warning letter to Fox News on Wednesday, asking the network to retract espionage allegations that were made by network guest John Yoo and “sparked a torrent of republications and copycat false charges.”

The segment in question aired on the Oct. 28 edition of “The Ingraham Angle.”

During the segment, host Laura Ingraham told John Yoo — who was a top attorney for the George W. Bush administration — “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?” Ingraham asked Yoo.

Yoo replied: “I found that astounding. Some people might call that espionage.”

Ingraham didn’t agree with Yoo, but the letter notes she also didn’t refute his comments.

According to the letter, “The viewer was left to understand that Ms. Ingraham, an attorney and former Supreme Court clerk, and her law professor guest [Yoo] must have had a factual bias for concluding that LTC Vindman had engaged in espionage against the country he has sworn to protect. They did not.”

“Reactions to the Segment quickly confirmed it was universally understood to accuse LTC Vindman of espionage against the United States,” the letter continued.

Yoo wrote an op-ed in USA Today several days later, in which he said he walked back his comments while admitting that he “really stepped in it.”

In a statement a Fox News official told The Hill, “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.”

Vindman testified publicly Tuesday as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry. He clashed with Republicans during the hearing of the Intelligence Committee and provided a firsthand account of the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

David Pressman, Vindman’s attorney and author of the letter, also highlighted a tweet Ingraham posted Tuesday, in which she commented, “Why would Ukraine offer the post of defense minister to a U.S. gov’t official working in their region? What does that reveal, if anything, about how Ukraine perceived him?”

The tweet echoed a line of questions from Tuesday’s hearing, during which GOP counsel Stephen Castor probed Vindman on Ukrainian offers to make him the nation’s minister of defense, asking if Vindman “left the door open” to accepting these offers.

Vindman rejected the idea.

Pressman also wrote, “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.”

“As the self-described ‘most watched, most trusted’ news network, Fox News has a grave responsibility to the truth. The Segment was not true. It has now been repeated by some of the most powerful people in the world. It is causing great pain. We ask you to retract the coverage, correct the record, and publish the truth,” the letter concludes.

Tags Alexander Vindman Donald Trump Donald Trump Impeachment Fox News House Intelligence Committee John Yoo Laura Ingraham

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