Liz Cheney condemns attacks on Vindman's patriotism

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lays low as approval hits 18-month low House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE (Wyo.) condemned attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanDuckworth to block military confirmations until Esper proves Vindman will be promoted Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Trump pick for pandemic response watchdog pledges independence amid Democratic skepticism MORE, a witness called to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry, blasting those who have questioned his patriotism on Tuesday. 

Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the lower chamber, did not spell out who she was criticizing for attacks on Vindman, but her remarks followed a critical tweet by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE.

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Cheney began by criticizing House Democrats for their handling of impeachment before moving to a defense of Vindman. 

“It really is shameful what the Democrats have been doing in terms of attempting to try to impeach a sitting president in the basement of the Capitol," Cheney said at a press conference. "Now, I also want to say a word about something else that's been going on over the course of the last several hours and last night, which I think is also shameful.

“And that is questioning the patriotism, questioning the dedication to country of people like Mr. Vindman, Lt. Col. Vindman who will be coming today, and others who have testified. I think that we need to show that we are better than that as a nation.” 

Cheney went on to say while the parties may be at odds over impeachment, Republicans should not be “dragged down to the level” of Democrats.

“Their patriotism, their love of country — we're talking about decorated veterans who have served this nation, who put their lives on the line, and it is shameful to question their patriotism, their loving this nation, and we should not be involved in that process,” she continued. 

“We need to make sure that we are abiding by upholding the Constitution. Just because the Democrats refuse to do that does not mean that we have to let ourselves be dragged down to the level at which they're operating, and we won't do that as Republicans.”

Her comments come after the president and numerous GOP pundits and Trump allies took to social media and cable news programs to blast Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, as a partisan Never Trumper looking to smear the president. 

“Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call ‘concerned’ today’s Never Trumper witness. Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. 

News of Vindman’s statement to the congressional panels began circulating on Monday night, before Trump's tweet. In his opening statement, Vindman expressed concerns over a July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine's president where Trump pressed for an investigation of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Susan Rice: Trump picks Putin over troops 'even when it comes to the blood of American service members' Does Donald Trump even want a second term? MORE.

Vindman saw the pressure as threatening bipartisan support for Ukraine in the United States. 

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” he said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”