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GOP lawmaker defends Fox reporter after Trump calls for her firing

GOP Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma Sunday shows - Cheney removal, CDC guidance reverberate Kinzinger: 'I would love to move on' from Trump but he is the leader of the GOP MORE (Ill.) on Saturday defended Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin after President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE targeted the journalist on Twitter and called for her to be fired.

Trump went after Griffin, a national security correspondent, after she reported that former officials had backed up some details of an explosive report about Trump published this week by The Atlantic.

“She’s one of my favorite reporters. Fair and unafraid,” Kinzinger wrote in response to Trump calling for Griffin to be fired.

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The president lashed out at Griffin in an earlier tweet after she reported that sources had confirmed key details of the magazine’s report.

The report stirred major criticism of Trump after it alleged he had referred to slain American soldiers buried at a French cemetery as “losers” and “suckers.”

"All refuted by many witnesses. Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!" Trump declared in a tweet late Friday.

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Griffin said on the air on Friday that sources had told her Trump said the Vietnam War was “stupid” and anyone who fought in it was a “sucker.” 

Griffin, citing a former Trump administration official, reported that Trump "was not in a good mood" during his trip to France in 2018 and "questioned why he had to go to two cemeteries." 

She also reported that Trump was adamant flags not be lowered to half-staff when the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (R-Ariz.), a fierce critic of Trump, died in 2018.

Her comments came after The Atlantic reported that Trump was reluctant to travel to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France in 2018, calling the U.S. service members who were buried there during World War I “losers.”

In another conversation, Trump reportedly said that the 1,800 Marines who lost their lives in the battle of Belleau Wood were “suckers” for getting killed. The president reportedly asked aides about historic details of WWI, including “Who were the good guys in this war?”

Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, initially called The Atlantic’s report “deeply concerning” and said in a statement that it left him “speechless.”

“This is either the most heinous hit job on a president or the most heinous comments made by a president,” he said. “We need more than unnamed sources, as we have been down this road before only to find these ‘sources’ only hear ‘it’ second-hand or ‘it’ never existed. Regardless, I remain hopeful for a direct source to provide more answers here.”

Trump has vehemently denied the allegations, calling The Atlantic story "fake" and saying he did not need to apologize since the remarks attributed to him were not true.

“It was a totally fake story, and that was confirmed by many people that were actually there,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. “It was a terrible thing that somebody could say the kind of things — especially to me because I have done more for the military than almost anybody else.” 

Updated: 3:10 p.m.