Juan Williams: Trump has nothing left but smears

Here’s the price for telling Congress the truth about President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE — smears and threats.

Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanPresident Trump's intelligence community security blanket Whistleblower's lawyer questions GOP senator's whistleblower protection caucus membership White House limits number of officials allowed to listen to Trump calls with foreign leaders: report MORE, a combat veteran with a Purple Heart from his time in Iraq, is accused of being in the “deep state” by Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump lawyers urge senators to swiftly acquit Trump in impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Barr asks Apple to unlock Pensacola shooter's phone | Tech industry rallies behind Google in Supreme Court fight | Congress struggles to set rules for cyber warfare with Iran | Blog site Boing Boing hacked Congress struggles on rules for cyber warfare with Iran MORE (R-Wis.). Then his loyalty to America is questioned by a former GOP congressman, Sean DuffySean DuffyGOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Ex-Tea Party lawmakers turn heads on K Street Why the Wisconsin special election could decide the 2020 presidential election MORE.

And a conservative blog, Gateway Pundit, falsely claims Vindman is part of an “attempted coup of President Trump.”


The war hero finally asked the Army for help protecting his safety.

Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchHouse Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't Giuliani: 'I'd love to be a witness' at Senate impeachment trial Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE, a former ambassador to Ukraine, got a similar scare when she read that Trump told the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky she was “bad news” and “she is going to go through some things.”

As she was testifying, Trump tweeted another attack on her. That prompted Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesTwitter users invoke Merrick Garland after McConnell, Graham comments on impeachment trial Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers This week: Impeachment inquiry moves to Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Conn.) to say Trump’s language and effort to intimidate the witness “would embarrass a mob boss.”

And what about Fiona Hill?

Once the top Russia expert at the Trump White House, she has had to deal with death threats, apparently from Trump’s backers, because she responded to a congressional subpoena to appear at impeachment hearings.

Hill also testified that she was libeled in conservative media as “a mole for George Soros,” via comments by recently convicted Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneAuthorities prepared to hand over Roger Stone records to media: report Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump 2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics MORE among others.

Hill saw the mention of Soros, a Jewish billionaire who supports liberal causes, as particularly insidious. Two key witnesses against Trump on impeachment, Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandTrump lawyers urge senators to swiftly acquit Trump in impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Five takeaways from Parnas's Maddow interview MORE and Vindman, are Jewish.

“This is the longest-running anti-Semitic trope that we have in history,” Hill said, as she explained to Congress that the attacks against Soros amount to “the new Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fake from more than a century ago that portrayed Jews as seeking to dominate world affairs.

Soros is a constant target of attacks from far-right Trump supporters. Anti-Semitic violence in general has been on the rise too.

Cesar Sayoc, a Trump supporter, sent bombs to Soros among others. Robert Bowers is charged with killing 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue after blaming a Jewish charity for offering aid to Central American immigrants.

Then there are smears coming directly from the Trump White House.

A White House aide sent talking points to Republicans in Congress lambasting both Vindman and Sondland.

“Vindman has major credibility issues,” said one email from a White House aide, Julia Hahn. She undercut Vindman, who still works at the White House, as a man guilty of “poor judgment, leaking and going around normal procedures.”

Vindman was not the only target. The Washington Post reported that Trump’s White House sent “14 different sections of talking points to congressional Republicans, coming in at more than 3,300 words.”

The president himself set the tone for these broadsides.

Trump dismissed testimony from Jennifer Williams, who advised Vice President Pence on Russia, as coming from one of the “Never Trumpers.”

Williams “should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!"

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpComedians post fake Army recruitment posters featuring Trump Jr. Trump Jr., Ivanka garner support in hypothetical 2024 poll FWS: There's 'no basis' to investigate Trump Jr.'s Mongolian hunting trip MORE, sent out a tweet demeaning the first three witnesses to give public testimony.

“America hired [Trump] to fire people like the first three witnesses we’ve seen,” he wrote, in a direct attack on Yovanovitch as well as George Kent, a State Department official and the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor.

The White House attacks inspired Trump supporters to do the same.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh created another target for personal attacks by going on radio to name a person he believes to be the whistleblower who formally complained about the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky.

Again, Trump supporters act without any concern for the very real threats to anyone who dares to speak out about the president. The whistleblower’s complaint has been confirmed as “credible” and a matter of “urgent concern,” by the inspector general of the intelligence community, a Trump appointee.

Another attack came from Emerald Robinson, a correspondent for the Trump-supporting outlet One America News Network. She tweeted an attack on Hill and Vindman for being immigrants.

“I’m wondering,” Robinson tweeted, “are any Americans going to testify against Trump?”

After widespread criticism, Robinson deleted the tweet.


Hill responded to the attacks by saying she testified out of a “moral obligation.”

“We came here as fact witnesses,” Hill explained. “I know this has put a huge cloud over this presidency…that’s why, as a non-partisan person, an expert on Russia, I wanted to try to see if I could help.”

In an interview last year, former Trump White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman was asked by talk show host Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherPelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' Pelosi announced as lead guest on season premiere of 'Real Time with Bill Maher' Memorable Trump feuds with celebrities from 2019 MORE why she predicted Trump’s critics “will have to bow down to President Trump.”

“I was playing to an audience of one,” she said, referring to Trump.

In the face of clear evidence of Trump’s abuse of power, his defenders are playing to the same “audience of one” — trying to rush into a closed hearing room to disrupt testimony and now smearing loyal Americans with records of honorable public service.

To quote poet Langston Hughes: “O, let America be America again.”

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.