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Juan Williams: Trump has nothing left but smears

Here’s the price for telling Congress the truth about President Trump — smears and threats.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a combat veteran with a Purple Heart from his time in Iraq, is accused of being in the “deep state” by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Then his loyalty to America is questioned by a former GOP congressman, Sean Duffy.

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

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

Marie Yovanovitch, 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 Himes (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 Stone 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 Sondland 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., 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.

{mossecondads}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 Maher 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.

Tags Alexander Vindman Bill Maher conservative media Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Gordon Sondland Impeachment Jim Himes Marie Yovanovitch Roger Stone Ron Johnson Sean Duffy Ukraine

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