In what appears to be an effort to undermine the validity of the presidential impeachment inquiry, Laura Ingraham, a Fox News television host, and her guest, John Yoo, a top lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, accused White House national security official, Colonel Alexander Vindman, of espionage.
This came after Vindman testified that he heard Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Democratic frontrunner, Joe Biden.
Even though many spoke out against the statement, including Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the rootless idea is rapidly spreading amongst Trump supporters.
Ingraham and Yoo aren’t alone in making these accusations; former Representative and pro-Trump pundit Sean Duffy suggested that because Vindman immigrated from the Ukraine at the age of three, that he’d put Ukrainian interest above American interest.
Representative Matt Gaez tweeted “Donald Trump is innocent. The deep state is guilty.” His post was republished onto QAnon, the platform that allowed the pizzagate conspiracy to take off.
Rudy Guilliani tweeted that Vindman was “reportedly advising two gov’s”, and Jacob Posobiec, a well known individual in far-right online spheres, tweeted that “Vindman has reportedly been advising the Ukranian government, his home country, how to counter President Trump’s foreign policy goals – NY Times.”
In reality, the New York Times did not publish anything like that. However, Posobiec likely knows that many of his followers aren’t going to look fact-check him, since they want to hear that the president is innocent.
Not only are these statements contributing to the wave of anti-immigrant sentiment (fueled by Trump) that has been sweeping the United States in recent years, they are completely undermining trust in a facet of government designed to protect us from abusers of power. They are creating such rage against those who are not supporting Trump that I would not be surprised if someone following these sources decided to carry out an act of violence against Vindman, or anyone working on the impeachment inquiry.
It is infuriating to me that these people will likely face no consequences for their spread of dangerous propaganda. It makes me afraid for the future- what’s the next lie that they’ll decide to tell? Who will be baselessly attacked next? Can democracy in the United States survive this administration?