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Lawyer for NSC Adviser Vindman Sends Letter to Fox Demanding Retraction of ‘Espionage’ Allegation

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, testifies before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry in Washington, D.C., November 19, 2019. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

A lawyer for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman sent a letter to Fox News on Wednesday demanding the network either retract or issue a correction for a segment of the The Ingraham Angle, in which guest John Yoo, a former top lawyer in the Bush administration, seemed to suggest that Vindman might be guilty of espionage.

Vindman, who listened to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that forms part of the impeachment probe, testified in House hearings on Tuesday regarding the matter. Vindman is a long-serving military officer whose family fled Soviet Ukraine when he was three years old.

During the October 28 airing of “The Ingraham Angle,” host Laura Ingraham speculated on Vindman’s motives for testifying.

“Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest,” Ingraham said. “Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?”

“I found that astounding,” Yoo responded. “Some people might call that espionage.”

“LTC Vindman and his family have been forced to examine options, including potentially moving onto a military base, in order to ensure their physical security in the face of threats rooted in the falsehood that Fox News originated,” Vindman’s lawyer David Pressman wrote.

Pressman noted that espionage is a crime punishable by death, and that Vindman “had never in his decorated 20-year career of service to his country been accused of having dual loyalties or committing espionage.”

“As a guest on FOX News, John Yoo was responsible for his own sentiments and he has subsequently done interviews to clarify what he meant,” read a statement from Fox News.

Yoo wrote an op-ed in USA Today after the segment aired in which he clarified that he meant Ukraine may have committed an espionage operation, but that he didn’t accuse Vindman specifically of espionage.

Pressman wrote in his letter that “Mr. Yoo’s argument that he did not intend to accuse LTC of Vindman of ‘espionage’ — that he was accusing the nation of Ukraine instead — is as legally irrelevant as it is factually incredible.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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