Nets Gush About Vindman Testimony, ‘Chest Full of Service Medals’

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As if he was the hero they needed to vanquish their nemesis, the liberal media fell in love with the public impeachment testimony of White House Ukraine adviser Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. All three of the major broadcast networks kicked off their evening newscasts with gushy reports touting his role in the day-long marathon of impeachment hearings. Surprisingly, NBC Nightly News was the one network to include some of the questions about Vindman’s testimony and the phone call narrative.

The segment introduction from failing CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell was arguably the gooiest. “The most damaging testimony during a day of impeachment hearings came from a decorated combat veteran wearing a chest full of service medals and a purple heart,” she gushed.

O’Donnell added: “Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman told Congress he was alarmed by the President's July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, saying it was improper and inappropriate that Mr. Trump would ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent and that it could undermine U.S. national security.”

After O’Donnell teed up chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes to hype the “extraordinary moments” from the hearing, the reporter boasted of how “today's testimony went straight at one of the main White House lines of defense,” that the Trump administration was concerned with corruption in Ukraine.

All three of the networks were enamored with Vindman’s family history, alluding to it adding some kind of weight to his testimony. Just as ABC senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce did on World News Tonight: “Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a decorated war veteran and top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. He came to the U.S. when he was just 3 years old. His family fleeing from the Soviet Union. He began his testimony with a message to his father.”

 

 

Sensationalist ABC anchor David Muir turned up the theatrics at the top of the program (click “expand”):

And we begin with the televised hearings. For the first time today, millions of Americans heard from witnesses who listened in on that call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. The witnesses who were alarmed by what they heard taking the oath, ready to talk about the call that the President has said was perfect.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who works in the White House, testifying the President's call asking for investigations into 2016 and into the Bidens was improper, saying it amounted to a demand. The combat veteran who earned a purple heart testifying in uniform. The President criticizing him for doing so.

There was similar hype for Vindman on NBC Nightly News from White House correspondent Peter Alexander. “Vindman, who’s recently been the target of personal attacks defending the veteran diplomats who testified last week,” he reported. “In highlighting his own immigrant story, a soviet refugee who became a decorated Iraq war veteran, with this message to his family who brought him here from Ukraine.

But, as opposed to the other two networks, Alexander did mention the testimony of National Security Council official Tim Morrison, who found nothing illegal about President Trump’s call with the Ukraian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

ALEXANDER: But then a different view of the call from Tim Morrison, a top official on the National Security Council, who was also listening in and has testified he was not concerned anything illegal was discussed, but worried the call would spark a political firestorm.

TIM MORRISON: My fears have been realized.

Alexander also noted that “Vindman revealed he had spoken to an intelligence official about the July call” and Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) stifled Republican questioning about it.

NBC was also the only network to run a clip of Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-TX) questioning Vindman and other witnesses on whether or not the Democratic Party charge of bribery (an impeachable offense) against Trump was accurate. Not one of them said Trump was trying to bribe Zelensky.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC World News Tonight
November 19, 2019
6:31:42 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: And we begin with the televised hearings. For the first time today, millions of Americans heard from witnesses who listened in on that call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. The witnesses who were alarmed by what they heard taking the oath, ready to talk about the call that the President has said was perfect.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who works in the White House, testifying the President's call asking for investigations into 2016 and into the Bidens was improper, saying it amounted to a demand. The combat veteran who earned a purple heart testifying in uniform. The President criticizing him for doing so.

Then, an adviser to the vice president, Jennifer Williams, testifying she found the call unusual and inappropriate. And late today, former Ukraine special envoy, Kurt Volker, who had testified before he saw nothing that indicated a quid pro quo. Today, he added, hate he known what this was all about, investigating the 2016 election and Burisma, what he called conspiracy theories, that he would have objected. ABC's Mary Bruce leads us off tonight from the Hill.

[Cuts to video]

MARY BRUCE: For the first time today, the American people hearing from first-hand witnesses who were listening to that infamous call at the center of this impeachment inquiry.

(…)

BRUCE: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a decorated war veteran and top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. He came to the U.S. when he was just 3 years old. His family fleeing from the Soviet Union. He began his testimony with a message to his father.

(…)

 

CBS Evening News
November 19, 2019
6:31:41 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Good evening and thank you so much for joining us. The most damaging testimony during a day of impeachment hearings came from a decorated combat veteran wearing a chest full of service medals and a purple heart.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman told Congress he was alarmed by the President's July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, saying it was improper and inappropriate that Mr. Trump would ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent and that it could undermine U.S. national security.

All three of the witnesses today who worked in the White House and were on that call said the President's words were unusual and raised concerns. There is a lot to break down with our correspondents here in Washington, and Nancy Cordes leads off our coverage at the Capitol. Nancy, there were some extraordinary moments today.

NANCY CORDES: There were, Norah. And today's testimony went straight at one of the main White House lines of defense, this argument that the President withheld millions in aid to Ukraine, not to extract some favor but because he was simply concerned about corruption there. Today's key witness said he knew he was taking a risk when he spoke up.

[Cuts to video]

ALEXANDER VINDMAN: Dad, I'm sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol talking to our elected professionals. Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.

(…)

 

NBC Nightly News
November 19, 2019
7:01:51 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Good evening. On the busiest day yet of the impeachment hearings, a parade of diplomatic and national security witnesses testified into the dinner hour. Four witnesses in all today, including the army combat veteran and Ukraine expert who was on that infamous July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine's president, describing his alarm at Mr. Trump's requests for politically helpful investigations and why he reported the call to White House lawyers. Peter Alexander has details.

[Cuts to video]

PETER ALEXANDER: Today, House Democrats for the first time calling witnesses who were listening in on that July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine's leader at the heart of their impeachment inquiry. Where President Trump asked for investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.

(…)

ALEXANDER: Vindman, who’s recently been the target of personal attacks defending the veteran diplomats who testified last week.

ALEXANDER VINDMAN: I want to say that the character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible.

ALEXANDER: In highlighting his own immigrant story, a soviet refugee who became a decorated Iraq war veteran, with this message to his family who brought him here from Ukraine.

(…)

ALEXANDER: But then a different view of the call from Tim Morrison, a top official on the National Security Council, who was also listening in and has testified he was not concerned anything illegal was discussed, but worried the call would spark a political firestorm.

TIM MORRISON: My fears have been realized.

ALEXANDER: This morning's hearing getting testy when top Democrat Adam Schiff jumped in to stop Republican questions after Vindman revealed he had spoken to an intelligence official about the July call.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): What agency was this individual from?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): If I could interject here. We don't want to use these proceedings --

NUNES: It's our time --

SCHIFF: I know. But we need to protect the whistleblower.

NUNES: Please stop. [Transition] Mr. Vindman, you testified in your deposition that you did not know the whistleblower?

VINDMAN: Ranking member, it's Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please. [Transition] I do not know who the whistleblower is.

NUNES: How is it possible for you to name these people and then out the whistleblower?

(…)

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Bias by Omission Labeling Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Mary Bruce David Muir Norah O'Donnell Nancy Cordes Peter Alexander Donald Trump

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