Oct 29, 2019

Ukrainian-born Army veteran faces cable news attacks ahead of impeachment testimony

Ahead of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman's Tuesday testimony in the House's impeachment inquiry, cable news hosts and contributors have — without evidence — questioned his loyalty to the U.S. because he was born in Ukraine.

Why it matters: Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran and the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, will say that he conveyed concerns internally to officials after listening to President Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • Vindman emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine when he was a child with his family, per the New York Times. He speaks Ukrainian as well as Russian.

What they're saying:

  • CNN contributor and former Republican Rep. Sean Duffy: "It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don't know that he's concerned about American policy, but his main mission was to make sure that the Ukraine got those weapons. We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from. ... He has an affinity I think for the Ukraine. He speaks Ukrainian. He came from the country, and he wants to make sure they're safe and free."
  • "Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade: "We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family — young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine."
  • Fox News host Laura Ingraham: "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 and usually they spoke in English. Isn't that kind of an interesting angle on this story?"
  • Former deputy attorney general John Yoo replied to Ingraham: "I find that astounding and some people might call that espionage."

Go deeper ... Read: White House Ukraine expert to testify on Trump call concerns

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Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The Army moved 1,600 soldiers from out of state into D.C. area, the Defense Department confirmed in a statement Tuesday. Protesters were still out en masse after curfews began in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.