CNN’s New Day gave network contributor Sean Duffy a platform to smear Army Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who was on President Donald Trump’s Ukraine call and is testifying that he objected to Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into pursuing investigations into Trump’s political rivals. Minutes later, CNN aired Duffy’s comments as an example of an unreasonable right-wing attack.
Duffy, who has a history of pushing lies and conspiracy theories during his time as a Republican congressman, claimed Vindman is “incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense” and claiming, “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.” Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child, is a decorated Iraq war veteran and a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Duffy also said, “We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from. … I'm sure that Vindman has the same affinity.” Co-anchor John Berman strongly pushed back on Duffy’s comments, calling them “pretty stunning.”
Only a few moments later, Berman re-aired Duffy’s comments as an example of “the president’s Republican allies trying to discredit today’s witness, Col. Vindman, who we will note was awarded a purple heart and is an active member of the U.S. military.” Duffy’s comments come after he used his first two appearances as a CNN contributor to push a long-debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine, requiring on-air pushback.
A few minutes later, Berman reaired Duffy's comment, calling it “a pretty shocking statement.”