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Toobin slams Trump 'North Korean-Style' Punishing Vindman

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Monday's The Situation Room, liberal CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin went over the top into hyperbole by claiming that President Donald Trump's dismissal of both Alexander Vindman and his brother from their jobs at the White House amounted to "North Korean-style punishment of the whole family" even though neither has been imprisoned or executed by the Trump administration.

Toobin's comment came during a discussion of South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham complaining about some FBI and CIA agents having political motivations against President Trump. After host Wolf Blitzer introduced a clip of Senator Graham from CBS's Face the Nation, Toobin complained:

JEFFREY TOOBIN: It's like right-wing fantasy talk. The vast majority of FBI agents, CIA employees, Department of Justice employees have done nothing but their jobs. And, you know, taking a few text exchange[s] between two FBI employees that the President obsesses about and turning that into a conspiracy of the deep state is just part of the story that you've been talking about with Laura [Coates] and Andy [McCabe] that this is about sending the message that if you deviate from the Trump line on anything, your job is toast. And that's the real message that the President sent with Vindman and Sondland. That's what Senator Graham is talking about. It's all part of the same story.

The liberal analyst soon complained that Senator Graham's comments were "shocking and inappropriate" after Blitzer asked him if he was surprised by his words:

TOOBIN: No, because he's part of the team, and, you know, it's just so obviously shocking and inappropriate that the next day that these two witnesses who responded to subpoenas and told the truth got fired. I mean, it is just so obviously outrageous, the fact that it's being defended at all is really indicative of the hold the President has on his party far more than the ethics of this particular decision which are so obviously wrong.

After CNN analyst Andrew McCabe agreed with him, Toobin jumped back in to further complain: "And let's not forget that they also fired Vindman's brother which is North Korean-style punishment of the whole family which is particularly nauseating."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, February 10, The Situation Room on CNN:

6:36 p.m. Eastern

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's like right-wing fantasy talk. The vast majority of FBI agents, CIA employees, Department of Justice employees have done nothing but their jobs. And, you know, taking a few text exchange[s] between two FBI employees that the President obsesses about and turning that into a conspiracy of the deep state is just part of the story that you've been talking about with Laura [Coates] and Andy [McCabe] that this is about sending the message that if you deviate from the Trump line on anything, your job is toast. And that's the real message that the President sent with Vindman and Sondland. That's what Senator Graham is talking about. It's all part of the same story.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Are you surprised, Jeffrey, to hear this kind of talk from Senator Lindsey Graham?

TOOBIN: No, because he's part of the team, and, you know, it's just so obviously shocking and inappropriate that the next day that these two witnesses who responded to subpoenas and told the truth got fired. I mean, it is just so obviously outrageous, the fact that it's being defended at all is really indicative of the hold the President has on his party far more than the ethics of this particular decision which are so obviously wrong.

BLITZER: Let me get Andrew McCabe's response. Go ahead.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN ANALYST: Well, I mean, I completely agree with Jeff. It's absolutely outrageous what has happened to these two Americans who stood up and told the truth under penalty of subpoena that comes along with it. It isn't surprising to see Senator Graham speak in this way, but it is incredibly dispiriting. It is once again watching him completely mischaracterize the results of the several now IG reports -- investigations into the way the FBI did their business both in the Clinton email investigation and in the Russia investigation. It's sickening, but it is a repeated effort to construct a narrative that they prefer to live with.

TOOBIN: And let's not forget that they also fired Vindman's brother which is North Korean-style punishment of the whole family which is particularly nauseating. 

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