Toobin Slams Fox, Sean Duffy 'Insanity,' 'Anti-Immigrant Bigotry'

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Tuesday's New Day show on CNN, during a discussion of Colonel Alexander Vindman's upcoming testimony against President Donald Trump on the Ukraine issue, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin descried Fox News as well as new CNN contributor Sean Duffy as suffering from "insanity" and of harboring "anti-immigrant bigotry" because of suspicions that Colonel Vindman is biased on the Ukraine issue because he was born in the Eastern European country.

Introducing the segment, co-host John Berman recalled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plan to hold a vote on the investigation to deprive Republicans of an argument against House Democratic activities on the issue, Berman then fretted:

We are already seeing, though, some of the President's Republican allies trying to discredit today's witness, Colonel Vindman, who we will note was awarded a Purple Heart and is an active member of the U.S. military. Listen to what former Congressman Sean Duffy said right here on New Day moments ago.

Then came a clip from earlier in the show:

SEAN DUFFY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Mr. Vindman,  he's an advisor to the President. He is a former Ukrainian. He wants to make sure that taxpayer money goes in military aid to Ukraine.

JOHN BERMAN: I'm sorry, I'm sorry, why does it matter where he was born?

Speaking live again, Berman complained that it was "shocking" for former Congressman Duffy to make such an argument:

You hear me saying, "Why does it matter where he was born?" He moved to the United States when he was three years old with his family. He's been in the military for 20 years. Again, awarded the Purple Heart, an active duty member. Sean Duffy questioned -- he said he didn't know whether or not Colonel Vindman put America first, which is a pretty shocking statement to make.

A bit later, Berman and Toobin went back and forth about the Republican efforts to dismiss Colonel Vindman, leading Toobin to joke about the fact that Vindman also has a twin brother who works at the White House, before taking a shot at Fox and at new contributor Duffy as Toobin added: "This Fox News insanity and, with all due respect to our new contributor, former Congressman Duffy, his insanity and, frankly, anti-immigrant bigotry that is reflected in, you know, casting aspersions on Vindman is really something."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, October 29, New Day on CNN:

JOHN BERMAN: The Speaker's move shuts down a key GOP talking point that the inquiry is not legitimate because there never had been a formal vote, we are already seeing, though, some of the President's Republican allies trying to discredit today's witness, Colonel Vindman, who we will note was awarded a Purple Heart and is an active member of the U.S. military. Listen to what former Congressman Sean Duffy said right here on New Day moments ago.

SEAN DUFFY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (RECORDED PREVIOUSLY): Mr. Vindman,  he's an advisor to the President. He is a former Ukrainian. He wants to make sure that taxpayer money goes in military aid to Ukraine.

BERMAN (RECORDED PREVIOUSLY): I'm sorry, I'm sorry, why does it matter where he was born?

BERMAN (LIVE): You hear me saying, "Why does it matter where he was born?" He moved to the United States when he was three years old with his family. He's been in the military for 20 years. Again, awarded the Purple Heart, an active duty member. Sean Duffy questioned -- he said he didn't know whether or not Colonel Vindman put America first, which is a pretty shocking statement to make.

(…)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: If you were doing a real investigation, you would talk to a lot more people in the White House, but the White House has said no one is allowed to talk, and Vindman is risking his career by coming in and talking, notwithstanding the instructions of the White House counsel, Pat Zipiloni. We'll see if others come forward in light of Vindman's testimony.

BERMAN: He's risking his career, given what former Congressman Duffy and other allies of the President are saying right now. He's really laying it all on the line. His choice to testify is extraordinary considering he's active duty military, considering the attacks -- the unfounded attacks that he just opened himself up to.

TOOBIN: And, you know, again, the story gets so interesting and complicated. He has an identical twin brother who is also a lieutenant colonel in the military and also working at the White House at this moment. So if this is some sort of Ukrainian plot, it has a double-barreled effort. ... This Fox News insanity and, with all due respect to our new contributor, former Congressman Duffy, his insanity and, frankly, anti-immigrant bigotry that is reflected in, you know, casting aspersions on Vindman is really something...

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