November 22, 2019

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has it out for a Purple Heart veteran.

When Lt. Col Alexander Vindman testified in the impeachment hearing into President Trump on Tuesday, Trump and other Republicans questioned his military bonafides and seemed skeptical of the fact that he doesn't know who the Ukraine whistleblower is. And in a Friday tweet, Blackburn kept the attacks going, tweeting that "Vindictive Vindman is the 'whistleblower’s' handler."

There's a lot wrong with this short tweet. First, it suggests Vindman has something against Trump, furthering the right-wing rhetoric that claims he's less American because he was born in the Soviet Union. And second, it falsely claims Vindman knows the identity of the whistleblower — something that isn't true, but didn't stop Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) from trying to get Vindman to spill their identity on Tuesday. And third, it's an outright smear on a high-ranking military official who received heaps of praise for his service before, during, and after his hearing. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:13 p.m.

A 23-year-old American soldier based in South Korea has tested positive for the new coronavirus COVID-19, the U.S. military announced Tuesday.

The soldier is stationed at Camp Carroll in Waegwan, and is the first U.S. service member to come down with the virus. He is under quarantine at his home, which is off base.

There are 1,146 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea, with more than half of the patients living in the city of Daegu. The soldier visited a military base in Daegu on Friday, and then returned to Camp Carroll. There are 28,500 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea, and the military said health professionals are "actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed." Troops have been told to avoid nonessential meetings and stay on base, The New York Times reports. Catherine Garcia

10:45 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) defended himself against accusations that he is not "pro-Israel" enough, saying he is "very proud of being Jewish" but fully aware of the "suffering of the Palestinian people."

If elected, Sanders would be the first Jewish president. During Tuesday night's debate in South Carolina, he said he once briefly lived in Israel, and "what I happen to believe is that right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel, through [Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu, you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country. And I happen to believe that what our foreign policy in the Mideast should be about is absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel. But you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people. We have got to have a policy that reaches out to the Palestinians."

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is also Jewish, said "the only solution here is a two-state solution. The Palestinians have to be accommodated. The real problem here is you have two groups of people, both of whom think God gave them the same piece of land. And the answer is to obviously split it up." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) agreed that there has to be a two-state solution, and said President Trump favors Israel by "putting a thumb on the scale on just one side." Israelis "have a right to security," she said, just like Palestinians "have a right to be treated with dignity and have self-determination. ... But it's not up to us to determine what the terms of a two-state solution are. We want to be a good ally to everyone in the region." Catherine Garcia

10:39 p.m.

Media insiders are labeling the South Carolina Democratic debate a "disaster" following a messy and often out-of-control evening that frequently devolved into shouting matches between the candidates. The event marked CBS News' first foray into hosting a debate this election cycle, and the moderators — CBS Evening News anchor Norah O'Donnell and CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King — often appeared to be overpowered by the seven candidates they were supposed to be keeping in line.

TV regulars at rival networks, including former DNC head and Fox News contributor Donna Brazile, Morning Joe's Mika Brzezinski, and The View's Meghan McCain, expressed horror over how the night unfolded:

Brian Stelter, the chief media corespondent for CNN, confirmed the industry's general reception of the debate:

Sean Illing of Vox was even blunter: "These are the worst moderators in the history of moderation," he tweeted. Jeva Lange

10:12 p.m.

The recent comments made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about Cuba and its former leader Fidel Castro were bound to come up during Tuesday's Democratic primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

When the topic eventually made its way into the chaos, Sanders' fellow candidates zeroed in on his past praise for certain aspects of the Cuban government, such as its literary program and health care system. Sanders once again clarified he was merely pointing a few good things about the Castro regime, which he describes as otherwise authoritarian. But that wasn't good enough for his competitors.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for example, said such comments could have consequences for Democrats down the line, suggesting the party could lose House and Senate races because of them. "We're not going to win these critical, critical House and Senate races if people in those races have to explain why the nominee of the Democratic Party is telling people to look at the bright side of the Castro regime," Buttigieg said.

Sanders once again argued he has routinely condemned authoritarianism before pointing out that the U.S. government supports Saudi Arabia despite its human rights violations. Tim O'Donnell

9:55 p.m.

If he didn't get his message across during the debate, all former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg had to do was wait for the commercial break.

During Tuesday night's Democratic debate in South Carolina, 60-second ads for Bloomberg aired during the first two commercial breaks. This didn't go over well on Twitter, where people, like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, were upset at CBS for letting Bloomberg purchase the ad time:

Over the last three months, Bloomberg has spent more than $500 million of his own money on campaign advertisements. Catherine Garcia

9:36 p.m.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have been pummeled at a Democratic debate less than a week ago, but the crowd in South Carolina sounded surprisingly sympathetic to the billionaire candidate on Tuesday night. Attacks on Bloomberg often spurred the audience to loudly boo, while his attacks on his opponents would receive enthusiastic cheers:

The tone was so markedly different from that of the debate in Nevada that many viewers were suspicious of the authenticity of the hecklers:

Tickets to attend the South Carolina debate were prohibitively expensive, some have pointed out; the only way to obtain a ticket was to sponsor the debate, with such sponsorships ranging from $1,750 to $3,200 each. Whether that meant the demographic of the attendees naturally skewed toward a group that was more tolerant of billionaires — or if the hecklers' seats were being paid for by someone else — wasn't immediately clear. Jeva Lange

9:13 p.m.

The shouts of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the screeches of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and the shrieks of former Vice President Joe Biden ricocheted around the stage during Tuesday night's Democratic debate in South Carolina.

Right from the start, it was a raucous affair, with the candidates consistently — and loudly — interrupting each other and ignoring the time limits to respond. At one cacophonous point, it sounded like all of the candidates were trying to answer a question, but no one could understand what they were saying. When things settled down a bit, billionaire investor Tom Steyer tried to get a word in, but was scolded by Sanders; later, an annoyed Sanders tried to get former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg to stop talking by saying, "Hellllooo!" It didn't work.

Biden cracked the code about 30 minutes into the debate, saying, "I guess the only way to do this is jump in and speak twice as long as you should." He then attacked Steyer for once investing in private prisons, said Sanders hasn't passed "much of anything" during his time in the Senate, and refused to yield any of his time to the other candidates. "I'm gonna talk," he snapped, which got the crowd cheering. Expect none of these people to have a voice tomorrow. Catherine Garcia

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