Sen. John Kennedy locked horns with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd in a fiery interview about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his phone call with the president of Ukraine.
The Louisiana Republican repeatedly pushed back at Todd’s questioning of the president’s actions in the wake of the whistleblower complaint about a conversation Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. As Kennedy argued that an investigation should involve all aspects of the controversy, the “Meet the Press” host accused the lawmaker of gaslighting.
Kennedy appeared on “MTP Daily” to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry of the president amid allegations in the whistleblower report that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Democrats have been clamoring for the White House to release the transcript of the July phone call between the two leaders in the hopes of proving their unfounded theories of corruption by the president. They have demanded the document while ignoring any wrongdoing by Biden who admitted on camera last year that he strong-armed then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 when he was serving as vice president in the Obama administration.
Trump authorized the release of the transcript of the “totally appropriate call” he had with the Ukrainian leader on Wednesday, just as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that “the president must be held accountable” and endorsed a formal impeachment inquiry.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 24, 2019
On Tuesday, Kennedy weighed in on the impending release of the transcript.
“Guy robs a bank. On the way to jail, the cops beat the living Hades out of him. The cops should be investigated. Should you beat a criminal suspect? No. Should there be investigations? Yes. But you also have to go investigate the alleged bank robbery,” he told Todd, arguing that an investigation must be conducted into Biden’s actions as well.
“It’s hard to believe the concern about Hunter Biden by some of these folks making this case,” Todd contended. “If they were so serious about this, I’m trying to figure out why nobody from the FBI has been contacted. Not a single person.”
He pushed back at Kennedy’s remark that they do not know for a fact that the FBI has not been contacted, and went on to claim that plenty of people have looked into the Biden allegations but found nothing to hold against the former vice president.
“Who has?” Kennedy asked. “Who’s looked into it, Chuck?… Has MSNBC looked into it?”
“You realize you’re looking for an outcome, not the facts. There have been four or five different entities that have found nothing here,” Todd responded, going on to give the Republican a condescending lecture about “how the rule of law works.”
“You’re wrong, this hasn’t been investigated! ” Kennedy shot back. “I’m not alleging the vice president did anything wrong. But I’m just telling you the American people are looking at this and going, ‘Okay, um, Mr. Biden…’”
Todd called out what he claimed was “whataboutism” on the part of the lawmaker.
“How does that have anything to do with the president of the United States going to another world leader and saying, ‘Open an investigation up on my chief political rival’?” he asked.
“Because it has to do with Ukrainian corruption, which is what all of this is about,” Kennedy replied.
“I am trying to be fair here,” Todd said, “but you can’t gaslight us, sir. Don’t gaslight us!”
“I’m not gaslighting you. I’m telling you the facts,” Kennedy fired back, reiterating his call for an investigation of Biden. “Do you deny those facts, do you think they got Hunter Biden’s name off ZipRecruiter? I don’t! I don’t think the American people do. I’m not alleging impropriety. I’m saying we need to look into it!”
“The President of the United States is the one who violated the Constitution, perhaps, not Hunter Biden,” an obviously flustered Todd declared.
“‘Perhaps’ is the operative term, because you don’t know and I don’t know because we haven’t seen the transcript, Chuck,” Kennedy said.
“Chuck, you’re a fair guy,” the lawmaker added, making his point again. “If you’re going to be fair here, you’re going to have to investigate everybody. The president and the former vice president.”
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